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Shawn
post Sep 27, 2003, 12:59 PM
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I thought it might be interesting to start a thread on Sri Aurobindo. I recently completed one of his works (Integral Yoga) and concur with a lot of what he says. So, let me begin this thread by posting some introductory material I found at http://www.miraura.org/teaching.html . I'll add more comments and posts in time.

The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India that behind the appearances of the universe there is the Reality of a Being and Consciousness, a Self of all things, one and eternal. All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separativity of consciousness, an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all.

Sri Aurobindo's teaching states that this One Being and Consciousness is involved here in Matter. Evolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection.

But while the former steps in evolution were taken by Nature without a conscious will in the plant and animal life, in man Nature becomes able to evolve by a conscious will in the instrument. It is not, however, by the mental will in man that this can be wholly done, for the mind goes only to a certain point and after that can only move in a circle. A conversion has to be made, a turning of the consciousness by which mind has to change into the higher principle. This method is to be found through the ancient psychological discipline and practice of Yoga. In the past, it has been attempted by a drawing away from the world and a disappearance into the height of the Self or Spirit. Sri Aurobindo teaches that a descent of the higher principle is possible which will not merely release the spiritual Self out of the world, but release it in the world, replace the mind's ignorance or its very limited knowledge by a supramental Truth-Consciousness which will be a sufficient instrument of the inner Self and make it possible for the human being to find himself dynamically as well as inwardly and grow out of his still animal humanity into a diviner race. The psychological discipline of Yoga can be used to that end by opening all the parts of the being to a conversion or transformation through the descent and working of the higher still concealed supramental principle.

This, however, cannot be done at once or in a short time or by any rapid or miraculous transformation. Many steps have to be taken by the seeker before the supramental descent is possible. Man lives mostly in his surface mind, life and body, but there is an inner being within him with greater possibilities to which he has to awake - for it is only a very restricted influence from it that he receives now and that pushes him to a constant pursuit of a greater beauty, harmony, power and knowledge. The first process of Yoga is therefore to open the ranges of this inner being and to live from there outward, governing his outward life by an inner light and force. In doing so he discovers in himself his true soul which is not this outer mixture of mental, vital and physical elements but something of the Reality behind them, a spark from the one Divine Fire. He has to learn to live in his soul and purify and orientate by its drive towards the Truth the rest of the nature. There can follow afterwards an opening upward and descent of a higher principle of the Being. But even then it is not at once the full supramental Light and Force. For there are several ranges of consciousness between the ordinary human mind and the supramental Truth-Consciousness. These intervening ranges have to be opened up and their power brought down into the mind, life and body. Only afterwards can the full power of the Truth-Consciousness work in the nature. The process of this self-discipline or Sadhana is therefore long and difficult, but even a little of it is so much gained because it makes the ultimate release and perfection more possible.

There are many things belonging to older systems that are necessary on the way - an opening of the mind to a greater wideness and to the sense of the Self and the Infinite, an emergence into what has been called the cosmic consciousness, mastery over the desires and passions; an outward asceticism is not essential, but the conquest of desire and attachment and a control over the body and its needs, greeds and instincts are indispensable. There is a combination of the principles of the old systems, the way of knowledge through the mind's discernment between Reality and the appearance, the heart's way of devotion, love and surrender and the way of works turning the will away from motives of self-interest to the Truth and the service of a greater Reality than the ego. For the whole being has to be trained so that it can respond and be transformed when it is possible for that greater Light and Force to work in the nature.

In this discipline, the inspiration of the Master, and in the difficult stages his control and his presence are indispensable - for it would be impossible otherwise to go through it without much stumbling and error which would prevent all chance of success. The Master is one who has risen to a higher consciousness and being and he is often regarded as its manifestation or representative. He not only helps by his teaching and still more by his influence and example but by a power to communicate his own experience to others.

This is Sri Aurobindo's teaching and method of practice. It is not his object to develop any one religion or to amalgamate the older religions or to found any new religion - for any of these things would lead away from his central purpose. The one aim of his Yoga is an inner self-development by which each one who follows it can in time discover the One Self in all and evolve a higher consciousness than the mental, a spiritual and supramental consciousness which will transform and divinise human nature.
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darkdeus01
post Sep 27, 2003, 02:52 PM
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I'm know some about Sri Aurobindo rom reading his articles on the superman. http://www.mountainman.com.au/auro_s.html

I'm definetely interested though in learning more. I'll check out the link you gave. I think you should definetely try and read the The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswani. He's a professor of physics at The Institute of Theoretical Sciences at the University of Oregon. I'm almost done reading the book and I think he presents an extremely interesting hypothesis. I would be interested to know what you thought about it.
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Shawn
post Sep 27, 2003, 03:20 PM
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thank you darkdeus01. I'll check out the link and the book you suggested tonight.

