Awakening from the meaning crisis

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Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 am

This is a series of videos that are worth listening to by John Vervaeke from the University of Toronto:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54l8_ewcOlY&list=PLND1JCRq8Vuh3f0P5qjrSdb5eC1ZfZwWJ
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby MagsJ » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:09 am

What am I currently doing? Why.. I’m listening to this video, of course.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ

You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:15 am

Hi Bob,
I started it, but then saw it was 59 minutes. Perhaps great, for me, perhaps not. Could you describe why you think this video is valuable adn what some of the main points are, or one main point. If this inspired interest then I might watch it.

I will admit up front that mindfulness is not something I consider a positive thing. I can imagine that for certain minds lacking the ability to do this at all, it might be very useful. But otherwise I think it is a problematic trend. So I got a bad taste fast. But this could be unfair.

I also heard him mention the superheros in films and 'why is this happening now?' Well, I actually think that's technological. If they could have done cgi this well at any earlier point in history, this stuff would have happened then. But they could not. Now the spectacle can be created and the spectacle is distracting and addictive - I'm not immune myself.

So, I had a couple of negative reactions, early on and stopped. Just putting my cards up front. But this may all be unfair on my part. A ten minute video I might have hung in for the whole thing.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:02 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Hi Bob,
I started it, but then saw it was 59 minutes. Perhaps great, for me, perhaps not. Could you describe why you think this video is valuable adn what some of the main points are, or one main point. If this inspired interest then I might watch it.

Hi, I have been listening to several of these videos and Vervaeke is building up an argument by going through the history of philosophy and religion showing where we get meaning and how can it be explained. Particularly the explanation of “Flow states” is picked up now and again, explaining what is happening when, say in the axial age, human beings start becoming aware of their awareness. The axial age is also something that Karen Armstrong picked up and described more than explained.

I admit there are a lot of videos to go through, but Vervaeke came to my attention via Rebel Wisdom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz6qgfjGMAg where Vervaeke is asked what he is going to be doing after these publicly available videos. It may take time, but for anyone who is interested, they could jump between the videos, looking up what they are not quite familiar with. I have time on my hands and so I am going through them all ;-)
Karpel Tunnel wrote:I will admit up front that mindfulness is not something I consider a positive thing. I can imagine that for certain minds lacking the ability to do this at all, it might be very useful. But otherwise I think it is a problematic trend. So I got a bad taste fast. But this could be unfair.

His talk on mindfulness is a critical assessment, because he doesn’t just talk about the states of mindfulness (being present, being non-judgemental etc.) but also explains the traits of mindfulness (insight and reduced reactivity etc.). He brings up the fact that the Buddhist mindfulness (sati) is not just what we consider mindfulness, but is a “recovery of being”. He points out that the Buddha myth has him in self-indulgence and then in self-denial, but both states are modes of “having” and are not opposites, it is first when you transcend these that you recover your being. It is compared to when you awaken in the morning and “recover” your personality. It is that kind of recovery.
Karpel Tunnel wrote:I also heard him mention the superheros in films and 'why is this happening now?' Well, I actually think that's technological. If they could have done cgi this well at any earlier point in history, this stuff would have happened then. But they could not. Now the spectacle can be created and the spectacle is distracting and addictive - I'm not immune myself.
So, I had a couple of negative reactions, early on and stopped. Just putting my cards up front. But this may all be unfair on my part. A ten minute video I might have hung in for the whole thing.

It isn’t just the fact that CGI allows us to bring things on to the screen that were impossible prior to that, it is the fact that human beings are hooked on stories. We need them to make sense of things and the more the figures are archetypal, the more they speak to our psyche. It is in an age where the myths of old are thrown out that new ones take their place. That is where he is going with that explanation.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:25 am

Bob wrote: I have time on my hands and so I am going through them all ;-)
But what is it that grabs you about them?

It isn’t just the fact that CGI allows us to bring things on to the screen that were impossible prior to that, it is the fact that human beings are hooked on stories.
But we've always been hooked on stories and always had films with stories. Now we can have films with superheroes that could not be made or could not be made well earlier.
We need them to make sense of things and the more the figures are archetypal, the more they speak to our psyche. It is in an age where the myths of old are thrown out that new ones take their place. That is where he is going with that explanation.
Sure, and I believe that is true. I just think he is reading into the spate of superhero films ideas about what is happening in our psyche NOW as opposed to before. IOW the phase humans are in now is X and so superhero films are popular. But I think stories and myths have always been popular, but the reason they are coming in superhero films now, more than before, is because they can do it now, for technological reasons. But we don't need to go off on a tangential issue.

Something draws you to this guy, his videos, and I am not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it has to do with the meaning crisis....
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:45 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:But what is it that grabs you about them?

