Bunthut

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A non-mystical explanation of "no-self" (three characteristics series)
Sorry for the late response

No problem.

Hmm, is there a difference? In that if you think that you are the feeling of tension, then logically you are also at the location of the tension.

Yes, there is a difference between the location of the tension and the location of the feeling of the tension. The location of the tension is behind my eyes, the location of the feeling is... good question. Somewhere in my head; ask neuroscience. The tag (=dot) can only be added to the feeling, since only that is mental, so that would have to be the "map". By analogy: If I go put the map into my bag, the location of the red dot moves, but the location it indicates doesnt. If I turn my head, the location of the feeling (presumably) moves, but the location of the tension only coincidentally moves because its physically connected. If it's a tension on my hand instead, then it wouldnt move.

These kinds of inconsistencies suggest that a part of the experience of the self, is actually an interpretation that is constructed on the fly, rather than being fundamental in the sense that intuition might otherwise suggest.

I dont disagree with this, but more because I think almost everything is like that. Or do you mean something that wouldn't be true of e.g. detecting objects? My point was that when feeling a thing in the hand, the method would locate your "self" in the hand. But noone beliefs their self is in their hand, not even intuitively. Therefore, those sensations are not a sense of self, it only seemed that way because the visual version made sense by coincidence.

If you have the experience of seeing yourself staring at the thing from a third-person perspective, then a question that might be interesting to investigate is "where are you looking at the third-person image from?".

On my left side 1.5-2m from me at the same height as my head. But I dont think thats helpful, its again just the focal point of that visual field, and it's an imagined picture anyway, so that point isn't in regular space-time.

Good catch! I think it's basically the same, despite sounding different; I briefly say a few words about that at the end of a later post.

I think I understand. The self-tag applies to experiences, so identifying with the plane would mean tagging your model of the plane. But in the Truely Enlightened state you should be aware of the tagging, and so only identify with experiences?

It's possible to get into states where you have this to at least some extent, but there's also some goal-directed action going on; and you are identifying with a process which is observing that goal-directed action, rather than getting pulled into it.

How would that process plan without self-markers? Maybe they could be self-markers but not "yours", but there'd need to be some more explanation of that.

A non-mystical explanation of "no-self" (three characteristics series)

My experience with "structural" introspection is that either I just try to look and find nothing, or I look for something specific, in which case I can almost always find it with sufficient effort. I've tried meditation a few times and quickly stopped after not finding a way to avoid this. So naturally, I'm sceptical of this.

When I do this kind of exercise, a result that I may get is that there is the sight of the object, and then a pattern of tension behind my eyes. Something about the pattern of tension feels like “me” - when I feel that “I am looking at a plant in front of me”, this could be broken down to “there is a tension in my consciousness, it feels like the tension is what’s looking at the plant, and that tension feels like me”.
But suppose that you now get a little confused. Rather than taking the spot with red ink as indicating your location in your physical world, you take the red spot on the map to be your physical location. That is, you think that you are the “YOU ARE HERE” tag, looking at the rest of the map from the red ink itself.
But a particular tag in the sense data is not actually where they are looking at it from; for one, the visual cortex is located in the back of the head, rather than right behind the eyes. Furthermore, any visual information is in principle just a piece of data that has been fed into a program running in the brain. If we think of cognitive programs as analogous to computer programs, then a computer program that is fed a piece of data isn't really "looking at" the data "from" any spatial direction.

I tried the exercise. I didn't know what you expected, but my idea of "noticing myself looking" is a model, so I found something like seeing myself staring at the thing from a third-person perspective. I think I could reproduce your result, but I'm writing this the day after, and now that Im no longer tired I have to create the tension on purpose.

I'm not sure I understand. If you thought you were at the red dot rather than at the location in the world it marks, wouldn't that be analogous to thinking you are the feeling of tension, rather than to thinking you are at the location that feeling indicates?

