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Immortality

 
sojourner
 
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17 September 2016 19:18
 
hannahtoo - 17 September 2016 03:42 PM

For me, it’s easier to accept the dragon in theory than in practice.  Right now, the dragons are snapping at me in life, and it sucks.  I’m sure when this period passes, I’ll feel like a survivor and I’ll have gained wisdom.  But right now, it just sucks.


Yeah, there are dragons and there are dragons, I guess. The dragon in the story was a nice enough dragon, he was just, you know, a dragon (he was also a character or being, not an event, which always merits a different kind of consideration, to my mind.) Sorry for whatever is going on in your life right now Hannah.

 

And yeah, sometimes I step back and observe my emotions and mental gymnastics and think, “Hey, interesting, this is what chaos looks like.”  Doesn’t help though.


Hmm. Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking looking back on my own post a bit later. The extreme contortions I will go through in order to excuse behavior and not just say - “Wow, that person was a real jerk to me and if I expect them to apologize, I guess I’m going to be waiting until the end of time. Well that fucking sucks.” Much shorter and more concise. Sometimes the simplest explanation is the one we don’t want to face though, I guess. Sometimes people are jerks who don’t (or can’t) give a shit about you, sometimes situations are just horribly painful and it’s hard to see any tangible ‘good’ coming out of them. (I will say, in your case, if you are thinking “This is what chaos looks like”, it might help to dig a bit deeper into mindfulness - going even beyond the thoughts into the raw felt sensations. Not saying that will make the situation itself seem good, but it’s almost like sinking below the water in a pool and looking up at the world from that POV - knowing the problem is still there but that there are other ways of experiencing that moment.)

St. Paul wrote that famous line in Romans about trouble:  “...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts…”  Rejoicing seems like lunacy.  (I wonder if it’s the translation, or if Paul was just crazy.  After all, he created his own suffering by traveling around proclaiming his gospel and stirring things up.  He was confrontational by nature.)


Hmm. Well, as much as I kvetch about Harris overdoing this point, this is a place where I would agree with him on the idea that you should take religious people at their word sometimes. Was Paul confrontational or crazy, or did he really believe what he believed? If he really believed it, his behavior would be entirely sensical to him, no? As far as the suffering part, I kinda get it, although I think Christianity often has an unhealthy way of framing that. It would be like saying exercise is good for you because sometimes it hurts, ergo hurting is good and a virtue. Not so - the hurting is an unfortunate side effect and something that will eventually go away if one does the same workouts but has gotten into really good shape. Similarly, I think suffering in most spiritual paths is seen as something that often causes spiritual progress simply because one has to let go of identification with the ego (sorry, again, I feel like I’ve overused that term to obnoxiousness now,) or develop strength or seek solace as a way out of said suffering - but I don’t think suffering itself is any kind of virtue, more like a carrot on a stick (or perhaps cattle prod would be a better analogy) to develop further. (Of course then very extreme suffering only really makes sense in the proposed context of an afterlife or reincarnation, as it’s hard to say you’re going to balance your losses on that one in a single lifetime.)

 
 
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18 September 2016 06:10
 

What would be “other ways to experience the moment”?  Does that mean I shouldn’t care about what is going on?  I’m not asking this with an angry voice, but really questioning.

One dragon is my brother.  And he is mentally ill.  He lacks insight, and he misuses meds—has for years.  He’s been living with us for 3 months because he was evicted for a 4th time.  Currently, he’s in the mental hospital and will be released in the next few days.  People who know him best have told me over and over that he won’t change.  So it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. 

He’s my brother, so I’m susceptible to brief glimmers of hope.  But then I realize they are more like floaters in my eye—I think I see a bird, but it’s just that same floater again.  I can detach enough to ponder whether the pain I feel is for him or for me.  Unfortunately I conclude that it is mostly for me.  I know I need to have compassion for myself.  Also for my husband.  I’ve always thought I am a “nice” person.  What are my limits?  What is my duty?  What is right?

What is the point of detaching from this situation except to preserve the self?  Yes, to understand a wider truth.  Then what?

 
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18 September 2016 11:24
 

In the September 5 issue of Time Magazine there is a 3 paragraph article titled, ‘(Viewpoint) - The bright side of darker emotions’ by Susan David.  It is adapted from the forthcoming book - ‘Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life’.  Here is the article:

“It’s natural to want to be happy all the time.  But it’s telling that most of what many consider to be our seven basic emotions - joy, anger, sadness, fear, surprise, contempt and disgust - reflect the dark side of the human experience.  These emotions are still with us because they’ve helped us survive throught several million years of evolution, and they are an integral part of what makes us human.

