Meditating with Descartes

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Philosophy Now
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Meditating with Descartes

Post by Philosophy Now » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:46 pm

Karen Parham asks how close Western philosophy gets to Buddhism.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/132/Meditating_with_Descartes

owl of Minerva
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by owl of Minerva » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:18 pm

The language of Buddhism is very stark. "Boundless consciousness" in Hinduism and Christianity is realizing oneself as a reflection; a Son of God.
"Nothingness" is becoming one with the Intelligence of God in creation by acquiring Krishna or Christ Consciousness. "Neither perception or non-perception" is Being Itself: Consciousness, Existence and Bliss. Surrendering one's Self to the Singularity without a permanent loss of Individuality which can be regained, or surrendered, as desired.

This language is more appealing, our Individuality depending on the existence of a Conscious Singularity from which we inherit it. It may be all the same. The difference may be due to the language of the different traditions. It is something we will know only when, and if, we experience it for ourselves.

jayjacobus
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by jayjacobus » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:00 pm

The author says in her last paragraph, "Both philosophers and Buddhists want peace of mind;"

How do we know what they want? Do they say that and, if the do, what do they mean?

All human action is ego driven even if the ego is not DIRECTLY linked to the action.

The Budhist monk and the Philosopher may "suppress" I but ego is the reason for that.

If the ego ceases to be, the reason for meditation does not exist.

When there is no "I" there must still be ego and a universal ego affirms the universe only.

"So (does) Descartes is finite and imperfect" mean he doesn't have a universal ego?

Neither do you and neither do I and neither does a monk.

owl of Minerva
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by owl of Minerva » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:55 pm

The Buddha, through meditation, identified with Buddhi which means Intelligence. He did not identify with the Mind in which lives the Ego, the idea of separate existence. Therefore he achieved the calm state of mind which we all aspire to. Ego identified with a body, a mind, or a universe is still an ego and limited to what is finite by its identification.

jayjacobus
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by jayjacobus » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:15 pm

owl of Minerva wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:55 pm
he achieved the calm state of mind which we all aspire to.
My point was that he or I couldn't aspire without something to drive us. The driver is ego, his or mine.

Without an ego he and I are like zombies.

jayjacobus
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by jayjacobus » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:33 pm

I am not making myself clear.

There was a time when I was conflicted in a terrible way.

One remedy I tried was meditation.

But meditation was not a remedy because when I stopped meditating I was still conflicted.

And many times I fell into a restful sleep but that was only temporary.

My ego was searching for an answer to my problem but meditation wasn't any more than a temporary answer.

When the Budhist monk says, "meditate", does he think that is a panacea for him or for me?

Is the monk in a state of denial or a state of victory?

I, as an ordinary human, cannot know what he has actually achieved.

Jai
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Jai » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:17 am

I have deleted this comment.
Last edited by Jai on Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

puto
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by puto » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:23 am

Very good articles on the subject of Western Philosophy and Buddhism. Thank-you for your time and effort into the magazine articles.

jayjacobus
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by jayjacobus » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:42 am

As brilliant as Descartes was, he misspelled mediation.

jayjacobus
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by jayjacobus » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:51 am

jayjacobus wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:42 am
As brilliant as Descartes was, he misspelled mediation.
Mediation is a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process. Wikipedia

Or one can mediate alone, I suppose.

Scott Mayers
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Scott Mayers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:01 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:51 am
jayjacobus wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:42 am
As brilliant as Descartes was, he misspelled mediation.
Mediation is a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process. Wikipedia

Or one can mediate alone, I suppose.
Maybe you were just making fun of the connected meaning.? But otherwise, I notice that the term 'meditate' has two general intentional meanings that derive from a common one: "(to look from a) middle perspective" or at a perspective removed from the mere subjective nor objective views separately.

This is merely the concept of thinking itself by a non-biased or neutral perspective ...and in more ancient times was both considered useless as it was non-active and so was interpreted by outsiders as the means of BEING silent, something contrary to being something that could lead you into gaining insight. So one interpretation of meditation by the those who actually 'meditated' was to stop to think before acting in a self-reflecting analysis of things through thought. To the practical outsider, it was appropriated to the ACT of not DOING anything as though it WERE literally not even thinking.

[The act of 'mediating' relates but intended to be about having a third person as the neutral perspective in the middle between other people.]