There is also a sense in which you are looking at the world from behind your eyes. Your visual image is a projection with the focal point behind your eyes. If you try the same exercise with holding something in your hand and feeling it rather than looking at something, how does that work out? I tried to do "the same thing" I did to reproduce the tension behind the eyes, and the sensation was just below my skin. I dont know if that's the "right" answer, but if it is, the fact that it's not in the head might suggest the previous result is an artifact.

The outcome seems to be that rather than identifying with the sensations of the supposed observer, one’s identity shifts to the entire field of consciousness itself (in line with the thing about a program reading a file not having any location that would be defined in terms of the file):

There are two quotes after that. The first seems congurent with what you said, but the second sounds like identifying with all the contents of consiousness rather than with the field they are in (or is that distinction not real?).

On the other hand, some situations just trigger the self-related planning machinery very strongly. In vipassana/mindfulness-style approaches, one frequently ends up creating a sense of being an observer who is detached from their thoughts and emotions.

This is what I understood "identifying with the field of conciousness" to mean, is that right? I think I can do that, but it seems it's not compatible with goal-directed action, which would require its own self-markers as described.

Once one gets to this kind of a state, the subsystem trained to do this can continue to further investigate the contents of the mind in fine detail… either looking at other characteristics like impermanence or unsatisfactoriness, or turning its focus on itself, to deepen the no-self realization by seeing that the observer self that it is projecting is also something that can be dis-identified with.

That's supposed to happen? Usually what happens in observer mode is that the "normal" conscious content runs out quickly, because as per above I can't do anything else meanwhile (or at least, I can't keep doing it on purpose). And then I just hear myself saying "..and I feel X in my hand". But that doesn't lead anywhere special, the observer just starts to have some more complicated thoughts until it takes over all the "space", and then I'm back to normal cognition.

Analyticity Depends On Definitions

Quine is disputing the idea of definitons just as much as analyticity. Perhaps this is a good way to think about his argument: How would you find out whether a given belief is a definition or not? You could of course ask, but what if you don't originally share a language? He then argues that there is no way to distinguish a word for "definition" from any other word designating a set of logically independent beliefs they hold, without making assumptions about how people use "definitions" we usually consider to be results of empirical psychology.

Suspiciously balanced evidence

One more good explanation: Numbers are hard. Think of a few things that you would definitely give >99%. I can just about rank them, but I have no idea how many nines are supposed to be there.
And one more not-so-good one: We aren't actually trying to figure it out. We just want to participate in a discussion game, and this one involves numbers called propability, and they are usually between .1 and .9. A good sign that this is happening (and propably in part a reason for the range restriction) is when the "winning criterion" is whether the propability is above or below 50%.

Philosophical self-ratification

I think you're dismissing the "tautological" cases too easily. If you don't believe in a philosophy, their standards will often seem artificially constructed to validate themselves. For example a simple argument that pops up from time to time:

Fallibilist: You can never be totally certain that something is true.

Absolutist: Do you think thats true?

F: Yes.

A: See, you've just contradicted yourself.

Obviously F is unimpressed by this, but if he argues that you can believe things without being certain of them, thats not that different from Beth saying she wrote the book by responding to stimuli to someone not already believing their theory.

Circling as Cousin to Rationality
If I'm inferring correctly,

That seems mostly correct.

To the extent it's possible, I think it's good for people to have the option of Circling with strangers, in order to minimize worries in this vein; I think this is one of the other things that makes the possibility of Circling online neat.

I think doing it with strangers you never see again dissolves the worries I'm talking about for many people, though not quite for me (and it raises new problems about being intimate with strangers).

The stuff above is too vague to really do much with, so I'm looking forward to that post of yours. I will say though that I didn't imagine literal forgetting agreements - even if it were possible to keep them (and while we're at it, how do you imagine keeping a confidentiality agreement without keeping a forgetting agreement? Clearly your reaction can give a lot of information about what went on, even if you never Tell anyone) because that would sort of defeat the point, no? But clearly there is some expectation that people react differently then they normally would, or else how the hell is it a good idea for you to act differently?

