The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/10/14 10:05 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Not Tao 11/10/14 10:32 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/11/14 11:32 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception (D Z) Dhru Val 11/10/14 10:47 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/11/14 11:34 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Andreas 11/11/14 10:46 AM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/11/14 11:36 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Andreas 11/12/14 4:29 AM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/12/14 9:57 AM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Andreas 11/12/14 12:16 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Branden 1/6/15 10:48 AM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 1/6/15 7:47 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Branden 1/7/15 11:54 AM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception . Jake . 1/7/15 12:18 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Andreas 1/7/15 12:52 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception . Jake . 1/7/15 1:21 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Andreas 1/7/15 1:47 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Branden 1/7/15 2:46 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Jason Snyder 11/11/14 11:26 PM
RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception Dream Walker 11/12/14 11:27 AM
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 10:05 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 9:45 PM

The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

Posts: 186 Join Date: 10/25/13 Recent Posts
I haven't read much about the relationship between waking up to non-duality and the evolutionary roots of dualistic perception. I am really interested in hearing others thoughts about this. Here are a few of mine, including a couple of questions. 

the sense of self (and a sense of duality more generally), being the default state of human consciousness, probably evolved (like everything else) by natural selection at some point in pre-history because the mutations were conducive to survival and passing on genes. Another option is that it came together as an unintended consequence of some other adaptions, but I find this unlikely given its centrality to human experience. While some people claim that non-dual awareness is the natural unfolding of human consciousness, it can also be argued that it is an unnatural progression - we are seeing something that we were not explicitly designed by evolution to see (not that that's a bad thing).

If this is the case (sense of self evolved as a beneficial mutation), and if we assume that insight into not-self and non-duality - these days - is beneficial and conducive to the alleviation of suffering (which I do), what has changed in the course of history to render a once beneficial adaptation (in terms of survival) moot or even harmful? Might there be unintended consequences of mass numbers of people "unnaturally" reprogramming their minds to make non-duality the default state? Should we aim to wipe out the sense of self completely, or might we simply attenuate it  - to balance the benefits of perceiving non-duality with the possible survival value of dualistic perception (whatever that is, maybe ambition?)
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 10:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 10:32 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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I'm still not exactly sure what non-duality/dualism is referring to. emoticon

If you mean the sense of being an "I" - scientists actually speculate that this isn't very common in the animal world.  Using various tests, like whether animals will recognize themselves in a mirror, it seems like only apes relatively close to us on the genetic family tree exhibit behavior that would indicate self-recognition - even something like identification with the body is suspect (my cat chases its tail, haha).

If we consider the usefulness of self-identification, it's only really needed in higher level thinking and coordination. The way we use our hands to manipulate things, for example, is very different from how most animals relate to their body. We also coordinate and cooperate in a way that's more complex than how most animals do, so it could actually be a very recent adaptation related to the neo-cortex and the need to problem solve in a group-oriented way.

Another possibility is that it's related to group living and social structure, which could imply something more widespread. Empathy and feelings of nurture might not require a sense of self, though.
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(D Z) Dhru Val, modified 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 10:47 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/10/14 10:41 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Some thoughts:
If this is the case (sense of self evolved as a beneficial mutation), and if we assume that insight into not-self and non-duality - these days - is beneficial and conducive to the alleviation of suffering (which I do), what has changed in the course of history to render a once beneficial adaptation (in terms of survival) moot or even harmful? 
1) We have experienced unprecidented cultural change since the neolithic (w/ past 12,000 years ago), and even more so since the industrial revolution (<200 years ago), natural selection simply can't keep up.

In developed countries atleast, we live in a veritable paradise, with incredible variety of food, information, knowledge, and liberties to make lifestyle choices. So our evolutionary instincts are often wrong.

As a simple eg. we are still programmed to crave the foods that contribute to dieseases that are leading causes of death. 



2) Our natural programming leaves us with a sense of inadequecy. We attempt to fill this inadequacy with a false sense of security generated with social status and wealh, or with constant pursuit of hedonic pleasure, or with strict adherence to a standard of religious / philosophical purity.

But fulfillment cannot be found in this manner. Thus humanity continues down an unsustainable trajectory of limitless consumption.