(the Time article continues):  “It’s troubling, then, that so many of us try to avoid them.  We use default behaviors that we hope can deflect or disguise them.  We settle deeply into them, refusing to let them go.  Or we attempt to ignore them entirely through cynicism, irony or gallows humor, refusing to admit anything in life is worth taking seriously.  As Nietzsche once said, loosely translated, “A joke is an epitaph for an emotion.”  Or as Taylor Swift, that more contemporary philosopher, said, “Shake it off.”

(quote continues):  “Whatever we may think we’re accomplishing, these strategies don’t serve our health or our happiness.  When we don’t go directly to the source of what’s causing an emotion, we miss the ability to really deal with what’s causing our distress, and we lose our ability to be fully engaged with the world around us.  Instead of trying to push negative emotions aside, we should accept them as a useful - though sometimes uncomfortable part of our lives.”  -  Susan David, quoted in Time Magazine

I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like having a mentally ill, drug addicted sibling living in my house.  As for my own dragons, Zen suggests a tool for giving ourselves a ‘break’ - for a few seconds, a few minutes - possibly a 5-minute retreat in the garden?  A walk along the shore?  Several days ago a PBS nature program finished 10 minutes before the hour, so the station filled in with a 10 minute video about the Japanese tea ceremony.  This video didn’t show any people, only the tea master’s hut, the small bamboo water spout outside the door, the garden, the kettle coming to a boil (the sound of it) and the powdered tea being whisked in the bowl (and the sound of it).  There was a morning glory in bloom preventing the sliding door from closing all the way, and the sound of a cricket outside.

Watching this I imagined a stressed out business man coming to experience the tea ceremony, knowing that part of it was to pause and listen to the trickle of water from the bamboo pipe, to notice the morning glory (would he be preoccupied and crush it by sliding the door closed behind him?)  Sitting on the cushion, would this titan of industry, or the stressed-out Yakuza gangster, notice the 145-year-old bowl that was handed to him by the master?  Would they take the time to turn it in their hands and notice the interesting ‘flaws’ in the glaze?

Thoreau once wrote something like, “Sometimes I think I could rest in the palm of God like a field-stone, and let it all go by like a torrent.”

[ Edited: 18 September 2016 11:28 by unsmoked]
 
 
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18 September 2016 11:48
 
hannahtoo - 18 September 2016 06:10 AM

What would be “other ways to experience the moment”?  Does that mean I shouldn’t care about what is going on?  I’m not asking this with an angry voice, but really questioning.


I’m not sure how familiar you are with mindfulness or how interested you are in it, but essentially not honing in on thoughts specifically. For example, if you are sitting at the kitchen table stressing, thinking “My brother is such a mess and he’s living with us and he’s…”, you might start by taking a few breaths where you just pay attention to your breath. Then moving to just noticing whatever’s there - the feel of the chair beneath you, maybe your stomach clenching or a rapid heartbeat if you’re upset about the situation, etc. You don’t try to “not think” but you don’t get involved in thinking either. If a thought comes up “Ack, my brother did…” then you just notice that but don’t purposefully start analyzing or planning, you just notice that thought and then return your awareness either to breathing, the visceral sensations of the moment like what you hear, feel in your body, etc. The idea being, I think, that if you replay the problem over and over again in your head you’re actually experiencing it dozens or even hundreds more times than you have to in the actual world outside of thoughts.

One dragon is my brother.  And he is mentally ill.  He lacks insight, and he misuses meds—has for years.  He’s been living with us for 3 months because he was evicted for a 4th time.  Currently, he’s in the mental hospital and will be released in the next few days.  People who know him best have told me over and over that he won’t change.  So it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. 

He’s my brother, so I’m susceptible to brief glimmers of hope.  But then I realize they are more like floaters in my eye—I think I see a bird, but it’s just that same floater again.  I can detach enough to ponder whether the pain I feel is for him or for me.  Unfortunately I conclude that it is mostly for me.  I know I need to have compassion for myself.  Also for my husband.  I’ve always thought I am a “nice” person.  What are my limits?  What is my duty?  What is right?