It’s the fact that he doesn’t just brush over a subject, but he takes time to build up his argument. I haven’t had a chance to go to university and so this kind of teaching has been relatively seldom in my life. He is picking up subjects that I have only intuitively felt to be correct and showing that there is that, but it is deeper and more interesting.
Karpel Tunnel wrote:I just think he is reading into the spate of superhero films ideas about what is happening in our psyche NOW as opposed to before. IOW the phase humans are in now is X and so superhero films are popular. But I think stories and myths have always been popular, but the reason they are coming in superhero films now, more than before, is because they can do it now, for technological reasons. But we don't need to go off on a tangential issue.

The connection is the fact that religion has either become ideological in many ways, or it is thrown out. This has caused a meaning crisis and explains why we have so many people who have some mental health issues. Facts and figures are not sufficient for life, they are too clinical and sterile. What we need are stories that show how people fail, like we often do, but who pick up after that and reach their goal – the heroes story.

Previously these superhero stories were told in comics and the mind can differentiate – they’re “only” comics. Reforming these stories in a kind of realism makes a large difference.
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Something draws you to this guy, his videos, and I am not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it has to do with the meaning crisis....

I do think that the meaning crisis is real in so many lives and it is something that jumps in my face in so many situations. So you’re probably right.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:58 am

Bob wrote:It’s the fact that he doesn’t just brush over a subject, but he takes time to build up his argument. I haven’t had a chance to go to university and so this kind of teaching has been relatively seldom in my life. He is picking up subjects that I have only intuitively felt to be correct and showing that there is that, but it is deeper and more interesting.
OK, but I am really looking for what particular ideas or arguments grab you. What content`?

I am not a fussy person when it has to do with forum rules, but I am going to mention one to make it clearer what I am after.

1. Posting Content
1.1The first post in a new thread on Philosophy should contain some form of philosophical thesis for discussion. Mods may suggest moving a post that looks to be more suited to another forum.

1.3 New posts advertising a blog, directing the reader to a book or a video and then asking for discussion, urging people to take online polls outside ILP, etc... will be moved to Mundane Babble. If the subject is worth discussion, write a precis in the body of the post and provide a link at the end.


I am trying to get at substance to respond to. Personally that might help me decide to invest in the time of the video. In a sense the idea is not just to be relayed to sources, but to be sources - which obviously you are in other threads. After the video has gone through your mind and in your words, what strikes you are important and why


The connection is the fact that religion has either become ideological in many ways, or it is thrown out. This has caused a meaning crisis and explains why we have so many people who have some mental health issues. Facts and figures are not sufficient for life, they are too clinical and sterile. What we need are stories that show how people fail, like we often do, but who pick up after that and reach their goal – the heroes story.

Previously these superhero stories were told in comics and the mind can differentiate – they’re “only” comics. Reforming these stories in a kind of realism makes a large difference.
I don't think people are taking the movies more real than the readers of the comics did. Or all the other stories in films where characters failed but picked up after that and reached their goals - heroes stories.


I do think that the meaning crisis is real in so many lives and it is something that jumps in my face in so many situations. So you’re probably right.
OK, great, so what did you learned about the meaning crisis from his videos that seems useful, true, etc,, that you havent gotten elsewhere?
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby phoneutria » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:43 am

Karpal, what do you have against mindfulness?
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:16 pm

phoneutria wrote:Karpal, what do you have against mindfulness?
Being able to notice what you are feeling and thinking from a semi-third person perspective is a healthy thing to have in any cognitive repetoire. If someone cannot do that, cannot look at their habits, lacks general introspective skills and those related to mindfulness, some training might be helpful. But Mindfullness is often more than just a short bit of training. And it brings up therefore my issues with Buddhism and to a lesser degree Hinduism. It is no coincidence that many parts of corporate america and Europe are just fine with if not positively relating to M. Getting people to detach from their reactions, to observe them rather than fully participating in them benefits systems of abuse. On an individual level it could, on the practical side, lead to staying in relations or jobs where one does not fit. On a more intra-psychic level it is part of the war on the limbic system. If someone wants to move in that direction, I say, go for it. But it carries with it a hatred - and thus a self-hatred - of being fully human. One of the many ways to be more a partial human.

And I actually think it fights meaning, for that matter...thinking of the OP.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:50 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I am really looking for what particular ideas or arguments grab you. What content`?

I am not a fussy person when it has to do with forum rules, but I am going to mention one to make it clearer what I am after.

1. Posting Content
1.1The first post in a new thread on Philosophy should contain some form of philosophical thesis for discussion. Mods may suggest moving a post that looks to be more suited to another forum.

1.3 New posts advertising a blog, directing the reader to a book or a video and then asking for discussion, urging people to take online polls outside ILP, etc... will be moved to Mundane Babble. If the subject is worth discussion, write a precis in the body of the post and provide a link at the end.