I should point out that there are many interesting parallels between Nietzsche's Superman (or Overman) and Sri Aurobindo's notion of the Supermind (or Superman). I'll have to develop these ideas further at a later date, though.
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Shawn
post Oct 02, 2003, 03:42 PM
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I recently began reading Sri Aurobindo's masterpiece "The Life Divine" and find it to be a fascinating and exceptional work. Here is the first chapter (which I found at http://www.miraura.org/lit/sa/ld/ld-sel.html along with many other excerpts of his works), entitled "The Human Aspiration", which I found to be quite brilliant and which I think is well worth reading and reflecting on:

"The Human Aspiration"

THE earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation, - for it survives the longest periods of scepticism and returns after every banishment, - is also the highest which his thought can envisage. It manifests itself in the divination of Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret immortality. The ancient dawns of human knowledge have left us their witness to this constant aspiration; today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings. The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last, - God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.

These persistent ideals of the race are at once the contradiction of its normal experience and the affirmation of higher and deeper experiences which are abnormal to humanity and only to be attained, in their organised entirety, by a revolutionary individual effort or an evolutionary general progression. To know, possess and be the divine being in an animal and egoistic consciousness, to convert our twilit or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination, to build peace and a self-existent bliss where there is only a stress of transitory satisfactions besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering, to establish an infinite freedom in a world which presents itself as a group of mechanical necessities, to discover and realise the immortal life in a body subjected to death and constant mutation, - this is offered to us as the manifestation of God in Matter and the goal of Nature in her terrestrial evolution. To the ordinary material intellect which takes its present organisation of consciousness for the limit of its possibilities, the direct contradiction of the unrealised ideals with the realised fact is a final argument against their validity. But if we take a more deliberate view of the world's workings, that direct opposition appears rather as part of Nature's profoundest method and the seal of her completest sanction.

For all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony. They arise from the perception of an unsolved discord and the instinct of an undiscovered agreement or unity. To rest content with an unsolved discord is possible for the practical and more animal part of man, but impossible for his fully awakened mind, and usually even his practical parts only escape from the general necessity either by shutting out the problem or by accepting a rough, utilitarian and unillumined compromise. For essentially, all Nature seeks a harmony, life and matter in their own sphere as much as mind in the arrangement of its perceptions. The greater the apparent disorder of the materials offered or the apparent disparateness, even to irreconcilable opposition, of the elements that have to be utilised, the stronger is the spur, and it drives towards a more subtle and puissant order than can normally be the result of a less difficult endeavour. The accordance of active Life with a material of form in which the condition of activity itself seems to be inertia, is one problem of opposites that Nature has solved and seeks always to solve better with greater complexities; for its perfect solution would be the material immortality of a fully organised mind-supporting animal body. The accordance of conscious mind and conscious will with a form and a life in themselves not overtly self-conscious and capable at best of a mechanical or sub-conscious will is another problem of opposites in which she has produced astonishing results and aims always at higher marvels; for there her ultimate miracle would be an animal consciousness no longer seeking but possessed of Truth and Light, with the practical omnipotence which would result from the possession of a direct and perfected knowledge. Not only, then, is the upward impulse of man towards the accordance of yet higher opposites rational in itself, but it is the only logical completion of a rule and an effort that seem to be a fundamental method of Nature and the very sense of her universal strivings.

We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness. And then there seems to be little objection to a farther step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind. In that case, the unconquerable impulse of man towards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itself in its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulse by which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appears to be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Life which she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulse towards Mind which she has planted in certain forms of Life. As there, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in her different vessels with an ever-ascending series in the power of its will-to-be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and bound fully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties. As the impulse towards Mind ranges from the more sensitive reactions of Life in the metal and the plant up to its full organisation in man, so in man himself there is the same ascending series, the preparation, if nothing more, of a higher and divine life. The animal is a living laboratory in which Nature has, it is said, worked out man. Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious co-operation she wills to work out the superman, the god. Or shall we not say, rather, to manifest God? For if evolution is the progressive manifestation by Nature of that which slept or worked in her, involved, it is also the overt realisation of that which she secretly is. We cannot, then, bid her pause at a given stage of her evolution, nor have we the right to condemn with the religionist as perverse and presumptuous or with the rationalist as a disease or hallucination any intention she may evince or effort she may make to go beyond. If it be true that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature is secret God, then the manifestation of the divine in himself and the realisation of God within and without are the highest and most legitimate aim possible to man upon earth.

