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November 17, 2011


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2nd half of article is thought-provoking, but on the other hand does the Taoist approach add anything other than a passive acceptance of self-imposed limits?

Also, if the currents of life are inevitable, then everything is deterministic and natural, even unnatural thoughts. There is nothing unnatural, and one cannot go against nature, so there is no need for a taoist mindset since whatever we do is natural. A large paradox.

Also, there is no ways of knowing what we can know from what we cannot - and this is the real problem of taoism, mysticism and religions, which is a revelry for the unfathomable and ineffable. In fact, almost a revelry in its vagueness without attempting to explain it. God is uknowable, he works in mysterious ways, etc.

Perhaps Taoism, mysticism and religion brings peace in that it is accepted that there are certain aspects of reality that can never be undersood. Perhaps this is true, and yet as soon as one limits oneself, the search stops, and worst of all we have no idea whatsoever what we might or might not be able to know since we've simply limited ourselves at source.

Science, if nothing else, is about discovering things that were previously unknown. While it accepts the unknown, it does not limit itself, but looks for answers.

Relax. The answer to every "why" question you could ever dream up is not only available, but inevitable. You want it now? Well then...get yourself a .357 or .45 caliber pistol, fill it with bullets, place in properly in your best hand with your index finger on the trigger, and make sure the safety is off. Then, open your mouth, insert the pistol in your mouth with the barrel pointing upwards, and then make a fist with both hands. Reality will become starkly obvious. (Actually, it is already)
As for me, and as of right now, I prefer to wait. But I am still dying to know "why".

"As for me, and as of right now, I prefer to wait. But I am still dying to know "why"."

lol....yes, you're 'dying' to know why, but you still prefer to wait on the fist making.

"God is unknowable, he works in mysterious ways, etc."

--I like playing with the 'non-knowable' term. Unknowable, seems to indicate that one day we we will finally discover how 'he' works those mysterious ways. I reserve the right to be wrong. My views are falsifiable.

George, you're right: science continually expands the boundaries of the known. I guess what I was referring to are certain seemingly unpassable boundaries, like why existence is, and what the human unconscious is like experientially. If we can never experience something, of if that something is beyond the bounds of knowledge, then accepting the mystery of it is all we can do.


yes i too think there are limits, but we don't really know what those are.

You talk about experential limits, but perhaps one day the brain will be understood in such detail that we can hook-up to virtual reality programs that give us new experiences, simulate the experiences of others, and even perhaps give us some idea as to how other animals might experience the world.

Perhaps one day, there will be an entire model of the brain by which we can understand our hardware, unconscious and consious mind.

AI, or an artificial brain that displays the properties of human consciousness with the full range of human feelings and emotions, could very well put the final nail in the coffin of not only religion, but pantheism and spiritualism too.

If humans have no soul, and the self and ego are understood, and we are purely flesh and blood, however complex, then whats left?

If Copernicus drove the first nail and darwin drove in the second, seems to me that if they can explain human consciousness and how organic matter evolved from inorganic matter, you aint got a lot left from an mystical or esoteric point of view. No wonder science is so reviled, it could be a very bleak picture.

George, I agree that those attached to a supernatural or mystical conception of humanity will be disappointed by the advances of neuroscience.

But a lot of territory remains to be explored. After all, the brain is said to be the most complex entity in the known universe.

How we fashion meaning, knowledge, creativity, love, and such out of the "meat" of our neurons and electro-chemical communications between them -- that's an fascinating inquiry that will continue for a long time.

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