I am trying to get at substance to respond to. Personally that might help me decide to invest in the time of the video. In a sense the idea is not just to be relayed to sources, but to be sources - which obviously you are in other threads. After the video has gone through your mind and in your words, what strikes you are important and why.

Perhaps my suggestion belongs in another forum, although the subject matter seems to be suitable for this forum. That we need to awaken from the meaning crisis is a proposition I am making.

The argumentation for this proposition is lengthy and best presented in the videos from John Vervaeke. Therefore I will take the various subjects of those videos and make an argument for them.

1. Introduction:
“Why is the mindfulness revolution happening? There is an intersection between Buddhism and Cognitive Science... There is an increased interest, academically and in the public at large, in the topic of wisdom... Books from ages past are becoming interesting for people today, proposing wisdom for everyday life... There is an interest in Psychedelics and transformative experiences and the effects they can have on various disorders... Happiness has become a subject that interests people, as well as meaning... It becomes apparent that meaning in life is of paramount importance... It is no coincidence that these things are happening. We’re going through a mental health crisis, people are loosing touch with reality, expressions of nihilism, cynicism, narcissism and deep frustration are present... There is a loss of trust in public institutions... Participation has reduced, whether in clubs, churches or political organisations...”

In the selection of statements above that Vervaeke made, you can see that he is addressing a situation that, if we’re honest, we all notice is going on. We have been through a huge turnaround in the west in the 20th century, first of 180 degrees, but then we have turned back on that again, each time changing the way we conceive life and how we cope with our situation. There have been winners but also losers in this process – and a lot of disappointment along the way.

2. Flow, Metaphor, and the Axial Revolution:
“In the axial age (800 BCE – 300BCE) there was a great upheaval and kingdoms broke down and others started to build... The bronze age collapse was a huge catastrophe for the primitive societies existing at the time... But most effective of all, people started realising that “We’re responsible...” They discovered the double edged sword of their cognitive ability: The lack of discipline leads to violence, self deception and illusion, discipline leads to wisdom... They discovered that there was a condition under which things went well, that felt good but was also effective... We call that “flow” today, in the days of the axial revolution it was expressed in religious visions, but it led to a higher cultivation of thoughts and ideas. Agriculture developed, alphabetic literacy grew and higher civilisation became an ideal to work towards. An enhanced awareness grew...”

I think it is important that Vervaeke builds up his argument, starting when the way people looked at life started to change from a fight for survival for everyone into pockets of reflective thinking, the use of metaphor, the discovery of flow states and rise of myth. This wasn’t primitive, it was the beginning of sophistication and the use of language that today we struggle to understand properly because we have over-rationalised over the last several hundred years and lost the feeling for language that was human heritage for thousands of years. The new mystics come close to understanding, but they are ridiculed for their non-rational exegesis, using the language as a means of feeling how it was to live back then and understanding it as something existential.

3. Continuous Cosmos and Modern World Grammar
“Myth was important in both before the axial age and afterwards, but not a “falsehood” as we understand the word today, but as symbolic stories of perennial patterns that are always with us... The Continuous Cosmos alludes to the deep connection between the natural world and the cultural world, and between the cultural world and the world of the gods... They express differences in power, the gods are something more powerful than a human being... “Glorious power” doesn’t mean anything moral, the greeks gods are far from moral examples... The Pharaoh is also glorious and powerful so he must be a god or god-like... Life was experienced like a circle, similar to the seasons; rituals tried to tap into this continuity by re-enacting the story or myth... There is a desire to be in harmony with these cycles, not change them... The new mythological view after the axial age was a vision of two worlds, an “everyday” world of violence, self-deception and illusion, and the “real” world where the trained mind or the wise mind is in touch with reality... People wanted to transcend the everyday world and reach the new real-world... Wisdom told how to make that transformative leap... Previous to the axial age, it was important to fit in, whereas after the axial age it was about transcending the self. Our problem today is that these old mythologies are not liveable, even if we express ourselves using the mythologies and metaphors of old...”

Building on the last video, Vervaeke makes the point that the language of today is influenced by the mythology of old. This goes back a long time and is therefore ingrained in our language. I think that it is more than that. Our psyche needs images which rationality often fails to produce. This makes us very “heady” and rationalising everything. The result is that people who are guided by the psyche are regarded as eccentric, such as the artists of various disciplines. At the same time, we appreciate their art but have no idea of how they get there. This started long ago and these people accepted as prophets, shamans etc. The go-betweens were priests and they guided the society as well as their leaders towards transcendence. The gods were not what we conceive them to have been, and were symbolic of the powerful influences in our lives that they couldn’t grasp. Today, of course, with the use of rationality, we can name many of these, but the names don’t help us feel intuitively, and spiritual intuition has even become suspect in our society.

what did you learned about the meaning crisis from his videos that seems useful, true, etc,, that you havent gotten elsewhere?

