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Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution

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Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Griffin 4/7/18 10:48 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/7/18 12:03 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/7/18 12:04 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Ward Law 4/7/18 12:11 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/7/18 1:14 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/7/18 7:11 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/7/18 9:40 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/7/18 10:50 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/8/18 9:31 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Griffin 4/8/18 8:09 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/8/18 9:19 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Griffin 4/8/18 11:37 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/8/18 12:10 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/8/18 12:26 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Yilun Ong 4/9/18 3:42 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/9/18 8:03 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Yilun Ong 4/9/18 8:12 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/9/18 9:49 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/9/18 10:13 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Lars 4/9/18 5:24 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/9/18 8:36 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Yilun Ong 4/10/18 4:32 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/10/18 7:43 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/8/18 12:17 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Griffin 4/8/18 12:30 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/8/18 12:48 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Nick O 4/8/18 12:31 PM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution seth tapper 4/8/18 9:33 AM
RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution Thich Nhat Han Solo 4/9/18 1:14 AM
What you guys think about relationship between evolution and Awakening? Based on different perspectives I encountered, I formulated two opposing theories on this. I incline towards the first one, which is more scientific (second one is speculative and not in accordance with mainstream science). However, I have no definitive opinion, so I would like to hear what you have to say.

TL;DR – Pragmatic theory (Awakening is an escape from craving/suffering that was an integral part of natural selection) vs. Complexity theory (Awakening is the ultimate realization of natural inclination toward complexity and information exchange). Which one is closer to the truth?
 
PRAGMATIC THEORY

Genes have a tendency to replicate. It is an automatic inclination, just like fire has a tendency to spread over a flammable surface. Evolution is the process that “serves” this goal. Human’s subjective well-being is a phenomenon that initially emerged as a mere instrument of gene spreading – we were “programmed” to feel suffering when we don’t succeed in mating, getting social status etc. This dynamic was based on craving – e.g. a living being would crave for mating, and if it succeeded, it would feel temporary relaxation, until craving arouses again. So, human mind did not evolve with any “purpose” to be happy – happiness and suffering were instruments of automatic process of gene spreading. However, humans managed to find a way to “escape” this blind cycle (samsara?) by finding the psychological techniques (meditation, virtue, wisdom) that get them directly to relaxation/happiness, and make it more permanent (by overcoming craving).

From a standpoint of spreading genes, it could be useful to have cravings or delusions of duality. However, when we get insights and develop wisdom, that gives rise to the new psychological dynamic that involves much more metta and compassion. So, this first theory states that meditation separates the axis of well-being from the axis of success in gene spreading, and thus allows unconditional happiness to occur. Axis of well-being is also natural one but on a different level. Just like blossoming of the flower – there is a way to improve the blossoming independently from the presence of bees and pollination.
 
COMPLEXITY THEORY

This theory proposes that Awakening is not just a pragmatic goal of humans, but the highest realization of universal principles; nature was pointing to and striving towards it all along. Although the inclination of genes is to spread, that is not the sole inclination of the totality of life. The nature itself has some different central tendency. For example, the main tendency of the process of life may be to create more complex systems. This is related to entropy: life is decreasing internal entropy and increasing external (and total) amount of entropy (entropy is not a synonym for disorder, but this is too complicated subject). Alternative way of framing this theory is that life is fundamentally directed towards intensifying information exchange. Some authors claim that this goal is a result of the fundamental laws of the physics, and theorize that the feeling of love is actually a human emotional expression of the fundamental energy of the universe. In that sense metta would be “natural”, whereas aggression would be going “against the stream”. As Ken Wilber put it: “Ethics are actions that follow Eros, they follow the grain of the Cosmos”.
 
The evolution is, actually, the mere instrument for realizing this goal, not the other way around. Meditation is a way of directly actualizing this tendency towards complexity, on two levels: 1) on the individual level, the mind becomes more unified and subminds are coordinated, so the consciousness becomes a more complex system; 2) on collective level, metta and wisdom bring more harmonious social relationships, so the information exchange is much greater (through empathy and coordination). This would explain why so many teachers refer to Awakening as a “natural” state – unawakened state was all along just a suboptimal and temporary realization of nature’s tendencies.
(Originally posted on Reddit)

As a pretty complicated plant, I can state that my evolution was pointless and followed the laws of physics. I am pretty sure my meat would taste good in a burrito if you used enough peppers to cut the gamey flavor.

 

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/7/18 12:04 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
And since you can taste the grass in grass fed beef, I probably taste like general tso's chicken. 

