Re: Zen

Chris Lees (
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:33:34 +0100

Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:33:34 +0100
From: Chris Lees <>
Subject: Re: Zen

Aaron wrote:

> I think Zen is a rich topic for memetic investigation, and your comments
> point to more aspects of this. For example, statements that cannot be
> interpreted other than by the cognoscenti are also resistant to critical
> examination and refutation. It also implies to the non-convert that he or
> she must first accept Zen in order to merely understand Zen. This is
> different than for mathematics, where you do not need to first accept a
> theorem in order to understand it, or science, where you do not need to
> first accept a hypothesis in order to understand it. Zen thus offers
> understanding of Zen itself as an inducement to converting to Zen. Other
> meme complexes likewise contain promises of rewards that can only be
> received if you convert. Many varieties of Evangelical Christianity promise
> joy, salvation, and answered prayers, but only if you first convert. Yet
> once you convert, the meme complex does certain things to stop you from
> dropping out.

Interesting thoughts, Aaron. A rich topic, I agree, and thinking of zen from
a memetic perspective, then switching hats, and thinking of memetics from
a zen perspective is a stimulating pursuit in its own right, I find.

I posted the following to the list. It never came back to me.
Apologies if anybody gets a repeat.
There is quite an interesting paper here:
concerning science, mysticism and consciousness.

The author speaks of the 'pure consciousness event',
(PCE) and I wonder whether such could be described
as a 'meme-free' or 'meme-less' condition ?
Liane Gabora's 'unbiased conceptual space'.

I don't think that it can. Or, at least, not without some

I am personally able to spend 24 hours, or any period
of time, with an empty, silent,thought-free mind, if I
wish, pretty much as Forman describes in his paper.

But if I do zazen, and go further, then there is no time,
and no gravity. It is as if pure consciousness becomes
entirely detached from the material body and it's
environment. And I can't quite see how a sense of
weight could be considered as a meme, or for that
matter, a sense of being cold, hungry, or tired.

BTW, thanks for the InfoTech Metaphysics URL, Robin.
I missed that New Scientist bit and I enjoyed reading it,
Isn't science wondrous !? :-)


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