3) Yes there would be unintended consequences of hacking your mind. And yes some of them can be negative. It is a non-trivial risk.

Also your goal matters. My goal is to be happy and functional (as opposed to indolent). So my practice is focused towards that end, and thusfar I have made good progress.

4) A lot these concerns were just fears of becoming too free of anxiety and stress. Fear of becoming too enlightened. Of loosing a sense of self, and some sort of harm coming to me from that. Thusfar the fears have proven to be mostly unfounded.

Intellectually I am convinced that these sort of fears are silly, experentially it is more difficult to let go.

Also insight doesn't mean that old patterns habitual patterns of behaviour will stop right away. Often they need to play themselves out to exhustion (you accomplish something you have always wanted, or conversly have a very negative experience) before they can be let go of.

5) Another idea I read somewhere, is perhaps the case that a sense of self is necessary in childhood and early human development in order to make sense of the world. But later on in life it is neutral or even beneficial to shed it. So evolution has not selected for it, but it is still beneficial for us to do so.

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Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 10:46 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 10:46 AM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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What we define as self-awareness is basically being able to recognise the body in a mirror. Thats it. We have no idea what it is like to be anything else. You can read "Whats it like to be a bat?" by Thomas Nagel for more on this topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_it_Like_to_Be_a_Bat%3F Yes its been critizised but the critics dont get it. Its a really good article. I think meditators would be more incline to agree with him.
The question then comes can one have a self of "I" without being able to recognise one self in the mirror. Yes, there are people walking around with this condition, and from what I understand, they consider themselves to have an "I".

Also we are not born with self-awareness, its something that comes with age. We are also not born with an idea of separatedness, its something that comes with age. Think it manifests when we are two years old or older. Before that we dont recognize movement, we see everything as ourselves in a manner of speaking. 

We have no clue if other species are aware, we postulate that they are aware based on recognition in behavior and demeanor. Its difficult for people to think that spiders have consciouness. The same idea is that we assume other people are conscious as well, but we dont know, due to recognition.

If you study the neuroscience research and literature you come to a simple conclusion. "we have no clue, at all, in any manner". There is not even a definition of awareness/conscioness that people agree on. Its hard to study something without defining it.

There is currently an idea suggested by Mark Solms, a neuropshychotherapist, that the consciousness is not a higher brain function. Current idea are that the surface of the brain and what not contain/emerge consciousness. But the idea that conscioness originates there is utterly stupid due to the fact that people that lack parts of it or even most of it, alzheimerpatients where it actually dies off, still remain consciouss. As I understand it the Solms idea is that one needs to look at the older parts of the brain, the lower brain functions. Since people that lack the higher brain functions, ie like 90% of the brain, still display consciousness.

And about consequence of enlightenment. From my understanding if all people would become fully enlightened we as a species would go exstinct since no more children and before that all progress would come to a halt. Lots of people would probably starve to death due to inability grow food, to adapt and change.
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:26 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:25 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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I asked Gary Weber a version of this question on his blog and this was his response:

"Symbolic consciousness, or our ability to recognize that symbols on a stone, stick, or wall, could represent other things, evolved about 75,000 years ago. Along w/that came the ego/I, and the sense of free will. This happened as our numbers began to grow and we were in larger groups and finally organizations, w/different tasks assigned to different folk and w/leaders and followers.

As you point out, the sense of "free will", complete w/the feelings associated w/it, must have a beneficial adaptation at some point or it wouldn't have manifested. It appears that with the evolution of a "doer", the belief that we were in "charge/control" and were "free" to decide what to do, created a focus on tasks, ownership, attachments, winning/losing, hierarchy, etc. that made that part of the population w/this algorithm more successful. They had a higher success rate at passing their genes and behaviors and learning (memes) on to their children and group. 

This worked well until we developed complex social support organizations and w/agriculture had enough food, so that the fear of imminent starvation and attack from other folk or beasts in our immediate environment diminished significantly. Once the lions and tigers and bears were gone, the "free will" and "doer" that had served us so well had to "do" something, so it focused on our social hierarchical positioning and we developed a large area of brain real estate dedicated to this. 

