2010.09.23 - Skillful Means

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    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Calvino and those I don't see yet....
    Mitsu Ishii: I'm going to try to avoid sitting on anyone this time
    Gilles Kuhn: bad*
    Eliza Madrigal: Let me give you a link to the site where we post topics and homework for the workshop
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello everyone :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hey everyone
    Gilles Kuhn: the idea is to sacrifice gentlemen from the raj basically...
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Ya and Gaya (just one sec...things loading slowly for me today
    Gilles Kuhn: too nad mitsu ;-)
    Eliza Madrigal: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Eliza Madrigal: There you can find our topic, etc
    Mitsu Ishii: oh my eliza
    Eliza Madrigal removes wings to be polite indoors... haha
    Gilles Kuhn: whats the target text today?
    Mitsu Ishii: everyone must be coming to Second Life because Facebook is down...
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Dao :)
    Mitsu Ishii: who is this "Cup of Coffee"
    Gaya Ethaniel: It's quite slow today for me too ...
    Gaya Ethaniel: This is the link Gilles - http://wiki.playasbeing.org/Guardian_Pages/Guardians%27_Contributions/Calvino/Knowledge_in_Action
    Dao Yheng: Hi all -- just wanted to mention I'm a bit slammed at work -- sorry if I'm periodically unresponsive!
    Gilles Kuhn: tks gaya
    Eliza Madrigal: Not at all Dao, thanks for telling us
    Gilles Kuhn a bit puzzled by the text he just read
    Gilles Kuhn: for a target text it seems to be only a set of interrogation
    Eliza Madrigal: I appreciate this part of your report Cal... it may answer Gilles a little as well... re the questions not as interrogations?
    Eliza Madrigal: "I've had some success with creative projects by letting them simmer below awareness, and take the insights as they pop up, or near when they are "due" (for a scheduled project). Intuition is the thinking we do without being aware of the process."
    Gilles Kuhn: ok gaya will look at that thanks
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, that's key point, that the meaning of the questions is whether and what the might evoke when entertained as contemplative questions.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Some of us wrote our thoughts relating to that page Gilles - they are on the wiki home page as reports, including Calvino's own.
    Gaya Ethaniel: This one :) http://wiki.playasbeing.org/Guardian_Pages/Guardians%27_Contributions/Calvino/Knowledge_in_Action/Reflections_1
    Mitsu Ishii: in your report, Dao, you fail to mention that I was the one who suggested you go pee off in the field by the side of the road...
    Calvino Rabeni: They aren't information unless one goes thrrough that process.
    Eliza Madrigal: hehehe Mitsu
    Gaya Ethaniel guffaws.
    Eliza Madrigal: we all need a little encouragement sometimes... to take that leap (over the fence)
    Gaya Ethaniel: lol
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm not sure what you mean re 'not information'... you mean they aren't 'yours' in some way.. or?
    Eliza Madrigal: (@Cal)
    Gilles Kuhn: well and apart of these extremely subjective consideration?
    Calvino Rabeni: I was touched by the variety of insights in the reports, and how immediate and concrete they are
    Mitsu Ishii: So I found your discussion of "self" rather hard to follow, Calvino. Can you elaborate? What do you mean by this?
    Eliza Madrigal: thanks Cal, yes enjoyed the reports a lot this week too
    Calvino Rabeni: Thats what it is, Gilles, the subjective considerations are one end of the stick to start with
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Zen :)
    Zen Arado: Hi All
    Gilles Kuhn: ok and after starting?
    Mitsu Ishii: hello Zen
    Calvino Rabeni: By self there I meant the presumed structures that exist, that we don't necessarily have cognitive access to
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Zen :)
    Mitsu Ishii: But I guess I'm not clear on why you use the word "self" in this context
    Calvino Rabeni: For example if an AI intelligence got the notion that there was a program running somewhere, that affected what it "experienced"
    Calvino Rabeni: it would be a conjecture, sure
    Gilles Kuhn: this definition look more to be close to freudian very fuzzy notion of unconscious
    Calvino Rabeni: but a useful one - as it might then consider the effects of its actions on that structure
    Calvino Rabeni: Its a metaphor
    Calvino Rabeni: to try to come to grips with the fact that a self is not necessarily transparent and obvious to itself
    Calvino Rabeni: and make new possibiities based on that conjecture
    Mitsu Ishii: the word "self" tends to imply ownership, as if there is a set of structures which are associated with one individual. but in fact the structures that affect presence are spread out all over the place, in a way that doesn't in my experience really imply anything contained in that way.
    Gilles Kuhn: self is not about self knowledge is about uniqueness in opposition to others
    Zen Arado: self is a fiction
    Calvino Rabeni: It's more like a neurophilosophy position, Gilles
    Eliza Madrigal: why opposition?
    Eliza Madrigal: couldn't there be distinctions sans opposition...
    Mitsu Ishii: the notion of becoming aware of factors outside conscious awareness seems very cogent to me, but not the word "self" as a way of referring to it.
    Calvino Rabeni: If its a fiction, Zen, then who's the storyteller?
    Gaya Ethaniel: I guess Gilles means separate?
    Gilles Kuhn: neurophilosophy very often is a concept used since churchland book to oppose the very notion of self
    Zen Arado: there isn't one
    Mitsu Ishii: why does there have to be a who, who is telling the story?
    Zen Arado: stories are being told
    Calvino Rabeni: @mitsu, perhaps you're right - but whatever it is, it has intimate connections with experienced life
    Gilles Kuhn: basically yes gaya
    Calvino Rabeni: So zen is telling a story in which there is no zen to tell stories, no "doer", just actions happening somewhere
    Eliza Madrigal: I heard 'self' in this context as, and I know it is because I'm oh so affected by whatever I'm reading at the moment.... self as mandala... made up of many textures and interacting components...
    Mitsu Ishii: I definitely relate to becoming more and more aware of larger and larger structures that were hidden that become more... let's say that unfold themselves or emerge into awareness
    Eliza Madrigal: so in that way yes distinctions while in play
    Calvino Rabeni: One of the neurophilosophy positions is a "no-self" idea, that says there is structure, and a process, but it shouldn't be called a self
    Zen Arado: it's also the Buddhist position
    Calvino Rabeni: Personally I think those are all adequate stories
    Mitsu Ishii: but the more aware of them I become, the more it seems clear they're very distributed, far flung, even outside of time
    Gilles Kuhn: the self is only that easy what you are as such in opposition of what you are in conjunction, the problem of the ontological existence if the self is another problem
    Calvino Rabeni: yesss Mitzu I get that too
    Gilles Kuhn: of the self*
    Gilles Kuhn: (and i hate my keyb with a selfish passion)
    Eliza Madrigal: so they emerge and subside condtionally... is this what we're saying...
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: or maybe responsively is a better term than conditionally...

