Monday, January 31, 2011

Awesome link about ego - Echkart Tolle

Piecing together desire - trench theory

A desire represents something that you need to feel complete/a need. The need may vary in intensity and maybe intellectual - desire to solve problems from thinking
emotional/sensations - desire for social connection, bonding, purpose, inspiration, passion, hope, various highs, meaning
spiritual - desire to understand the truth, beauty, clarity
We look for reward in all the 3 spheres.

But the interesting question is what is this reward?

In my experience, I've noticed that we use our thinking process/conceptualizations to create trenches that we try to fill. A desire is kind of like a trench, the deeper the trench the harder we try to fill it up.
Immediate gratification works more on impulses. You feel a strong impulse to do something, it instantly creates a trench and you immediately do an action that fills it up. The "reward" is acquired when you fill the trench up. Maybe this has to do with the fact that we understand everything from their opposites. So an acute lack of something makes you maximally sensitive to it. So when an acute lack is satisfied, you feel a glorious reward. There are other day to day examples, water tastes the best when your need for it is extreme/extremely thirsty. Maybe, that is why people like drama in their lives because it harnesses this play of creating trenches and filling them. This may also explain why someone may watch a horror/murder film because in contrast to the panic shown their own life's safety is revealed. If the trench is too deep and whatever action you take just fills 5-10% of it, then its a case of depression. But there is one more aspect to this, the trench needs maintenance. You may also lose reward because of not maintaining them. It can be deepened or made shallow by changing thinking patterns or by external influences. For example: Everyday, I hear a particular song and conceptualize a situation while hearing. Each day I do it, the conceptualization gets strengthened and the reward is correspondingly more. If I stop doing it for 5 days the trench may get deep and I may enjoy the song much more. But if I leave a really long gap then the trench might have got shallow like how wax flattens with time, I would need to rekindle that memory. Maybe that is why they recommend keeping short goals so that the trench doesn't get too deep and you lose reward. Even in romantic relationships, with time, we build a deep trench that is satisfied each time you interact with this person. That is why a breakup = some kind of depression since you have the deep trench but nothing to fill it up. I think this concept is very similar to 'Samskaras' in Buddhism. I realized this when I started meditating and becoming more of a neutral observer. I felt something big that I used to enjoy is missing now, whenever I maintained the observer state. Then I hit upon this idea and realized that when I plainly observe, I am not a part of this game of trenches at all and that's what I was missing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scrubs vs The office

My opinion:

Scrubs: Colorful, Creative, Imaginative, Drama based, Surreal, Dreamy, open kind of humor
Scrubs is like a kaleidoscope:

The Office: Dry, creative, imaginative(domain specific), More real life based and inhibited humor
The Office is like a defined algorithm that manipulates the picture:

I enjoy both these TV serials. But my vote would go to scrubs since I can identify more with the characters. Also, according to me there is a world of a difference in the relationship between Jim-Pam vs JD-Elliot. The former is a bit bland and shows limited situations while the latter is like a rich tapestry covering so many subliminal aspects and complex dynamics of a relationship. Also, scrubs uses its imaginative, childlike, uninhibited style to explore humor.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pending topics I wanted to write about

  • Dimensions of sex/physical + psychological
  • Fear of the dark/unknown
  • Dimensions of humans and relationship with nature
  • Overcoming fear technique - adrenaline response - spider technique
  • Talking to a tree
  • Endo-reality and Exo-reality are intrinsically perceived the same
  • We get social energy only from identification
  • Shifting into 5th dimension awareness of possibilities. How habits, preoccupations, fears greatly limit the 5th dimension.
  • Focusing on the larger picture of the jigsaw - knowing a map that extends far beyond entities in immediate perception eg: egs: participating in school, helping ppl, engg project stuff, job related
  • Attracting people towards you technique: mimicking their body language, any kinds of identification with them
  • My Lucid dream WILD'ing adventure
  • Desires get stronger the more you chase and satisfy them: sexual, romantic, situations, academic, job related etc.
  • Symbolic meaning of a light shown at the end of a tunnel or in the center of the screen in many of the dreamy song videos, psychedelic state inducing videos etc, they all seem to converge on a bright light at the center.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Intrinsic value of music

These thoughts came to me from an interesting discussion about meditation/awareness/alcohol.

