Belinda wrote:I had to look up "immersive flow states". I think that those must be Heaven couched in a different metaphor. Your pointing out the paradox certainly made me think again. I now suggest to you that the immersive flow state, Heaven, is what we aim for, for instance when we get the chance to choose which form of livelihood we will take up, or for instance we choose which person we will have a lifelong commitment to.I seem to remember that Buddha recommended ethical employment.
The relative "blankness" of immersion and deep sleep have always been a source of much human happiness and contentment. "Heaven" is perhaps too large a word for what are readily available mental/emotional states, enjoyed at some point daily by almost everyone.
You could say that self awareness is the ego's fire, always changing and flickering, sometimes reducing to a smoulder, at other times ablaze. Most of us spend considerable amounts of time in the "smouldering" state, while either lost in activities or asleep. Zen masters and the very lucky/talented, I expect, would spend a higher proportion of waking hours in deep immersion, with the self at these times in a minimal state. That temporarily egoless state can range from "heavenly" to a "comfortable blankness" to relief from an anxious, carping ego.
Belinda wrote:I also suggest that the means we use to attain the immersive flow state is crucial to whether or not we attain it. Do you think that the immersive flow state must be and can only be attained by individuals who are initially free from compulsion by another, by others, by the collective whatever that may be?
It's hard to speak about the deepest immersive waking states because I've only enjoyed that extreme twice (and haven't stopped babbling about them ever since lol). The means of achieving very deep immersion varies - by accident, with practice or with drugs.
It's true that you need to be able to throw off, not only the opinions of others, but one's own internal "critic" in order to control your degree of immersion. We are so often distracted by concerns about criticism, from others or from within, because disconnection is threatening to one's survival. The ego, whose function is to protect, kicks in at this apparent existential threat. To this end, courage helps, the ability to choose "why not?" over "I dare not" (not to be confused with denial, where the "why not?" is reflexive rather than sincere, in which case problems are not solves by deferred).
Belinda wrote:If so we have arrived at the free will conundrum. What precisely frees an individual from compulsion by another, by others, by the collective whatever that may be?
My stance on this is that in the fields of art and religion what frees the individual from compulsion by another or by others is a cocktail of advantages such as self esteem, social status, educational level as opposed to indoctrination, locus on the liberal/authoritarian continuum regarding religion and arts, and native intelligence to name a few ingredients.
What frees us? Certainly the arts, sports, games, activities, pastimes, all manner of distractions that can immerse us, providing a temporary sense of freedom. They do all offer character building opportunities.
Money is hugely freeing. If you are poor, the goodwill of others may be all that stands between you and complete destitution. The wealthy can disregard the ill opinions of most without risk. Revolutions always end with the victors transforming into the thing they overthrew.
Belinda wrote:The title of this thread is 'Humanism' . Humanists are people who are organised with regard to ethics as human constructs and not as revealed and created by any god or by God.This being so, Humanists ' place on the liberal/authoritarian continuum is at the opposite extreme from Muslim or Roman Catholic doctrinaires, or Biblical literalists. I regularly and frequently attended Humanist meetings for about fifteen years.
I would expect humanists to generally embrace environmentalism, since a healthy environment is good for humans. But what would the usual humanist stance be on the treatment of other species? In your experience, to what extent do the humanists you've known extend their compassion to other species? Is ethical eating an important topic or just a sideline issue?