« All it takes are particles to make a conscious being | Main | Good video on "Does the past still exist?" »

September 12, 2022


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Sounds like Sam Harris is saying “meditation is what makes life worth living”
Wow what a surprise

Wise words.

True enough, we do sleepwalk through much of our lives, perhaps *all* of our lives, truly awakening only by happenstance and only briefly, when faced with some crisis. To be able to spend more of our lives, perhaps all of our lives, mindfully, that would be a great thing indeed.

True, meditation, any meditation done properly, facilitates that to an extent. And, true, arguably that kind of mindfulness *is* the actual essence of meditation.


"Range day. Smoked meats. Blowjobs. Sci-fi novels. Boobs. Cats!"

Ha ha ha, absolutely, that's a perfectly valid answer to "What makes life worth living?", equally as valid as the mindfulness answer. Provided, of course, one has the temperament to go through with that "eat drink make merry" attitude absolutely 100% and right through till the end; because lacking that kind of temperament, that's a story that won't have a happy ending. But absolutely, given the right temperament, that's an entirely valid answer.

Change is the only constant, I didn't read Harris' words the same way you did. Harris says that attention, presence of mind, connection to the present moment -- those are keys to living a satisfying life. Meditation is one way of manifesting those qualities.

But the important thing is the qualities he listed. "Meditation" is what we call the formal practice of manifesting those qualities. I've been listening to Harris' guided meditations for several years most mornings.

He constantly stresses that being awake and aware in our everyday life is the real goal, not sitting in formal meditation. Meditation helps shows us what is possible when it comes to paying close attention to the present moment. Then we do our best to bring that into everyday life. If we can do it without meditation, there's no need for meditation.

I don't think we disagree? Being "awake", as opposed to sleepwalking away, and in the sense of being mindful, being connected to the present moment, as you say, is indeed key to a satisfactory life, and arguably that is actually the entire essence of meditation. ("Arguably", because there's a Buddhistic slant there, that other traditions may or may not agree with. Speaking for myself, I do agree.)

Also, agreed, if we can do it without meditation, then we don't need meditation. (At least in as much as that "it" is the goal of meditation. I'm qualifying that because others may approach meditation with other goals. Speaking for myself I don't disagree.) ...Although, again arguably, that mindfulness itself might be seen as meditation. The Buddha's sutra delivered to the woman who complained that she had not a minute to spare to meditate comes to mind: when you're drawing water, just draw water, is the "meditation technique" he prescribed for her.

But those are just nuances we can have fun with teasing around, Harris's overall message we're probably seeing similarly, both of us, and agreeing with fully?


That last bit about the eat-drink-make-merry thing, although I meant that as a kind of joke (well, not my joke per se, but laughing with that commenter's joke, if joke it was); but I guess that's not necessarily wrong, you know. After all, what is "satisfactory" is probably an individual thing. I don't remember the details now, but Charvak I think it was who'd had this whole formal philosophy about "satisfaction" coming from full-on hedonism.

Of course, that would necessarily depend on the means for that hedonism being available in the first place; and/or for the would-be hedonist to keep aside enough time and effort to enable/facilitate/maintain the means to that kind of hedonism; doing which I realize represents a break in uninterrupted hedonism, and therefore, I suppose, in Charvak's argument. That's probably a fatal logical flaw to that kind of a philosophy, in as much as uninterrupted hedonism is extremely difficult in practice, and arguably impossible even in the abstract.

More fundamentally, though, it would take a certain temperament to carry that sort of thing to its complete conclusion. I know I myself couldn't begin to pull something like that off. Could anyone? I don't know! I'm not sure such a "purely hedonistic" temperament is even possible, but should one be equipped with such a temperament, then arguably that commenter's suggested method of unthinking hedonism might actually turn out satisfying as well I suppose, and in the end no less so than all of this mindfulness and centeredness et cetera?

Brian i too have been listening to Harris for many years and Ii dont agree with you. In fact Harris has many times said that the only way to attain that state you are talking about (the paying attention to every moment) is through meditation. Perhaps you mean at some point one can get to that state where you are awake and aware ALL THE TIME (like you said) but he has clearly laid out meditation as the way to do this. He calls meditation ones superpower also called it the great equalizer. Never have I heard him say its not needed.

What makes (my) life worth living:
To love my partner and be loved by him

@ change is the o. c.... [He calls meditation ones superpower also called it the great equalizer. Never have I heard him say its not needed. ]

I think there's an implicit equivalency on attaining a state of
meditating "all the time" and no longer needing to formally
sit in meditation. However, it's famously easy to assert "I
meditate all the time" without it being true which may be
why Harris and others don't mention it.

Harris tells us he spends a lot of time on Twitter, obsessed with what other people may be saying about him.

Somehow, it's hard for me to take anyone on Twitter seriously, particularly on the topic of the meaning of life, and quality of life. The reason why should be obvious.

Choden, I don't see why using Twitter disqualifies someone from being able to speak about the meaning of life. I love Twitter. I look at it many times a day. I follow people knowledgeable about local news, politics, science, what's happening with the Ukraine war, and other topics. I have no idea why Twitter has such a bad reputation among some, which I gather includes you. It all depends on how Twitter is used. Meaning, the people you follow. I use a third party app and never even see any ads. Twitter is just a really positive experience for me.

Given that Trump straddled Twitter like a grotesque slug till he was booted off of there, I can understand why Twitter might seem to be the home for the morally defunct and the brain dead.

But a moment"s reflection should show that it is an elementary fallacy to imagine that because Trump was and is a shameless worthless low life, and because Trump used Twitter, therefore anyone using Twitter is suspect.

I miss Spence tepper

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.