I guess broadly there are 2 parts to the mind:
1. The judgment part, thinking/conceptual mind
2. Non conceptual, non judgmental awareness
  • It sometimes strikes me that, if I just hear music without association i.e. with a blank mind, I just feel plain bliss, no pleasure, no pain. Maybe this is like the 2nd part of the mind.
  • So its like, my thinking mind/conceptual mind and judgment has to switched ON for me to really get a kick out of the music(turning on the conceptual mind).
- That is why maybe after consuming alcohol, I enjoy music far more as it strengthens the activity in the thinking/judgment part of the mind and dulls the 2nd part.

- So what is the intrinsic value of music then?Is it only through associations/concepts/judgments that we feel the real pleasure/kick out of music?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Understanding higher dimensions

Higher dimensions can be imagined by looking at how you view lower dimensions. For e.g.: If you want to imagine something 4D, you need to understood how we interact with 2D objects. How would we appear to an entity who is 2D. They can only see edges (actually this edge too had 0 thickness, but for practical purposes lets assume they can see very thin edges like the thickness of a paper). Such 2D entities can never see us in our 3D entirety.

For e.g. say a circular 2D entity and we pass our finger through a paper, they would just see a circle forming with increasing diameter till its circumference is equal to that of our finger and then when we take our hand off, this circle would reduce in size and then vanish.

You(a 3D entity) can touch the center of the circle(2D entity) without breaking its edges. In a similar way, maybe a 4D entity could touch our inner organs without cutting us open.

The movie "Flatland" portrays this concept really well of 2D entities interacting with a 3D entity.
This can be supplemented with further reading about the allegory of "Plato's cave".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Self armor

I am really attracted to people who do not have a 'self armor' on. Its a kind of openness, vulnerability (not the same as naive at all). People who face their feelings squarely and who can clearly express it without feeling threatened. Also people who have understood what anger really is and have learn't to control it. Since they have controlled anger they tend to be more polite and diplomatic. Its kind of like a rose, its totally open, helpless yet so pure and beautiful.

The reason for liking these attributes traces back to my childhood. I had some abusive(verbal) relationships of the extreme kind. It was powerful enough to really shatter me. So I had to generate this really powerful self armor, examine each weakness and patch it up with some defense of offense. Later I realized how terrible this self armor and how much better life would be without it. Then once the environment got less threatening, I started loosening it up and I can imagine how good it would feel to almost give it up.

It may not be practical in life to totally let down armor since you might meet many people who would influence you in undesirable ways. But I think its possible in a 1-1 relationship where both the people have experiential knowledge on this fact and agree to let down their armors at-least in front of each other. It takes a lot of deep intra-personal understanding of a philosophical kind, knowledge on varied perspectives and lastly free thinker abilities from both the parties. That would make an incredible difference in the ease of opening up.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Golden ratio

This is one of the most fascinating concepts I have come across after Plato's cave. I am aware that we can find patterns for almost anything but the number of coincidences in this case is just too large to dismiss. This ratio seems to be resonating everywhere. 1.618 is the number, it is derived from the fibonacci series. I think it could provide us powerful answers for defining beauty.

Why look into philosophy

Its really funny to see people moving about like mindless creatures and they really don't know what they really want. They do not even bother to investigate. Its like, they might say, you know what I really want is a girlfriend or car etc. How exactly will that satisfy them? Hmm, I don't think they care, they are more interested in the dream or pursuit and so confident in the reward. How can an intelligent person miss this? and trust society's beliefs so much and barely question them? Its Baffling. It doesn't even take some extremely complex questioning, just look at all the billionaires around. Are they the most fulfilled with ultimate happiness and no more needs. Its obvious they are not. Its not to discount their accomplishment but to look at it from a higher perspective. And people retort with "Ohh...we have more important things to worry about". LOL, what can be more important. They are living in a sort of dream and they don't care and have this false sense that they are after "more important" things. I feel like screaming "IGNORANCE". Its unbelievable. Hope some circumstance/future event wakes them up before death comes.

