The danger of all identities

Recent revelations have exposed a secretive homosexual subculture within the Catholic Church.

(Cardinal McCarrick scandal inflames debate over gay priests)

Please completely ignore the homosexual part of that. Instead focus on the secret identity aspect of that.

Wherever there is group identity, there will be a subculture of people with dark personality traits who seek to and often succeed in taking it over or subverting it.

To be brief, in the Catholic Church there is a subculture of homosexuals. Due to Church teachings this subculture became secret. And due to its secrecy, it became stronger and either contains a dark sub-subculture or has been taken over by a dark sub-subculture.

Ignore again the homosexual part, because the same thing will happen in all groups. Wherever there is group identity, there will be a subculture of people with dark personality traits who seek to and often succeed in taking it over or subverting it.

This must be true in Buddhist groups. And it must be true in governments, news media, spy agencies, charities, ethnic groups, religious groups, ideological groups, schools and universities.

The older and larger the group, the more likely it is that a dark subculture is parasitizing it.

Group identity is the deluded human ego writ large. This dark tendency resides in all humans without exception.

The human spirit, soul, mind, mind-stream, bhavanga, pudgala—call it what you will—exists within a haze of moral ambiguity. It wallows in it, lives and breathes in it, forms its passions within it, and can barely escape being destroyed by it.

There’s no way around this. Whatever you identify with will almost certainly lead to you being morally compromised if not destroyed. And it will almost certainly lead to you furthering your identity group being morally compromised if not destroyed.

This process happens in groups and individuals. It must be constantly guarded against.

This is the reason we all need to do FIML practice. You cannot possibly be honest with yourself without the help of another person. There is no way around this fact.

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EDIT 9:00 AM 08/20/18: I wish that was all there is to it. A deeper level is even if you solve your problem and your group’s problem with dark tendencies, you will still have problems with other groups who have not solved their problems. Thus, all of us must overcome our own dark tendencies—both individual and group—and also guard against the dark tendencies of other groups and individuals.

Take the Church as an example. I am sure most priests are not part of the dark group of sexual predators. But I am also sure that they did not stop that dark group from acting on its dark tendencies, harming thousands of children and undermining the Church.

Take American universities as another example. In light of the above, isn’t it clear that dark groups of left-wing ideologues have taken them over almost completely? How else did we come to have higher education crippled by slavish adherence to a single point of view? Notice homosexuality has nothing to do with this. It is an ideological darkness.

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first posted AUGUST 20, 2018

Is consciousness continuous or discrete?

Is consciousness a continuous flow of awareness without intervals or is it something that emerges continually at discrete points in a cascade of microbits?

The Buddhist answer has always been the latter.

The Buddha’s five skandha explanation of perception and consciousness says that there are four discrete steps that are the basis of consciousness.

The five skandhas are form, sensation, perception, activity, consciousness. A form can arise in the mind or outside of the mind. This form gives rise to a sensation, which gives rise to perception, followed by activity (mental or physical), and lastly consciousness. In the Buddha’s explanation, the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly. They are not a continuous stream but rather a series of discrete or discernible moments. A form arises or appears, then there is a sensation, then perception, then activity, then consciousness. (The five skandhas and modern science)

The first four skandhas are normally unconscious. Buddhist mindfulness and meditation training are importantly designed to help us become conscious of each of the five skandhas as they actually function in real-time.

A study from 2014—Amygdala Responsivity to High-Level Social Information from Unseen Faces—supports the five skandha explanation. From that study:

The findings demonstrate that the amygdala can be influenced by even high-level facial information before that information is consciously perceived, suggesting that the amygdala’s processing of social cues in the absence of awareness may be more extensive than previously described. (emphasis added)

A few days ago, a new model of how consciousness arises was proposed. This model is being called a “two-stage” model, but it is based on research and conclusions derived from that research that support the Buddha’s five skandha explanation of consciousness.

The study abstract:

We experience the world as a seamless stream of percepts. However, intriguing illusions and recent experiments suggest that the world is not continuously translated into conscious perception. Instead, perception seems to operate in a discrete manner, just like movies appear continuous although they consist of discrete images. To explain how the temporal resolution of human vision can be fast compared to sluggish conscious perception, we propose a novel conceptual framework in which features of objects, such as their color, are quasi-continuously and unconsciously analyzed with high temporal resolution. Like other features, temporal features, such as duration, are coded as quantitative labels. When unconscious processing is “completed,” all features are simultaneously rendered conscious at discrete moments in time, sometimes even hundreds of milliseconds after stimuli were presented. (Time Slices: What Is the Duration of a Percept?) (emphasis added)

I, of course, completely support science going where the evidence leads and am not trying to shoehorn these findings into a Buddhist package. Nonetheless, that does sound a lot like a slimmed-down version of the five skandhas. Considering these and other recent findings in a Buddhist light may help science resolve more clearly what is actually happening in the brain/mind.

