Ep. 37 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Reverse Engineering Enlightenment: Part 2 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 37 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Reverse Engineering Enlightenment: Part 2".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:15)

Welcome back to Awakening for the Meaning Crisis. So last time we were taking a look at a proposal that we could understand the sacred that which causes the experience of sacredness in terms of a transjective inexhaustibility, a kind of deep anagogae between the no-thingness of your ever-evolving relevance realization and its mysterious depths and the no-thingness of a reality that is ultimately combinatorial explosive and dynamically changing itself. And that we can acknowledge the important role of the symbolic, the way it helps us to engage and activate the primordial aspects of religio and go through processes of re-exaptation, causing new emergent abilities so that we're opening, as we're opening up the world, we are also opening up ourselves in response to that. But I cautioned against confusing indispensable your own or our collective at times indispensable with any kind of claims of metaphysical necessity or an absolute essence. And that was part of the larger critique that relevance can't have an absolute essence. And therefore we shouldn't think of the sacred ultimately as a supernaturally endowed, absolutely essential form of relevance. So I then proposed to you that part of what we saw, at least the experience of sacredness doing, was helping to facilitate the higher order relevance realization, the meta-realization between homing us against domicide, the meta-assimilation, but also causing us to confront the pneumonus, the metacomidation. And so the sacred is doing that. But I also proposed that we needed to look at this more deeply. We needed to look at how the sacred helps us address perennial problems. So that took us into opening up and becoming a little bit more analytic about the meaning crisis. There's two components to the meaning crisis. There are the historical factors, which we traced in detail at the beginning of the first half of the series. And now an issue that is now one we need to focus on, the perennial problems, because in some sense the experience of sacredness, the attempt to activate, accentuate, accelerate, articulate, and appreciate religio, should address our perennial problems. The perennial problems are, of course, perennial because the very machinery of religio that makes us adaptive also makes us perpetually vulnerable to self-deceptive, self-destructive behavior. Most cultures cultivate an ecology of psycho-technologies, typically in the form of a religion, for addressing the perennial problems. But that set of psycho-technologies has to be fitted into a legitimizing and sustaining world view. In some sense, the psycho-technologies have to be integrated with sacredness. What's, of course, happening for us is-- and we'll come back to this in more detail here-- the historical factors have undermined that possibility for us, undermined the experience of sacredness, all of the ways in which we can cultivate an ecology of psycho-technologies for enhancing religio, because we do not have a world view within which that project of meaning-making self-transcendence, the cultivation of wisdom, the affordance of higher states of consciousness, the realization of noces, we do not have a world view that legitimates or encourages that. And so people are forced, as I said, to cobble together in a dangerously auto-diabetic fashion, their own personal responses to perennial problems without traditions, guidance, communities, well-worked out sets, like I say, of practices, well-vetted, well-developed. And so that means they're often bereft when they face the perennial problems. So responding to the meaning crisis has two components to it. And that's why I call it awakening from the meaning crisis, because it has not only the response of trying to re-atticulate a new world view in which the project of enhancing religio, again, gets validation, is properly situated, encouraged, facilitated, legitimated, et cetera. But we also need to understand what the set of practices, the ecology of psychotechnology, would look like that would allow us to address the perennial problems.

Understanding The Meaning Crisis

Perennial Problems (05:47)

And I'm proposing that the scientific account of relevance, realization, and religio, and I've already tried to give you some allusions to that. We're going to come back to it for force. We'll give us a way of articulating a world view in which we can re-situate the project of meaning making. And of course, the linchpin of that argument is the idea that at the core of the meaning making is relevance, realization, and relevance, realization, can be given a naturalistic explanation, one that hopefully still does full justice to the experience of sacredness. But I want to concentrate as we began last time on the perennial problems, because ultimately, that's the final thing. If I come up with a historical response, and it does not actually afford the addressing of the perennial problems, helps people to ameliorate and perhaps alleviate the perennial problems, then this project has failed. So we need to start discussing the perennial problems and developing this thesis more extensively that the very machinery that makes us adaptable to self-deceptive, self-destructive patterns of behavior. So we talked about looking at some of the core features of Religio, so we've got functional features. And here we have, of course, self-organization. And I tried to develop that very explicitly. It's not just vague self-organization. It's opponent processing, opponent processing that's making use of self-organizing criticality, relationship between compression, particularization, and other such trade-off relationships, et cetera. We've got self-identification. That process by which you're creating an identity. And you've got self-reflection, your ability to step back and reflect on your own cognition, which, of course, was made so powerfully present in the actual revolution with the advent of second-order thinking. We took a look at the structural-- this has to do with the components of the agent arena relationship, the ways in which self is connected to the world, self is connected to self, and self is connected to others. All right?