Thus the eternal paradox and eternal truth of a divine life in an animal body, an immortal aspiration or reality inhabiting a mortal tenement, a single and universal consciousness representing itself in limited minds and divided egos, a transcendent, indefinable, timeless and spaceless Being who alone renders time and space and cosmos possible, and in all these the higher truth realisable by the lower term, justify themselves to the deliberate reason as well as to the persistent instinct or intuition of mankind. Attempts are sometimes made to have done finally with questionings which have so often been declared insoluble by logical thought and to persuade men to limit their mental activities to the practical and immediate problems of their material existence in the universe; but such evasions are never permanent in their effect. Mankind returns from them with a more vehement impulse of inquiry or a more violent hunger for an immediate solution. By that hunger mysticism profits and new religions arise to replace the old that have been destroyed or stripped of significance by a scepticism which itself could not satisfy because, although its business was inquiry, it was unwilling sufficiently to inquire. The attempt to deny or stifle a truth because it is yet obscure in its outward workings and too often represented by obscurantist superstition or a crude faith, is itself a kind of obscurantism. The will to escape from a cosmic necessity because it is arduous, difficult to justify by immediate tangible results, slow in regulating its operations, must turn out eventually to have been no acceptance of the truth of Nature but a revolt against the secret, mightier will of the great Mother. It is better and more rational to accept what she will not allow us as a race to reject and lift it from the sphere of blind instinct, obscure intuition and random aspiration into the light of reason and an instructed and consciously self-guiding will. And if there is any higher light of illumined intuition or self-revealing truth which is now in man either obstructed and inoperative or works with intermittent glancings as if from behind a veil or with occasional displays as of the northern lights in our material skies, then there also we need not fear to aspire. For it is likely that such is the next higher state of consciousness of which Mind is only a form and veil, and through the splendours of that light may lie the path of our progressive self-enlargement into whatever highest state is humanity's ultimate resting-place.



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solis
post Oct 14, 2004, 11:24 PM
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1)Sri Ramakrishna (1836 - 1886)

2)Sri Swami Vivekananda (1863 - 1902)
http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/viv...plete_works.htm

3)Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)

All three were advaitic (non-dual) Hindus.. (The vast majority are dvaitaic to some degree)
The latter two men were educated in the west..
All likely knew (of) each other ...
And, both Sri Ramakrishna & Sri Aurobino had spiritual mates..

The Yogic tradition elborated on by Sri Aurobino, was first begun by Patanjali..
http://www.urday.com/maharshi.htm

~sol
The path of the first two, Advaita Vedanta, was initially begun by Sankara... but, just as the yogic tradition evolved under Sri Aurobindo, under Sri Ramakrishna the caste preference (sternly adhered to by Sankara) for disciples was ignored... as if all are interconnected then no divisions can exist.

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solis
post Oct 15, 2004, 04:11 PM
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All minds are created by ego--the separative sense of "I."
All these expressions of individuality, however highly developed, are the impulses of the force of evolution.
And of these, only the mind born of meditation is free from the latent impressions that generated desire.

-The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 4:4-6
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Rick
post Oct 15, 2004, 04:52 PM
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Should I desire to be free of desire?
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 15, 2004, 06:19 PM
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Dear Rick

Funny!

I would ask you to explain (just assume it is possible, if you have not studied the matter) how a person who once lived in this physical realm who says he (she and whatever) can de-materialize and talk about places they have been. Each of the great adepts seems to be not only able to do that but also to tell us things that are subsequently proven true.

In the case of some of those that Solis is quoting here they tell us that there are causal planes and non-causal or pure energy and thought planes of existence. They told us these things for millennia before the Quantum physicists talked about it.

They tell us that NEED (desire and ego) are the anathema of what can connect one to this reality that is one with 'what is'.
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Rick
post Oct 15, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Remember that silver coin flipping incident I reported? Things like that I don't explain. If ever I needed to do it, I couldn't. One sometimes gets the idea that one can sense what's going to come up on a roulette wheel, for example, but if one "needs" to do it, it won't work. So all the cases I have seen where we have tried to have controlled experiments to demonstrate astral travel and the like, have turned up nothing. I no longer think dreams mean anything. It's just brain noise.
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Dan
post Oct 15, 2004, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE (Rick @ Oct 15, 02:52 PM)
Should I desire to be free of desire?

no, you are supposed to 'aspire' to transcend desire. wink.gif
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 15, 2004, 09:34 PM
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Dear Rick

Yes, I remember the coin flipping experiment and I am not a big one on the statistical analysis of psi effects for that kind of reason. However, I am sure you have not read nor experienced the proofing that is donw on things like astral travel. But that is not thequestion I asked.

