The Human-Centric Fixation

Human8
Reference:  Motion and Space-Time

The scientific method searches for truth in the Universe by coming up with a hypothesis from empirical observations, testing the hypothesis by making predictions, and then verifying the predictions. This works to the degree one is objective.

It is much easier to be objective when studying physical objects. This is not so when studying mental objects because the mental processes one uses to study are very similar. This difficulty may be overcome by the practice of mindfulness (seeing things as they are). Mindfulness requires the following criterion.

POSTULATE: Truth is determined by consistency of definitions and data in the broadest context possible.

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The scientific observations are reality-centric because rigorous consistency with physical reality is maintained through the use of experiments and mathematical models. Any assumption that cannot be verified by actual experiment is discarded.  Any inconsistency associated with a hypothesis must be resolved before it is accepted as a theory.

When it comes to maintaining rigorous consistency with mental reality, thought experiments become very necessary. But such thought experiments must be conducted for consistency in the broadest context possible.

Reality-centric observations are accepted only after rigorous verification.

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It is the human-centric observations that made us believe that (1) Earth is the center of the universe; (2) the Sun revolves around the earth; and (3) the Earth is flat. These conclusions were proven wrong when science established greater consistency in celestial observations through the use of experiments and mathematics.

The human-centric observations are limited to human context. Assumptions are made to compensate for that limitation. When such assumptions are elevated to the level of beliefs it becomes very difficult to correct them. Even when the human-centric observations were shown to be inconsistent with celestial observations, science had to fight long and hard to get its conclusions accepted.

Human-centric observations suffer from belief in unverified assumptions.

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Many believe that this Universe was created. When one conducts thought experiments in a broader context, one finds that the Universe could have transitioned from non-awareness into awareness. The Universe did not have to be created. The belief that this Universe is created has never been verified objectively. In fact, the ancient Vedas do not believe that this Universe was created. This raises doubt about this religious belief in creation.

It is a human-centric belief that this universe was created.

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Furthermore, the religious belief goes on to say that this Universe was created by an eternal Being who has awareness and intelligence more sophisticated than those of humans. Scientific studies show that human awareness is only a recent development that has evolved from earlier forms of awareness. Ancient Vedas speak only in terms of elemental awareness at the beginning of the universe. It is highly unlikely that a highly sophisticated Being existed at the beginning of the universe.

It is a human-centric belief that this Universe started from highly developed awareness.

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It is a religious belief that spirit and matter are separate, and that awareness can exist all by itself. Thought experiments show that awareness arises only when there is relative motion. Relative motion is a material characteristic. We find that awareness and relative motion cannot be separated from each other.  Separation between spirit and matter cannot be verified objectively. In fact, ancient Vedas speak of Brahma and existence to be one.

It is a human-centric belief that “spirit and matter” are separate.

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It is commonly thought that an observer must be separate from what is being observed; that an observer cannot observe itself. But we find that the reality-centric observation is essentially reality observing itself. The observer is part of the reality. The observer does not have to be identified with a self. When one observes in as broad a context as possible then it becomes possible to recognize reality for what it is. From this viewpoint the observer is not separate from what is observed.

It is a human-centric belief that observer must be separate from the observed.

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It is commonly assumed that “observer” is a being with humanlike awareness. This being is unique, permanent and separate from reality. However, thought experiments show awareness is also relative motion that forms the basis of all reality. Further studies show that human awareness has evolved from earlier awareness. There is no unique, permanent being that is separate from reality. “Beingness” is changing all the time like the rest of reality.

It is a human-centric belief that observer is unique, permanent and not part of reality.

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The observer is not some fixed point from which reality is being observed. Observer is part of reality as is that, which is being observed. It is reality observing itself. It is the fixation on self that makes one believe that one is unique and separate from reality.

The human-centric belief is characterized by fixation on self.