Developmental (08:53)

And then we looked at the developmental. And I sort of left that as a placeholder, because I just wanted to give a quick overview last time. But I wanted to go in and draw this together, because what we've been talking about throughout the last few lectures is the idea that your cognition is inherently developmental. It functions by developing. It develops by functioning. It's an-- right? So because it's inherently self-organizing, it develops by functioning. It functions by developing. And this is qualitative development. What I mean is you get the capacity for self-transcendence. There's not only an increase in what you know, but an increase in the kinds of things you can know, the kinds of things you can do. And this is ultimately some kind of process of optimization. So there's a developmental trajectory. And then what you can see is some of the problems we've already talked about, the parasitic processing. In the notes for this lecture, I will put references to the previous lectures in which I have talked about these in detail. So in order to avoid useless repetition, you can go back and look at the presentation. But this is-- if you remember, there's a bad event, and it spirals off, and it gets this very complex self-organizing system that takes on a life of its own, becomes very adaptively resistant to our attempts at intervention, et cetera. So this is modal confusion. This is the right from, but very much you can also see it being addressed by the Stoics. You can see it being addressed by Buddhism, as Bachelor argues. This is to get into confusion between the having and the being modes, the kind of I that you are, the I-ed, I-ed, I-thou, et cetera. So for flexion last time we talked about this. This is the reflectiveness gap. This comes from the fact that what we can do is we can step back and look at our own processing. And this affords us. This gap affords us regaining our agency from the chaos of being the impulsive wanton. But when we open up the reflectiveness gap too much, we get also a loss of agency.

We get the tragedy of Hamlet. And of course, some middle position is not the answer there, because at times you have to be highly reflective. At times you have to be highly immersed. How do we answer that? The problem here with the self-world relationship is absurdity. As I said, this is the agent arena relationship. And we talked about absurdity here and made clear that all of the arguments for absurdity-- like what happens a million years from now, it doesn't matter. I'm so small, I will die. None of these things actually are arguments that can legitimately lead to a conclusion of absurdity, because there are in many ways-- and this was Nagel's point. They're just bad arguments. They're fallacious arguments. Now, dismissing the arguments is not to dismiss the person who makes the argument. I hope I made that clear last time. If not, I'm trying to do that now. Because people are trying to articulate with these pseudo arguments something real that is happening to them, something that is very important. So the arguments are after the fact expressions, rather than the generators. And the main thing here-- and this, of course, goes into-- you can see how all of this is our perspectival participatory ways of being, ways of knowing. But what's here is a clash of perspectives. It's a class of perspectives. And we did the example of Tom, who's calling Susan, and how in humor that clash of perspectives can be resolved, usually by playing, like, equivocating between terms or meanings, or getting people to make a connection they hadn't made before. But in absurdity-- and I think there's an overlap like this, where you have humor as a resolvable clash of perspectives. And then you have absurdity here. And then there's an overlap zone. And like I said, there's a lot of humor. My prototypical example, and it tells my age when I was growing up is the humor of Monty Python, in which you get a lot of absurdity. But then you get what becomes irresolvable clash. It's undermining religio in some way, undermining your agency in some way. And that's sort of pure absurdity. Self with self, this goes back to what we talked about with tillic, right? And anxiety, inner conflict. And what we need here is to, again, think about the ways in which this is connected to self-deception, because the inner conflict-- remember, Plato-- often skews your salient landscape and makes you susceptible to bullshitting. I'll talk about bullshitting in connection to this overall.

