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How much of our lives is conditioned?


Forums Forums General Discussion How much of our lives is conditioned?

This topic contains 38 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  lost-soul 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 39 total)
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  • #302222

    Lausten
    Participant

    I’m trying to relate to this “finding myself” thing. It’s been a while since I was young and thought I needed to go on a spiritual quest. Lately, it’s more like, “who else would I be?” For millions of years humans lived without much thought for the future, or worrying about how our actions would affect others far away, so most of my skills and thoughts would be oriented to that. But, that’s not the world I find myself in.

    I affect and am affected by people I’ll never know, but I know it’s happening. I don’t think evolution has caught up with that. We didn’t know about our biology then and only know a little bit more now. I’m not even sure how knowing what makes us “us” will help us know when a thought is original to our little mind and when it’s one that just floated by.

    I recently discovered David Warnock. He was a fundamentalist evangelical, then, just as he was getting away from that, found out he only has a few years to live.  His philosophy of living for the moments is awesome. He’s not just doing what feels good either, he’s using his life to express his values and make a difference.

    #302224

    3point14rat
    Participant

    Lausten, that looks like a cool site. I can’t access podcasts at work, but I’ll download one and listen to it on the way to work tomorrow.

    His philosophy is exactly what I like to listen to. It should make my long commute more enjoyable.

    #302230

    Xain
    Participant

    Can’t really agree with that website saying that life is precious (it’s not), the counter argument would just be that it is due to our own conditioning. He doesn’t seem to get that all that is just him making something out of nothing.

    I still don’t buy into the Buddhist claims that they can reach an unconditioned state since the state they speak of is a RESULT of the practice and the dharma, which is odd they would say such things.  You aren’t de conditioning yourself, just plugging in a new set of directions.

    #302231

    Patrick D
    Participant

    @Xain

    Now THAT’S interesting. Hadn’t thought of it that way.IE “You aren’t de conditioning yourself, just plugging in a new set of directions.” I’m not sure how much, if at all we, can be de conditioned.

    I’ve been through army basic and corp training. Seems to me that what happens is a new set of conditioned responses is imposed on top of some of the old ones, but does not remove what is already there.

    From what I’ve seen first hand, to benefit from meditation  one does not actually  need very deep new directions.  Perhaps deeper if a person is  working towards self realisation . (whatever that might mean to the individual)

    #302233

    Lausten
    Participant

    Just making something out of nothing over here. Nothing precious. Nothing to see.

    #302239

    Xain
    Participant

    What I know is that meditation yields a certain result, not that said result provides any insight into the true nature of reality. All it does is alter one’s sense of it all. It’s entirely possible the whole thing can be wrong.

    #302244

    TimB
    Participant

    All sorts of things that we do are products of conditioning (learning within the environmental conditions that we have been exposed to). And everything we do has a basis in and sometimes is primarily a product of our inherent biology.

    The behavior of heart beating that we all do all of the time is exclusively an inherent behavior.  Most things that we do are a product of 1) for sure our inherent capacities and 2) to some extent or another of conditioning.

    Re: things that we do that are also partly or mostly conditioned:  I repeat the obvious example, language.  Humans are inherently evolved to develop a language within a verbal community.  But the particular language is a matter of one’s particular conditioning.

    Tying one’s shoes with a particular bow is majorly a matter of conditioning.

     

    #302255

    Lausten
    Participant

    Just want to refer back to the “is the mind pictures” thread, where we that ended (page 21!). I like the way Bob Seidensticker worded it. 

    Adam is saying here that life has no ultimate meaning. Well, yeah. So what?

    Adam apparently gets anxious at the thought that God, a billion years from now, won’t leaf through his little notebook, see Adam’s name, and think fondly of the good times they had together during Adam’s brief life on earth. Sorry Adam, but out of the billions of people on the earth right now, you’re not that big a deal. You’re even less important when seen with all of history as a backdrop.

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a helpful observation: “If you are depressed after being exposed to the cosmic perspective, you started your day with an unjustifiably large ego.”

    Life has plenty of meaning, just not transcendentally grounded meaning. It has the meaning that we assign to it and that we find for it, not that someone else like a religious leader assigns for us. Most of us find that not debilitating but empowering.

    Xian continues his pursuit of “true reality” and can’t enjoy the regular old reality the rest of us live in because it’s not the thing he thinks it is or it’s not the thing some website said it is.

    #302257

    3point14rat
    Participant

    I think that, other than our autonomic nervous system, most of our mental and physical selves are flexible, and this flexibility is individually determined by our genetic predispositions for whatever aspect of ourselves we’re looking at.