As for form-sensation-perception-activity-consciousness, you might suddenly think of your mother, or the history of China, or the spider that just climbed onto your shoulder.

In Buddhist terms, initially, each of those items is a form which leads to a sensation which leads to perception which leads to activity which leads to consciousness.

Obviously, the form of a spider on your shoulder differs from the form of the history of China. Yet both forms can be understood to produce positive, negative, or neutral sensations, after which we begin to perceive the form and then react to it with activity (either mental or physical or both) before becoming fully conscious of it.

In the case of the spider, the first four skandhas may happen so quickly, we will have reacted (activity) to it (the spider) before being conscious of what we are doing. The skandha of activity is deeply physical in this case, though once consciousness of the event arises our sense of what the first four skandhas were and are will change.

If we slapped the spider and think we killed it, our eyes will monitor it for movement. If it moves and we are sensitive in that way, we might shudder again and relive the minor panic that just occurred.

If we are sorry that we reacted without thinking and notice the spider is moving, we might feel relief that it is alive or sadness that it has been wounded.

In all cases, our consciousness of the original event, will constellate around the spider through monitoring it, our own reactions, and whatever else arises. Maybe our sudden movements brought someone else into the room.

The constellation of skandhas and angles of awareness can become very complex, but the skandhas will still operate in unique and/or feedback loops that can often be analyzed.

The word skandha means “aggregate” or “heap” indicating that the linear first-fifth explanation of how they operate is greatly simplified.

The above explanation of the spider can also be applied to the form skandhas of the history of China or your mother when they suddenly arise in your mind, or anything else.

We can also perceive the skandhas when our minds bring in new information from memory or wander. As we read, for example, it is normal for other forms to enter our minds from our memories. Some of these forms will enhance our reading and some of them will cause our minds to wander.

Either way, our consciousness is always slightly jumpy because it emerges continually at discrete points in a cascade of microbits, be they called skandhas or something else.

Edit 11/23/20: The above explanation of consciousness is a good way to understand how and why FIML practice works so well. Ideally, the intention to make a FIML query will begin to arise at the sensation skandha or soon thereafter. A FIML query is based on wondering if the consciousness that has arisen from the form is correct or not.

This also shows why FIML does not presuppose theories on personality, mental illness, or psychotherapy. In this sense, FIML has no content; it is “just” a method, a way to rationally engage and analyze our minds as they function in real-time in the real-world. How you analyze the data you acquire is up to you and your partner.

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See also: How the brain produces consciousness in ‘time slices’

first posted APRIL 16, 2016

Five years ago: Danish journalist says European men are acting like women

Anissa Naouai interviews Iben Thranholm. 8:38

There has been a much stronger response to the migrants in Eastern Europe because the people there very clearly remember being invaded and dominated by alien races and ideologies during Soviet times.

If you cannot defend your culture, your culture will be destroyed. It can be destroyed physically in war, by demographic infiltration through mass immigration, or through ideas that undermine pride and cohesive social values.

Many years ago, I remember a Polish woman telling me, “You Americans want to get rid of all your strong men, but what you don’t understand is you may need those men one day to defend your society.”

She could have said the same about Western Europe.

Memories of war and domination by others fade quickly.

Much of what the Bolsheviks did in Russia and Eastern Europe was mental, psychological, intellectual. They also murdered many millions (the first mass murders in modern European history), but the intellectual groundwork came first and Eastern Europeans still remember.

Demography is destiny. Similarly, those who control the ideas of culture, control the culture. Those who control media, academia, and politics control the ideas.

“Masculinity” does not just mean having muscles and fighting. It also means, in the context of this video, being strong enough mentally to stand for your values, your people, your history, your culture.

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first posted JANUARY 27, 2016

The Nine Features of Great Philosophy: The Ethical Skeptic

The Ethical Skeptic has become one of my favorite blogs and Twitter accounts. Today he posted a must-read: The Nine features of Great Philosophy. The image below provides a clear summary:

This kind of thinking works across all domains of rational endeavor, including psychology, psycholinguistics, communication, and semiotics. It also fits perfectly with Buddhist thought and practice.

I am happy to also say that FIML practice as explained on this site is well-characterized by these nine features. I tend to think of FIML as practical psychotherapy that can be used by almost anyone. At the same time, I am well-aware that FIML took many years to fully develop and that fundamentally it is a way to think.

FIML is a theory of communication that yields a method for much better communication. You could also say that FIML is a method of communication that also yields a theory of why we now communicate mostly badly; how to fix that and why fixing that leads to a much greater understanding of life.