    Mitsu Ishii: An interesting question which I thought of when I read your questions, Calvino, is the relationship between conscious awareness of patterns and larger presence.
    Gilles Kuhn: and calvino agreed about neurophilo but i strongly disagree with that posture for epistemological reason
    Calvino Rabeni: So maybe the storyteller is a story too, or maybe an uncognized process, and having will and intention also a story
    Mitsu Ishii: Gilles: what do you disagree with
    Calvino Rabeni: OK gilles, there's a pragamtic reason you have in mind?
    Gilles Kuhn: right calvino but to say that autobiographical thinking and memory is part of the self is not big news
    Gilles Kuhn: mitsu i wrote a full thesis about that a bit difficult to synthesise in a few line right now
    Zen Arado: everything seems dependent on everything else
    Calvino Rabeni: But regarding story - the possibly fictional story teller creates stories within stories that can change the other stories that are going on.
    Eliza Madrigal: how it plays is not something 'answered'
    Calvino Rabeni: THe question is whether the autobiographical thinking and memory is correlated or not with something outside that definition
    Calvino Rabeni: and whether noticing the connections is useful or not
    Gilles Kuhn: basically i consider the notion of self as the basis of epistemological subject which is the basis of empiricity and so of science neurophilosophy take science as absolute and granted which then entail a contradiction
    Calvino Rabeni: I agree eliza
    Mitsu Ishii: Well, what I mean, Gilles, is do you disagree with the notion that the self is a fiction, or with some more general aspects of neurophilosophy? I am not that familiar with neurophilosophy so I'm just trying to get a sense for what you disagree with. Is it the idea that mind can be reduced to neurological function?