Well, on a practical level I’d say that unless he’s going to be homeless, he shouldn’t be living with you. If he’s been evicted and is misusing his meds then that could be dangerous for you in a number of ways (I can’t remember, but I think you’re a bit older as well too, right? You need to be worrying about your own retirement funding and health in these years.) I’m assuming he gets some kind of social services and social security for his mental illness, right? I’d say make priority number one finding him another placement.


On a slightly more abstract level, maybe focusing on ‘improvement’ over ‘recovery’ would be easier? I have seen a number of people with mental illness make a lot of improvement over the years, even if they’re never going to be entirely normal (and now I more or less believe in reincarnation, so I can say “Super, great, because this whole path continues to the next life, so whatever progress they make in this one is awesome!”). Sometimes just saying “Wow, we were able to have a really nice picnic lunch together. I can’t imagine that happening where he was six months ago” or even “He’s in a bad spot all around right now, but he showed some real empathy when…”. I think it gives you something to celebrate when totally ‘normalcy’ is probably not realistic (I notice a lot of parents of special needs children tend to adopt this attitude.)

On an even loftier level, I find that more extended meditation (when I do it, which I haven’t been lately because I am so confused and back-and-forth on how I feel about the meditation community in general, which tends to bleed over into my practice,) my mind will tend to find some resolution for things. There was a particular person in my life who was driving me a bit crazy and acting in hurtful ways, and I had a lot of cognitive dissonance over it because on the one hand she was hurting (to my mind) people who I love very much and I felt so angry about that, but on the other I was very worried about her and didn’t know what to do or how to help. And it kind of resolved because the memory of her mom (who’s dead) started showing up a lot in my meditation. I didn’t know her mom very well when she was alive but I was fond of her and admired her spiritual practice. So now when I start to get frustrated, even when I’m not meditating, I’ll notice that showing up over and over - that sense of “What if her mom was here and I was venting these thoughts to her?”. And I kind of feel a sense of how charitably her mom would view her, how sympathetic she would be, how much she admired her daughter even though she’s a complicated person, and keep some of that POV with me.


Not saying that will be the way you hold this situation, of course, just an example - again, I find the mind tends to resolve things peacefully one way or another if you spend some time meditating (“Breath in, breath out, noticing thoughts on the topic….”,) so that may be the case for you as well.

What is the point of detaching from this situation except to preserve the self?  Yes, to understand a wider truth.  Then what?


I don’t think it’s detaching so much as moving away from mental abstractions and to a more visceral level. Honestly, I don’t know why that should be a good thing - Buddhism will give you all kinds of metaphysical reasons but beyond that, I dunno, it just seems to help for whatever reason.

 
 
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18 September 2016 13:50
 

Thank you NL and unsmoked.  True, any sort of break is helpful.

 
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19 September 2016 09:57
 
hannahtoo - 14 September 2016 11:49 AM

“There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.” -  J. Robert Oppenheimer

NL:
...if these little kids are so great at solving complex problems in physics, why is there no empirical evidence that little kids actually, you know, do that? Where’s the list of discoveries in physics made by toddlers?

Exactly; well said.
Of course, kids’ out-of-the-box utterances can trigger adults to consider new perspectives.  The idea of “out-of-the-box” is that our standard education and cultural training sets limits on our thinking.  Still, Oppenheimer obviously is using hyperbola.

I know what you both mean about Oppenheimer’s remark.  Still, it might be more than hyperbole.  The Monarch butterfly travels from Canada to a particular grove in the mountains of Mexico where it has never been before.  Instinct.  But what are the ‘physical instruments’ enabling this navigation?  ( the physical genetic code).

Zen master Dahui writes:  “If you want to know the realm of the enlightened, you should make your mind as clear as space; [brushing the dust off the Monarch’s instrument panel?]  detach from subjective imaginings and from all grasping, making your mind unimpeded wherever it turns.”

Continue quote:  “The realm of the enlightened is not an external realm with manifest characteristics; buddhahood is the realm of the sacred knowledge found in oneself.” [he must mean the same knowledge that the butterfly is born with - that is, it doesn’t come from outside; it doesn’t come from books or teachers or others after birth].

Dahui continues:  “You do not need paraphernalia, practices, or realizations to attain it - what you need to do is to clean out the influences of the psychological afflictions connected with the external world that have been accumulating in your psyche since beginningless time.  Make your mind as wide open as cosmic space; detach from graspings in the conceptual consciousness, and false ideas and imaginings will also be like empty space.  Then this effortless subtle mind will naturally be unimpeded wherever it turns.”

