Your influences and character sheet layout?

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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Reading Wilber, Dan's idea about the character sheet, and Lilly's Simulations of God: The Science of Belief I had an idea for an alternative to Wilber's Integral approach that may solve similar issues.

Why not try an empirical, pragmatic approach? Holding certain beliefs, identifying certain axes of development and values as important, and integrating particular ideas, authors, models, traditions, etc all have an effect on practice and life outcomes. I think over time and in the right setting it can be determined what character sheet layouts or personal integral models (formed from whatever influences) produce the outcomes we want. Why not give everyone a chance at presenting their own character sheet layouts and proto-integral or integral model (since everyone has one anyway, however ignorant or useless)? Then, we can each learn from each other's character sheet layout and integral model and observe what the effects are.

I don't think this particular format of an online forum is the best way to empirically sort this out. But I do think it's probably possible to design such a format. In any case, I'm now curious about how you DhOers would setup your character sheet, with influences. Feel free to include whatever categories, subcategories, overlapping categories, continuums, true/false, preferences, underlying beliefs, order of importance, influences (and how you integrate them), etc that you want.

Just as an example, I imagine a stereotypical fundamentalist materialist 'skeptic' to design something including
  • 'Rationality'
  • IQ
  • Critical thinking
  • Financial status
  • Career status
  • Influences: 'New Atheism', Dawkins, Harris, Randi, etc
  • etc
I imagine a stereotypical New Ager to design something including
  • Love
  • Ability to manifest desire
  • Positive vibes mang
  • Environmental awareness
  • Altruism
  • Influences: green movement, Tolle, Chopra, etc.
  • etc
I haven't made it clear in the above quick examples what's a continuum or a virtue or a belief or a whatever. Here's my tentative, current rough draft of stuff to include in my own character sheet, in no particular order with no imposed structure so far
     
  • Physical (fitness, awareness, relaxation, flexibility, coordination/structural integration, diet)
  • Creativity/Intelligence (various dimensions here -- artistic, inventive, mathematical/scientific, organizational, etc)
  • Sexuality (esp. integration with other aspects of life and love)
  • Psychology (knowledge esp. eclectic synthesis and developmental, health)
  • Appropriate free expression of affect
  • Open-mindedness/Flexibility
  • Attentional skills/Concentration
  • Insight in dharmic sense
  • Willpower/dedication/persistence
  • Social skills (conversational, personal effectiveness, etc)
  • Integrity
  • Consistent propensities and career; doing what you love
  • Humor/Wit/Light-Heartedness
  • Empathy
  • Love/compassion
  • Ability to find, assimilate, and apply useful information
  • Contribution/involvement in community, local or greater
  • Influences: Buddhism, Taoism, General Semantics, model agnosticism, pragmatism, Chaos Magick (belief shifting), Thelema, Reichian/Bioenergetics, Robert Anton Wilson, Stephen M. Johnson (characterological-developmental model), Ingram (ofc), Wilber, Shinzen, Jed McKenna, Pyrrho, John C. Lilly, Alan Watts, Eric Berne, Korzybski-Sapir-Whorf, Hypnosis/NLP, Paul Watzlawick, radical constructivism, last but not least: drugs
There are overlaps and I generally believe that developing some usually helps developing others. Many of the impediments to growth in different categories can be removed with psychological health, but that doesn't, in every case, guarantee anything positive about them. Although, in some cases it does. For example, with sufficient psychological health there's a degree of natural love that emerges, and pleasure in the body so a tendency toward increased bodily awareness, relaxation etc. There's a general underlying belief that the ability to change, adapt, accommodate, assimilate, etc is more important than stability or safety. There's a definite anti-authoritarian, iconoclastic, anti-traditionalist, DIY attitude that probably has a load of downsides. Though, accounting for the times I think it's probably better than its polar opposite. I also believe that reality is extremely slippery and difficult to pin down and that anyone who claims certainty about virtually anything should be met with intense scrutiny and skepticism. So for that reason, I believe intense skepticism, suspension of judgment, general agnosticism, and open-mindedness is preferable in the long term to other approaches.

That's all I can think of for now. This should be fun. Post yers. Be as elaborate or brief as you like
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Ryan Kenneth Johnson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 2/19/14 Recent Posts
I'm too lazy to write out mine, but it's rather similar to yours. But the biggest thing I would add is attitude, I think it's implicit in your sheet, but I think I'd make it explicit. I've been inventing a lot of terms for myself recently. One is loving-playfulness (nothing to do with loving-kindness) which is basically me trying to cultivate a solid foundational attitude towards practice, something robust, empowering, but immediate that doesn't depend on a fantasy future with plenty of intellectual exploitation of what I think awakening is.