Buddhism is an offshoot of the Gnostic idea that related to Hinduism as well. Instead of interpreting things as specific, especially of records or writings, or stories past on, one needs to unscramble the MYSTERY meaning of the expression (and why it is sometimes referred to as 'mysticism' by some). The act of 'meditating' on something is to take caution not to quickly interpret reality as though it is what it appears to be alone.

I haven't yet read the article and so can't speak about it with respect. So this is just a pre-reflexive point about the topic that I gather from what you guys already have said.

Scott Mayers
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Scott Mayers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:26 pm

[Just reading now... and got to..]
Descartes’ thought process about what he can be certain of (which he started in his previous work, the Discourse on Method) produces an incomplete argument: an enthymeme. An enthymeme is a deduction without the universal premise. His famous argument ‘I think therefore I am’ (p.17) is arguably of the form:

All thinking things exist (universal premise)
I am thinking (specific example)
Therefore I exist (conclusion)
An "enthymeme" is not necessarily 'universal', just any thought assumed, (a meme), as a premise, outside of the argument but understood by the context of the arguer's background subjectively. So the more likely interpreted enthymeme is: "If something can do X, it is at least SOME (real) thing." The act of thinking is one such X. Therefore, if you think, this is sufficient to mean that something at least exists.

Although I agree so far to the article (as I independently understood too), I might add from my last comment that the 'Zen' style of thinking is to INVOKE others to reflexively learn by both thought AND active sampling that makes the logic interpreted as powerfully FELT through experience, not just in thought alone. I think it is just a subset of a mystic approach. It is a means of learning by 'experience' with 'thought' by an indirect means to get the logic to SYNC in. We often learn the 'logic' of something without actually 'feeling' its significance or meaning because much of the facts of reality are just 'data' that may lack personal impact. A koan is just a clever means to LINK some philosophical thought, often related to 'morals', to an internalized, "Ah HA!" realization.

So Buddhism can be separate also from 'Zen' methods, though this may be originated by history of something the Buddha did (?). I think the 'Western' philosophies adapted a 'neutral' means to interpret reality that is more universal than just morality.....it wanted truth REGARDLESS of 'feeling'. Thus the analytical means for philosophy of the 'West' is broader, not "different" than the East.

Scott Mayers
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Scott Mayers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:08 pm

[read more...]

On Theravada Buddhism with respect to Descartes, I think the Buddhists are talking of something distinctly different in comparative meaning. Descartes didn't err in his logic for the general argument but in his particular TRANSFERENCE in defined meaning of the term 'God'. In a similar way to Anselm, Descartes interpreted the religious meaning of 'God' to IMPLY the meaning of the universe (or Totality that includes any specific universe) as equivalent to the idea of "God". If any 'god' is an infinite supreme being, it must encapsulate Totality as a subset of itself, a 'source'. Then he assumes that since a THOUGHT is itself is as real as ANY experience, like those of the senses, it too has to be sufficient to imply it is a real subset of Totality, even if it is a relatively subjective factor of the whole. If the MEANING of the thought is itself 'unreal' to some objective perspective of Totality (as a 'god's' eyeview), then it would still have to be real ....but just unshared....being that it is a subset of all perspectives less 'perfect' than than whole.

Therefore, in essence, he is interpreting the meaning of God as "Totality", not simply the religious being that implies it is the source. This is a 'transference' psychological trick. Just replace the word God with the more neutral word, "Totality" (or "Absolute Universe", etc). Then the logic makes sense but can't refer to the antecedent of the phrase, "If something is God, it is Totality". Totality can exist without the extended understanding of the meaning of 'God'. But many in Descartes day were attempting to reconcile the religious valued meaning of 'God' with the neutral meaning of Nature apart from value interpretations themselves. That was the only real error.

The Buddhist form of thinking is 'religious' in that it implies what SHOULD be the effectiveness of meditating: thinking to have a practical value. The context is different. The Buddhist form of Zen practices are biased to the subject's value of thinking with respect to behaving, something that teaches us something to us about our actions through thought itself, not the thought about the activity of reality.

Skepdick
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Skepdick » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:11 pm

Scott Mayers wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:08 pm
If any 'god' is an infinite supreme being, it must encapsulate Totality as a subset of itself, a 'source'.
Is the set of all sets a member of itself?

Scott Mayers
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Re: Meditating with Descartes

Post by Scott Mayers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:14 pm

[finished reading]

Good article, Karen.

But what's with,
... The philosopher, on the other hand, has a different task. First, she needs to...
How dare you suggest the philosopher is only just a girl! Hmmm! :roll:

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