Social media exacerbates (14:52)

Of course, this is alienation. This is our inability to connect to other people. Something that is often exacerbated through social media. By the way, these other perennial problems and self-deceptive behavior can be magnified in social media. So we can be motally confused and think by having a lot of connections. We're overcoming our alienation and loneliness. But of course, that's not the case. We can exacerbate the social media by falling into a sort of pretend narrative and things like that. OK, here we talked about existential inertia. This is when you need to move between world views, make a world view viable that you're not currently in. We're going to talk a lot more about the work of Agnes Callard with aspiration, but the point here-- and going back again to the seminal work of L.A. Paul-- but this is basically a need for Anagagae. How do I-- Anagagae, my way out of this world view into another world view? And then, of course, there's existential ignorance, a point made salient by L.A. Paul, and also picked up by Agnes Callard in her book on aspiration. That we can't sort of reason our way through this. We can't infer our way from a weaker logic to a stronger logic. We can't infer. We can't propositionally come up with that perspectival knowledge that we're lacking with the participatory knowing that we do not currently possess and the identity that we are not currently cultivating. So all of that, of course, can come together.

Why are we experiencing meaning crisis at all? (16:41)

And this was mythologized. And I mean that in a complementary sense. Remember how I'm using mythos? This is mythologized by the Gnostics of existential entrapment. Feeling trapped. Now, a couple of things before we move towards starting to address this. This is analytic. This is for theoretical purposes that these things are being distinguished and laid out. It is often the case, as I've already tried to indicate, that these things are interacting and exacerbating each other. That you can be experiencing absurdity, and it can be really contributing to your existential inertia. You could be overthinking things and getting sort of stuck. And that might be also contributing to your existential ignorance. Or it might be contributing to your modal confusion, because you can't remember the being mode, because you're caught up in having a lot of thoughts and trying to have a lot of beliefs. I'm not going to try and map this out, because the permutations of the ways in which these interact and afford and exacerbate each other is very complex, which, of course, is why the perennial problems are so pressing on people. Now, what I want to try and do is to show you how we can salvage from the legacy so many psychotechnologies for addressing the meaning crisis. The reason why I'm hesitating is because, again, this is genuine.

How to deal with parasitic pressure (18:48)

There's a hubristic element here.

Meaning crisis is existential entrapment (18:59)

And I'm not just trying to say, oh, taking it from you and leaving that behind. But again, I'm trying to get a balance between respecting where we really are and what our situation really is and respecting all of the tremendous heritage and legacy that has been given to us.

The brilliant but barbarous world (19:11)

And trying to get that balance is always in my mind. It's very difficult. But I'm going to go through these, each one. First of all, I'm just going to name so you can get an overall schematic. And then I'll erase the board. And I'll talk about each one in greater detail. So be patient, please. I'm asking for your patience. I'm just going to give some indications about how we address each one of these schematically. So you can see on the board. And then I'll step back and go through each one in more detail and then how they're integrated together. And what's also missing from this in an important sense. So what I'm going to propose here is the way you deal with parasitic processing is-- and this is why this is number one in some sense, schematically. It's overarching. You've heard me talk about it before, the idea of an ecology of practices and ecology of psychotechnology. What you want to do is you want to cultivate a counteractive dynamical system. So parasitic processing is a very complex dynamical system. And if you try and do one-shot interventions, it just reconfigures itself. What you need is to cultivate a-- that you internalized. It can't just be something you think about. It can't just be some ideological structure. It has to actually be an active dynamical system in you.

Ecology of praise: practices (20:45)

And so what you're going to do-- again, I'll come back to this in more detail. You're going to try and cultivate a counteractive dynamical system because that is how you will be able to respond to the dynamical systems of parasitic processing. And I'm going to propose to you that a prototypical, by no means exclusive-- so that's how I'm using it. But a prototypical example of this is the cultivation of the eightfold path in Buddhism, which is a very, very perspicaciously represented by an eight-spoked wheel. The integration, it revolves, it evolves, et cetera. So what we're looking for here is a counteractive dynamical system. Modal confusion. We've already talked about this.