Ayn Rand has written an excellent article on the same question:

Here is another great one:

I think philosophy needs a lot of rare skills like:
1. A good level of detachment from your beliefs, thinking and reasoning so that you can look at it objectively
2. Ability to handle ambiguity, paradoxes, hold unanswered questions. Leonardo Da Vinci mentions these as qualities possessed by gifted individuals
3. Abilities possessed by free thinkers
4. A desire to know what is REALLY true, a desire for integration
5. A great deal of courage to venture into the unknown to the depths of the mind
6. Higher value in seeking understanding vs practical knowledge

About whether opposites attract

This article appeared in New Scientist, Opposites do not attract in mating game
Souls attract to those who are on the same frequency, have similar lessons and needs, often reflect their issues to help them understand and cope, and for reasons that say souls need to be with those of like mind or like frequency. When you move out of frequency, or out of synch for your vibration, life becomes static, and does not flow leading to illnesses and accidents.

Opposites attract, but those of like mind (frequency, having the same goals), have a better chance of attracting something permanent. Functional meets functional, and they have a chance. Dysfunctional meets dysfunctional and it all goes to drama. In this time line, souls are trying desperately to move past drama and into balance and awareness.

To move out of frequency usually is because of hormones and sexual chemistry, mix in bit of past or parallel life soul connection, karma, and souls become obsessive and out of control. They seek the 'high' one gets when 'in love' and usually accompanied with sexual bliss.
Sexuality is about chemistry or pheromones, but, as in all thing is life, it also goes to consciousness (mind), and has much to do with compatibility of partners (frequency grids matching.) If the needs are the same, it works!

Most of us know that frequency is hard to perpetuate, and so the frequency lowers when issues enter the equation. If you are a normal, educated, balanced person, who does not need a caretaker, does not need illnesses to survive, then you will avoid the opposite polarity of soul experience. You meet someone who has substance abuse or is mentally ill, and, if you are aware, you stop before you start with that person, no matter how bored or desperate you are for a relationship, or how strong the chemistry is.

We all seek The One as the energy of the experience creates a high' and you feel in balance. There is nothing like it. Take it for what it is and enjoy it while it lasts, especially if it opens your heart.

State of flow - diagram

Interesting diagram on the state of flow which is one of the most desirable states. We frequently try to move towards it. It provides a new perspective for looking at things

Interesting view about how life experiences create desire

Taken from Yahoo answers: - original source: Journey of Souls by M.Newton.

For someone who has encountered hunger, cold, a shortage of amenities or a home, a deep seated fear and a need to protect oneself from the harsh realities of life gives an inordinate emphasis upon what others take for granted. For orphans, mothers are the most cherished and valuable assets in the world, because they grew up without one, for some it may be freedom if they were raised in an oppressive household, or love and someone to care for them should they have suffered neglect and abuse in childhood. Some covet fame and notoriety, or popularity to heighten self esteem, others fool around with anybody and everybody top enhance their own reputations, whilst good folk seek only one kindred soul to spend their life with. Life experiences dictate priorities. Having an important occasion and having nothing suitable to wear or not being able to afford to purchase much needed necessities always places greater weight on the accrual of capital. Depends upon personality type. Some spend and squander money, others remains frugal and money wise all their lives whether rich or poor. Spiritually rich as you seem to be, gives full enjoyment and extracts pleasure from ordinary daily happenings. If you have lots of money I suppose you can to a certain extent be godlike, in that you can have and do most things, perhaps that is what he means, money can give you more freedom and opportunity to experience life fully. But as I have little money I don't fully understand his point of view.

||This part is more opinionated||
The happiest people you will ever meet have no money. If somebody tells you that life is all about money then you should feel pity for that person. Our current economic system is entering free-fall, and the only way that we're going to prevent a catastrophe of biblical scale is by changing it. Pity the ones who love money, for they are lost: more-so than they can imagine! Join the people who just want to live, be happy, learn, enjoy life for the gift that it is and then you can feel true pity for those whose lives have been wasted chasing gold. The sooner you realize that you don't need any of those things that you are told are essential, the sooner your soul will progress. We are here to learn, not to become rich.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The levels of truth with relationships eg.