Since those fears were largely imagined, as the society got massively complex, it was apparent that the "doer" w/his processor capable of only 7 +/- data points working on one problem were hopefully inadequate. They just couldn't deal w/these complex problems which required huge amounts of data and run the calculations on such a massively complex "entangled" world and all of its interactions . Consequently it became apparent that we were continually failing to be successful, or to control anything, which created anxiety, depression, stress, fear, insecurity, etc.

That's where we are now. It is time to recognize the new reality, as our neuroscience demonstrates, that "free will" is an illusion, that the "I" that is supposed to exercise control is an illusion, and develop a modified operating system that deals w/the reality rather that exists now."

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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:32 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Not Tao:
I'm still not exactly sure what non-duality/dualism is referring to. emoticon

If you mean the sense of being an "I" - scientists actually speculate that this isn't very common in the animal world.  Using various tests, like whether animals will recognize themselves in a mirror, it seems like only apes relatively close to us on the genetic family tree exhibit behavior that would indicate self-recognition - even something like identification with the body is suspect (my cat chases its tail, haha).

If we consider the usefulness of self-identification, it's only really needed in higher level thinking and coordination. The way we use our hands to manipulate things, for example, is very different from how most animals relate to their body. We also coordinate and cooperate in a way that's more complex than how most animals do, so it could actually be a very recent adaptation related to the neo-cortex and the need to problem solve in a group-oriented way.

Another possibility is that it's related to group living and social structure, which could imply something more widespread. Empathy and feelings of nurture might not require a sense of self, though.

The dualism I am referring to is the subject/object dualism that we perceive as our default consciousness (unless you have hit path). 

If we think this dualism as necessary to engage in complex coordination in groups, than why is it that many "enlightened" people report being able to engage the world at a high level? Some people talk about needing to develop a strong and unified ego before dissolving it. Could this be true in terms of social evolution as well - that we needed to rise above other animals in terms of self sense before we could dissolve it again but still be equally or more functional?
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:34 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:34 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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(D Z) Dhru Val:
Some thoughts:
If this is the case (sense of self evolved as a beneficial mutation), and if we assume that insight into not-self and non-duality - these days - is beneficial and conducive to the alleviation of suffering (which I do), what has changed in the course of history to render a once beneficial adaptation (in terms of survival) moot or even harmful? 
1) We have experienced unprecidented cultural change since the neolithic (w/ past 12,000 years ago), and even more so since the industrial revolution (<200 years ago), natural selection simply can't keep up.

In developed countries atleast, we live in a veritable paradise, with incredible variety of food, information, knowledge, and liberties to make lifestyle choices. So our evolutionary instincts are often wrong.

As a simple eg. we are still programmed to crave the foods that contribute to dieseases that are leading causes of death. 



2) Our natural programming leaves us with a sense of inadequecy. We attempt to fill this inadequacy with a false sense of security generated with social status and wealh, or with constant pursuit of hedonic pleasure, or with strict adherence to a standard of religious / philosophical purity.

But fulfillment cannot be found in this manner. Thus humanity continues down an unsustainable trajectory of limitless consumption.

3) Yes there would be unintended consequences of hacking your mind. And yes some of them can be negative. It is a non-trivial risk.

Also your goal matters. My goal is to be happy and functional (as opposed to indolent). So my practice is focused towards that end, and thusfar I have made good progress.

4) A lot these concerns were just fears of becoming too free of anxiety and stress. Fear of becoming too enlightened. Of loosing a sense of self, and some sort of harm coming to me from that. Thusfar the fears have proven to be mostly unfounded.

Intellectually I am convinced that these sort of fears are silly, experentially it is more difficult to let go.

Also insight doesn't mean that old patterns habitual patterns of behaviour will stop right away. Often they need to play themselves out to exhustion (you accomplish something you have always wanted, or conversly have a very negative experience) before they can be let go of.

5) Another idea I read somewhere, is perhaps the case that a sense of self is necessary in childhood and early human development in order to make sense of the world. But later on in life it is neutral or even beneficial to shed it. So evolution has not selected for it, but it is still beneficial for us to do so.

emoticon
Thank you, this was insightfull!
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:36 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/11/14 11:36 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Andreas:
What we define as self-awareness is basically being able to recognise the body in a mirror. Thats it. We have no idea what it is like to be anything else. You can read "Whats it like to be a bat?" by Thomas Nagel for more on this topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_it_Like_to_Be_a_Bat%3F Yes its been critizised but the critics dont get it. Its a really good article. I think meditators would be more incline to agree with him.
The question then comes can one have a self of "I" without being able to recognise one self in the mirror. Yes, there are people walking around with this condition, and from what I understand, they consider themselves to have an "I".