One of the seeming downsides of this place is that it is in reaction to mainstream American Buddhism and goes too far in the direction of striving and goals, at least from my perspective. And yet, the empowering attitude of, "You can do it. You can succeed at awakening." Is definitely something worth keeping.

So a step in the direction of being empowering with respect to practice and with a healthy foundational attitude is loving-playfulness, which is just an emphasis on doing something in and of itself for itself with no expectations. The best real world example I can think of is Richard Feynman's plate discovery that led him to the Nobel prize in Physics. Most spiritual advice is uptight about saving the world from republicans and becoming some saint. And yet here is one of the Patron Saints of physics with a frivilous attitude about it all and kicking ass. Here is an excerpt that captures the spirit of what I'm trying to say 

"Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing – it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with. When I was in high school, I’d see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and wonder if I could figure out what determines that curve. I found it was rather easy to do. I didn’t have to do it; it wasn’t important for the future of science; somebody else had already done it. That didn’t make any difference. I’d invent things and play with things for my own entertainment.

So I got this new attitude. Now that I am burned out and I’ll never accomplish anything, I’ve got this nice position at the university teaching classes which I rather enjoy, and just like I read the Arabian Nights for pleasure, I’m going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.

Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling.

I had nothing to do, so I start to figure out the motion of the rotating plate. I discover that when the angle is very slight, the medallion rotates twice as fast as the wobble rate.  Then I thought, “Is there some way I can see in a more fundamental way, by looking at the forces or the dynamics?”

I don’t remember how I did it, but I ultimately worked out what the motion of the mass particles is, and how all the accelerations balance… I still remember going to Hans Bethe and saying, “Hey, Hans! I noticed something interesting. Here the plate goes around so, and the reason it’s two to one is …” and I showed him the accelerations.

He says, “Feynman, that’s pretty interesting, but what’s the importance of it? Why are you doing it?”

“Hah!” I say. “There’s no importance whatsoever. I’m just doing it for the fun of it.” His reaction didn’t discourage me; I had made up my mind I was going to enjoy physics and do whatever I liked.

It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate."
From Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Droll,

You totally channeled "my" idea for a DhO post, sans the Wilbur perhaps! I'll probably have to wait till the weekend to write mine out, for "time management" will def. be on there.

Cheers,
Jenny
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Sangha egregore emoticon
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
A question that could be ask is if there is really a balance, if balance is something to strive for, is some sort of wobbling is more healthy, do we need to wobble to go in our discomfort zones, etc etc.

For instance, in Dharma circle there is often a strong emphasis on being kind. I don't know how many times Daniel mention kindness in MCTB2 part 1, but it just hit me while reading it. But what exactly does it means? Does it means that anger is never appropriate? I personally had to learn to be angry, as it was something I was almost never doing in my life, and it was probably not healthy. There things that came out of anger that I'm happy they came out that way, and there was a positive outcome. I was breaking out of character. Some expections of behavior that people had about me have been eliminated and freedom has been gained in the process.

If this path is about freedom, isn't extending the range of expressions we are able to achieve in various situation a way to develop some kind of freedom? 

Some Sutta-head could lecture us on what is right speech, I would be curious to hear it. What is right speech? Can it be defined, or right speech is just that, what is right? The same goes for right action.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Simon:
For instance, in Dharma circle there is often a strong emphasis on being kind. I don't know how many times Daniel mention kindness in MCTB2 part 1, but it just hit me while reading it. But what exactly does it means? Does it means that anger is never appropriate? 

Kindness toward beings includes kindness toward yourself. So sometimes righteous anger is called for, productive. Believe me, Daniel himself has been angry at me before, expressly. But the angry exchanges cleared things up and out that needed to be, so the return to kind exchanges could be genuine, you know?
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Simon:
Some Sutta-head could lecture us on what is right speech, I would be curious to hear it. What is right speech? Can it be defined, or right speech is just that, what is right? The same goes for right action.

