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Meaningness - Online Book

Meaningness - Online Book
11/16/15 7:20 PM
 David Chapman's 'meaningness' has a very non-traditional take on 'emptiness and form' which he calls 'nebulosity and pattern'.

It is incomplete.  But still a pretty good read. Getting an entirely different terminology / presentation on these difficult to grok concepts helps create new connections. 

Treating 'nebulosity' as mere intellectual stance on par with nihilism and eternalism doesn't cut through delusion to the depths of the traditional emptiness teachings.

But it is understandible given the audience he is writing for.

RE: Meaningness - Online Book
11/16/15 12:44 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
I find the book a very good orientation for the broad stances people take in terms of philosophy and general narratives. For example, in the beginning of the book he informally lays out 5 categories of purpose that capture most (all?) the descriptions of purpose you'll find someone explain in any Oprah Super Soul Sunday-esque deep talk at a nice cafe with your local band of hipsters. I find this a really good loose map in which to abstract a lot of systems and give more intellectual clarity than I otherwise had.

On the more subtle points, and where I think it really counts, is his descriptions of eternalism. For the demographics of this website it may be easy to avoid Christian fundamentalism, but a small demographic (of this site's already very small demographic) might be attracted to a non-religious form of eternalism like pop-baysianism that rationalists of the Less Wrong community fall into. From a pragmatic perspective perhaps it aids one to see where they are creating 'ground' when there should be 'no-ground'.

In terms of really big picture, one view of all of this is to say there is awakening and then there is the culture of awakening that one encounters 'the path' from. How some 24 year old American browsing google then finding MCTB from a post-modern secular consumeristic culture will process 'the path' will be very different (I assume) than some 17 year old kid about to join a monestary in a feudalistic asian clan in the year 650 AD. Which leads the view that the container, that is culture, that encapsulates the teaching for the path, matters. So my view of David Chapman and the book are ways of understanding culture so through intellectual insight, not meditative insight, wisely, intelligently, appropriately craft a better culture wherein multiple paths of awakening are available to those who want it on the assumption that many meditative techniques, attitudes, morality codes and so on of pretty much every religion are somewhat out of place given the context of 2015 AD. Or, all that information gives one intellectual sight to see the containers that the teachings are embedded in.

So, for somone who doesn't give a fuck about this and just get enlightened and enjoy jhanas, I think you could skip all of this. But I do think it holds value in terms of MBSR and IMS and DhO are a part of western culture in some sense now and not going away. Humans work in communities, so how can we do communities better?

This is my favorite article from the book, where he talks about his experience living in essentially a pre-modern traditional society in Asia for a month and how it fits together with the book.  

An excerpt on his experience of living in essentially feudalism: "I’ve gained significant new insight into what makes me happy and miserable; and, relatedly, into the nature of my energy problem. Briefly, in managing a business, I learned to divide my energy finely, and to send out the fragments of my being to animate all the minute details of a complex enterprise—leaving as little as I possibly could within my own body. Over the years this became a habit, and one that hasbeen difficult to unlearn. Here, I have been entirely cut off from “theworld” and its complexities, into which I would habitually discharge my energy. I have instead been surrounded by natural beauty and by the sacred. Practicing perception and nowness, together with some specific energy methods, has drawn my energy back into my body, coherent and undivided. The challenge now will be to make that habitual even when dancing in the charnel ground that is the Western world"

RE: Meaningness - Online Book
11/18/15 11:35 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Yes makes sense. So bascially...

David Chapman's stuff is to the emptiness realization what Ken Wilber's stuff is to non-dual (oneness) realizaiton.

i.e. a nice intellectual starting point and framework 

Anyways I really enjoyed the ritual vs mentalism
(particularly authenticity)

RE: Meaningness - Online Book
11/17/15 2:06 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Here's the abstract version of the most pragmatic part of the book
Accepting nebulousity resolves confusion about meaningness

RE: Meaningness - Online Book
11/17/15 8:16 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Yeah, I think that's a good tldr and comparison, as David Chapman is bringing a lot of his Vajryana Buddhist perspective into the western narrative. And a big yes to the discussion on rituals and sincerity. Honestly, until I read that the notion between the as-is mode of sincerity and the as-if mode of ritual never even crossed my mind as something that even exists, I simply haven't heard anyone talking about it.

What are you thoughts on that and authenticity?