There Are Only Desires


soul-copy1In the Book IV of Plato’s The Republic, Plato has Socrates make a series of arguments that attempt to establish that soul has three parts. Plato’s theory of soul is one of the earliest discussions on human psychology in the history of Western philosophy. This piece discusses and investigates the plausibility of Plato’s argument for the tripartite soul, i.e. that human soul has reason, spirit and appetite as three separate entities with different functions to perform for a just soul. It won’t discuss the question of justice in soul or the city, nor it will address the whole series of arguments for the tripartite soul in the Book IV. It only scrutinizes Plato’s argument for how ‘desiring and being averse are opposites’ in making the statement that there is a rational as well as an appetitive part in soul. It attempts to contend that Plato’s argument for the tripartite…

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Zen, Yoga, Gurdjieff- perspectives on inner work: The Quantum Mind of God

The Quantum Mind of God

The realm of quantum physics was my grandfather’s first love; he was a prominent quantum physicist. He used to shut himself up in his study for hours at a time and fill it with thick wreaths of pipe smoke.
It was absolutely forbidden to disturb him in there; when I was sent up to call him down for dinner, it was always an intimidating experience. I approached the door on tiptoe. And perhaps that’s the best way to approach all matters of gravity, mathematical or otherwise. If so, I started the practice very early.
Those of you who read the interview from yesterday’s post will note the description of how a quantum computer might operate.
Problem-solving, that is, identifying a realm of knowledge that may (I emphasize the word) lead to understanding, is nearly instantaneous in the quantum world, and takes place across an entire range of information, rather than narrowly specified sets and results. This may be because of quantum tunneling and entanglement; no one knows for sure. What has become reasonably certain, however, is that what we call reality is perpetually emerging from a realm and a set of properties that present apparent impossibilities, such as the ability to travel faster than the speed of light.
I mentioned some time ago that it is possible for the mind to completely comprehend all things in one instant — that is, the real mind, not the intellectual fragment which we work with under ordinary circumstances. Continue reading

Seek Experiences That Positively Reshape Your Brain | Mindful

New research looks at how experiences can positively shift our self-perception.

By Daniel Goleman via

I often hear people say, \”I\’m the kind of person who…\” or, \”I\’m not a people person.” These seemingly off-the-cuff comments suggest they’re resigned to not changing their self-perception—regardless if it’s inaccurate or self-defeating. My longtime colleague, Dr. Richard Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, has studied neuroplasticity, the ability of the mind to change throughout life.

In his interview with Mirabai Bush for the Working with Mindfulness webinar series with More Than Sound, Dr. Davidson touches upon the possibilities of using our experiences to positively shift our self-perception—and retrain our brains. Here’s what he had to say.

“What we often refer to when we speak in that way are differences that we perceive in ourselves, in our emotional reactions, the way we respond to adversity, and the kinds of moods that we often inhabit. And these are differences that do exist among people. They are part of an umbrella that we call ‘emotional styles’. It\’s one of the things that gives life a lot of color. Continue reading

It’s surprisingly difficult to prove that you’re awake

It’s surprisingly difficult to prove that you’re awake

It's surprisingly difficult to prove that you're awakeSEXPAND

You may know when you’re awake, but you can’t prove it scientifically. That’s because there’s no objective way to distinguish between a “conscious” and “unconscious” brain. But now, scientists may have discovered the telltale neurological signature of a mind that’s awake.

Over at the New York TimesMaggie Koerth-Baker has a great essay on the scientific quest to discover what consciousness looks like in the brain. Interestingly, our greatest insights have come from studying what unconsciousness looks like. She begins:

More than a decade ago, a 43-year-old woman went to a surgeon for a hysterectomy. She was put under, and everything seemed to be going according to plan, until, for a horrible interval, her anesthesia stopped working. She couldn’t open her eyes or move her fingers. She tried to breathe, but even that most basic reflex didn’t seem to work; a tube was lodged in her throat. She was awake and aware on the operating table, but frozen and unable to tell anyone what was happening.

Studies of anesthesia awareness are full of such horror stories, because administering anesthesia is a tightrope walk. Too much can kill. But too little can leave a patient aware of the procedure and unable to communicate that awareness. Continue reading

Thoughts create reality: Researchers show how mindfulness can induce specific molecular changes to your genes — Science of the Spirit —

Michael Forrester

Waking Times   Thu, 05 Dec 2013 00:01 CST

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With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing specific modes of consciousness can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Continue reading

Being alone in the universe does not necessarily imply theism. Or even deism. | Uncommon Descent

Being alone in the universe does not necessarily imply theism. Or even deism.

December 15, 2013 Posted by News on


Recently I asked, “Why is believing in space aliens “science” but believing in Bigfoot is “non-science” or “anti-science,” with the same level of demonstration? One likely reason is that believing in space aliens is an outcome of methodological naturalism, but believing in Bigfoot is not.

That said, one advantage the space alien has over Bigfoot is this: It would be much harder to scour the universe and demonstrate (to a reasonable person’s satisfaction) that the space alien does not exist than to scour the planet and demonstrate the same for Bigfoot.

But we haven’t scoured either yet. So the advantage has not yet been made real. In any event, it is a negative advantage, not a positive one. One likely solution is that neither entity exists.

More significant, levels of evidence hardly explain the strong attachment to ET evident in popular science media.

Fact is, they wouldn’t want the question settled one way or the other. They only want it settled one way. A way that supports what they now believe: We are not unusual and key evidence is that we are not even alone. The need for ET parallels the program to try to “prove” that chimpanzees think like humans. Note that in both cases, lack of serious evidence is not an obstacle to belief.

Why this state of affairs? For one thing, the questions that arise if we continue to wait for ET are much less taxing than the ones that arise if we stop waiting. Where could he possibly be hiding? is less taxing than “Why might we be (for all practical purposes*) alone?”

* It amounts to being alone if ET does exist but we will never know of each other’s existence.

The curious thing is that being alone, taken by itself, does not necessarily imply theism. Or even deism. That question must be argued separately. Being alone does, however, imply philosophy. That is, it means taking reality seriously. The monolith is not going to land and change everything. From that prospect, many today shrink.

As it happens, under the sure guidance of methodological naturalism, we went from exploring a comprehensible but troubling cosmos to gaping in amazement before an incomprehensible multiverse. But it is unlikely we can do much about it without retracing our steps to where we first got lost. – O’Leary for News

via Being alone in the universe does not necessarily imply theism. Or even deism. | Uncommon Descent.

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