I'm by no measure a sutta-head, but my understanding of teachings on "right speech," what Daniel calls "skillful speech," involves the following, understanding that ethics is always in play, meaning sometimes, for example, you may have to lie to avoid a greater evil:

Refraining from false speech (lying, mindless exaggerations)
Refraining from harsh speech (yelling, abusive speech, swearing?)
Refraining from malicious speech--such as speech meant to drive wedges in the sangha (ie, TROLLING  emoticon )
Refraining from idle (mindless) chatter and gossip about others

Maybe these beg more questions about definitions, but, again, as Florian said on my Killing Bugs thread, the struggle to define and redefine the boundaries and tradeoffs--in short the ethical mind work around the code--is actually the practice!
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
The matter of lies is one where I’m really on the fence and I might never make my mind about it. Sam Harris wrote a book titled Lying where he tries to make the point that we should never lie under any circumstances but I found his arguments incomplete. As a rule of thumbs, lying to people that we are bound to meet again is generally a bad idea, even with good intents, as the stress of maintaining the lie will catch us back. Unless we have a good plan to tell the truth in the near future, it’s better avoided. Still, the same way I learned to be angry, I learned to lie without guilt, and it’s appears to be useful in some case.

Someone close to me comes from a culture where lying is something considered totally normal. In that culture, it’s more important to protect the feelings of a person than telling the truth. It creates individuals with much lower affects. For instance, guilt is almost non-existent in their mind but they compensate with a good dose of hypocrisy. So when things are going well, there are going very well and people are extremely happy. But when things go wrong, they can go very wrong, as the fairy tale they have collectively created crumble.

As a side notes Jenny, have you seen the analysis I ran on the various dharma books and MCTB part 1? You must be horrified that literary works are now under the scrutiny of algorithm.  The programmer in me just couldn’t help it.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Lately I've been grappling with similar moral dilemmas. With respect to anger, I agree with you. Ethics can be used to justify repressed feelings. 

The only reasonable answer I've come up with is that absolute moral rules are untenable. But, on the other hand, there's serious danger that one begins to subtly believe they're beyond conventional morality. Finding the balance between these two, as far as I can tell, is up to common sense and recalibration through reality-testing and feedback.

Also, I posted similar thoughts about balance in the Seeing That Frees thread. Obsessing about balance is itself imbalance. It seems that failure and imbalance are necessary at times.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
I have a visceral dislike of lying--really intense. And my husband lies all the time, even when there is nothing to be gained from it, and thinks it is perfectly fine. His view and "practice" is something I find just utterly incomprehensible. How someone can not care a bit about clear honesty and basic honor, I don't know. It is the one ethical area on which we never have and never will agree, and it is a problem.

On the other hand, I'm honest to a fault and often enough find myself in some troubling situation for being too forthcoming or blunt. 

At work I have a wonderful, kind boss. But she regularly asks me to lie to my authors, but because she is asking me to tell "white lies," I don't think she even realizes what she is doing: asking me to be dishonest. It is a dilemma, for if she knew I weren't lying as instructed, then I could lose my job, potentially; whereas, if I don't tell her I'm not lying, aren't I then being dishonest with her?

Again, I distinguish moral code from ethical work. The code is to be honored, but notice how often the code won't provide an answer, and instead one has to take an existential view of the paradoxes, and act as best one can on a case-by-case basis. There are no shortcuts, even with, esp. with, a code.

Yes, I did see that program you ran on the two versions and meant to come back and ask more about it. I actually find such things interesting. Likely it is overdeterminative, because language is complex, and the program wouldn't be able to trace that complexity, of course. I need to go back and look at those results again. hmmm.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
I have a similar problem with lying. I dunno if it's for complex psychological reasons, but lying is probably one of the worst things someone could do to me. I would sooner forgive someone for punching me than lying to me.

And, I had similar thoughts about the language analysis results. They were interesting but the reliability seems questionable.

Anyone wanna post their character sheet layouts? emoticon
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
I'm with ya on lying; I've been know to say I would rather hang out with a murderer than a liar--although maybe that statement is just a bit exaggerated (ie, a lie). emoticon

I really want to do my character sheet, and will, but I'm swamped this weekend. I did nada on MCTB2 all week, and Dream Walker has asked me to "think of the children" and get back to work!

I'll be thinking about this, though, and get back.
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Droll Dedekind:
I have a similar problem with lying. I dunno if it's for complex psychological reasons, but lying is probably one of the worst things someone could do to me. I would sooner forgive someone for punching me than lying to me.

And, I had similar thoughts about the language analysis results. They were interesting but the reliability seems questionable.

Anyone wanna post their character sheet layouts? emoticon

I think the most interesting results are from the Reddit Subs, but someone need to know those subs to see how much Watson manage to get right. 
Adam Dietrich Ringle, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Your influences and character sheet layout?

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
From the point of view of buddhism , I only care about the attainment of nirvana. Beyond this, anything goes, including ressurection .

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