Its funny, but there are different truths at different levels, all equally true from that corresponding level. In other words, truth can look different depending upon where you stand.

In the figure shown alongside, I've shown a kind of analogy.

1. For a person living in the cave, the truth is that he cannot see anything beyond the cave ceiling. This is the truth for him.

2. For a person living in the ground above, the first cloud he sees above him is his ceiling

3. At the next level he sees the cloud above him and so on

4. At the final level you just see infinity all around you which is above all the clouds.

Each jump radically alters your perspective. Its very hard to even conceive what a level above might feel like and what kind of insights may lie there. Its like trying to imagine a 4th dimension.

In relationships,
1. At the first level you think that this person is actually responsible for how your feeling and that object is directly controlling/manipulating you, creating a heaven or hell for you.

2. At the next level, you realize that it is actually the concept of this person that is causing you suffering/pleasure. The concept is more like a projection of what we want them to be, a dream. Since they can never be what you exactly want there is always some amount of suffering. Once you realize that it is the concept that is controlling your emotions and not the person himself, then you see that the next level of reality happens within you. If you can rewire that, the external object will not affect you anymore. So now you see the person and the concept of the person in your mind as 2 entities and you know that the concept is the real thing to be worked with because many other external objects can trigger the same reaction in you. You also realize that it is not just this one person who can bring about these feelings. Any object that satisfies the concept can fulfill you.

3. At the third level, you realize that feelings become emotions only after judging them as pleasant/unpleasant etc. So you separate feelings and emotion and objectively observe all feelings. At this level you can also observe that it is your attachment to certain thoughts that are causing suffering. The real emotions by themselves happening in the moment are like ripples in water. We just multiply their effect using memory.

Different lists of needs/desires

1. Maslow's hierarchy of needs
2. 16 desires of life: power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility. Each persons' desire profile would be unique with the exception of need for acceptance and idealism.
3. Aristotle - concept of highest good (eudaimonia)
4. Chakra system - equivalent to Maslow's hierarchy in the west

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Interesting ideas for the future

Self consciousness vs Consciousness

Are they the opposite of each other?one the subset of the other? is everything just one thing and we are just conceptualizing it into 2 things?
Do we meditate on ourselves till the point we get so comfortable with ourselves that self consciousness is transformed into expanding consciousness?
Can our single pointed attention solve any problem? Fears, distractions, obsessions etc?

The real meaning of something can be understood from its opposite

Like take the example of music, you truly enjoy it only after a long silence or if you do a totally unrelated task which required your concentration. Thirst is truly felt only when you are deprived of water for long enough with strenuous activity alongside. You start noticing the faintest of lights in a dark room if you stay awake there for more than 10-20mins.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Desire makes you feel incomplete

Before desire originates we are complete and a whole - left figure. Once we see something attractive that we want to possess a sort of sinking hole is created in our chest - 'right figure' and makes us feel incomplete and there is a desire to fill this lack up by acquiring the person/item/idea etc.

Manipulation by people

The first picture shows the real objective picture/reality - all the circles and lines represent associations in the brain. The 2nd one shows the same picture but after I have been influenced by other people's opinions - red and green shows the bias, desirable/undesirable. Some people are ridiculously opinionated. For every single concept even they have a good/bad judgment about it. Mostly their views are completely untrue and extremely biased. The problem is that we tend to first believe in something then logically analyze it if its true or not. Also, when you don't know about a particular subject, its an even bigger problem and in group discussions these guys just keep littering opinions after opinions with a surprising amount of confidence. Its a pain to keep your guard all the time to ensure you don't get affected. Usually I temporarily get this cataract like vision and then it takes me a few hours alone and some thinking to get back my original views. Every single thing is packaged into a box with a label of either good/bad/desirable/undesirable etc and the sad part is that, these people have no clue that there knowledge is just a distorted version through the screen of their thinking. Surprisingly such people elicit good social support and many people actually support their distorted views. This is what is real education, that WE DON'T KNOW and no one can have absolute knowledge and we need to have a certain degree of humility.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The thinking process