Circling as Cousin to Rationality

I remain sceptical of how you use internal/external. To give an example: Lets say a higher-up does something that makes me angry. Then I might want to scream at him but find myself unable to. If however he sensed this and offered me to scream without sanction (and lets say this is credible), I wouldn't want that. Thats because what I wanted was never about more decibel per se, but the significance this has under normal circumstances, and he has altered the significance. Now is the remaining barrier to "really expressing" myself internal or external? Keep in mind that we could repeat the above for any behaviour that doesn't directly harm anyone (the harm is not here because it is specifically anger we are talking about. Declarations of love could similarly be robbed of their meaning).

Like, if I have a desire to be understood on a narrow technical point, the more Circling move is to go into what it's like to want to convey the point, but the thing the emotion wants is to just explain the thing already; if it could pick its expression it would pick a lecture.

This is going in the right direction.

Also, after leaving this in the back of my head for the last few days, I think I have an inroad to explaining the problem in a less emotion-focused way. To start off: What effects can and should circling have on the social reality while not circling?

Circling as Cousin to Rationality
Would this feel different if people screamed when they wanted to scream, during Circling?

It could mean that the problem is gone, but it propably means you're setting the cut later. This might make people marginally more accepting or it might not, I'm not sure on the distribution in individual psychology. For me I‘d just feel like a clown in addition to the other stuff.

What I'm hearing here (and am repeating back to see if I got it right) is the suggestion is heard as being about how you should organize your internal experience, in a way that doesn't allow for the way that you are organized, and so can't possibly allow for intimacy with the you that actually exists.

Partially, but I also think that you believe that [something] can be changed independently of the internal experience, and I don‘t. I‘m not sure what [something] is yet, but it lives somewhere in „social action and expression“. That might mean that I have a different mental makeup than you, or it might mean that the concept of „emotion“ I consider important is different from yours.

Circling as Cousin to Rationality
But also I think I run into this alternative impression a lot, and so something is off about how I or others are communicating about it. I'd be interested in hearing why it seems like Circling would push towards 'letting betrayal slide' or 'lowering boundaries' or similar things.
[I have some hypotheses, which are mostly of the form "oh, I was assuming prereq X." For example, I think there's a thing that happens sometimes where people don't feel licensed to have their own boundaries or preferences, or aren't practiced at doing so, and so when you say something like "operate based on your boundaries or preferences, rather than rules of type X" the person goes "but... I can't? And you're taking away my only means of protecting myself?". The hope is it's like pushing a kid into a pool with a lifeguard right there, and so it generally works out fine, but presumably there's some way to make the process more clear, or to figure out in what cases you need a totally different approach.]

I very much don't hesitate insisting on my boundaries and preferences, and Im still aversive to these I-formulations. The following is my attempt to communicate the feeling, but its mostly going to be evocative and I'll propably walk back on most of it when pushed, but hopefully in a productive way:

The whole thing just reeks of valium. I'm sure you'd say theres a lot of emotionality in circling and that you felt some sort of deep connection or something. This is quite possibly true, but it seems theres an important part of it thats missing. I would describe this as part of their connection to reality. Its like milking a phantasy: sure, you get something out of play-pretend, but its a lesser version, and there remains the nagging in the back of your head thats just kind of chewing on the real thing, too timid to take a bite. This is what its like for the more positive emotions, anyway (really, consider feeling your love for your wife in such a way. Does there not seem something wrong with it?). For the anger or betrayal, its much more noticeable: much like an impotent rage, but subverted at a stage even before "I can't actually scream at the guy", sort of more dull and eating into you.

I also wanted to say something like "because my anger is mine", but I saw you already mentioned "owning" you emotions in a way quite different from my intent. Yours sounds more like acknowledging your emotions, or taking responsibility for them (possibly only to yourself), ("own it!") which I'd have to take an unhealthy separated stance to even do. I intended something more like control. My anger is mine, its form is mine, and its destruction is mine. Restricting my expression of it is prima facie bad, if sometimes necessary. Restricting its form in my head, under the guise of intimacy no less, is the work of the devil.

Transparent Newcomb's Problem and the limitations of the Erasure framing

Thats... exacty what my last sentence meant. Are you repeating on purpose or was my explanation so unclear?

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