Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights — Page 19
I recorded this a few days ago and was planning to release it next week, but seeing all the Trump craziness happening in the news this week, it feels appropriate to release it now.
For those who ask, "But what's wrong with Jordan Peterson??" Here it is in 5 minutes directly from the horse's mouth, unedited:
The fear-mongering and strawmanning here of Spiral Dynamics stage Green is downright laughable. His argument may as well be a drawing of a hippie on a chalkboard with devil horns.
What is this but a projection of Peterson's own fear of relativism, communalism, progressivism, and evolution?
"Damn you hippies! Damn you all to hell with your long hair, your drum circles, and your... your... equality, diversity, and inclusion! How dare you!", said the cranky old grandpa sitting on his porch.
Here's a hilarious blow-by-blow analysis, although it still misses the Spiral Dynamics perspective:
P.S. PragerU is not a real university, it's a right-wing propaganda Youtube channel funded by stage Blue Christian fundamentalists and stage Orange hydraulic fracking billionaires as explained in this Mother Jones article. They create videos like "Why Everyone Should Stand For The National Anthem" and "Just Say Merry Christmas". That Jordan Peterson would create content for such an organization tells you a lot about him.
Here's a really good video of a guy who evolved from Spiral Dynamics stage Blue to stage Orange. Being now at Orange, notice how he falls into the Pre/Trans Fallacy, conflating orthodox religion with transpersonal, transrational consciousness. Notice how his understanding of mystical experience is warped by the stage Orange materialistic, rational, naturalistic paradigm. Notice how he uses the concept of "the brain" to metaphysically ground his entire understanding of reality, without realizing that the brain is also just a personal experience, a conceptual anchor point.
You cannot deny the validity of mystical experience by saying "they are just experiences" because EVERYTHING, including the brain, science, reason, and proof, are also just experiences. However you ground yourself in "reality" it will always be through experience. (Until you realize the Groundless Ground.) It does not matter whether your experiences and justifications of those experiences are religious or scientific — they are equally mental constructions.
Yes, of course, when mystical experiences happen at the stage Blue level of development, the ego-mind interprets them in a limited, orthodox, ego-centric, chauvinistic way. To then re-interpret them via the scientific materialist paradigm is to evolve one stage, but it is to still fundamentally misunderstand what they are.
What's not being understood here is that the nature of reality is subjective and mind-constructed, and therefore "physical" reality can change if you just change the way you use your mind. This possibility is not taken seriously because Stage Blue and Orange underestimates reality. These stages assume that reality is a fixed, static thing, limited thing — which turns out to be a very mistaken metaphysical assumption.
Basically every atheist commits this mistake. They take it completely for granted that the metaphysics of modern science is correct and unquestionable. But it isn't! The atheist fails to understand that spirituality isn't about personal experience, it is about metaphysics.
These kinds of errors are the direct result of our culture's marginalization of metaphysics and epistemology. Because our culture de-emphasizes it, very few people investigate it or take it seriously, believing that "metaphysics has no practical applications". Well, here is your practical application! Lack of metaphysical depth leads to all sorts of fundamental errors in thinking — and what's worse, these errors go completely unnoticed. Because to notice them would require doing metaphysics, which nobody wants to do! Therein lies the tragedy of mankind in the 21st century.
If you're a seeker of Truth, you need to understand the concept of Anekāntavāda:
"Anekāntavāda ('many-sidedness') refers to the Jain doctrine about metaphysical truths that emerged in ancient India. It states that the ultimate truth and reality is complex and has multiple aspects. According to Jainism, no single, specific statement can describe the nature of existence and the Absolute Truth. This knowledge... is comprehended only by the Arahats (enlightened masters). Other beings and their statements about Absolute Truth are incomplete, and at best a partial truth. All knowledge claims, according to the anekāntavāda doctrine must be qualified in many ways, including being affirmed and denied. The origins of anekāntavāda can be traced back to the teachings of Mahāvīra."
"The Jain doctrine of anekāntavāda... states that truth and reality is complex and always has multiple aspects. Reality can be experienced, but it is not possible to totally express it with language. Human attempts to communicate is naya, or 'partial expression of the truth'. Language is not Truth, but a means and attempt to express truth. From truth, according to Māhavira, language returns and not the other way around. One can experience the truth of a taste, but cannot fully express that taste through language. Any attempts to express the experience is syāt, or valid 'in some respect' but it still remains a 'perhaps, just one perspective, incomplete'. In the same way, spiritual truths are complex, they have multiple aspects, language cannot express their plurality, yet through effort and appropriate karma they can be experienced."
"Māhavira's approach to answering all metaphysical philosophical questions was a 'qualified yes'... The Buddha taught the Middle Way, rejecting extremes of the answer 'it is' or 'it is not' to metaphysical questions. The Māhavira, in contrast, taught his followers to accept both 'it is' and 'it is not', with 'perhaps' qualification and with reconciliation to understand the Absolute reality. The Jain doctrine of anekāntavāda, according to Bimal Matilal, states that 'no philosophic or metaphysical proposition can be true if it is asserted without any condition or limitation'."