I think I have given an indication above, although it was quite a lot of work and I had things going on here that occupied me. I couldn’t go into more videos, but I will carry on if it is of interest.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Tab » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:46 am

Watching the series, thanks for the link bob. Get back to you in a couple of days.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:53 am

Bob wrote:1. Introduction:
“Why is the mindfulness revolution happening? There is an intersection between Buddhism and Cognitive Science... There is an increased interest, academically and in the public at large, in the topic of wisdom... Books from ages past are becoming interesting for people today, proposing wisdom for everyday life... There is an interest in Psychedelics and transformative experiences and the effects they can have on various disorders... Happiness has become a subject that interests people, as well as meaning... It becomes apparent that meaning in life is of paramount importance... It is no coincidence that these things are happening. We’re going through a mental health crisis, people are loosing touch with reality, expressions of nihilism, cynicism, narcissism and deep frustration are present... There is a loss of trust in public institutions... Participation has reduced, whether in clubs, churches or political organisations...”

In the selection of statements above that Vervaeke made, you can see that he is addressing a situation that, if we’re honest, we all notice is going on. We have been through a huge turnaround in the west in the 20th century, first of 180 degrees, but then we have turned back on that again, each time changing the way we conceive life and how we cope with our situation. There have been winners but also losers in this process – and a lot of disappointment along the way.
Thanks for doing this. I didn't mean it had to be huge, just something that mattered to you from what he said. Yes, I think life is a lot worse nowadays (this in agreement with the latter part of his quote above) than metrics would show. We have a lot of stuff, but we have more stress and the stuff we have often causes that stress. I think our lives suit us less well, though we have better food available and in some senses better health care, but less nature, less meaninful work, more distance from others, addictive media that are generally not considered to be addictive. We have the same bodies and souls, but much of modern life is just acting like better preservatives. We're pickled and live longer, but the lives we have don't suit those bodies and souls.

2. Flow, Metaphor, and the Axial Revolution:
“In the axial age (800 BCE – 300BCE) there was a great upheaval and kingdoms broke down and others started to build... The bronze age collapse was a huge catastrophe for the primitive societies existing at the time... But most effective of all, people started realising that “We’re responsible...” They discovered the double edged sword of their cognitive ability: The lack of discipline leads to violence, self deception and illusion, discipline leads to wisdom... They discovered that there was a condition under which things went well, that felt good but was also effective... We call that “flow” today, in the days of the axial revolution it was expressed in religious visions, but it led to a higher cultivation of thoughts and ideas. Agriculture developed, alphabetic literacy grew and higher civilisation became an ideal to work towards. An enhanced awareness grew...”

I think it is important that Vervaeke builds up his argument, starting when the way people looked at life started to change from a fight for survival for everyone into pockets of reflective thinking, the use of metaphor, the discovery of flow states and rise of myth. This wasn’t primitive, it was the beginning of sophistication and the use of language that today we struggle to understand properly because we have over-rationalised over the last several hundred years and lost the feeling for language that was human heritage for thousands of years. The new mystics come close to understanding, but they are ridiculed for their non-rational exegesis, using the language as a means of feeling how it was to live back then and understanding it as something existential.
I know that's just a portion of what he wrote but I can't get it. Flow and discipline it seems to me are counterpatterns. Not that one cannot have both, of course, but how these things work together is not clear. I think there was myth outside of civilization, as indigenous groups all have myths. I take certain myths literally, myself.

Building on the last video, Vervaeke makes the point that the language of today is influenced by the mythology of old. This goes back a long time and is therefore ingrained in our language. I think that it is more than that. Our psyche needs images which rationality often fails to produce. This makes us very “heady” and rationalising everything. The result is that people who are guided by the psyche are regarded as eccentric, such as the artists of various disciplines. At the same time, we appreciate their art but have no idea of how they get there. This started long ago and these people accepted as prophets, shamans etc. The go-betweens were priests and they guided the society as well as their leaders towards transcendence. The gods were not what we conceive them to have been, and were symbolic of the powerful influences in our lives that they couldn’t grasp. Today, of course, with the use of rationality, we can name many of these, but the names don’t help us feel intuitively, and spiritual intuition has even become suspect in our society.
I live with a shaman. I agree with the above, though to me it has the feel of a jungian approach, in the sense that really this was poetic language, meant to elicit experiences, and not in that sense like, say, scientific language. I think most shamans would disagree, certainly the one I live with would. I do think that poetic language is also needed as metaphorical approaches to things and not as literal. But, there is an underworld.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Tab » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:36 pm

Karpel wrote: Flow and discipline it seems to me are counterpatterns. Not that one cannot have both, of course, but how these things work together is not clear.