(Dahui quoted from the book - ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’  -  translated and edited by Thomas Cleary

 
 
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19 September 2016 10:14
 
NL. - 18 September 2016 11:48 AM

  I don’t think it’s detaching so much as moving away from mental abstractions and to a more visceral level.

Another Zen practitioner agrees:

“Zazen (meditation) has clearly demonstrated that with the mind’s eye centered in the hara the proliferation of random ideas is diminished and the attainment of one-pointedness accelerated, since a plethora of blood from the head is drawn down to the abdomen, “cooling” the brain and soothing the autonomic nervous system. This in turn leads to a greater degree of mental and emotional stability. One who functions from his hara, therefore, is not easily disturbed. He is, moreover, able to act quickly and decisively in an emergency owing to the fact that his mind, anchored in his hara, does not waver.”

 
 
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19 September 2016 12:21
 

I didn’t think the Oppenheimer quote was meaning to say that infants have a profound understanding of the laws of physics.  I thought it was simply saying that there is a brightness contained within the noggins of children, nurturing the potential for an understanding of these properties, before becoming tarnished by the complications of human existence.

 
 
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19 September 2016 20:25
 
unsmoked - 19 September 2016 09:57 AM

I know what you both mean about Oppenheimer’s remark.  Still, it might be more than hyperbole.  The Monarch butterfly travels from Canada to a particular grove in the mountains of Mexico where it has never been before.  Instinct.  But what are the ‘physical instruments’ enabling this navigation?  ( the physical genetic code).

Zen master Dahui writes:  “If you want to know the realm of the enlightened, you should make your mind as clear as space; [brushing the dust off the Monarch’s instrument panel?]  detach from subjective imaginings and from all grasping, making your mind unimpeded wherever it turns.”

Continue quote:  “The realm of the enlightened is not an external realm with manifest characteristics; buddhahood is the realm of the sacred knowledge found in oneself.” [he must mean the same knowledge that the butterfly is born with - that is, it doesn’t come from outside; it doesn’t come from books or teachers or others after birth].

Dahui continues:  “You do not need paraphernalia, practices, or realizations to attain it - what you need to do is to clean out the influences of the psychological afflictions connected with the external world that have been accumulating in your psyche since beginningless time.  Make your mind as wide open as cosmic space; detach from graspings in the conceptual consciousness, and false ideas and imaginings will also be like empty space.  Then this effortless subtle mind will naturally be unimpeded wherever it turns.”

(Dahui quoted from the book - ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’  -  translated and edited by Thomas Cleary


Well, I like that as an artful notion but not as a functional description of reality. You could say that the masterpiece lies within the blank canvas; the sculpture within the rough stone; the computer program within the hum of electricity (I think, not super familiar with computers). If you handed in a thesis that was a blank piece of paper, however, unless you were majoring in some kind of PoMo art, you probably wouldn’t expect a good grade or for it to advance human knowledge. The ability to know and knowing itself are both important and have a same-but-different ethereal relationship, I think. Butterflies travel and physics is more complex than the human mind can currently comprehend. Does this mean that the inanimate objects that have physical properties, from Newtonian to quantum, are themselves advanced physicists? Well… yes and no. I think it depends on whether you’re talking about enacted knowledge (potential in motion) or reflected (understood) knowledge.

unsmoked - 19 September 2016 10:14 AM

Another Zen practitioner agrees:

“Zazen (meditation) has clearly demonstrated that with the mind’s eye centered in the hara the proliferation of random ideas is diminished and the attainment of one-pointedness accelerated, since a plethora of blood from the head is drawn down to the abdomen, “cooling” the brain and soothing the autonomic nervous system. This in turn leads to a greater degree of mental and emotional stability. One who functions from his hara, therefore, is not easily disturbed. He is, moreover, able to act quickly and decisively in an emergency owing to the fact that his mind, anchored in his hara, does not waver.”


I dunno, I’m kinda seeing Buddhism and Zen as supplementary or complimentary vs. primary (to Christianity) ever since my meditation teacher ditched me and God didn’t. There is a lot of good in the visceral nature and philosophical ideas of Buddhism but I don’t think they always translate well for western minds, where from infancy on individualism and ‘self’ are so strongly emphasized. In that context I think it often turns into nihilism or carelessness (“La la la, I’m In The Moment, I have no real self anyways, so whatevs!”) I think Christianity often has the opposite problem of being overly literal and rigid vs. philosophical and ‘felt’, so as psychological paradigms, I think I do best with some combination of the two. “Just being” - in one’s hara or anywhere else - is helpful, but it raises the question of who or what is ‘just being’? It is very difficult, to my mind, for western minds not to turn such ideas into highly egocentric practices “I am centered in the hara, and I am steady, and I...” Or, if one were totally “body based” with no thinking at all, how would one be different from an inanimate object?