    Gaya Ethaniel: I guess what you meant by knowledge in action is insight in action, different from stroyteller in action Calvino?
    Mitsu Ishii: ah okay, so you believe the self is required for knowledge
    Eliza Madrigal: Nice distinction, Gaya. Thank you
    Gilles Kuhn: if the self is a fiction then it is the least fictional thing in front of all the others fictions
    Mitsu Ishii: doesn't that presume that knowledge is inherently based on predicates?
    Gilles Kuhn: because the fiction of self is needed to have any grasp of any concepts
    Calvino Rabeni: @giles, agree
    Eliza Madrigal: yes... hear what you are saying there

    Mitsu Ishii: if you don't presume knowledge is based on predicates, I'm not sure why one would need a self for the purposes of epistemology
    Zen Arado: why Gilles?
    Gilles Kuhn: and if the self is the idea that i am that i think is a illusion then this illusion is the most basic element of what we can call ontology
    Mitsu Ishii: there are many possible interpretations of the word "illusion"
    Mitsu Ishii: the criticism of the concept of self is not that there is no process involving knowing
    Gilles Kuhn: i have not spoke of the problem of predication still
    Mitsu Ishii: it's simply the idea that the self is an atomic entity or entity with a clear definition or boundary.
    Mitsu Ishii: one can have an approximate self
    Zen Arado: what is that MItsu?
    Mitsu Ishii: or a self with a vague boundary, since knowledge doesn't have to be absolute.
    Eliza Madrigal: when you notice subjectivey 'out there' is when subjectivity of what is looking out there becomes apparant... and 'that' being outed...
    Gilles Kuhn: i dont claim that in an absolute way but in a epistemological way you need to have a subject of knowledge call it self call to be call cogito
    Eliza Madrigal: then there seems a sense of change that is active or hm... instant/distanceless...
    Gilles Kuhn: call it cogito*
    Gaya Ethaniel: Eliza, that happens instantaneously on identification I think ... mostly unnoticed.
    Mitsu Ishii: well, let's say I were to build a knowledge machine (it could be a computer for instance)
    Mitsu Ishii: and the machine interacts with its environment
    Zen Arado: I thought the cogito was dismissed years ago
    Gilles Kuhn: dont forget empiricity mitsu : qualia
    Mitsu Ishii: but the boundary between machine and environment is really not precise, it is fluid
    Zen Arado: ther are just thoughts being thought
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes Mitzu

    Calvino Rabeni: Part of what I'm suggesting is to inhabit the story, rather than attempting to achieve an external perspective in which it can either be manipulated or doesn't "exist". That is, to be flexible with "identification" and not strive to somehow escape from it