The clash of perspectives (21:32)

And this is sati, practices that are designed to invoke a deep remembrance of the being mode. The reflectiveness gap. You need the combination, the integration, the dynamic integration, not just a settled median point. You need the dynamic integration of immersion and creative flexibility. We know a state that does that. We're going to come back to this. But that's the flow state. You need to be cultivating the flow state in an important way. OK, the clash of perspectives. This is going to take-- again, so this, what I put on the board right now initially is going to seem like what. So again, give me some time. I'm just going to put it on here. This is what Spinoza in the West, called Skenci into a Tivo, or what in Buddhism in the East refers to as Prajna. This is a state in which you get the deep interpenetration of the perspectives. So I'm just going to put up here. And you're like, wow, what does that mean? How do you do that? Skenci into a Tivo, Prajna. But if you remember, just a foreshadow it, we talked about I can scale down, I can scale up, and then I can get the state of non-duality that is simultaneously scaling up and scaling down. And that actually alleviates the clash of perspectives.

How to do this (22:59)

So we'll come back to this. OK, so anxiety. This is inner dialogue. So this is to pick up the idea of internalizing the sage. As the child is to the adult, the adult is to the sage. I want to-- so an exemplary example of this is the Christians. It's not I who live, but Christ who lives in me, or the Buddhists. You have to realize your Buddha nature or the Stoics. I have to internalize Socrates. And again, if you turn these into ideas to be believed, rather than practices that have actually been internalized and are integrated into the development of your identity, then you're not hearing what I'm saying. So alienation. I haven't talked as much about this. But I'm going to come back to this more. This is to cultivate what Turner and other people call communitas. This is the sense of connectedness to other. And part of that is to try and recover what we had in platonic dialogue. And what's happening right now is a whole movement called authentic discourse. I'm going to talk a lot more about that. The authentic discourse movement. Authentic discourse movement. [SOUND OF CHEERING] I'll come back to that, because this is a primary way of doing this. I gave you an extended argument for how you respond to existential entrapment. And of course, this is gnosis. And that this gnosis is going to have a connection to higher states of consciousness. There's something that's missing. And what's missing is we need, of course, an overall framing of these things. The way we're pursuing all of these and the way we're trying to integrate them together-- I'll put it here because I ran out of board on that side-- all of this has to be within a wisdom framing. We're going to talk more explicitly. We're going to devote quite a bit of time to try and get at what can we now think about wisdom, given all the current work within psychology and cognitive science and even neuroscience on wisdom. Because throughout all of this, we have to have a cognitive style in which the amelioration of self-deception and the affordance of self-optimization are paramount. So I want to go through each one of these in more detail. This is the overarching structure and then trying to bring it together. What is it I'm proposing to you? You can see it.

What is Enlightenment? (26:13)