The thing is, to my mind, such ideas cannot be entirely secularized - they do imply at least a sort of ‘ground of being God / field of awareness / etc.” that is beyond individual egos, otherwise what would be the point of getting ‘beyond’ egos? To act like a robot or zombie? Why would one want to do that? I’m not, ha ha, in the habit of looking at inanimate blocks of wood and thinking “You know, that firewood really has it way better than me. I aspire to be more like it.” So I was hesitant on this point for a long time, but at this point I’m comfortable saying that I believe in some manner of God / loving force / unknowable field / choose your vocabulary word. So I don’t know if I think simply being a very sensate being is particularly helpful, but it can be, if practiced in a way that minimizes distractions from God / consciousness / whatever you want to call it, if that makes any sense.

 
 
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20 September 2016 05:39
 

I think this sort of discussion just shows that people are different.  Zen resonates with unsmoked.  NL formulates her own combo of Eastern and Western thought.  I’m agnostic and skeptical. 

Notice that this thread is civil because no rabid fundamentalists are insisting on a version of reality.  (No, not all fundamentalists are rabid—some very sweet, gentle people are Bible literalists.)  It’s just a discussion, not a mission/crusade or a jihad.  It’s like the liberal dream.

 
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20 September 2016 11:43
 
LadyJane - 19 September 2016 12:21 PM

I didn’t think the Oppenheimer quote was meaning to say that infants have a profound understanding of the laws of physics.  I thought it was simply saying that there is a brightness contained within the noggins of children, nurturing the potential for an understanding of these properties, before becoming tarnished by the complications of human existence.

Right, the beauty, or usefulness of the blank slate, which isn’t the same as a physicist’s blackboard covered with equations, and isn’t the same as an inanimate object.  Also, like most of us, Oppenheimer had probably heard of Jesus remark: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mathew 18:3)

The story of Newton and the falling apple suggests that Oppenheimer might have suddenly understood some principle while watching children playing on a merry-go-round.  “When the dog barked, there it was!” -  Zen monk (after 23 years of wrestling with koans)

 
 
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20 September 2016 15:38
 
unsmoked - 20 September 2016 11:43 AM
LadyJane - 19 September 2016 12:21 PM

I didn’t think the Oppenheimer quote was meaning to say that infants have a profound understanding of the laws of physics.  I thought it was simply saying that there is a brightness contained within the noggins of children, nurturing the potential for an understanding of these properties, before becoming tarnished by the complications of human existence.

Right, the beauty, or usefulness of the blank slate, which isn’t the same as a physicist’s blackboard covered with equations, and isn’t the same as an inanimate object.  Also, like most of us, Oppenheimer had probably heard of Jesus remark: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mathew 18:3)

The story of Newton and the falling apple suggests that Oppenheimer might have suddenly understood some principle while watching children playing on a merry-go-round.  “When the dog barked, there it was!” -  Zen monk (after 23 years of wrestling with koans)

I have not thought that the quote in Matthew referred to the blank slate notion.  I always thought it meant that faith required innocent trust.  Children are “programmed,” so to speak, to bond to their parents.  (Even abused children, sadly, have trouble setting boundaries with their parents because the innate bond is so strong.)  They accept instruction from their parents on how to live and how to view the world.  They literally cling to them and run to them when they are afraid or to share in their delight.  They desire their parents’ approval.

 
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20 September 2016 21:26
 
hannahtoo - 20 September 2016 05:39 AM

I think this sort of discussion just shows that people are different.  Zen resonates with unsmoked.  NL formulates her own combo of Eastern and Western thought.  I’m agnostic and skeptical. 

Notice that this thread is civil because no rabid fundamentalists are insisting on a version of reality.  (No, not all fundamentalists are rabid—some very sweet, gentle people are Bible literalists.)  It’s just a discussion, not a mission/crusade or a jihad.  It’s like the liberal dream.


True! Although I do think the human ecosystem needs fundamentalists to hold up the “far ends” of issues, it’s just not something I generally like to partake in (and, like anything, is disastrous when out of balance).


