Sunday, November 30, 2014
one theory is that the self likes things it can catalyze. if something is completely foreign to us, we don't especially like it because there's nothing we can do with it. like random noise. but if something is overly familiar/repetitive, we don't like it either - again because there's nothing more we can do with it, we're already predicting it fully.
what we like is the in-between part where we can grapple with the thing and assimilate it. this is the most fundamental way of looking at "making progress toward one's goals". before we start assimilating something, the parts that we don't understand represent "not-self", but after we've finished assimilating it, it's "self". moving along this gradient is what life constantly tries to do. suffering/frustration/confusion is what we feel like when we're not moving along this gradient.
as long as we feel like we're moving along this gradient, we're not too motivated to make big changes, because things are basically working out. if things are not working out, one response is to change "who we are" - i.e., find a different approach that might be able to make progress.
but one interesting thing that buddhism says is that we can get *stuck* in a situation where we're continually *not* feeling like we're making progress, and yet we *keep* persisting with the approach (i.e. goals, beliefs, self-concept) that isn't working. [attachment, perseveration, addiction, being stuck in a too-deep basin with not enough metastability, etc]
the solution that buddhism suggests is then to just *look* at the approach itself (i.e., look at the self), because looking at it inherently makes it less deep/stuck, because "looking" literally means to allow dynamical contact or information exchange between that approach and something outside it. the more information exchange there is, the less that approach can be stuck in its own dynamics -- they're partly washed out by the other dynamics.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
congruency effects are all over the place. like the simon effect where it's easier/faster to respond in the same place as you just saw a stimulus. or "pavlovian" effects where action is congruent with valence.
i wonder if using natural objects as cues in a task, as opposed to fractals, is another form of the same principle of "congruency". they look like our predictions, so it's easier to deal with them.
i know how to deal with this, it's a self-contained object, it's not going to start animating or bleeding off the edges or whatever. all those things are forms of congruency (since it actually does behave like that). we don't have those priors about the fractals.
UPDATE: is this just a simple rule -- "make the world look like what you want"? this might correspond to hierarchical action-unfolding. like if PFC representations are abstract goals/beliefs, and they're unfolded down the motor hierarchy by a constraint satisfaction settling process that checks forward models against how we want the senses to look.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
(i keep saying the same thing in different ways)
zazen is like the incest taboo. the default is path of least action: re-merging with the parents, or taking whatever local action seems to make progress toward the online goals (equivalently, i think, away from the fears). this discharges the potentiality of that goal or separation. (a really simple one of these could be particle/antiparticle annihiliations.)
but zazen, like the incest taboo, blocks this route back to zero. this actually spawns new things, because that energy is now in the universe and has to interact with other things, getting integrated into all those patterns.
interestingly this also breaks habits. whenever energy has a route to discharge, it probably starts to form some kind of habitual pathway, without "awareness" (which is maybe just the same as slowing down the route to discharge). but somehow - i don't get this yet - holding it in awareness really eases that... hmm... seems like this might actually be key to understanding "habits", but i don't get it yet.
anyway, in this sense "incest" is being used probably more broadly than just physical sex with the family, but that is a big thing given how we're built as humans.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
No source of suffering, no relief from suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment and no non-attainment. Without attainment, bodhisattvas take refuge in the Unknown and live without walls of the mind. Without walls of the mind and thus without fears, they see through delusions and nirvana.