Author Topic: Randomness.  (Read 3586 times)

Flipasso

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Randomness.
« on: April 14, 2008, 07:31:05 PM »
Yesterday when meditating, I came across this feeling/idea, that had come to me before but not in the same way.
There's a neurology/dream theory that says that dreams are just the result of random neuronal firing in the brain that has no meaning at all, and that a part of the brain turns that firing into a story to try and make some sense.
Quote
J. Allan Hobson's and Robert McCarley's activation synthesis theory proposes that dreams are caused by the random firing of neurons in the cerebral cortex during the REM period. According to the theory, the forebrain then creates a story in an attempt to reconcile and make sense of the nonsensical sensory information presented to it, hence the odd nature of many dreams.
Wikipedia - Sleep
Yesterday I felt that our thoughts through(spl?) out the day are merely random firing of neurons in reactions to external stimulli. - Of course there are certain pathways of neural information that occur more often in one person than in another, because these thought patterns are bolder, you know what I mean?, they're stronger because of more frequency of use.
So this idea leaves me with the doubt, what about our will.
Are we in charge of anything or are we (thoughts/words/acts) just mere random firing triggered by events?
Hope you get it.

happiness@you.all
Note: Hey moderators, this should probably be in the Under the banyan tree.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 08:54:16 PM by Flipasso »

Jimmy Coconuts

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2008, 03:32:26 PM »
I used to believe that everything that happens is random.  I don't really subscribe to that theory anymore as it doesn't seem congruent with the law of cause and effect.

pamojjam

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2008, 04:11:30 PM »

Yesterday I felt that our thoughts throw out the day are merely random firing of neurons in reactions to external stimulli. ...
Are we in charge of anything or are we (thoughts/words/acts) just mere random firing triggered by events?
Hope you get it.


.. maybe the essay 'Karma and Chaos' could make an interesting reading?

regards..

Stefan

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 07:12:32 PM »
Yes the brain does a lot of random firing, but the brain is not all ... it's only a tool.
I believe the "free will" starts beyond brain activity ... the brain can be influenced by "the will", but the brain doesn't create will.

There is an organ called "heart", and it doesn't create Metta!   :-*

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Flipasso

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 08:51:03 PM »
I don't believe in karma... I refuse to accept that all the suffering in this life is due to passed actions (wether in this life or a former). If karma works only for this life, I must have done very bad things that I'm unaware of, for having suffered some things.... As for past lives, I just don't believe in it, so...
As opposed to karma I believe in the chaos theory (you know the butterfly and the hurricane...). I think some actions have consequences beyond imaginable (or predictable). That doesn't explain suffering on earth, but it does make one believe that you can change the world, even if in a minimalist way, and it does make you see how important a balanced mind in an unbalanced society can be.
Other than that, I don't think anyone can actually "feel" karma. Do you?

Yes the brain does a lot of random firing, but the brain is not all ... it's only a tool.
I believe the "free will" starts beyond brain activity ... the brain can be influenced by "the will", but the brain doesn't create will.

There is an organ called "heart", and it doesn't create Metta!   :-*

Metta, Stefan
interesting theory stefan would like to hear more of it. Where do you think the will comes from?
I believe we're all in the brain (inspite of other theories). And that you create will through(spl?) meditation. But at the same time, that will is never will until enlightment. - This is a bit anatta
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 10:35:15 PM by Flipasso »

Matthew

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2008, 09:28:47 AM »
Karma is best interpreted simply as the result of actions, thoughts and words. You don't need to subscribe to beliefe in rebirth to know that karma is real. In a sense, karma just means "every action has an equal and opposite reaction", a basic law of physics.

There is a lot of random firing of neurons, and yes some of the patterns of actions, thoughts, words that follow are more strongly habituated than others. In meditation we are undoing the habituated and gaining control of the mind as a tool to serve us rather than as a wild horse dragging us around this way and that. In other words, free will exists but you have to undo the conditioned mind, through recognising and not identifying with its functioning, before you will taste it.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
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Flipasso

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2008, 10:40:16 PM »
I understand that basic law of "physics". But I think karma is kinda like a belief in a Justifier-God that punishes bad deeds and rewards good ones.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that, if you are in a position of suffering you are bound to think that you (somehow) deserve it. - That's bad thought.
It may also imply that you feel undiserving of good times, and not enjoy them. - That's bad thought. - By bad I mean useless.
As you usually say TIB I think those kinds of beliefs are not to be taken seriously. (Is that what you say?) And karma is one I tend not to adhere(spl?) to.