Also we are not born with self-awareness, its something that comes with age. We are also not born with an idea of separatedness, its something that comes with age. Think it manifests when we are two years old or older. Before that we dont recognize movement, we see everything as ourselves in a manner of speaking. 

We have no clue if other species are aware, we postulate that they are aware based on recognition in behavior and demeanor. Its difficult for people to think that spiders have consciouness. The same idea is that we assume other people are conscious as well, but we dont know, due to recognition.

If you study the neuroscience research and literature you come to a simple conclusion. "we have no clue, at all, in any manner". There is not even a definition of awareness/conscioness that people agree on. Its hard to study something without defining it.

There is currently an idea suggested by Mark Solms, a neuropshychotherapist, that the consciousness is not a higher brain function. Current idea are that the surface of the brain and what not contain/emerge consciousness. But the idea that conscioness originates there is utterly stupid due to the fact that people that lack parts of it or even most of it, alzheimerpatients where it actually dies off, still remain consciouss. As I understand it the Solms idea is that one needs to look at the older parts of the brain, the lower brain functions. Since people that lack the higher brain functions, ie like 90% of the brain, still display consciousness.

And about consequence of enlightenment. From my understanding if all people would become fully enlightened we as a species would go exstinct since no more children and before that all progress would come to a halt. Lots of people would probably starve to death due to inability grow food, to adapt and change.
From your last paragragh, so your saying that becoming enlightened makes you less functional and unable to have kids. In that case what are we all doing here? 
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 4:29 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 4:29 AM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Snyder, having kids is a selfish and ego driven endevour. No ego, desires etc then no kids. Birth is dukkha. If you are a secular buddhist(no reincarnation) its really odd to have children regardless of enlightenment.
About function, theres a dude here on the forum thats spent 3 years engulfed in samadhi on a beach. If one looks at documented awakened ones they are not exactly on the top with regards to contributing to society.

Personally I want to see and experience life fully.
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 9:57 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 9:57 AM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Andreas:
Snyder, having kids is a selfish and ego driven endevour. No ego, desires etc then no kids. Birth is dukkha. If you are a secular buddhist(no reincarnation) its really odd to have children regardless of enlightenment.
About function, theres a dude here on the forum thats spent 3 years engulfed in samadhi on a beach. If one looks at documented awakened ones they are not exactly on the top with regards to contributing to society.

Personally I want to see and experience life fully.

I don't think becoming enlightened means that you can't experience life fully or assume agency in the world. I mean there are so many examples of people doing just that. Just off the top of my head, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk, Gary Weber, Shinzen Young, I could go on and on...In fact a lot of people talk about becoming more successful in the world. 
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 11:27 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 11:27 AM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Jason Snyder:
the sense of self (and a sense of duality more generally), being the default state of human consciousness, probably evolved (like everything else) by natural selection at some point in pre-history because the mutations were conducive to survival and passing on genes.
Natural selection is not necessarily a good determination of ethical behavior you know. It's like asking yourself how psycho and murderous can you evolve so that you can kill the competition without imploding. Hey look, you are separate and when I kill you I don't feel bad about it, whoo hoo now I get your food and women. Psychopaths might have evolved just a little bit too far to be "healthy" for the group. We have a culture of fear and this surrounds enlightenment....what will you loose if you get enlightenment? BE AFRAID says the self....for it knows it is on the chopping block. By pointing out perceived flaws of enlightened people we justify our fear. I don't wanna go all Eckart Tolle and end up on a park bench(what would the neighbors think?) instead I want to be a productive member of society and change the world just like I am currently doing (or do we project upon awakening that we will then do this?)
Interesting thread....How do we evolve ourselves actively so that we can overcome our limitations of family/tribal ethics?
~D
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 12:16 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/12/14 12:16 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Jason Snyder:

I don't think becoming enlightened means that you can't experience life fully or assume agency in the world. I mean there are so many examples of people doing just that. Just off the top of my head, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk, Gary Weber, Shinzen Young, I could go on and on...In fact a lot of people talk about becoming more successful in the world. 