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Next: A View on Enlightenment

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Comments

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    It is human-centric notion that matter is purely passive and intrinsically dead.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    The dualism between mind and matter, between body and soul, is part of human-centric beliefs.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    The hallmark of scientific spirit is that experiments are undertaken to test speculative ideas.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    This is an excellent passage from The Tao of Physics.

    The birth of modern science was preceded and accompanied by a development of philosophical thought which led to an extreme formulation of the spirit/matter dualism. This formulation appeared in the seventeenth century in the philosophy of Rene Descartes who based his view of nature on a fundamental division into two separate and independent realms; that of mind (res cogitans), and that of matter (res extensa). The ‘Cartesian’ division allowed scientists to treat matter as dead and completely separate from themselves, and to see the material world as a multitude of different objects assembled into a huge machine. Such a mechanistic world view was held by Isaac Newton who constructed his mechanics on its basis and made it the foundation of classical physics. From the second half of the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth century, the mechanistic Newtonian model of the universe dominated all scientific thought. It was paralleled by the image of a monarchical Cod who ruled the world from above by imposing his divine law on it. The fundamental laws of nature searched for by the scientists were thus seen as the laws of God, invariable and eternal, to which the world was subjected.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Here is another excellent passage from The Tao of Physics.

    The philosophy of Descartes was not only important for the development of classical physics, but also had a tremendous influence on the general Western way of thinking up to the present day. Descartes’ famous sentence ‘Cogito ergo sum’– ‘I think, therefore I exist’-has led Western man to equate his identity with his mind, instead of with his whole organism. As a consequence of the Cartesian division, most individuals are aware of themselves as isolated egos existing ‘inside’ their bodies. The mind has been separated from the body and given the futile task of controlling it, thus causing an apparent conflict between the conscious will and the involuntary instincts. Each individual has been split up further into a large number of separate compartments, according to his or her activities, talents, feelings, beliefs, etc., which are engaged in endless conflicts generating continuous metaphysical confusion and frustration.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    Throughout history, it has been recognized that the human mind is capable of two kinds of knowledge, or two modes of consciousness, which have often been termed the rational and the intuitive, and have traditionally been associated with science and religion, respectively….

    Rational knowledge is thus a system of abstract concepts and symbols, characterized by the linear, sequential structure which is typical of our thinking and speaking… We can only expect an approximate representation of reality from such a procedure, and all rational knowledge is therefore necessarily limited…

    Alfred Korzybski made exactly the same point with his powerful slogan, ‘The map is not the territory.’…

    The Eastern mystics repeatedly insist on the fact that the ultimate reality can never be an object of reasoning or of demonstrable knowledge. It can never be adequately described by words, because it lies beyond the realms of the senses and of the intellect from which our words and concepts are derived. The Upanishads say about it:

    There the eye goes not,
    Speech goes not, nor the mind.
    We know not, we understand not
    How one would teach it.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    Absolute knowledge is thus an entirely non-intellectual experience of reality, an experience arising in a non-ordinary state of consciousness which may be called a ‘meditative’ or mystical state. That such a state exists has not only been testified by numerous mystics in the East and West but is also indicated by psychological research. In the words of William James :

    Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    The ‘more straightforward mysticism of Asia’ would, of course, not adopt the Pythagorean view of mathematics. In the Eastern view, mathematics, with its highly differentiated and well defined structure, must be seen as part of our conceptual map and not as a feature of reality itself. Reality, as experienced by the mystic, is completely indeterminate and undifferentiated.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    The firm basis of knowledge on experience in Eastern mysticism suggests a parallel to the firm basis of scientific knowledge on experiment. This parallel is further enforced by the nature of the mystical experience. It is described in the Eastern traditions as a direct insight which lies outside the realm of the intellect and is obtained by watching rather than thinking; by looking inside oneself; by observation.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    D. T. Suzuki writes on this point:

    “The seeing plays the most important role in Buddhist epistemology, for seeing is at the basis of knowing. Knowing is impossible without seeing; all knowledge has its origin in seeing. Knowing and seeing are thus found generally united in Buddha’s teaching. Buddhist philosophy therefore ultimately points to seeing reality as it is. Seeing is experiencing enlightenment.”