And here's where my concern about hubris is here, although I think there's a legitimate point I'm making. I'm trying to argue for a way in which we can reverse engineer enlightenment. Instead of keeping enlightenment as an obscure state surrounded by mystique and nostalgia, we need an account that recognizes what that mystique pointed to but exaggerates, which is the difficulty of enlightenment. But ultimately, if we have a kind of being, a ecology or psychotechnology that reliably and systematically, individually and collectively, allows us to address the perennial problems, I'm going to propose to you that that's what we should call enlightenment. If enlightenment is something above and beyond that, then I don't know what its value is. And if enlightenment is not directed towards this, I would say it is not something of value. So I'm going to propose to you that insofar as we can give using the theoretical tools we've cultivated together, relevance, realization, et cetera, insofar as we can, the work we've done on mindfulness, the work we've done on flow, insofar as we can give an account of this in terms that are ultimately naturalistic, that can be subject to scientific investigation, we will have, and is this the final sort of challenge to the division given to us in the enlightenment? We will have a scientific theory of enlightenment and what it can mean for us. All right. So let's talk about-- some of these I'll talk about at length because they're more novel. Others, I'll talk about more briefly because there's an extended discussion of them. So again, let's start with this notion of dealing with parasitic processing, which is an overarching thing. And the idea here is, as I said, to cultivate a set of practices, and that's what you have with something like the eightfold path, where you're trying to-- remember all of these-- right aspiration, right mindfulness, right concentration, et cetera. Remember that the right is not moral righteousness. The right is right-handedness. It's dexterity. And now to use language that we've developed, it's right fittedness. It's optimal fittedness. It's enhanced relevance realization within each one of these. And what you have is a set of practices that are interdependent with each other, mutually supporting, and self-rolling, becoming a self-rolling. Weal. And if I have a set of practices that can take on a life of its own-- right, you have the metaphors, right, in Buddhism, where you enter the stream-- it takes on a life of its own. Initially, what I'm doing, right, is I'm cultivating this practice, and this practice, and this practice, and I've got sort of-- but then they start to implicitly interact, reinforce, develop, and it starts to become a counteractive dynamical system in me. The Buddha told a famous parable about how to understand this. He talks about the goldsmith. And the gold is something inherently valuable, and you should think of your mind as something inherently valuable. And he says, OK, so take a look at the goldsmith. The goldsmith just looks at the gold, no changes rot. So if you're just sort of doing meditation and reflecting, nothing happens, right? The goldsmith has to heat up the gold. There has to be this right effort. The energy put in, maybe something like flow, right? But if the goldsmith just heats up the gold, the gold just melts and goes away. And then also, there has to be the shaping, right? There has to be the reconfiguration. There has to be the cultivation of new skills, new abilities, new virtues.

Identification And Perception

Perceptive transparency (31:04)

If you just hammer the gold, you'll smash it and wreck it. If you just heat it, it will melt. If you just look at it, you won't notice its imperfections. Sorry, you will do nothing but notice its imperfections, but nothing will change. So I need to look in order to notice, but I need to balance that, integrate that dynamically with heating and with hammering. And notice what I'm doing. I'm creating this higher order skill of being a smith by getting a set of practices that have a complementary relationship to them. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses are fitted together. So you get something overall that can produce something that the individual skills can't do. So by getting this fluid ecology of looking, of heating, and of shaping, then the gold becomes well-shaped. And it becomes, as he says, wieldly. You can wield it very well. It fits your hand and extends your capacity so well. So what you're getting there is a strong recommendation for looking at this as cultivating an ecology of practices, getting sets of practices, sets of psychotechnologies, that have complementary relationships to each other, organizing them together. And we do this all the time. We keep constellations of lower order skills and techniques to build higher order skills and techniques. But we build it as a dynamical system, a counteractive dynamical system that can operate in many ways on many levels of our cognition and our consciousness and our being. So the way to deal with parasitic processing is to cultivate a counteractive dynamical system. And this is why this is an overarching thing. So modal confusion. We've already talked about this. We've already talked about the way in which mindfulness practices and other practices, like they can be drawn from stoicism, like the view from the above or objective seeing, can help us to remember sati, the being mode. Again, not as an idea, not as a belief, but as an existential mode that we can reliably reactivate and re-enter into in a viable and enriching manner. OK, the reflectiveness gap and flow. So if I were to just speak this lecture impulsively, wantonly, just, it'll become chaotic, right? It'll tend to, right? Probably fall into self-contradiction. It will be confused and therefore confusing. But if I'm constantly stepping back and reflecting on what I'm saying and engaging in self-criticism and then thinking, I'll choke. So what do I do? Well, I try to get into the flow state. Because the flow state is a state in which I am both. And Velman, by the way, argues for something very similar. He proposes Taoism and Taoism as a solution to the reflectiveness gap. And of course, as I've argued, Taoism is basically the religion of flow in many ways. The yin and yang, the ou to the in, right? The making frame and breaking frame, et cetera. So what you're trying to do is set up the practices that will afford flow, set up the conditions that will afford flow. Remember, we talked about the right kinds of conditions. And also-- and this is where we're going to have to go back to wisdom-- wisely cultivate your flow where and when and in what domains are you learning to flow. So I'm trying to get into the flow state here that will keep me immersed and engaged with the material, but also make me hopefully very flexible and capable when needed. I don't mean to be self-congratulatory, but where it's needed, hopefully insightful, that this is not just mechanical, that there's an element of flow to it. Almost like jazz.