Since FIML is a method of thinking or communicating, it has no content of its own. FIML does require honesty and the basic human virtues of self-examination, self-correction, willingness to learn and share, and the desire for wholesomeness or integrity. But other than that, FIML has no ideology, credo, belief system, or cultural envelope. It can be used by anyone anywhere to optimize interpersonal communication and individual psychology.

In fact, even non-humans could do FIML if they use a self-conscious communication system to convey subjective meanings that may be ambiguous.

Is the greatest emotion taking pleasure in correcting our own mistakes?

Surely it’s in the top few.

In the Buddhist tradition, shame is sometimes called the greatest emotion because shame makes us open to changing for the better.

But shame can also be felt and avoided or hidden or misdirected. Shame here generally means something bothers our conscience.

Correcting our own mistakes often follows shame but not always. Someone may tell us of a mistake that does not make us feel ashamed.

Taking pleasure, even delight, in correcting our own mistakes is very close in time and psychology to actually making the correction.

Whether it is the greatest or not, the emotion that accompanies self-correction is well-worth cultivating.

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first posted APRIL 1, 2018

Benford’s Law indicates vote fraud

Linked below is a very good explanation of Benford’s Law and how it exposes fraudulent election tallies. The video included in the link makes Benford’s Law crystal clear.

By applying the Benford Law test to the leading digit of the vote totals reported from precincts, The Biden totals fail the test. (Showing manipulation) While the Trump numbers pass. (Showing expected distribution)

MORE EXPLANATION in Thread..

Apparently, Wikipedia has already altered its page on Benford to skew how we understand it

Trust over love

Since a Merlin falcon appeared in our neighborhood, my SO has been reading about raptors and falconry. One interesting piece of information is trained falcons require trust, not love or caresses. If they trust the falconer all will go well.

As mammals, maybe we humans place too much emphasis on neotenic bonding through coddling, both with our own species and with others. I love cats and dogs (and horses) as much as anybody, but all of us need rock-bottom foundations of trust.

Buddhism practiced with no thought of a loving God or higher beings can be immensely rewarding because it puts responsibility for our lives completely on us, including what we think is best and how we assess it.

It’s not easy to trust yourself. On analysis, it seems more important to trust yourself than love yourself. Loving yourself makes little sense in Buddhism while trusting yourself makes a lot of sense as the word “self” and the actions being done to it have very different connotations.

Am I wise enough to trust my judgement? Do I trust myself to correctly cultivate my mind, do the right thing? These are much clearer questions than do I love myself, and more beneficial as well.

Schizoid Personalities

The person whose character is essentially schizoid is subject to widespread misunderstanding, based on the common misconception that schizoid dynamics are always suggestive of grave primitivity. Because the incontrovertibly psychotic diagnosis of schizophrenia fits people at the disturbed end of the schizoid continuum, and because the behavior of schizoid people can be unconventional, eccentric, or even bizarre, nonschizoid others tend to pathologize those with schizoid dynamics—whether or not they are competent and autonomous, with significant areas of ego strength. In fact, schizoid people run the gamut from the hospitalized catatonic patient to the creative genius. (link to original; scroll to Chapter 9, Schizoid Personalities)

This is one of the best essays on psychology I have seen in a long time. Highly recommended. I bet the whole book is good, but all I have read so far is this chapter. ABN

Micro-aggression or micro-aguessin’?

Do FIML practice successfully 25 times and you will understand how wrong the notion of micro-aggression is. Not only wrong but also destructive to self and other. Rather than have us probe own minds, micro-aggression asks us to assert a false interpretation of someone else’s mind. From a Buddhist point of view, micro-aggression turns us 180 degrees away from wisdom and enlightenment.

A crucial mistake in Jordan Peterson’s philosophy

A crucial mistake in Jordan Peterson’s philosophy is his oft repeated false dichotomy between identity politics and individualism. He never considers the third option of a polity of individuals wisely aware of the danger of identity politics and able to craft policies to guard against it.

From a Buddhist point of view, identity politics is akin to a deluded self drunk on greed, anger, pride, and ignorance. Wisdom always counsels against passionate egotism, whether of individuals or groups. This is not complicated. It’s not hard to see this.

Peterson has presented this false dichotomy many times. The video below is an excellent example. It might also be an example of high-flying rhetoric sometimes bearing more weight than it can support.

Peterson is a great speaker. I support him and wish him the best. I hope he fully recovers from his benzodiazepine illness and look forward to more of his work.

Unique American Voices: Robert Kennedy Jr & Alan Dershowitz talk about vaccines

This is much better than expected. Kennedy is a very pragmatic thinker with many studies and practical lines of reasoning to back up his claims. And NO, he is not an anti-vaxxer. Dershowitz is an abstract thinker arguing legalities and hypothetical situations that illustrate how our laws work or might work in particular cases.

I learned much about how vaccines are manufactured and work. The process is not pretty and the product is not as safe or effective as you might think.