I just watched the flow episode. I think he meant the discipline part precedes the flow state, setting it up rather than working at the same time. Discipline in this sense is like muscle memory for the mind.

Like the jazz musician example of flow-state, it did forget to mention that before you become a great flow-state improvisor jazz musician, you have to spend the customary 10,000 disciplined hours to actually become musically competant, before you finally go on stage, and then drop that disciplined state for a flow state.

Or like the free-climber example, a beginner, however much in the flow-state they might be, will still fall to their death. You still need the embedded remnants of previous disciplined learning to inform and contextualize the flow.

Hah, ok - the flow is the river, discipline is the banks. ☺
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby felix dakat » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:26 pm

Tab wrote:
Karpel wrote: Flow and discipline it seems to me are counterpatterns. Not that one cannot have both, of course, but how these things work together is not clear.


I just watched the flow episode. I think he meant the discipline part precedes the flow state, setting it up rather than working at the same time. Discipline in this sense is like muscle memory for the mind.

Like the jazz musician example of flow-state, it did forget to mention that before you become a great flow-state improvisor jazz musician, you have to spend the customary 10,000 disciplined hours to actually become musically competant, before you finally go on stage, and then drop that disciplined state for a flow state.

Or like the free-climber example, a beginner, however much in the flow-state they might be, will still fall to their death. You still need the embedded remnants of previous disciplined learning to inform and contextualize the flow.

Hah, ok - the flow is the river, discipline is the banks. ☺


Jazz pianist Kenny Werner calls it" effortless mastery" in a book and meditation CD by the same name where he counsels on how to achieve it.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:12 am

Bob wrote:This is a series of videos that are worth listening to by John Vervaeke from the University of Toronto:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54l8_ewcOlY&list=PLND1JCRq8Vuh3f0P5qjrSdb5eC1ZfZwWJ

Great stuffs.
There are loads and tons of diversify of information that need to be filtered with critical thinking.
I went through a few videos, i.e. 1. Intro, 6. Aristotle, Kant, .. 8. Buddha and Mindfulness, 9. Insight.

I like Vervaeke' perspective of mindfulness [Vispasana] and its mechanisms within the mind and what "insight" and "contemplation" meant.

I gathered beside being an academic professor, Vervaeke also teaches Vispasanna [Mindfulness] and Tai Chi. He stated he is not promoting Buddhism.

What I noted is Vervaeke did not organize the videos [I heard] to a specific main theme - perhaps that was not his intention. In many cases, he merely delved on certain areas and philosophers by merely brushing the 'tip of an iceberg'.

What I can gathered is "Awakening from the meaning crisis" is most appropriate be 'awakening from the meaning of the existential crisis' which is the core.
Vervaeke mentioned "existential crisis" [existential anxieties] in relation to the Buddha's quest but did not follow up with this in the other lectures.

I believe below is the central theme of Buddhism-proper in resolving the existential crisis;

Buddha's 4NT-8FP -A Life Problem Solving Technique
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=187395&p=2516030&hilit=4NT#p2516030

I mentioned in the above, which Versaeke emphasized as well;
"The above model works best when the Buddha story is deemed as a myth, where one's effort is focused on the model and the Buddha's core principles."

Whilst Vervaeke emphasized "mindfulness" it is only one critical element [within the Noble Eightfold Path] in the above model.

Generally, I believe all the lectures are worth it for those who has the time.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:16 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Thanks for doing this. I didn't mean it had to be huge, just something that mattered to you from what he said. Yes, I think life is a lot worse nowadays (this in agreement with the latter part of his quote above) than metrics would show. We have a lot of stuff, but we have more stress and the stuff we have often causes that stress. I think our lives suit us less well, though we have better food available and in some senses better health care, but less nature, less meaninful work, more distance from others, addictive media that are generally not considered to be addictive. We have the same bodies and souls, but much of modern life is just acting like better preservatives. We're pickled and live longer, but the lives we have don't suit those bodies and souls.

I’m not sure life is worse, it is just differently bad, if you get what I mean. There are many things that we don’t have to suffer, but others things take their place which are subtle and not so apparent. The worse thing in my mind is the fact that we, as a society, are doing it to ourselves fully aware of what we’re doing, even if the individual isn’t clear what’s happening to him-/herself.

I had a job that was meaningful (geriatric care) and then in came the technocrats and wanted to cash in on the elderly with various ailments. It is, despite the need for profit, an immoral undertaking and I suffered, like any other person who is trying to fulfil some ideal.

I like the “pickle” idea.

I know that's just a portion of what he wrote but I can't get it. Flow and discipline it seems to me are counterpatterns. Not that one cannot have both, of course, but how these things work together is not clear. I think there was myth outside of civilization, as indigenous groups all have myths. I take certain myths literally, myself.

I think the discipline he is talking about enables flow, because inefficiency blocks it.