Absurdity problem (35:45)

Jazz with concepts and jazz with argumentation. OK, so let's come back to absurdity and come back to Prasana. We'll talk about this again. We did talk about this before, but I want to remind you of it and that you are very capable of this because your cognition is capable because of the way the attention works because attention-- I put it up multiple times, the cat and other thing. Your attention is simultaneously bottom up from the features and top down from the gestalt. And your attention, the way you are related to the world is one in which the world and you can be co-creating. This is actually something that Spinoza talks quite a bit about in the ethics, how your experience is co-created by the body and by the world. So if you remember, Spinoza talks about this idea. When you're reading an argument and his whole book, the ethics is an attempt to bring back blessedness and a sense of, I would argue, sacredness within a Cartesian scientific world view. That's what's called the ethics. It means ethics in the older sense of becoming the best person leading the best kind of life, not just doing the morally correct thing. But Spinoza talks about this kind of knowing. And what I realized when I was reading the ethics-- well, studying the ethics, you have to almost do lechteo de vino with the ethics. You have to read it. You have to really let it soak into you. You have to try and get that world view attunium. You have to-- what's it like to see the world as Spinoza did? So you have to sort of study and practice the ethics. So it's an extended period. And then he talks about this. And then I realized that the ethics was actually designed to do this. You have this tremendously tight logical structure. But the logical structure is trying to afford what he called sciencia into a tiva, this sort of deeply intuitive knowing. And what he means by that is that you've got this tremendous argument that reaches up to the sort of the largest scale of reality. But there's individual premises along the way. And the idea here is-- here's the analogy. So the premise is like the letter. The premises are like the letters. And the whole-- the argument of arguments, all the arguments, constantly together. So I'm going to call this the meta argument, the arguments of argument. So these go up into arguments. And then the arguments go up into the meta argument. And this, of course, is like the-- through words, into sentences kind of thing. And remember, we talked about how your attention is multiply layered in this way. And what can happen is if you practice the ethics, you get to a place where you see the whole of the argument in each-- the meta argument in each premise. And you see how each premise and each argument fit into and contribute to the whole. Just like you are seeing the words in terms of the sentence and the letters in terms of the words. And it simultaneously bottom up and top down in a completely interpenetrating fashion. And what you get is you get a cosmic perspective that is interpenetrating with the perspective of your individual moment of thought. That's scainty into a tiva. There is a complete interleaving of the perspectival knowing. Buddhist talk about something similar to this, Prasana, a kind of self-liberating state of wisdom. And it's a state in which, as D.T. Suzuki says, you're sort of simultaneously looking as deeply in as you can and simultaneously looking out as deeply as you can. And he quotes Eckhart, a Christian Neoplatonist, as a way of explaining this, the eye by which I see God is the same eye by which God sees me. So the perspective that reaches out and upwards to what's ultimate is the same as the perspective that is coming deeply into me. And what you get is you practice scaling down as deeply as you possibly can towards something like the pure consciousness event and scaling down. And you practice scaling up to this sense of profound resonant at one minute with everything. And then what happens is you get-- I mean, in practice, you are alternating between them. But then, as I mentioned, what eventually happens is you get non-duality. You're simultaneously as deeply in and as deeply down-- sorry for these metaphors-- as you can be. But as I said, they're often indispensable. You're simultaneously as deeply down and as deeply in and as simultaneously as out and as up as you can be. You're sort of that maximal breaking frame and maximal making frame. And they are optimally dynamically integrated, like they are in the most optimal profound insight you can have. So that state is a place that addresses absurdity.