    Mitsu Ishii: so then where is the "self" of the machine? can the machine have knowledge?
    Gilles Kuhn: husserl nuance is hardly a problem zen
    Gilles Kuhn: mitsu has the machine qualic impression : empirical knowledge ?
    Eliza Madrigal nods re instantaneous... so this would be my impression of skillfull means... (@ gaya)
    Mitsu Ishii: I believe it can, yes, but I am not a dualist
    Zen Arado: what is a Husserl nuance Gilles?
    Gilles Kuhn: if yes then the machine is like me and probably you
    Gaya Ethaniel: A good point Calvino, that reminds me of what Krishinamurti said on meditation :)
    Gilles Kuhn: i think it could in principles and i am certainly not a dualist either
    Mitsu Ishii: however I don't think the machine, or I, exist as a "self". to me, the self is a concept, which I use for the purposes of organizing my thoughts
    Calvino Rabeni: The spiritual paths are full of the implicit notion that one should somehow resist identification - but that's a misunderstanding or a preliminary perspective
    Gilles Kuhn: cogito sum = descartes ; cogito me cogitare sum = husserl
    Mitsu Ishii: why do you think it is a misunderstanding, Calvino?
    Zen Arado: identification with what Cal - I'm baffled here
    Calvino Rabeni: Some neurophilosopiers call that the "self model" mitsu
    Gilles Kuhn: yes but to call self a model is to bite your own tail
    Calvino Rabeni: it is the story of self as a model in the process that's generateing the experience
    Mitsu Ishii: letting go of identification is, for me, tremendously powerful. if one were to talk about any single thing in terms of skillful means that was effective, that would be number 1 on my list.
    Zen Arado: me too
    Gilles Kuhn: you can say that only if you accept that knowledge is independent of any espitemic agent
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well ... story and the story teller are both same essentially ... thoughts.
    Calvino Rabeni: it is powerful Mitsu, but not the only thing

    Zen Arado: can't see why pweople cling to this notion of self so much

    Calvino Rabeni: a meditation practice may be essential
    Calvino Rabeni: for that
    Mitsu Ishii: no --- I don't believe knowledge is independent, as in objective, Gilles
    Mitsu Ishii: I just don't think it can be decomposed into "self knows X"
    Calvino Rabeni: but it just opens the door to more flexibility in letting identifications arise and subside
    Calvino Rabeni: it doesn't imply an ontological position or goal

    Gilles Kuhn: then you cannot dismiss the qualic affected subject that i call self as it is basic to empiricity
    Mitsu Ishii: that is to say I accept the phenomenological perspective to a large extent
    Calvino Rabeni: like "having no identification would be good thing"

    Zen Arado: language helps to create the idea of a self by dividing the world into subject and object
    Calvino Rabeni: Subject and object may be much deeper than language
    Gilles Kuhn: as all know here the husserlain phenomenological program for me is a absolute failure
    Mitsu Ishii: Yes, I agree, Calvino, it is fine to have flexible idenfitication. However, my moment to moment experience is more or less devoid of identification in any strong sense.
    Mitsu Ishii: it's not really necessary
    Eliza Madrigal: well seems to me similiar.. less identification=more flexibility....
    Calvino Rabeni: IMO husserlian pheno fails because of its transcendental idealism, mainly
    Gilles Kuhn: dividing is necessary to understanding if you dont want to revert to vegetable comprehension of the world
    Eliza Madrigal: so even dropping usual ways of talking about no self can be worked with freshly... new terms
    Eliza Madrigal: all metaphor, all fictional
    Mitsu Ishii: well I don't really see the need to "identify" particularly with anything at all, really
    Calvino Rabeni: I liked your point about metaphor in your report, Eliza
    Mitsu Ishii: it doesn't seem all that useful, except when typing, writing, or speaking, to use the pronoun "I" for the purposes of grammar
    Gilles Kuhn: calvino more basically it fail because it has not given ANY kind of objective intersubjective technological or conceptual result

    Calvino Rabeni: But might it be that there are identifications deeper than the ones that it is possible to notice and/or "drop"?
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, I agree Gilles, there is a problem with intersubjectivity in Husserl
    Calvino Rabeni: Getting at that "uncognized self" is a question
    Eliza Madrigal: thanks Cal :) I am wondering if the way you are discussing this concept is similar to something that came up just before coming her re 'blumenberg' and shipwreck....
    Eliza Madrigal: something quite new to me but perhaps not to others
    Calvino Rabeni: @mitsu, whats the issue with intersubjectivity in Husserl