Myth is at the centre of civilisation, which grew out of indigenous groups. I think that is how we should look at it. Lowly beginnings have led to larger groups as time goes on and the group has a central myth (or myths) with which it can work. Taking them literally is, as I have numerously explained, like jumping into a vehicle for the ride. They take us places where we can feel how it feels, and this speaks to the psyche or soul at a deep level of subconsciousness.

I live with a shaman. I agree with the above, though to me it has the feel of a jungian approach, in the sense that really this was poetic language, meant to elicit experiences, and not in that sense like, say, scientific language. I think most shamans would disagree, certainly the one I live with would. I do think that poetic language is also needed as metaphorical approaches to things and not as literal. But, there is an underworld.

I can imagine that living with a shaman is exciting and disconcerting at the same time. Having a different perception of life is not easy in the current atmosphere of nationalism and bigotry. Attempts to help can soon backfire and the “difference” can become the place at which criticism is pointed.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:18 am

Tab wrote:I just watched the flow episode. I think he meant the discipline part precedes the flow state, setting it up rather than working at the same time. Discipline in this sense is like muscle memory for the mind.

Like the jazz musician example of flow-state, it did forget to mention that before you become a great flow-state improvisor jazz musician, you have to spend the customary 10,000 disciplined hours to actually become musically competant, before you finally go on stage, and then drop that disciplined state for a flow state.

Or like the free-climber example, a beginner, however much in the flow-state they might be, will still fall to their death. You still need the embedded remnants of previous disciplined learning to inform and contextualize the flow.

Hah, ok - the flow is the river, discipline is the banks. ☺

Very good! ;-)
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:38 am

Prismatic567 wrote:Great stuffs.
There are loads and tons of diversify of information that need to be filtered with critical thinking.
I went through a few videos, i.e. 1. Intro, 6. Aristotle, Kant, .. 8. Buddha and Mindfulness, 9. Insight.

I like Vervaeke' perspective of mindfulness [Vispasana] and its mechanisms within the mind and what "insight" and "contemplation" meant.

I gathered beside being an academic professor, Vervaeke also teaches Vispasanna [Mindfulness] and Tai Chi. He stated he is not promoting Buddhism.

This is one of the advantages of having this diversity open to us. I see Vervaeke as one of these people who incorporate many aspects into his life in the attempt to have a “whole” experience. I like the way he touches on the various teachings or insights and builds them into an explanation why there is a meaning crisis.

Prismatic567 wrote:What I noted is Vervaeke did not organize the videos [I heard] to a specific main theme - perhaps that was not his intention. In many cases, he merely delved on certain areas and philosophers by merely brushing the 'tip of an iceberg'.

What I can gathered is "Awakening from the meaning crisis" is most appropriate be 'awakening from the meaning of the existential crisis' which is the core.
Vervaeke mentioned "existential crisis" [existential anxieties] in relation to the Buddha's quest but did not follow up with this in the other lectures.

I think it is, as you say, obvious from what he said that the meaning crisis is an existential crisis. He doesn’t use the word but in much of what he is saying it is implicit.

Prismatic567 wrote:I believe below is the central theme of Buddhism-proper in resolving the existential crisis;

Buddha's 4NT-8FP -A Life Problem Solving Technique
http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... T#p2516030

I mentioned in the above, which Versaeke emphasized as well;
"The above model works best when the Buddha story is deemed as a myth, where one's effort is focused on the model and the Buddha's core principles."

Whilst Vervaeke emphasized "mindfulness" it is only one critical element [within the Noble Eightfold Path] in the above model.

I think he, and you, is absolutely correct to regard the “life story” of the Buddha as a myth. As he showed us, it is exemplary for the process that is necessary for many people to reach an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and consequently of the Eightfold Path in order to discover the “Buddha nature” within. In the same way, the Gospel of Mark is written like a Greek tragedy, with the transfiguration as the turning point and an open end. Much of Christian liturgy is based on this story and holds the “complete” “Christ nature” up before our eyes.

Generally, I believe all the lectures are worth it for those who has the time.

I thought so too. ;-)
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:16 pm

Bob wrote:I’m not sure life is worse, it is just differently bad, if you get what I mean. There are many things that we don’t have to suffer, but others things take their place which are subtle and not so apparent.
Yes, frog in slowly heating up water stuff.
The worse thing in my mind is the fact that we, as a society, are doing it to ourselves fully aware of what we’re doing, even if the individual isn’t clear what’s happening to him-/herself.
A lot of it is intentional. And a lot of it is conceived as improvement. Some of it is coming out of the corporate world and they know they are being selfish.

I had a job that was meaningful (geriatric care) and then in came the technocrats and wanted to cash in on the elderly with various ailments. It is, despite the need for profit, an immoral undertaking and I suffered, like any other person who is trying to fulfil some ideal.
This is happening in a lot of fields.