Non riveting of the perspectival clash (41:45)

And you say, but it doesn't answer any of the arguments for absurdity. But that's the point. There is no argumentative response to absurdity because the arguments that are supposed to be generating absurdity don't generate absurdity. They're after the fact expressions of absurdity. What drives absurdity is perspectival clash. And if you can reliably realize a state in which you overcome the perspectival clash-- and remember, you can overcome lower order perspectival clash in humor. And humor has at the core of it a kind of insight and a kind of joy in that insight. You can have something like that. If there's a continuum, you can have the overcoming of the perspectival clash with this prognic state of non-duality that carries with it a kind of joy, a kind of insight, a kind of scancia intuitiva, a deep intuitive knowing. And so that is very doable for us. So anxiety. So what anxiety is about is there's an enabulous sense that something is wrong and it's connected to inner conflict. We see this in Christianity, the inner conflict. Paul, we see it in Plato, the inner conflict. There's different centers, according to different goals. And they're at war with each other. And we suffer. And it's a dramatic sense of threat. But it has no specific target, of course, as fear does, because, of course, anxiety, the threat is endemic to you. So no matter where you go, you're sensing the threat. But there is nothing that the threat can particularly attach to because the threat has to do with your inner, the state of being at war within yourself. So we see across the traditions the idea of internalizing the sage to create an inner dialogue that helps to coordinate the various centers, gets them to talk to each other. And I think this is something where cognitive science can actually do give us tremendous help.

Sage (44:36)

We've had a lot of increase in our knowledge of the various different areas of cognition, even different kinds of centers processing in the brain, and how they work and how they're operating. And what we need is an internalized representation, a model, a role model, and a role as a way of taking on a new identity. We need a role model for how we can engage in dialogue. And the proposal here, which is, of course, the Platonic proposal we already saw, that if I can internalize my capacity and develop by the Stoics, my capacity to interact with the sage, eventually I get that ability that I have only with the sage, I can have it with myself, within myself, and it means, therefore, that it becomes part of my metacognitive machinery the way I dialogue with myself and get the various aspects of myself, the various centers to dialogue with each other. And you can see various versions of this. You can see Jung's use of active imagination as a way of trying to create an inner dialogue between different centers of the psyche. You can see practices like Lechteo Divina, where I am reading the text, and I am trying to get the text to speak to me, is also allowing aspects of the different aspects of the psyche to talk to each other through the text. So there is a lot we can do. So as I mentioned to you, the process of identification, where you're identifying with something like the sage, obviously it makes use of our capacity for internalizing the perspective of others. But it also requires what Polany called the capacity for indwelling. So remember, indwelling is when I'm perceiving through the pen, I'm indwelling it. So you not only have to internalize the sage, but you have to indwell the sage. You have to practice-- and that fits within with others-- to practice trying to-- what does it look like? What is it like to see things the way the sage does? You have to seriously play at being the sage, without pretense or arrogance or inflation. That's why wisdom is going to matter to all of this. So I practice indwelling the sage. And people think, what would Socrates do? What would Aristotle do? What would Jesus do? And you have to regularly practice. So you practice indwelling, and then you practice internalizing. And you practice indwelling, and then you practice internalizing. And that is how you basically start to afford the internalization of the sage and the creation of your ability, as Anticony said, what do you learn from Socrates? So long ago, to converse with yourself, to enter into something like platonic dialogue with yourself.

Indwelling the Sage (48:07)

All right. What about alienation? So alienation takes us towards something talked about by Emile Durkheim and Victor Turner and others, Communitas. Communitas is what you feel when you're watching with other people-- what's happened recently, the Raptors. And everybody was gathered together, and we have shared attention, and we are getting in sync together, and we have that sense of communing and communicating with each other. And there is a shared spirit amongst us all. That's Communitas. It's Communitas.

Identification (49:12)