"For example... all the following seven predicates must be accepted as true for a cooking pot, according to Matilal:
- from a certain point of view, or in a certain sense, the pot exists
- from a certain point of view, the pot does not exist
- from a certain point of view, the pot exists and does not exist
- from a certain point of view, the pot is inexpressible
- from a certain point of view, the pot both exists and is inexpressible
- from a certain point of view, the pot both does not exist and is inexpressible
- from a certain point of view, the pot exists, does not exist, and is also inexpressible"
To really understand this is to move into Spiral Dynamics stage Yellow integral Tier 2 cognition, where every perspective is seen as part-true, part-false. This requires letting go of the notion of there being totally wrong and totally right perspectives — a notion which the lower Spiral stages cling to vehemently.
Anekāntavāda is relativism, but it is also so much deeper than conventional notions of relativism because there is an Absolute. It just cannot be encapsulated in finite symbols or thoughts.
The Jains have a really high quality epistemology. It's amazing that Mahavira figured this out 2500 years ago, before the earliest Greek philosophers were even born! Compared to the Hindus the Greeks were savages.
"The withdrawal of philosophy into a 'professional' shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrödinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth."
-- Paul Feyerabend
A perfect example of how a Spiral Dynamics stage Orange ego-mind justifies and defends its atheist, rationalist paradigm:
Notice how the Amazing Atheist conflates mysticism with religion and fails to understand that Truth cannot be proven, symbolized, or communicated because a map is never the territory. He conflates actual Truth with linguistic or symbolic "truth".
It is indeed amazing how paradigm lock works.
This is a prime example of how closedmindedness and arrogance stymies any further inquiry or research into existential matters.
A more openminded person would wonder, "What could Hinduism be pointing to that I might be overlooking? Let me go research that."
Moral of the story is: don't become like this guy.
In the video below, US Apollo Astronaut and 6th man to walk on the moon, Edgar Mitchell, describes his samadhi experience in outer space.
"The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes... The knowledge came to me directly."
Edgar Mitchell later founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, devoted to the study of consciousness. As the website says, "The essential hypothesis underlying the noetic sciences is simply that consciousness matters."
The point of this post is to help you realize that when the scientific mind penetrates reality deeply enough, the field of science morphs into the field of spirituality. A traditional scientist is just someone whose understanding of the metaphysical structure of reality is so thin that he hasn't realized yet that he IS reality! Oh sure, he knows it intellectually, but not deeply enough, not personally enough that it's flowered into a full-blown spiritual experience.
Flying into outer space helps to put you in touch with your own universal nature. Which is one of the key reasons why human beings are so fascinated with space exploration and space travel: We want to be Cosmic! But the truth is, we already are Cosmic! We've always been Cosmic! You don't need to fly into outer space to realize this because in fact there is no difference between outer space and inner space. The vacuum of outer space is already here, right now, inside your head! You can fly to the edge of the galaxy and all you will ever find is consciousness. But for a mind thoroughly locked in the materialist paradigm it might take something like flying to the moon to realize its folly. A materialist mind needs an epic material revelation of spirit/oneness/consciousness to break through the lock. Something akin to an angel descending down from the clouds with choir music playing.
A traditional scientist is a dabbler in reality. Sure, he knows some formulas and he's read a lot of books, but it has not dawned on him yet that the nature of reality is pure, radical subjectivity. So he stands too far aloof from his subject matter. He actually believes that the thing he's studying is separate from himself. He likes to pretend that he is being "objective". How myopic!
P.S. For you moon-landing conspiracy theorists, this is the most compelling evidence that the moon-landing actually happened. But sadly, if you're a moon-landing conspiracy theorist, understanding spirituality will be way over your head.
Here's a really good example of how collective ego works:
Notice how your own organization (whichever groups you're a part of) operates under the same basic dynamics. What people misunderstand is that the content of the group's beliefs is largely irrelevant. This is not a Catholic problem, this is a collective ego problem. Collective ego is a meta-structure. Its primary concern is self-preservation, regardless of what "the self" happens to be. It could be a religious self, a political self, a scientific self, a rational self, a gender self, a social justice self, an environmentalist self, etc. The Catholic Church, as a living, evolving organism — like every organism — is in a constant battle to keep itself alive. Because of this it tends to be blind to its own "ecological footprint" — AKA, selfishness.
The root solution to problems like this is genuine transcendence of ego — by increasing consciousness. Consciousness needs to be increased both at the individual level and at the collective level. But the catch-22 is, the ego does not want to increase consciousness because that means the death of the ego. And hence we have this perpetual battle between "good" and "evil", selfless vs selfish. You can't be completely selfless, or you will die. And you can't be completely selfish, or you will also die. The trick is striking the right balance, which complex organisms like humans and corporations and churches find very challenging to do.
Most organisms error on the side of selfishness because it is safer and easier. This is reinforced with fear and craving. The fear and craving which rules the Catholic Church also rules you. Which is fundamentally why you are so selfish.
It would take enormous courage for the Catholic Church to say: "From now on, full transparency". That would be the equivalent of you showing up to school or work naked. It's the last thing you want to do.
A Correction: I want to make a correction to something I said in my Understanding Sameness vs Difference video. In that video I made a minor point about how Douglas Hofstadter said that all thinking boils down to analogy. This was a mischaracterization of his position. Rather, he says that analogy is the core of thinking, which is much more reasonable. My apologies for this oversight.
The only thing I would add to his excellent lecture above is that distinction is the other side of that coin. The core of thinking is both making analogies (seeing samenesses) and making distinctions (seeing differences). Both are crucial and work off each other, like the positive and negative ends of a battery.