I answered your question on why we would even want enlightenment. As I see it its the pinnacle of experience in a way. Of those listed only Daniel doesnt seem to have the main focus of becomming a meditation teacher. But I suppose those that are awakened and not interested in becomming meditation teachers wont show up in searches etc, so the results are skewed =). Still curious though. Wonder how many awakened middle level managers there are in the world or when people embark on the path they realize the futility of that existence and quit.
Branden, modified 7 Years ago at 1/6/15 10:48 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/6/15 10:48 AM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Hi, this site is great.  I saw this forum discussion and had to register and share my thoughts on the topic.  First time I've ever posted on a forum. 
Anyway, I have give this specific question a great deal of thought, and have had debates with a family member along these lines. 
As a result of being enlightened, does the being detatch themselves from this world or become a valued member of society?  A doer, or non doer?
I'm sure I'm not as knowledgeble on specific enlightened individuals as many people on this forum are, but I think if you look back in history you will find a great many enlightend doers and non doers.  Ofcourse there is always the stereotypical nondoer who has detatched him/her self sitting on the mountain.  As far as the doers, there are also countless stories of the samurai that became enlightened and as a result they were people you did not want to mess with.  Very deadly, but all in the well being of life.  After all, if my schooling serves me right, zen was created for the samurai, finding it to be compatible to that way of life.  I amagine that once a samurai did become enlightened they no longer fought for the lord, but for the support of life at large.
I once saw a movie where an aspiring truth seeker wanted to study under this renown hermit up in the mountains.  He finaly achieves the opportunity to study under him.  He studies under him for something like 2 years, then one day the hermit tells him that he must return to society, rejoin his wife and kids.  The student says to his master that the master has chosen to seclude himself so why can't he and the master immediately yells at him and hits him over the head with his stick.
I think that its a matter of choice.  There is a right choice and there is a wrong choice depending on where this form is at this moment.  Where this form is at this moment is usually affected by past events.  The student is still, and maybe for the rest of his life, attatched to the world through his family.  He could stay on the mountain, but he'd be lying to himself.  Now that is the crux.  It would be just as wrong for a person to be involved in society if they are completely detatched from it.  Likewise it would be wrong for a person to leave society if they still have attatchments. 
One will say, "oh but if one is truly enlightened they won't have attachments and wouldn't be affected by any of this"  True.  The student has learned all he can on top of the mountain, because he still has attachments down in society.  So, he must return to society and learn his place.  It is more difficult to atain enlightenment when you have a family, because they tie you ever so much closer to this world.  It is easier, if you have lost everything or never had anything to begin with, to be elnightened on top of a mountain.  But try to learn detachment when you have a loving wife and children.  Its been done, but less frequently.  I think, though that when the rare moment does happen, and someone becomes enlightened while still engaged in society, the enlightenment is a far more powerful experience.  They become an acting individual that is simultaneously still with the chaotic flow of the universe.
Sometimes, the simple truth is you may not reach enlightenment in this lifetime. 
There are no gaurantees that you will or you wont in this life, but there are gaurantees of challenges.  Sometimes one must settle on the possible truth of having to say, "I haven't done too shaby in this life and I can be satisified with where I'm at.  It will be interesting to see what happens in my next life.  I have all eternity as a classroom."

I hope this was a useful addition to some of the very good and fine comments I read on this thread.  Like I said, I've never posted to any community before.  Let me know if you agree with this or not quite. 
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Jason Snyder, modified 7 Years ago at 1/6/15 7:47 PM
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RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Hi Branden,

Thanks for your thoughts and welcome to the forum! I think what you are talking about is different than what I was. you're talking about the decision to literally remove oneself form society in the pursuit of enlightenement. I was talking about non-dual perception, the merging of subject and object (in my definition), which can occur to somebody in a cave in India or on Wall Street. I was interested in why duality is so intuitive from an evolutionary point of view. But to tie the two points together, I think this idea that renunciation is the key to enlightenment is outdated. In fact, it is much more impressive if one can become enlightened while living in the world and facing its vicissitudes. The embodyment of the insight is likely to be much deeper if you can deal with annoying co-workers and a family (who hopefully don't annoy you) while simulataneously being mindful of thoughts and sensations or seeing from a non-dual perspective. 
Branden, modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 11:54 AM
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RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Jason, thanks for thinking about my response and giving me more to consider.  I agree with some of what you say, but not all.  The more I think about it the more I think your question and my response are inherently tied together.  Here is why.