We could break down the process of what we call thinking into 3 elemantary processes:
1. Analysis 
- how, when, what, where, which , who etc.
2. Comparison
- The most common points of Comparison, for the purpose of discovering "likeness" and "unlikeness," are as follows: Name; Place; Time; Shape; Cause; Effect; Use; Actions; General Idea or Character; History; Origin; and Destination
- Used to build the web network of associations
3. Classification
- Concept formation
- The value of our 'Thought' depends largely upon the correctness of our Concepts
4. Reasoning
- Reasoning presents itself as a short cut to knowledge—a formula by means of which we may acquire knowledge from general principles
(1) Reasoning by Analogy - "If two things resemble each other in many points, they will probably resemble each other in more points"
(2) Reasoning by Induction - "What is true of the many is true of the whole", based on the belief of uniformity of Nature
(3) Reasoning by Deduction- syllogism, "What is true of the whole, is true of its parts"

Here is an extract from the article:
It talks about the comparison phase.

Experience, however, has given the race the almost intuitive and instinctive realization of "the pairs of opposites," or "contradictories." So true is this that the trained mind instinctively leaps to the thought of an "opposite" at the same time that it is considering any given quality. It thinks of this "opposite" not because of its "likeness" to the thing under consideration, but because of its "un-likeness" or difference. So true is this that psychologists hold that we can obtain a clearer and more distinct idea or mental image of anything if we will at the same time think of its "opposite"—either its opposite quality, or a thing whose qualities are markedly opposite to that of the thing under consideration. In associating a thing with others in our memory, or thought, we do so by (1) association with "like" things, and (2) by association with "unlike" ones. The greater the "likeness" the greater is the strength and value of the first form of association; and the greater the "unlikeness" the greater is the strength and value of the second form.

So if you have realized the 'nothingness' state of mind, anything when compared to that is full and complete knowledge giving ultimate satisfaction of 'real knowing'.

Some more interesting points from the article:

- Words do not convey thoughts; they are not vehicles of thoughts in any true sense of that term. A word is merely a common symbol which each person associates with his own idea or image.

- In syllogism, question the major premise and the whole chain is broken

- It is not a sound argument, nor logical reasoning, to appeal from the principle under consideration to the personal practices of the person advocating the practice. For instance, a man arguing the advantages of Temperance may be very intemperate himself; but to point to his intemperate habits is no proof or argument that the principle of Temperance is incorrect. A proposition is either true or untrue, regardless of the personal character of the persons advocating or presenting it.

-"Many persons reason from their feelings rather than from their intellect. They seek and advance not true reasons, but excuses. They seek to prove a thing to be true, simply because they want it to be true. The tendency is to see only those facts which agree with our likes, or are in line with our prejudices; and to ignore the other set of facts. Such persons unconsciously assume the mental attitude which may be expressed as follows: 'If the facts do not agree with my pet theories or prejudices, so much the worse for the facts.'"

-"Nine times out of ten, to argue with any man on a subject that engages his emotions is to waste breath. His mind is not open to logical persuasion. His emotions first determines his opinion and then prompt his logical faculties to devise plausible excuses for it. There is a thing that psychologists call a 'complex.' It consists of an idea charged with emotion, and it operates as a sort of colored screen in front of the mind. A man whose emotions are deeply engaged on one side of a question may think that he is reasoning about it. But, in fact, he may be incapable of reasoning about it, because whatever impressions his mind receives in that connection come through his complex and take no color. His logical faculties operate only by way of inventing plausible defenses for the judgment his emotions have already formed. It is impossible to change his position in any respect by reasoning, because reason cannot touch his mind until his emotions have dealt with it and made it conform to their color. Whenever you talk to a person with a strong bias on any particular subject, which bias does not coincide with your own bias, talk to him about something else."