I like the “pickle” idea.

:)

I think the discipline he is talking about enables flow, because inefficiency blocks it.
Yes, and Tab's answer, as you noted, was a good one.

I can imagine that living with a shaman is exciting and disconcerting at the same time.
Living with anyone, let alone being married to them, is like this, lol.
Having a different perception of life is not easy in the current atmosphere of nationalism and bigotry.
This is true, though actually where we are the main unpleasantness comes mainly from the educated classes.

Attempts to help can soon backfire and the “difference” can become the place at which criticism is pointed.
Yes.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Tab » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:51 pm

Socrates' principle of 'know thyself' has been very important to me since I started thinking and reading and spouting nonsense about 15 years ago. Sounds very unphilosophic but I did it by reading up on everything from neurophysiology to geopolitics.

I took 'thyself' to mean 'human' rather than 'myself'. I think only other people can really 'know' you in the traditional sense, your own model of self is too biased. From getting an idea of how a human functions as a singular being I moved onto how humans function in groups.

I have noticed what the guy spoke about in lecture 5, when knowing more about the realities of what I am/we are both feeds into itself and reduces stress. Most of that comes from being wholeheartedly able to forgive some of my personal mistakes in the past, as well as those who have trespassed against me. :D If an agnostic can borrow from the Lord's prayer for a sec.

The same goes for the hoary wisdom of "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference." It's galling to me to have arrived at the same places via vastly more complex routes. It's like I set off on a footrace with a monk 15 years ago, ran like a bastard all the way, only to find the guy already at the finish line, thumbing through his bible, and mumbling bits of the dao de jing.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby tentative » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:20 am

Way to go Tab. You had to bring up Dao. "The sage does not go out to meet them nor see them off." Basically, check your assumptions and your pre-conceived ideas. If there is such a thing (condition) as mindfulness/flow it is quite simply that. Sadly, very few people can live without their pre-conceived ideas. In fact, it may be next to impossible. But it may be possible to reduce our assumptions and really experience an experience. I've managed it once or twice. It isn't easy to be in a state of not knowing.

About the meaning crisis: I noticed that almost all the references here suggest that meaning comes from or through a process outside ourselves. Is it possible that meaning is found inside an experience? Does that change anything?
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:55 pm

Tab wrote:Socrates' principle of 'know thyself' has been very important to me since I started thinking and reading and spouting nonsense about 15 years ago. Sounds very unphilosophic but I did it by reading up on everything from neurophysiology to geopolitics.

I took 'thyself' to mean 'human' rather than 'myself'. I think only other people can really 'know' you in the traditional sense, your own model of self is too biased. From getting an idea of how a human functions as a singular being I moved onto how humans function in groups.

What you said about spouting nonsense seems very familiar to me, although I don’t remember you doing that ;-) I was struck by the awareness that, contrary to what I thought, the world had very many facets and I didn’t know very much at all (“I know that I don’t know”). Therefore I began reading as much as I could, albeit very different subjects than you turned to.

The humanistic, “know thyself,” became more meaningful the more I meditated. Through that experience, I came to realise that we often need the other person to illuminate those areas of our lives that are in the “shadow,” and which we try to fade out. However, “shadow work” is something that every spiritual practice should incorporate, whether religious or not. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in many religious groups and I’m not sure that the non-religious pay much attention to this either.

Tab wrote:I have noticed what the guy spoke about in lecture 5, when knowing more about the realities of what I am/we are both feeds into itself and reduces stress. Most of that comes from being wholeheartedly able to forgive some of my personal mistakes in the past, as well as those who have trespassed against me. :D If an agnostic can borrow from the Lord's prayer for a sec.

The same goes for the hoary wisdom of "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference." It's galling to me to have arrived at the same places via vastly more complex routes. It's like I set off on a footrace with a monk 15 years ago, ran like a bastard all the way, only to find the guy already at the finish line, thumbing through his bible, and mumbling bits of the dao de jing.

I know how you feel, I am much the same. Serenity is something I aspire to (I’ve even got a stone with “Gelassenheit” written across it in the bathroom) but often fail to achieve. Much of it comes from my tendency to think that I need to do something rather than not do things.

What impressed me was how Vervaeke pointed out how Socrates was disappointed at the amount of “bullshit” that was going on amongst the sophists. You could say that it is just like today. We’re surrounded by it.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:03 pm

tentative wrote:I noticed that almost all the references here suggest that meaning comes from or through a process outside ourselves. Is it possible that meaning is found inside an experience? Does that change anything?