First off I'll set the stage of the "hierarchy of illusions", (borowing from what a course in miracles says doesnt exist, which I believe, but we're currently communicating in the world of dualities so thats the term I'll use)

I agree the ultimate state of enlightenment is in the world.  To be still while in action.  Merging non-duality and duality simultaneously.  

Then the next best state of enlightenment is simply to be aware of and experience stillness or non-duality, here you might run into renunciation.

After that maybe the next best state is somewhere where most of us might be on this forum?  Seeing that there is a bigger truth than this world, and trying to find, or in the process of finding our purpose within this world we reside.  Seeing that there actually is a world of non-duality. 

Thats maybe the spoon fed version and all that my brain can handle. 
So here is where I stand.  I think it is a mistake to consider renunciation as being outdated.  If you are not willing to give it all up, for a single perfect moment, then you will not easily find perfect stillness while in action, because you will still be trying to acquire something that this world can provide, fortunately it never will provide and thats how we eventually find god or whatever you want to call "it".  "Know your place"  People want to make a hop and skip to enlightenment while still grasping their TV and $300,000 home all in one life time.  Thats fine, nothing wrong with that, as long as your aware that you will not find perfect unity while investing attachment to those objects.  As long as there is attachment there will be duality.  An excellent movie to wach about this would be either "samurai rebellion" with Toshiro Mifune, or (not nearly as good, but very much to the same point) "The Thief" with James Caan.
This is why people have renunciated in the past, and still do after a tragic event, and this too is why dual perception is intuitive as you say.  But I'm sorry to say, this is a wrong choice of words "intuitive".  Duel perception is anything but intuitive.  Duel perception is learned.  Its learned at a very early age, starting with the learning of language.  Then after language we learn math.  Eventually we go to college and learn about status. 
Here is the other matter.  Not to say this is an absolute truth, but  generally you will find more individuals spirtually aware in a cave in India, than you will on Wallstreet.  Why?  Because those living in caves will find it easier to experience a world of non-duality away from society, which is predominately a duelistic world.  Lots of distractions.  Lots of things, and people trying to tell you that it is a duelistic world.  One can easily become confused, lost, bound up in this world, which by the way, we all know many who are. 
So first, non-attachment and non-duality realized through renunciation.  Then later we work in the world dealing with all vicissitudes with ease. 
Now here is the catch.  Know your place.  One may simply not be ready to give up duel perception.  If such a person were to renunciate, because thats what the wise people say is the best path, then they might just end up living out a lonely and bitter life.  They weren't ready for that.  I think that is why it is considered outdated, because most of us, as members of society on the globe, have not evolved spiritually to take that course yet.  We were there once in history, but lost it in the course of time, and will return there again.  However, wherever we are, we must set our sights to the ultimate goal, but take baby steps to get there.  One can't do that without "knowing their place"
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Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 12:18 PM
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RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

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Branden, welcome!
Lots of folks who participate here and on related forums experience some kind of awakening (nonduality) in the midst of everyday lives. Our experience is pretty consistently expressed as what is at issue is not whether or not we possess things or lead a certain lifestyle but rather how mind relates to those phenomena. Likewise, there are many examples of monastics who are very attached to the elements of their lifestyles: their status, job in the monastery, particlular place to meditate, or whatever. So I am not sure your theory holds water in terms of reality-testing, although i grant you it is a reasonable hypothesis lacking first-hand experience. But first hand experience is much more fun, so I urge you to continue exploring and practicing ;)

Jason,
question:
what if dualistic perception is merely an accident that hasn't (yet) led to an evolutionary bottleneck for our species? Some readings of our current global situation could easily see it as a threat to our continued existence given the destructive power of our technological civilization. But where is the evidence (given that we know many folks function very well in an awakened state) that it was ever evolutionarily advantageous? 

