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June 30, 2022


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All ideas arise from neuro/electro/chemical activity in the brain.

If we peel back all the layering of human conditioning and its subconscious subjectivity, we will be left with the actuality that all human experience is basically neurological activity in the brain being processed by an evolved ability to make cognitive sense of it in conscious awareness, in relation to sensory data which we then personalize.

This tells us that it’s not the experience that causes the worry, but our attachment to the idea that it’s us having the experience that we don’t like.

If the mind is to move away from worrying in order that it can be at peace with itself, others and the world around it, the way forward is to reduce or eliminate the attachment to the aspects of the personality that allow the worry to arise.

Enjoyed reading your article, as well as the article you'd linked to (the stuff that follows the story about the ox-butchering Zen/Dao master).

This stuff is now familiar, this idea. So that, what one read here wasn't really new, at all. But still when you think about it carefully --- like just now, when reading your article as well as that linked article --- it never fails to boggle the mind!

Brian, you will be pleased to know that Elon Musk wants to start human trials with Neuralink this year. https://www.wired.com/video/watch/wired-news-and-science-the-science-behind-elon-musks-neuralink-brain-chip
Also, Yuval Noah Harari describes humans as 'hackable animals' and 'useless eaters'. https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/hope-people-believe-in-scientists-instead-of-religious-leaders-yuval-noah-harari-on-covid-19-pandemic-1666859-2020-04-14
Some of us prefer to believe that humans are made in the image of God.

Mindfulness and other types of meditation are usually seen as simple stress-relievers – but they can sometimes leave people worse off.

About one in 12 people who try meditation experience an unwanted negative effect, usually a worsening in depression or anxiety, or even the onset of these conditions for the first time, according to the first systematic review of the evidence. “For most people it works fine but it has undoubtedly been overhyped and it’s not universally benevolent,” says Miguel Farias at Coventry University in the UK, one of the researchers behind the work.

There are many types of meditation, but one of the most popular is mindfulness, in which people pay attention to the present moment, focusing on either their own thoughts and feelings or external sensations. It is recommended by several National Health Service bodies in the UK as a way of reducing depression relapses in people who have experienced the condition several times.

Enthusiasm for meditation may partly stem from a growing awareness of the side effects of antidepressant medicines and the difficulties some people report in stopping taking them. There have been some reports of people experiencing worse mental health after starting meditation but it is unclear how often this happens.

Farias’s team combed through medical journals and found 55 relevant studies. Once the researchers had excluded those that had deliberately set out to find negative effects, they worked out the prevalence of people who experienced harms within each study and then calculated the average, adjusted for the study size, a common method in this kind of analysis.

They found that about 8 per cent people who try meditation experience an unwanted effect. “People have experienced anything from an increase in anxiety up to panic attacks,” says Farias. They also found instances of psychosis or thoughts of suicide.

The figure of 8 per cent may be an underestimate, as many studies of meditation record only serious negative effects or don’t record them at all, says Farias.

Katie Sparks, a chartered psychologist and a member of the British Psychological Society, says the figure could have been pushed up by people trying out meditation because of undiagnosed anxiety or depression. “Meditation has been found to help people to relax and refocus and help them both mentally and physically,” she says.

But sometimes when people are trying to still their thoughts, the mind can “rebel”, she says. “It’s like a backlash to the attempt to control the mind, and this results in an episode of anxiety or depression,” she says.

This doesn’t mean people should stop trying the technique, she says, but instead should opt for guided meditation sessions, led by a teacher or an app with a recorded narration, which she believes is safer. “The current study could stop people participating in something which can be of benefit in the right context,” she says.

Journal reference: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, DOI: 10.1111/acps.13225

To put it more simply, if cultivating an awareness of no self is a good idea, where are the joyous no sellfers? I challenge anyone to name a Buddhist retreat center where people exhibit any signs of happiness.

Andrew, there's also some of us who prefer to believe that humans are made in the image of humans, and that dogs are made in the image of dogs, and that giraffes... you get the idea.

Do you actually think that God, the supposed creator of this vast universe, looks like a human? I realize that this is how God typically is depicted, an old white guy rocking a cool long beard, but this notion seems really dubious.

So what is it about humans that makes you believe we are the image of God? When I see the news each day, this strikes us as exceedingly unlikely. To offer a couple of examples, what is it about Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump you find godlike?

If God is good with invading Ukraine and trying to overturn an election, I'm pleased to be an atheist.

I should also mention that it's as certain as anything in science that humans evolved into our present Homo sapiens species over millions of years. Billions, actually, if we go back to the first cellular life on Earth. Given your theory, at what point did humans become made in the image of God?

Was it only when Homo sapiens appeared on the planet? If so, what changed in the nature of Homo sapiens that wasn't godlike before our species evolved into its current form? Or do you believe other species in our evolutionary family tree, like the Neanderthals, also were made in the image of God?

I'm curious, because this whole "made in the image of God" thing has never made sense to me. It just seems way too anthropomorphic, aside from the fact there's no demonstrable evidence for God. If God exists, a big "if," I don't see how humans would be made in the image of God but not, say, alien beings in a galaxy far, far away.

Or do you consider that all conscious beings are made in the image of God? If so, I'll tell our dog the good news.

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