-  Useful line of thought: "What practical difference will it make if I hold one opinion or another? How will my belief influence my action?' (using the word 'action' in its broadest sense). This may often lead our line of inquiry into more fruitful channels, keep us from making fine but needless distinctions, help us to word our question more relevantly, and lead us to make distinctions where we really need them."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Perplexing Questions

Does music intrinsically create a feeling in us? OR is the feeling due to association from the past? Do we consciously recreate the visuals/talk in the mind or is it automatic from the subconscious? Can we learn to detach from associations? Are we programmed according to our genetic makeup that makes hearing certain kinds of music an intrinsically rewarding experience? OR do all these 3 aspects feed on each other?

What arises first - feelings or does memory create a feeling? Is it like the 'what came first - chicken or egg' Q? Are all our feelings - memory associations mostly created in childhood after which we spend most of our lives trying to get them back? Is that what decides our love-map? Is it in our genes or biological makeup to derive good feelings/pleasures from certain activities? What is the impact of social conditioning vs our basic hardware? Do all 3 feed on each other?

Is our whole life just about chemical reactions?Avoiding the unpleasant one and seeking the pleasurable ones, most of which has been refined through evolution? Is meaning just an illusion, or can all the complexity that we have in our lives today be traced to simple evolutionary desires? As a counter argument, we have consciousness that we use to take actions which results in chemicals. So consciousness is the driver. In that case, can consciousness exist independent of a brain? I think a brain transplant will open up some fascinating insights into the consciousness/mind/brain relationships.

Aftermath of watching a movie and problems with theater watching

A good movie completely grips your attention and is cathartic is ways. The emotional and deep movies make you ride a roller coaster of emotions (provided you allow yourself to be fully sensitive) and bring you to a deep alpha state at the end of it. I believe that along with enjoying the movie, the state of mind just after watching it is to be relished too. I think this state can last pretty long up to 1/2-1hr after, if you allow it to stay.

I've always found movie watching in the theater to be an incomplete experience. Incomplete to quite a degree, but I couldn't really conceptualize what the problems were. After repeated analysis, I think I hit upon the main points. Here they are:

1. In theaters, firstly the interval is distracting and frankly,
2. Constantly munching something is a distraction from the real movie experience. Your attention needs to be gripped and locked all through for you to really feel its depth and cathartic effect.
3. Additionally, when you go with friends, there is this small talk that you need to keep doing now and then. Even a single interruption breaks the thread of alpha state.
4. After the movie is over, the subtitles start and usually the music/visuals is stimulating and flowing but in the theater you need to immediately start moving. This feels really uncomfortable and abrupt in so many ways, according to me. Not only do you not get to dwell in that awesome mental state, you miss out on the ending music/visuals and you have to start hearing the chatter of everyone around you. 5. The social energy around immediately shifts you back to beta state.
6. Then you have to encounter road noise, have some discussion or small talk with friends and that's the last nail in the coffin for the alpha state.

A highly enjoyable and desirable state we pursue in life is "A State of flow". Gripping Movies/Novels take us really close to it which is why they are so popular. So I think this feeling needs to be experienced in its entirety with full awareness to derive maximum fulfillment and satisfaction.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Concentration and Love

I think love that we know colloquially is attachment which could easily transform into hate. For e,g.: If you put 2 'Ex lovers' together and monitor their brain activity, even if there are 10 other people in the room, they would be giving each other at least 50% of their attention, partly subconsciously. Somehow, in my experience, even if I try hard not to, my attention is drawn towards the people I concentrate / have concentrated upon in the past.

So its like, you concentrate on the good things initially for a long period of time and your mind gets stuck with it and you subconscious begin to give much greater attention to this person. Once the breakup happens, you try to detach by trying to see only the ugly in the person which makes the relationship transform into hate. But you are still concentrating on the ugly. That's what makes detachment paradoxical. Hate and love might just be the same thing. Maybe if we fully concentrate on something for whatever it is with full acceptance, that might be true love.

We all concentrate upon those things we love, and we love those things upon which we concentrate our minds. To detach is the skill that'll prevent hate from happening and also free the attention for the next object/next moment. Plain observation without judgment I think is the only way to detach.

Qualities of a diamond mapped to experience

The ideal +ve experience is where the mind is like an infinitely large diamond that is clear, does not hold anything but yet, reflects/refr...