    Mitsu Ishii: but what's the point of identification at all? I'm still not really seeing the usefulness of it. Not that I necessarily disagree. I mean, it's useful for language and for thought to some degree, but aside from that it seems unnecessary.
    Gilles Kuhn: remember husserl wanted to refound and enhance scientific method.....
    Calvino Rabeni: is it a too-fundamentalist view of "intentionality"?
    Mitsu Ishii: Gilles have you ever read Brian Cantwell Smith? He presented at one of the Kira Summer Schools back in the day
    Gilles Kuhn: no i didnt first time i heard of her
    Gilles Kuhn: him*
    Calvino Rabeni: He wrote book on the "origin of objects"
    Mitsu Ishii: he wrote a fascinating book called "On the Origin of Objects" which presents a very phenomenological perspective while not abandoning intersubjective grounding. It's a clever approach I think
    Calvino Rabeni: trying to deconstruct the subject/object structure
    Gilles Kuhn: well certainly but has i have not read it i cannot say anything about can be interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: yes mitsu he did try to do some new things
    Gilles Kuhn: well that make me a priori think about quine word and object but.....

    Mitsu Ishii: getting back to something practical, I was just going to say that for me, the subject of how we live in life, how we actually apply wisdom and so on
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Gilles Kuhn: well i think we were in a most practical discussion but well
    Mitsu Ishii: for me a lot of it has to do with this strange relationship between the conscious noticing of things and these vast unconscious structures and processes and even timeless reality
    Calvino Rabeni: I think there was an intention (somewhere :) to look at practical aspects of knowledge in action
    Calvino Rabeni: Same here Mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: the way I would describe it is like this massive storm or set of flows, some of which are close to "me" and some which cut across and some which are far away but go right through me and so forth.
    Gilles Kuhn: for me i cannnot conceive a timeless realiy as i cannot conceive a reality that is not a thought projection or model

    Gaya Ethaniel: Insight in action points to that timeless quality perhaps.
    Mitsu Ishii: so the point here is that I cannot control most of it directly conscioiusly
    Calvino Rabeni: I a way we have to make up more stories about those unseen processes
    Calvino Rabeni: but not take an ontological commitment
    Gilles Kuhn: and so reality for me need a epistemic agent if you dont want to evoke angels spirits or gods
    Calvino Rabeni: that makes sense
    Mitsu Ishii: however, I can influence how well it functions mostly via awareness and paying attention and letting the larger reality come forward. at the same time there is a role for noticing things consciously and even applying strategies consciously.
    Calvino Rabeni: I agree Mitsu
    Calvino Rabeni: and also with gilles about the usefulness of the epistemic agent
    Eliza Madrigal: you can evoke spirts and gods and angels without depending on them or believing in them... as people do with their intellectual heroes.... all the time
    Mitsu Ishii: much of the time things seem to happen which are insights or changes or knowledge beyond any obvious identification with my ordinary self
    Mitsu Ishii: angels and gods could be metaphors for these larger connectivity. collective unconscious and so forth.
    Mitsu Ishii: larger forces
    Gilles Kuhn: seigneur......
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Gilles Kuhn: veil to hide our ignrance not forces
    Mitsu Ishii: one could even use them as metaphors just for the ordinary unconscious
    Calvino Rabeni: that would be part of the neurophilosophy position that the epistemic agent is a "self model" evolved by the organism to represent itself as an agent in the world, and thus have some purchase on actions
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Mitsu Ishii: certainly my ordinary self is in there. but it's not really that clearly defined.
    Mitsu Ishii: I see it as having a tiny role
    Gaya Ethaniel: Very easy to do I'm sure Gilles :P
    Gilles Kuhn: yes calvino but that very position is a product of the self of the empiric of the epistemic agent
    Mitsu Ishii: it's a role, certainly, but much smaller than we usually think of it
    Mitsu Ishii: to the extent it has any reality at all. that's my subjective experience.
    Calvino Rabeni: Yeah mitsu, I'm not really sure what "ordinary self" might designate in "me"
    Eliza Madrigal: many roles in constant flux is the way I'd characterize I think...
    Calvino Rabeni: I agree too Mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: Gilles: I still don't see why you need a "self" for epistemology. it seems like you're assuming the conclusion
    Calvino Rabeni: that the "ordinary self" might need less attention