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    When the Eastern mystics talk about ‘seeing’, they refer to a mode of perception which may include visual perception, but which always and essentially transcends it to become a non-sensory experience of reality. What they do emphasize, however, when they talk about seeing, looking or observing, is the empirical character of their knowledge. This empirical approach of Eastern philosophy is strongly reminiscent of the emphasis on observation in science and thus suggests a framework for our comparison. The experimental stage in scientific research seems to correspond to the direct insight of the Eastern mystic, and the scientific models and theories correspond to the various ways in which this insight is interpreted.

  • vinaire  On October 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    The scientists and the mystics, then, have developed highly sophisticated methods of observing nature which are inaccessible to the layperson. A page from a journal of modern experimental physics will be as mysterious to the uninitiated as a Tibetan mandala. Both are records of enquiries into the nature of the universe.

  • vinaire  On October 2, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    For most people, and especially for intellectuals, this mode of consciousness is a completely new experience. Scientists are familiar with direct intuitive insights from their research, because every new discovery originates in such a sudden non-verbal flash. But these are extremely short moments which arise when the mind is filled with information, with concepts and thought patterns. In meditation, on the other hand, the mind is emptied of all thoughts and concepts and thus prepared to function for long periods through its intuitive mode.

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    I think that in meditation the “mind is emptied” in the following way:
    (1) One allows free association to occur.
    (2) One lets the mind associate freely without interfering with it
    (3) One lets the thoughts and concepts merge into each other
    (4) That is how thoughts and concepts reduce
    (5) One makes it possible for such merging to occur
    (6) And that is how mind appears to empty.
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  • vinaire  On October 2, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    When the rational mind is silenced, the intuitive mode produces an extraordinary awareness; the environment is experienced in a direct way without the filter of conceptual thinking. In the words of Chuang Tzu, ‘The still mind of the sage is a mirror of heaven and earth-the glass of all things.‘ The experience of oneness with the surrounding environment is the main characteristic of this meditative state. It is a state of consciousness where every form of fragmentation has ceased, fading away into undifferentiated unity.

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    In the intuitive mode all the various thoughts and concepts are merged into one. All inconsistencies are eliminated. All gaps are filled. No discreteness is left. There is just a single, continuous flow. One is part of that flow and not separate.
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  • vinaire  On October 2, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    From The Tao of Physics:

    In deep meditation, the mind is completely alert. In addition Tao of to the nonsensory apprehension of reality it also takes in all Physics the sounds, sights, and other impressions of the surrounding environment, but it does not hold the sensory images to be analysed or interpreted. They are not allowed to distract the attention. Such a state of awareness is not unlike the state of mind of a warrior who expects an attack in extreme alertness, registering everything that goes on around him without being distracted by it for an instant.

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    In this state, all perceptions from the surrounding environment just slip easily into that single continuous flow, which the mind has become. Any inconsistency is immediately observed by itself.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    The concept of DYNAMICS by Hubbard is a perfect human-centric view of life and existence. It is built on the idea of human self.

    Centered on the human self is the family, then human groups of increasing sizes, and then the whole mankind. These are the first four dynamics.

    At fifth dynamic we have life other than mankind. This provides us with a human-centric view of life.

    At sixth and seventh dynamics we find a sharp division between spirit and matter. Spirit and matter are not treated as different aspects of existence. Instead, they are looked upon as separate existences that interact to produce life. This is again a human-centric view that elevates spirit over matter.

    At eighth dynamic we have the concept of infinite and Supreme Being. This is not a concept of superset, which would be the whole Universe. Instead it is the concept of pure Cause that produces the universe. It projects itself outwards as the spirit which impinges on dead and inert matter to produce life. This is again a human-centric view that projects humanlike “beingness” as Cause of this universe.