Communitas is basically a way of getting collective flow going. But it's also something else. It's a collective flow in which we feel like there is real communication between people and something deeper. There's real communion. There's a sense of participating in a shared identity of some kind. So this has to be with-- this has to do with taking a careful look at the way in which our practices of communication and communication with each other, and we have to do with the community, and we have to do with the community, and we have to do with the community. And so what's been happening, and as I said, part of the process, I've gotten to meet more and more people who are trying to do this. They're putting real time and talent into cultivating individual and communal responses to the meaning crisis. So I've got to interact with, for example, Peter Lindberg, who's going to be doing the same thing as I was saying, and I'm going to talk about this. I'm going to talk about this in a minute. And then, for example, I've got to meet and have some interesting dialogue. Not one interview, sort of one dialogue with him is out, and there's another one coming. Because what Jordan Hall is trying to do is he's trying to do two things in an integrated fashion I see him trying to do. He's trying to free communication from the cultural grammar that has got us where we are. In that sense, he's trying to respond deeply to the history, not in theory, but in the actual practice, and that is bound up with, as my argument has tried to show, that is bound up with the project of trying to re-access in a powerful and perspicacious manner these other kinds of knowing and that making our communication and our communing not just a matter of propositional exchange or conflict, but trying to tap into the underlying procedural knowing and how that procedural knowing is dependent on the underlying perspectival situational awareness, the perspectival knowing, and how that is ultimately dependent on the participatory process of our ongoing evolving attunement from which the agent and the arena co-emerge. And so I see him trying to do that. I see him trying to create a way in which we can get what he calls coherence, a kind of communitist, I would say, that is directed towards engaging the collective intelligence of distributed cognition, and remember that most of our real world problem solving, contrary to the bullshit we tell ourselves about how we're self-made individuals, most of our problem solving is done in concert, serious play, concert music, is done in concert with other people. And so what he is trying to do is create, he extends towards a state called coherence in which we are creating a kind of communicast that is marshalling distributed cognition and its collective intelligence for simultaneously freeing us from the ways in which we are boxed in like the nine-dollar problem by our historical cultural cognitive grammar, access the other kinds of knowing, and bring that to bear on the problems that we are facing. So I want to talk a little bit. I'll just introduce the idea. There's a book, I'm cohearing the integral we space, enabling collective emergence, wisdom, and healing in groups. I've gone to a circling practice already. I'm not an expert in it.

The Role Of Open-Ended Mythos In Gnosis

The importance of an open-ended mythos in gnosis (54:00)

I want to become one. I want to take it seriously. So I'm only gesturing towards it, but it is a communal practice in which this is my best way of trying to explain it to you're engaging in something like share, you're engaging in a mindfulness practice, something like platonic dialogue, and you're creating something like a collective flow state so that what emerges is a dynamical system. And as I've basically been proposing throughout the last few lectures that the word spirit is basically pointing towards dynamical systems that are evolving. We create a dynamical system that gives people the resources to address their capacity for being in touch with themselves and each other. It's not therapy, although it overlaps with some of the gnocis in therapy as well. You know this.

Bringing together I AM and We (55:04)

You know that when things are right and you get in sync with another person or another group of people, there's -- and we talked about this with platonic dialogue -- something emerges, there's a collective that emerges there that takes your cognition and everybody else's in places that you can't go individually. You participate in that but you don't make it. You're not just a passive recipient of it, you're not just a patient of it, right? You're participating in it. And so I want to learn more about this, but there is a growing -- and this is the circling practice overlaps with other practices that Peter and I are learning about. Where Peter talks about a process he calls the anti-debate, where we turn adversarial debating, we have techniques for turning it into authentic relating, where we're trying to get insight rather than victory in our debating processes. There's lots of books coming out on this, like verbal echito and verbal judo. So there is the beginning of a whole set of practices for bringing about authentic discourse that can really address the issues of alienation.

Gnosis but I want to create the open-endedness (56:16)

Okay. Now, of course, as I said, the response to existential entrapment is gnosis and we had extended discussion about that and its interconnection with higher states of consciousness. So I'm not going to talk about that at great length.

Endnotes On Gnosis

Gnosis: Endnotes (56:43)

Please go back and look at that gnosis. But what I would say is that gnosis seems to need -- and you see this with jeep form and you see this in therapy -- it needs that open-ended mythos that the gnostics -- talk about. I'm not advocating their particular mythos. I'm not saying their metaphysics is correct, but that transgressive, the open-ended ongoing symbol, the ongoing mythos. These seem to be needed for the cultivation of gnosis. And so I would recommend that to you. So what I want to do next time is come back and put this all together, what it looks like, and then start talking about the overall framing of this, the way we frame how we cultivate the individual psychotechnologies, the individual practices, and how we also -- how we constellate the ecology of those in a state of enlightenment within a wisdom framing. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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