I remember reading a study somewhere (too tired to look for it now,) that when studying various classroom curriculums, what they found was that it wasn’t the curriculum that made the most difference so much as the teacher. A really good teacher could work with a multitude of curriculums, someone not cut out for teaching wouldn’t get better results no matter what up-to-date, scientifically studied method of teaching was being used. I kind of feel the same way about ideologies, spiritual or otherwise. Take a statement like “I’ll pray for you” or “I continue to send you metta and hold you in my circle of compassion.” In some cases, that’s wielded in a passive aggressive or rather intrusive kind of way, and you want to go “Look, I did not ask you to go to God and ask him to fix me, why don’t you leave that decision up to him? If you’re praying for what you think God should do to improve me, that’s more your will than God’s, no?” or “I’m sorry, you don’t get to treat me like shit IRL and then add insult to injury by feeling good about yourself by forcing me into a mental group hug that I have no desire to be in. It’s not really ‘metta’ if you’re forcing it on someone who doesn’t want it, that would be called ‘not respecting others boundaries’.”


On the other hand, 90-95% of the time I think those are beautiful sentiments even when I don’t agree with the specifics, because if they are coming from a place of sincerity, the practices differ but the good qualities and sentiments they represent generally don’t. I think most ideologies are largely about the intents and understanding that drive them, and as you said, Hannah, some will simply be a better fit or better at calling forth positive qualities and / or understanding of certain concepts when it comes to different people.

[ Edited: 20 September 2016 21:28 by sojourner]
 
 
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21 September 2016 08:37
 
unsmoked - 20 September 2016 11:43 AM
LadyJane - 19 September 2016 12:21 PM

I didn’t think the Oppenheimer quote was meaning to say that infants have a profound understanding of the laws of physics.  I thought it was simply saying that there is a brightness contained within the noggins of children, nurturing the potential for an understanding of these properties, before becoming tarnished by the complications of human existence.

Right, the beauty, or usefulness of the blank slate, which isn’t the same as a physicist’s blackboard covered with equations, and isn’t the same as an inanimate object.  Also, like most of us, Oppenheimer had probably heard of Jesus remark: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mathew 18:3)

The story of Newton and the falling apple suggests that Oppenheimer might have suddenly understood some principle while watching children playing on a merry-go-round.  “When the dog barked, there it was!” -  Zen monk (after 23 years of wrestling with koans)

There is a frequency with which people tend to define and describe beauty.  Many proceed to follow the standards set by others without question.  As though you can live up to a standard that doesn’t exist.  The concept of beauty varies and changes over time.  It merely triggers the senses and conjures a feeling. Why wrestle for control over something that is fleeting?  In all our haste for answers we miss the actual experience unfolding right in front of us.  We ignore that feeling and replace it with the experience we want to be having instead of the experience we are having.  And the beauty escapes us. 

Like waking from a dream and feeling as though it’s a world away.  The more we try to remember the more we draw a blank.  Answering questions at this point only means recreating the dream.  We have no choice but to let it go.  Later, if we’re lucky, in hours…or maybe days…something happens and suddenly we’re able to recall the dream.  When we stop searching, in this manner, what we’re looking for is able to resurface on its own.  Like beauty.  It was in there all along.

 
 
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21 September 2016 11:50
 
LadyJane - 21 September 2016 08:37 AM

I didn’t think the Oppenheimer quote was meaning to say that infants have a profound understanding of the laws of physics.  I thought it was simply saying that there is a brightness contained within the noggins of children, nurturing the potential for an understanding of these properties, before becoming tarnished by the complications of human existence . . .

In all our haste for answers we miss the actual experience unfolding right in front of us.  We ignore that feeling and replace it with the experience we want to be having instead of the experience we are having.  And the beauty escapes us.  When we stop searching, in this manner, what we’re looking for is able to resurface on its own.  Like beauty.  It was in there all along.

In another lifetime, when my youngest son was about 2, he was standing on a chair by the sink looking down at the wash basin where he was supposed to be washing his hands.  After a long pause with nothing happening his mother said, “What is it son?”  (pause, then slow reply, without moving)  “Bubbles.”

I went over and looked.  Sunlight was coming in the window.  He was looking at the rainbow hues on the tiny bubbles, and watching them wink out one by one.  We didn’t tell him to get on with the task at hand.

[ Edited: 22 September 2016 10:24 by unsmoked]
 
 
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