The pragmatic theory doesn't seem to make a good case for the adaptive value of awakening. From an evolutionary standpoint, the development of compassion, caring etc., is best explained as way to insure pair bonding and social cohesion, the former being necessary to increased brain size (which in humans requires prolonged development outside the womb) and the latter being highly conducive to survival of the species. Happiness as a reward for fulfilling those requirements is of value to gene spreading; happiness beyond that is of no value to gene spreading and could in fact undermine the reproductive goal. So, unless one is willing to entertain the complexity theory, awakening would have to be seen as an artifact, an accidental by-product of reflexive consciousness.

I suppose one could make a case that awakening enhances social cohesion by providing a human model of ethical perfection, but history shows that warmongering reigns supreme in getting your tribe to cooperate with each other. The awakened individual is a threat to that dynamic and thus (if he survives persecution) is less likely to reproduce than the warlord and his warriors.

I am fairly certain the rarity and frequent celibacy of "awakened"  kinds of people mean it is just a possible state of the human mind and not one that is being selected for evolutionarily. 

Truthfully, my cat is pretty awake. It knows how to chill happily in a way only a small fraction of humans can.  Eggplants are fully enlightened. 

I see awakening as a hack that dissolves the harsh side effects of being a highly conscious organism aware of its own mortality. In my highest moments of clarity, there was no desire for sex or fear of death. That said, it seems to be unhelpful for the system of evolution.

Some authors claim that this goal is a result of the fundamental laws of the physics, and theorize that the feeling of love is actually a human emotional expression of the fundamental energy of the universe.

In my very highest moment of clarity, I recall noticing how apparent love was in everything. Love seemed to be foundational to reality. My only issue with the complexity theory is that it assumes a "goal". I did not feel that way submersed in infinite love. There was no goal. It just was.    

Whats stopping you from accepting that in every moment? 

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/7/18 10:50 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I can always accept it but don't always experience it. When acceptance and experience merge, that's when I know it. Happens more and more with time.

Nick O:
In my very highest moment of clarity, I recall noticing how apparent love was in everything. Love seemed to be foundational to reality. My only issue with the complexity theory is that it assumes a "goal". I did not feel that way submersed in infinite love. There was no goal. It just was.    

Until lately, I used to believe that there is an energetic source in the deepest part of our soul, that radiates love, like a bright Sun - people can experience it in certain states, and then they feel like everything is love. And I thought this is the reason why religions talk about all-loving God (they are describing this source). According to this model, every negative emotion is the result of contaminating this original love energy.

However, now I suspect something else. During the Dark night (or during mental illness), people have an equally convincing experience of everything being suffering, fear etc. And this is not a proof that there is some ultimate fear-center and that every positive feeling has its source in negative emotions.

So, wouldn’t it be much more accurate and scientific to say that there is an ultimate POTENTIAL to transform every emotion to love/happiness, etc.? Just as there is a potential to do the opposite. Psychological energy is, in its original state, neither positive nor negative. But, when a person eliminates certain unconscious psychological blockages (cravings), then all that suppressed energy comes to awareness and it automatically becomes transformed to love (emotional representation of craving-free and happy mind).

Would you agree?

When I had such experience, it was basically out of nowhere. At the time, it was so convincing that it turned me into a bit of a religious fanatic (I had just discovered Buddhism). The experience faded after a few weeks, I started my research and years later found the pragmatic dharma scene and insight meditation.
So, wouldn’t it be much more accurate and scientific to say that there is an ultimate POTENTIAL to transform every emotion to love/happiness, etc.? Just as there is a potential to do the opposite. Psychological energy is, in its original state, neither positive nor negative. But, when a person eliminates certain unconscious psychological blockages (cravings), then all that suppressed energy comes to awareness and it automatically becomes transformed to love (emotional representation of craving-free and happy mind).

Would you agree?


These days, I would assume what you stated above to be the most logical way of looking at it. It reminds me of what Kenneth Folk said in a podcast: "All experiences are just different faders on a graphic equalizer of totality."

However, in personal experience of life unfolding in miraculous ways, I feel that there's something more. Either way, I find it most useful for practice to assume the "love is all" paradigm.    

 

One thing that helps me is to remember that when I am not "experiencing" it - it is still true.  Just because my mind is chasing itself in circles doesnt mean everything isnt still love.  If gravity exists, this is love. 

What is we are just meat bags and all the nonsense in our minds is nonsense?  How much less love would exist? 


Nick O:
However, in personal experience of life unfolding in miraculous ways, I feel that there's something more.
 