    Gilles Kuhn: mitsu you need an agent that feel for basing empiricity if not you cannot have empirical science
    Calvino Rabeni: The ordinary self must be the self model trying to model itself - which you can see is getting more and more partial and disconnected from the world process - an image of an image
    Eliza Madrigal spies the time....
    Gilles Kuhn: perhaps but anyway at a certain time that illusion or whathever you call it feel see hear and thus can base on his qualic feeling science and intersubjectivity

    Calvino Rabeni: But, a fair question is still - how to make philosophy active in the process of living
    Eliza Madrigal: Shall we continue this another week or have a particular emphasis to work with?
    Mitsu Ishii: sorry crashed
    Calvino Rabeni: It's a huge topic when taken from an embodied perspective
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb :)
    Gilles Kuhn: as it was for mitsu i a [14:53] Gilles Kuhn: perhaps but anyway at a certain time that illusion or whathever you call it feel see hear and thus can base on his qualic feeling science and intersubjectivity
    Eliza Madrigal: perhaps think of snapshots we've taken which seemed 'skillfull means' in action personally? Would that be too abstract?
    Calvino Rabeni: I'd like to hear more things that sound like "openings"
    Calvino Rabeni: minor epiphanies perhaps, in everyday life
    Mitsu Ishii: The biggest openings for me have always seemed to be about "not me"
    Eliza Madrigal: seems the same line of thinking... yes
    Gilles Kuhn: exactly the reverse of me mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: they usually seem to occur at retreats, so there is some vague cause and effect there, but I don't go on retreat to have big breakthroughs
    Calvino Rabeni: I will agree with both mitsu and gilles
    Gilles Kuhn: you need to assume yourself in order to be in front of others
    Calvino Rabeni: they are valid perspectives
    Eliza Madrigal nods @ Mitsu.. Gaya's report said something similar... re 'not me'...
    Mitsu Ishii: I have tons of insights related to "me" but they are very small by comparison
    Calvino Rabeni: perhaps we can take them as complementary
    Gilles Kuhn: the nature of yourself is anyway a concept a model a projection
    Calvino Rabeni: yes, but who had the insights
    Eliza Madrigal: Okay... will need to be going... so can we settle on the topic?
    Mitsu Ishii: If I were to measure their apparent size, the "me" insights being 1, the "not-me" insights are like 10000, or a million, or 10^20
    Eliza Madrigal: (if not someone else will need to post the log)
    Calvino Rabeni: not as an analytica answer, but as a practical concern
    Gilles Kuhn: irrelevant mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: why is that irrelevant?
    Gaya Ethaniel: We need to wrap up ...
    Eliza Madrigal: is this thing on... hehe
    Gaya Ethaniel: And decide for next week ...

    Gilles Kuhn: because if there was not a me you could not make any comparison nor figure nor metaphors
    Mitsu Ishii: let's have Calvino suggest another topic
    Calvino Rabeni: I'm willing sure
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, thank you Cal
    Mitsu Ishii: that's not true, Gilles, for reasons we can discuss at another time :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: We can come back to self again later or interlace in meetings I'm sure.
    Calvino Rabeni: But would like to sleep on it as usual :)
    Eliza Madrigal is sure self will keep popping up
    Gilles Kuhn: i have not the habit to invoke truth
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thanks Calvino, looking forward to it.
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe we can "renounce" philosophy?
    Gilles Kuhn: yes back to the tree then
    Calvino Rabeni: (kidding a little)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Enjoy your day/night everyone. Maybe I see you on next Wednesday for homework meeting.
    Mitsu Ishii: bye
    Gaya Ethaniel: bfn :)
    Gilles Kuhn: bye gayaz
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks very much Gaya, Night everyone
    Mitsu Ishii: by Gaya
    Zen Arado: bye all
    Mitsu Ishii: and Eliza
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye everyone :)

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