Re: selfishness, Buddhism, and memetics

Chris Lees (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 03:56:28 +0100

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 03:56:28 +0100
From: Chris Lees <>
Subject: Re: selfishness, Buddhism, and memetics

Richard wrote :

> Science does not concern itself with how flaky its theories look to others.
> Science concerns itself solely with making models that explain and predict
> with accuracy.
> As R.H. Blyth said, Zen is not a religion -- Zen IS religion. Zen is a
> process for becoming aware of and gaining mastery over certain of my mental
> processes. One scientific view of religion is that it is about "programming"
> people with certain memes that influence their behavior in certain ways.
> Pure Zen -- not speaking of life in monasteries or religious ceremony and
> dogma -- is about self-determination in this process, and as such I am all
> for it or for similar methods of raising consciousness to Level 3.

Does the attached quote below, correspond with or fit with, your Level 3, Richard ?
Liane Gabora's 'unbiased conceptual space' ?
A meme-less condition, which indicates to the self it's own illusory nature ?

As Dennett seems to have noticed, this 'illusion of self' idea is rather shocking
for some, a denial of all they hold to be sacred. No wonder they get upset.

I think that what the 'level-headed sceptical scientists' have to face up to,
is that there is here an overlap between what they rather scornfully call
' mysticism' and their own findings.

This has already happened, in quantum physics, a 'oneness' to the Universe,
where every particle somehow 'knows' about every other particle, that
'oneness' corresponding to what the mystics have been saying since time
immemorial. Huxley's perennial philosophy.

And, that same oneness would seem to derive from biology and evolutionary
theory, if we accept Mario's wonderful statement that life on Earth is one big
four billion year old organism.

Steven Jay Gould seems to like to see a simple dichotomy between science
and religion. Perhaps he is right for the theistic institutionalised religions
which have a social role to play. But pure zen is something else.


> The Jesuit priest William Johnston went to meditate in a
> Japanese Zen monastery.
> After sitting for some time his legs began to ache terribly.
> The master gave him some advice on this, and then asked him
> what practise he was following in his meditation.

> Johnston replied that he was sitting silently in the presence
> of God without words or thoughts or images or ideas.
> The master asked if his God was everywhere,and when he replied
> yes,asked if he was 'wrapped around in God'.The answer was
> again,yes.
> "And you experience this ? ", asked the master.
> "Yes" , said Johnston.
> "Very good,very good",said the master "Continue this way.Just keep on.
> Eventually you will find that God will disappear and only Johnston remain".
> Johnston was deeply shocked by this remark because it sounded like a denial
> of all that he had thought of as sacred.He decided to contradict the master,
> and said,smilingly "God will not disappear.But Johnston might well disappear
> and only God be left".
> "Yes,yes" said the master,smiling "That's what I mean.It is the same thing!".


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