This thing puzzles me for years and years. On the one hand, we have a neat scientific worldview and pragmatic dharma that complements it. On the other hand, we have so many people reporting having these miraculous experiences, synchronicities etc. Not mentioning that virtually all main teachers of pragmatic dharma believe in “magick” and spiritual beings, whether they openly talk about it or they just mention it discreetly.

I know the standard answer – I should not be attached to any conceptual worldview, practice is more important than the theory etc. I agree. However, it is still reasonable to be aware of the following: either 99% of the scientific community is blinded because some “magickal reality” is “hiding” itself from any possibility of scientific testing almost all the time (and that sounds more bizarre than weirdest of the conspiracy theories), OR almost all advanced meditation practitioners are deluded (and that is equally unpleasant to hear).

I am open to both possibilities, but I would be most grateful if there was some credible resource that speaks about this issue in cold-minded fashion, without mystical ambiguities.

Griffin:
Nick O:
However, in personal experience of life unfolding in miraculous ways, I feel that there's something more.
 

This thing puzzles me for years and years. On the one hand, we have a neat scientific worldview and pragmatic dharma that complements it. On the other hand, we have so many people reporting having these miraculous experiences, synchronicities etc. Not mentioning that virtually all main teachers of pragmatic dharma believe in “magick” and spiritual beings, whether they openly talk about it or they just mention it discreetly.

I know the standard answer – I should not be attached to any conceptual worldview, practice is more important than the theory etc. I agree. However, it is still reasonable to be aware of the following: either 99% of the scientific community is blinded because some “magickal reality” is “hiding” itself from any possibility of scientific testing almost all the time (and that sounds more bizarre than weirdest of the conspiracy theories), OR almost all advanced meditation practitioners are deluded (and that is equally unpleasant to hear).

I am open to both possibilities, but I would be most grateful if there was some credible resource that speaks about this issue in cold-minded fashion, without mystical ambiguities.

Alan Watts wrote more than once that the effort to understand reality was like a mouth trying to eat itself. Science is only good for making relative observations of this outward projection of mind/phenomena. We can only measure consciousness with consciousness. And that very mystery is what makes me feel that there is "something" behind the whole joke. We receive little hints of insights and synchronicities but these revelations are never quite enough to make any factual claims. It's like finding little pieces to a puzzle, but knowing that "whoever" left them there knows very damn well that you're never going to put it all together - and they're laughing about it. "God" is a trickster and the whole joke is a good laugh.   

If you do not want to believe in non scientific stuff you will never in your life be confronted with actual evidence of non scientific stuff.   I choose to not believe any of it.  The fact of existence is a satisfying enough miracle for my mind. 

I have a lot to say today!  

The intuition that this all means something and that I am important and that what happens is important in some greater cosmic story is a big f'ing lie.  Oh the pain and angst and fear and fervor it produces.  Tomato plants do not suffer from such delusions.  What makes you think you are so special? 

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/8/18 12:30 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
If you do not want to believe in non scientific stuff you will never in your life be confronted with actual evidence of non scientific stuff.   I choose to not believe any of it.  The fact of existence is a satisfying enough miracle for my mind. 


Well, I choose not to believe it as well, but I cannot be sure whether that choice is going to be permanent. I am open to other possibilities, but, although it may sound childish, I would prefer the "simpler", scientific version of the world. Just as most of people would prefer that their spouse is the person they think he/she is, and not an undercover agent working for the government.

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/8/18 12:31 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
If you do not want to believe in non scientific stuff you will never in your life be confronted with actual evidence of non scientific stuff.   I choose to not believe any of it.  The fact of existence is a satisfying enough miracle for my mind. 

Beliefs are only good for tail chasing. "It" is it regardless. 

I apologize for chiming in so much.  

Think about shroedingers cat - the box is closed so you can live your whole life and no new information will come to you that will prove if the cat is alive or dead.  From your perspective, the cat really is both alive and dead or either.  You get to choose and nothing will ever disprove that choice.  The same is true for Voodoo.  If you dont believe in it, you will die with out any evidence proving you wrong.  If you do believe in it, I cannot ever disprove it to you.  You can choose to believe in Voodoo or not.  Both can be 100% true.  I choose reason and science because they point to emptiness and I know it to be true. 

I think this might be 'begging the question'? The inferred premise being that Enlightenment should subscribe to either (or any) intellectual model. 

All theoretical models are the product of the intellectual mind. The intellect has infinite possibilities for creating ‘stories’ to explain experience none of which are the experience of Nibanna, the experience of the Arahat, nor the lived experience of any being reading this right now.
 