Long time no read... ;-)

Yes, experience or happenings can be full of meaning. It is just that we generally seem to have little time to savour them. Even though I'm not working, I've struggled to keep up meditation and contemplation. There still seems so much to do. But I do enjoy sitting in the garden watching the smaller songbirds chase each other through the small garden, squirrels are also a joy to watch. It does feel idyllic. And books - my goodness - books seem to fill so much time.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Tab » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:34 pm

Bob wrote:What impressed me was how Vervaeke pointed out how Socrates was disappointed at the amount of “bullshit” that was going on amongst the sophists. You could say that it is just like today. We’re surrounded by it.


Yeah, you have to work very hard to avoid the bullshit these days. Insane amounts everywhere. I insulate myself to the extent I don't have a facebook page, twitter account or a mobile phone. I realise this is a luxury afforded by my age and profession, the less antiquated people pretty much cannot function in the workplace or society in general without all three, at least so I'm told.

Worse still, the algorithms used to recommend things on the internet I think draw people into ever decreasing circles of nodding heads all agreeing with each other. Flat earthers, anti-vaccination-ers being extreme examples but in general I think people are less exposed to 'dissent' in their lives leading to calcified opinions and beliefs.

Perhaps this makes people leary of meeting new 'real' people out in the wild :D Perhaps this tendency to over-react, and knee-jerk outrage is simply a symptom of people just flaty unused to others not holding the same beliefs they do, about anything.

I remember when a forum was a table in a pub, and your connection to it was a pint of beer.

Argh old maudlin man is old and maudlin.

Much of it comes from my tendency to think that I need to do something rather than not do things.


At the risk of sounding sexist, I think some of that is simply a 'man' thing. I'm the same, everything is a problem, everything needs fixing. If someone is unhappy, I listen until I hear something resembling a problem, and imediately attempt to fix them, forgetting that half the time they already know what they need to do, and just wanted a sympathetic ear. I'm trying to mansplain less these days but... it's hard lol.

The rest is I think, regret-o-phobia. Endemic and pernicious. That fear of not doing something, only to think later "Damn that might have worked - I'm such an evil person for not trying it." Or worse still, someone else saying "Damn that might have worked - you're such an evil person for not trying it." Even though if you're honest there wasn't a chance in hell of it doing any good. Personally, I blame films. "It was a million to one chance, but they pulled it off." etc.

It makes me want to start a film company that only makes films that reflect reality. The romantic comedy where people meet under humourous conditions, get married in haste, then make each other utterly miserable for the entire last hour of the film. The action film where the hero gets a flesh wound, toughs it out, then dies slowly from sepsis. The sci-fi thriller that involves serious scientists, in a lab, monotonously repeating a single experiment, over and over, with very slight variations in a single variable for 2 and half hours, only to get their funding cut in the last scene.

I know. Instant box-office smashes every one.
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Re: Awakening from the meaning crisis

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:20 pm

I am coming at this from a different angle and without the
benefit of watching the vid's...(as is well known, I hate the use
of video's in place of arguments even if the vid's do a better job
of argument then a synopsis of the video would do... I just don't like
video's doing the arguments, but it is a personal thing... sorry)

awareness... I have argued for self-awareness for some time now...
but why? I see the question as being about "knowing thyself"

how do we engage in "knowing thyself"? or how do we begin to
know who we are by becoming aware of who we are.....

this awareness, which can be thought of as focus upon oneself...
thus focus upon oneself isn't the solipsism of the young where they can
only focus upon themselves without becoming aware of anything outside
of their own thoughts or feelings.....

my concentration is upon this focus......the act of becoming aware....

the problem with the modern world, one of many problems, is
that we are distracted by multiple things going on....one of reasons I
stay so isolated from people is to remain focus on my thoughts....
if I allow others to engage with me, I lose focus on what is important which
is my engagement with who I am and how I can become human...…

I basically work or I am at home.. that is it.....I don't go out, I don't talk
on the phone, I don't, for the most part, engage in e-mail or facebook or
anything else that might distract me from my becoming aware.....

I keep isolated to help me remain focus on what it means to become human....

I have removed the distractions of modern day life and I am solely focus
on becoming....to become aware, to engage in becoming aware, requires
this focus of isolation.....we cannot allow the modern world to distract us from
our goal, be it becoming who we are or be it engaging in the task of
Socrates which is "the unexamined life isn't worth living" so, I have
engaged in my examination of life and my life in particular...…

but to do so, requires, demands isolation and focus upon the task
at hand and that takes a certain dedication to isolate one from
the habits and routines of the modern world.....another form of
being solipsistic as exhibited by the young, but not really.....

the perfect example of solipsism is the idea of "what is in it for me"

as if every single question must some how relate to oneself or it isn't
meaningful......a question can be meaningful and still not directly
be about any specific person....

now I may completely missed the point here, but hay, that is isolation
for you.... sometimes you miss the direct point but you make the point
anyway because about it is about everyone...

do you have the ability to focus on the task at hand or are you a "modern"
person who has a million things trying to gain your attention?

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