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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    If we look with mindfulness, we find the dichotomy “Cause – effect” to be an integral aspect of the Universe. “Cause – effect” may be represented as a scale of infinite gradients like any other dichotomy. The two ends of this scale then extend to infinity in opposite directions. Cause cannot be isolated as some absolute condition existing by itself. It would be nice to think of Eighth Dynamic as “absolute cause” but that appears to be inconsistent.

    The postulate of Eighth Dynamic as “absolute cause” is the result of human-centric fixation.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Beingness is existing-ness. If there is any beingness at Eighth Dynamic, it is the beingness of the whole Universe with nothing excluded. This is the superset of all existence real or imagined, rational or irrational. This beingness includes human beings, but it extends beyond all the human dynamics of self, family, groups and mankind. It has both spiritual and material aspects. It is the complete whole.

    The Eighth Dynamic is the complete view of the whole Universe as one.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    The major aspects of the Universe are spirit and matter expressed as seventh and sixth dynamics. “Spirit – matter” forms a dichotomy that may be represented as a scale of infinite gradients. Spirit cannot be isolated as some absolute condition existing by itself. It would be nice to think of spirit being “superior” to matter but that appears to be inconsistent and a human-centric fixation.

    The Seventh and Sixth Dynamics equally represent two major aspects of the Eighth Dynamic.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    The whole “spirit – matter” dichotomy lies within the spectrum of awareness and motion. It is awareness and motion evolving together as electromagnetic radiation, atoms, molecules, matter, functioning matter, cells, organisms, plants, animals and finally humans. This is covered by the span of Fifth Dynamic to Fourth Dynamic.

    The span from the Fifth Dynamic to the Fourth Dynamic represents the whole of evolution.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    It seems that humans first operated together as one on the basis of instincts alone. As human awareness developed migration took place to all parts of earth. Interaction with different geographies and climates produced different races over time. Different cultures came about with further development. Cultures then divided further into political and smaller groups as human awareness evolved in all different directions.

    The Third Dynamic represents the evolution of human awareness into races, cultures and groups.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Families have been a product of cultural evolution. It provided an environment in which children could be raised to become productive members of the society. The sex act has always been there to produce future members of the community. The family now provided a better organization of the natural human instinct to reproduce, protect and rear children.

    The Second Dynamic represents a better organization of the rearing of future generations.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    As human awareness has evolved, so has the ability to resolve problems. With this ability has arisen the sense of knowledge and self. The earliest focus was on areas of basic sustenance, such as, food, shelter and security. Gradually communities evolved around the need to barter. Knowledge then evolved along the line of business and travel. Stars in heavens served as guides to travelers. Major setbacks due to disease and death lead to preoccupation with religion. Religion became a repository of knowledge and a vehicle to address problems of the society. Solutions were increasingly arrived at by individuals and self was increasingly perceived as the source of action.

    The First Dynamic represents the increasing ability to resolve problems on individual basis.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    As the individual problem-solving abilities have grown, so have the knowledge and awareness of the Universe. Science has focused on improving physical aspects of life because it is much easier to look at physical problems objectively. There has been some difficulty in looking at spiritual problem objectively. However, this difficulty starts to resolve when we look at spirit and matter as one. It is matter that imparts objectivity to spirit. Spirit is not some abstraction that stands alone.

    Problems resolve more completely as spirit is seen to be the essence of matter.
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  • vinaire  On October 4, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    We start to understand the Eighth Dynamic more completely as we understand that all the seven dynamics below it are a unified whole of awareness in various forms. But how the Universe of awareness came to be still seems unresolved. This leads to the most basic dichotomy of “awareness – non-awareness.” As long as awareness is there, non-awareness must also be there. It is impossible to have absolute awareness. The Universe comes about by transitioning from non-awareness into awareness and disappears when it transitions the other way. The Eighth Dynamic shall therefore include both awareness and non-awareness.

    The Eighth Dynamic consists of the cycling of Universe between awareness and non-awareness.
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