So my answer would be:
  1. does not apply
  2. is not productive in pondering because intellect only leads you away from (not toward) the experience & complete perception of reality (Enlightenment).
 
Not that I'm not a huge fan of both philosophy and science in the realm of mundane reality mind you!emoticon

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/9/18 3:42 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I have a lot to say today!  

The intuition that this all means something and that I am important and that what happens is important in some greater cosmic story is a big f'ing lie.  Oh the pain and angst and fear and fervor it produces.  Tomato plants do not suffer from such delusions.  What makes you think you are so special? 
That's great, Seth! You're on fire here and on the other cosmic thread. You're my favourite anti-hero... emoticon

I am just remaining open to whatever and not signing up to either camps. I live in the forest surrounded by trees/bamboos/wildlife. Some crazy synchronicities often happen when I am meditating in the DN. My hut is screened seemingly fine from insects in normal scenarios, BUT during DN, these insects will come and participate ONLY during DN. All kinds of insects will crawl on my body or take a bite in the worst places like eyelids on 3 separate occasions (where in normal scenario, I assume they know the victim will swipe at them?). All other times, I do not see them around at all. I am very skeptical and yet this has happened to other yogis who stay here and tell me of the same insect phenomenon in DN only. This repeats so often, it can't be all of us losing our sensible minds and subscribing to supernatural nonsense out of these DN moments, can it?

One other thing that puzzles me, my hut is surrounded by ants, they crawl EVERYWHERE, up and down the door, across the walls outside, to other huts but they never come in. All the food is in my hut man, the rest of the guys have to be so careful with storing food. They are just happy outside. What can the reason be? I have no idea at all. It makes zero sense not to go into my hut where there's unprotected food while thousands of them are scavenging outside for scraps. Dang they even scramble to drink the pee that I drip (accidentally) on the wooden planks outside. But they visit me in the hut, take a bite off me only during DN.

You could say I am crazy though hahaha.

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/9/18 8:03 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I have a lot to say today!  

The intuition that this all means something and that I am important and that what happens is important in some greater cosmic story is a big f'ing lie.  Oh the pain and angst and fear and fervor it produces.  Tomato plants do not suffer from such delusions.  What makes you think you are so special? 
I don't believe any story. I enjoy entertaining ideas. The way life has unfolded leads me to entertain big cosmic ideas. If I were to find absolute evidence tomorrow (will never happen)  that these ideas are full of shit and none of this has any meaning, I would laugh and carry on. 

The problem for ideas of a greater meaning is when people subscribe to them on a level where they become greatly disappointed when life doesn't hold up to their paradigm. In fact I argue against meaning with a friend of mine because I can tell she clings to the idea. 

Are we just meatbags in a sea of meaningless love? Probably. But it's fun to entertain ideas otherwise! 

Thanks Nick - A great reminder that Right View is No View. Just stay open and free (clinging) from concepts, whatever happens, very few things can beat laughing... God can be called anything from everything to nothing. I wouldn't call God either of those! Not that I would call God anyway. It's just this. emoticon

In my experience, the flavor of a meaningless life is sweeter.  

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/9/18 10:13 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
If I could sing I would name my band MIMSOL

"meatbags in a meaningless sea of love" 

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/9/18 5:24 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
If I could sing I would name my band MIMSOL

"meatbags in a meaningless sea of love" 

I may have linked this before, but it's always worth a watch. Funny, barely relevant and short.   emoticon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tScAyNaRdQ

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/9/18 8:36 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
If I could sing I would name my band MIMSOL

"meatbags in a meaningless sea of love" 
You don't have to join a band Seth. You're already a legend. Truly enjoy your contributions. 

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/10/18 4:32 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
In my experience, the flavor of a meaningless life is sweeter.  

No doubt at all it is! The stresses of having to do (what?!) meaningful stuff is immense and drives many people feverish and crazy. Were there any instances where a meaningless war was fought? It is just so very hard to tell others (my mom for e.g.) that it's all okay and it doesn't matter...

RE: Two opposing theories on relationship between Awakening and evolution
Answer
4/10/18 7:43 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
  1. Birth. 
  2. Create meaning. 
  3. Suffer over wanting our version of meaning to be the right meaning. 
  4. Suffer over the destruction of meaning. 
  5. Enjoy the sweet flavor of no meaning.
  6. Realize all meaning stems from no meaning. 
  7. Have fun and enjoy playing with new plausible meanings, meaning-free.