Strictly speaking it's a falacy to assume that because a trait exists it must have served an evolutionary purpose. The mere fact that a trait exists merely proves that it hasn't (yet) caused exitinction in the species that carry it. Mainstream evolutionary theory seems to me to view traits as emerging more or less randomly and then being weeded out (or not) by various bottlenecks.
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 12:52 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 12:52 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
Thing is we do not know if dualistic perception is limited to our species. Certain animals like starfishes has regressed and lost their "normal" brains. Then there is also the question of what dualistic actually means. Is being non dual just a case of brain damage. You can see earlier what I wrote about the brain, awareness etc.
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Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 1:21 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 1:21 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Your reflections on neuroscience are interesting but speculative. I agree there are more questions than answers in that domain though! Great point.

Also, I can't at all relate to your reflections on enlightenment and raising children etc. There are so many assumptions in there that I don't know where to begin. I guess it will suffice for now to point out that there are many many contemplative traditions (and many many awakened folks therein) who would not agree with your statements in this regard at all. It's not something I will argue about though: I'm just going to point out that there are a variety of perspectives on what enlightenment entails and there is certainly nothing remotely like consensus among contemplative traditions that child raising is a selfish egotistical act... and there's plenty of first hand human experience to suggest that it is pretty much the opposite lol lol ;) At least if one is a hlafway decent parent. Sheesh!
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 1:47 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 1:43 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
My reflections are those Ive come in contact with during reading and university studies.

Well if you are born you suffer, sickness, old age and death. If your are not born you dont suffer sickness, old age and death. If you subscribe to secular buddhism ie no rebirth, reincarnation etc but subscribe to the statements of suffering then how can one defend having children. I postulate that true Buddhist does not have children faux buddhist do. Having children is by definition egotistical because the child is not involved in the descision since it does not yet exist. You can only have children by following your own needs and desires. Raising children is different from having children as a result of sex. Having children is today due to egostical desires, since there is no need, like hunger, thirst etc, we know how to prevent childbirth.
So its basically a question of does the pain of existence and possible minor joys outweigh non existence. I know I didnt suffer before I was born, did you suffer? Allmost nonone gets enlightened etc so will suffer.
Branden, modified 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 2:46 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/7/15 2:29 PM

RE: The evolutionary roots of dualistic perception

Posts: 3 Join Date: 1/6/15 Recent Posts
Hi Jake.  Thank you for clarifying how my post is interprited. 
If it is not too late for me to add an eddendum I would like to add further clarity on my point. 

I did not mean to suggest that if you posess things, or hold a certain status, that it means by default, an indication that you are not enlightened.  What I meant to suggest is that if you are faced with a situation where you have two choices.  Retain your worldy possessions and status, or serve your personal higher purpose in life, and you choose to retain your possessions, then your not enlightenend.  Now probably not everyone has to make that choice, but sometimes that choice is presented.  After the great depression a lot of ceo's jumped out of windows, because they could find no purpose without their posessions.  That was all they were.
I'm just saying that less is more, and a lot can be gained by renunciation. 

Maybe I have been a bit too blunt?  I don't mean to be and I truly apologize if so.  However, I will add that I am not entirely devoid of experiencing what I speak.  I used to work in finance in a strong "corporate america" mentality region called King of Prussia, of PA.  I just got out of college and was excited to acquire the "American Dream".  Well it made me spiritually sick.  I moved to upstate NY where I grew up, and went from making 50,000 to making 18,000 at a grocery store and happier for it.  Since then I have gotten into carpentry, I'm now running my one man handyman business.  I still only earn about 18,000 year, and I donate 1 day per week of my labor to the people that cant afford to have home repairs done.  Its often the elderly. 
Since, my anger issues have subsided, I'm finally sleeping a normal human sleep, and my relationships have drasticaly improved. 
I suppose that your right, that experience is important and maybe thats where I learned what I'm talking about. 
All the same am I ready to just throw everything away and have even less than what I have now?  Not without a higher purpose to it.  And will I be able to do so if a higher purpose presents itself?  I don't know.  But what I do know is if in that moment I choose my attachments over my higher purpose then I still have more work to do.
 
I hope I do not say anything that bothers anybody.  I'm impressed at how civil everyone comes across on their posts.  A rare thing in this day and age on the internet. 

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