    For example, you can train yourself to be more calm in stressful situations, but only to the degree you’re brain allows it.  Some people are cool as a cucumber in situations that would make me vomit from anxiety. Now, I can work hard at becoming better at dealing with my social anxiety, but I’ll never be as calm as someone who’s naturally comfortable in those situations. Same for physical strength and flexibility- you have lots of control, but within a set of unalterable, genetic boundaries.

    However, when it comes to many other aspects of our lives, we’re purely conditioned. Things like religion and social taboos have no basis in our genetics, and are put into our brains by others. If I were taught that worms are delicious and healthy, I’d have no problem eating them. I was not taught that, and although I am intellectually aware they are a viable food option, there’s no way I could comfortably eat a bowl of them (unless I forced myself to eat them for a long period of time and got over my irrational disgust.)

    Some people don’t work at changing, so they remain relatively unchanged their whole life. Others see things about themselves that they don’t like and work at changing those things, and are constantly changing and improving themselves. (I exist in the middle ground of those who want to change all sorts of things about themselves, but are too scared to do half of them.)

    So I’d say the answer is variable- and how much of your life is conditioned depends on you.

    #302264

    Xain
    Participant

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a helpful observation: “If you are depressed after being exposed to the cosmic perspective, you started your day with an unjustifiably large ego.”

    Life has plenty of meaning, just not transcendentally grounded meaning. It has the meaning that we assign to it and that we find for it, not that someone else like a religious leader assigns for us. Most of us find that not debilitating but empowering.

    People who find made up meaning empowering are, in a sense, delusional. When value and meaning are assigned on a whim it renders the process rather meaningless. Some even argue that making meaning is just a denial of reality.

    As for DeGrasse, I like him for his science but not so much his philosophy. I don’t think he really gets what the cosmic perspective means. It’s essentially that nothing we do matters and that there is no meaning or significance behind our actions. I’m willing to bet that if the agents of the past thought in such a manner you wouldn’t see the level of technological advancement we have today (because in the cosmic perspective it doesn’t matter). In fact one common method of dissuading suicide is telling people they matter. So would you really lie to such folks?

    #302273

    Lausten
    Participant

    I had a longer post, but I tried to edit it and lost it. Here’s a Victor Frankly quote.

    “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl

     

    #302277

    LoisL
    Participant

    3point14Rat wrote:

     

    Some people don’t work at changing, so they remain relatively unchanged their whole life. Others see things about themselves that they don’t like and work at changing those things, and are constantly changing and improving themselves. (I exist in the middle ground of those who want to change all sorts of things about themselves, but are too scared to do half of them.)

     

    Lois. People can only “work at changing” if their determining factors lead them do it. But consciously working at changing doesn’t always result in change because determining factors must be affected in the right way for the person to actually change. The point is that your consciousness is unconnected to your determining factors. This is why most people who consciously try very hard to change don’t change, or don’t change very much. Your determining factors are  “unaware” of your efforts. You will only change when your efforts to change actually result in a change in your determining factors. We can’t know whether they can or can’t. If you think you’ve “succeeded” in your efforts to change it’s because your determining factors were in a state to lead  you to try to change, and then they were affected in the right way by what you did to try to change. Our conscious efforts are not in control, even though we want them to be in control and when we believe they are in control.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  LoisL.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  LoisL.
    #302280

    Xain
    Participant

    “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

    Yet I highly doubt that such folks knew the nature or really grasped the concept of cosmic insignificance. Had they done so, I doubt such a quote would have been uttered. I mean lets be frank, I doubt the people in those camps would know about the meaninglessness of it all and just knew the horror before them. Making meaning just proves the meaninglessness of life rather than solves it.

    #302282

    TimB
    Participant

    “Making meaning just proves the meaninglessness of life rather than solves it.”

    That dear Watson, depends on one’s perspective.

    #302286

    Lausten
    Participant

    No surprise that you disagree, you are pretty much programmed to do that. And no surprise that I can’t figure what you really think. You keep mentioning some kind of reality that I guess has meaning, but you don’t know where this reality is, so anybody who has anything to say about, is wrong, according to you. I’ve never argued with you about the inherent meaning in life or the ultimate purpose or our significance in comparison to the the vast universe.

    As far as I can tell, Neil coined the “cosmic perspective”, so I’m gonna think he knows what he means. There’s a full article about it on the Hayden website. It’s not what you said. Urban Dictionary gives us this.  It’s not that “nothing matters”, rather we are “seemingly insignificant”, comparatively so, to the vast cosmos.

    I mean lets be frank

    You’re not being Frank. You’re being Xian. Frank saw meaning right in front of him and was not disturbed by some star dying light years away. You don’t want to experience your own experience.

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