In class today (Neurofisiology - Sleep) my teacher said that we're our brains and nothing more. She was supported by an example of a boy who had a psychotic breakdown, and then developed (somehow) bipolar-disorder. The person who quoted this example said that he was not the same person anymore.
I changed a lot do to my condition, but I'm still the same person, even if people around me (and I) note that certain behaviours are different, I'm still the same Joe (Filipe).
This made me wonder somehow about the Will (and fait).
How come we chose to become who we are when, sometimes something (like a stroke) can leave us mentally impaired and make us leave the self-developing practice that we used to do and forget who we are?
How can karma explain this? What did Ram Dass did, that was so bad that now he had a stroke and has trouble speaking and walking? One can't point that down....

Matthew

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2008, 02:33:41 PM »
I understand that basic law of "physics". But I think karma is kinda like a belief in a Justifier-God that punishes bad deeds and rewards good ones.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that, if you are in a position of suffering you are bound to think that you (somehow) deserve it.

The Hindu version of Karma was really hardball: if you suffered, you would suffer continuously through repeated lives. The Buddha's version at least gives us the chance to develop "good karma" and move on, whether you believe in rebirth or not. The Buddha's version was somewhat a radical political stance against the Brahmanism/Hinduism of his time.

In our time we may develop a new understanding of Karma (or rediscover Gautama's). I am very uncertain about the way the teachings on karma, rebirth and co-dependent arising have come down to us. I reflect on them and suspect they are corrupted.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Stefan

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2008, 06:19:24 PM »
I refuse to accept that all the suffering in this life is due to passed actions (wether in this life or a former)
(...)
Where do you think the will comes from?

Sorry I'm in a hurry, I'll try to answer more precisely later on ...

@Karma: 20 years ago I was drunk and tried to kick a beer bottle. I missed it and hit the wall. Since this time there is a complicated injury inside my right toe. Every second step hurts. It reminds me constantly of having been stupid ... Karma?

@Will: I am sure that the energy that is "me" creates brain and body. Not the other way round. Physics seconds that. There is no materia, it only seems to be materia. But in truth, there is only interacting energy.

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Matthew

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2008, 06:46:46 PM »
As you usually say TIB I think those kinds of beliefs are not to be taken seriously. (Is that what you say?)

What I say is there is no point believing in anything you don't have first hand experience of. The Buddha said the same thing: the only point where faith comes into play is when one first starts meditating. One has heard the teachings and has enough faith to try sitting on ones bottom and putting them into practice. Then one sees that it works and there is no need for faith any more.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2008, 06:59:49 PM »
@Will: I am sure that the energy that is "me" creates brain and body. Not the other way round. Physics seconds that. There is no materia, it only seems to be materia. But in truth, there is only interacting energy.

This goes against the Buddha's teachings of no-self - which I know you have issues with Stefan. Yes, there is an ever arising and interelating field of energy that gives rise to the material world. There is also an ever arising sense of "me and mine" which gives rise to the false sense of self.

Notice how your sense of self changes depending on the situation (conditions) you are in: are you exactly the same person at work and when making love with your partner? Very unlikely that the answer is yes. If it is your colleagues are probably quite worried.

Our brain tells us stories about who we are, our education and parents habituated us to believe these stories, but they are just stories. We are not the words we use to describe ourselves, nor are we exclusively any of the other transient features of our beings. We are part of the ever arising field of energy and there is a part of that part which is us which tells us a story that says we are not part of it but separate, apart, me.

Hopwever, it's just a story.

This is a trait that develops naturally out of self-consciousness. With man, as we are linguistic animals, it has become highly refined trait and thus the linguistic centres of our brains are very active, telling us stories all the time about who we are and what is happening around us. It's a survival strategy. Once the brain actually shuts up for a while - and we have all probably experienced this, even if only for a moment when meditating, drunk, or sitting watching the sun rise on mount everest or when we turn a corner and see the most beautiful man or woman we have ever seen - there is an immediate and overwhelming sense of just being, in the present moment, and no sense of separation between anything either outside or inside. Just being, now. Which is all there is.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 07:00:15 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Stefan

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2008, 08:35:02 PM »
@Will: I am sure that the energy that is "me" creates brain and body. Not the other way round. Physics seconds that. There is no materia, it only seems to be materia. But in truth, there is only interacting energy.

This goes against the Buddha's teachings of no-self  ....

... but why do you think I wrote "me" instead of plain me ...

I  wrote the "" for you!  ;)

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Matthew

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Re: Randomness.
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2008, 08:43:19 PM »
looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~