I asked how do you explain the insight on dimensions that the ancients had and modern physicists are saying was right? Before the advent of what was derided as 'atom-mysticism' and all the benefits including most computer technology and much of the present world you would have been in the great majority. But now there are many physicists who are singing the mystical praises and there are physiological experiments that prove them right. The volume of such posts which prove this on this site are many.

So if you do not read them - why comment or continue to re-iterate the tired old derision of debunkers whose science no longer explains the reality por the technology we (you especially) work with? I am referring to these words of yours.

So all the cases I have seen {Yes, if you do not study that is the conclusion you will come to.} where we have tried to have controlled experiments to demonstrate astral travel and the like, have turned up nothing.
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solis
post Oct 15, 2004, 11:46 PM
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"Should I desire to be free of desire?"

Only you know the answer to that question..
It isn't for me to decide..

peace
~sol
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 01:17 PM
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The answer is no. Desire is good. Will to live is a positive for survival of our species.
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 18, 2004, 01:26 PM
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The choice to live is the essence of Logotherapy and the work of Viktor E. Frankl. It has nothing to do with the matter of NEEDS and desires really. In fact to live - really live - requires constant willingness to die and be reborn.
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 02:16 PM
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I see desire to live as a desire. Given a choice, I prefer life. The same with our friends. We want them to live and to help them. That's desire or need.
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 18, 2004, 02:32 PM
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Dear Rick

Have you studied yoga or any of the disciplines? The choice to live is not a great NEED and or desire until you are actually faced with it as Frankl was in the concentration camps.

This is highly reminiscent of debates with Dan about the obvious and the Denial of the real. Again I ask a similar question - what provenance and authority or experience and fact makes you think NEED advances your soul? Possessions surely do possess their owner for example.
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 02:43 PM
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I read a book on yoga and meditation once, and tried it for a while. Please define the term "soul."
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 18, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Dear Rick

If that is what you think study entails how do you expect me to answer in a manner that you will 'grok'? Of course I have provided volumes from the best scientists and philosophers but you do not read them either.

Soul thrives on Chicken Soup - I guess would be a suitable explanation for one who once tried yoga (probably Hatha).
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 18, 2004, 02:52 PM
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From Eternum1

As the poet/songwriter George Harrison wrote "learning the art of
dying" removes our most basic fear and once we truly realize that shedding the
mortal coil doesn't require shedding of sensibility as a prerequisite, we might
begin to regard our species as being afflicted but not by evil in any cosmic
sense.
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Dan
post Oct 18, 2004, 03:29 PM
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you gotta love (in a masochistic way) RTB's standard defenses
huh.gif
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Good food like chicken soup does have energy, necessary for life, and "keeping body and soul together."
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Dan
post Oct 18, 2004, 03:55 PM
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is there a definition of 'soul' in there, or are we just letting this one off the hook?
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:08 PM
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My mother used to say things like that (keep body and soul together). It assumes that the soul is some distinct entity with an existence independent of the body. I don't believe that's an accurate model of reality. When you blow out a candle, the flame doesn't "go" anywhere. It ceases to exist.
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Dan
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:30 PM
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my interpretation of 'soul' is as a specific percepetive state as bound by a specific physical structure. When the physical structure is dissolved, the perceptive state ceases to exist. However, the 'perceiver' need not cease to exist. The 'soul' is just a pattern, the 'perceiver' provides 'spirit' to the pattern and intelligently animates it.
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Intelligence requires pattern, so it can't come from the perceiver, if pattern is supplied by soul. I prefer the term mind.
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Dan
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:45 PM
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I think of 'perceiver' as undergoing specific qualitative experiences that are directly related to the structure from which the perceptive state is bound or generated. 'Perceiver' intuitively reacts to the quality of the experience, with this reaction manifesting back into the structure as a 'choice'. This is the process of 'intelligence'. Without such a 'choice', there is no reason for structure to iterate in meaningful directions. There would be no reason for 'mind' to make any sense at all. I call this iterative 'perceptive/choice' connection the foundation of intelligence.
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:54 PM
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I still don't see the need to make a distinction between perceiver and perceptive state.

If the perceiver reacts, and the reaction modifies the perceptive state, then how is that different from the mind just sensing and moving?
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Robert the Bruce
post Oct 18, 2004, 04:54 PM
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The Chicken SOup reference refers to the series of books by that name in which stories of a positive nature illustrate and encourage people to focus upon something other than the self and aspire to the Self.
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Dan
post Oct 18, 2004, 05:35 PM
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QUOTE (Rick @ Oct 18, 02:54 PM)
I still don't see the need to make a distinction between perceiver and perceptive state.

A perceptive state refers to an experience, while a 'perceiver' refers to the subject that experiences. The subject can exist without perceiving anything, while perception cannot exist without a subject to perceive. Thus, they are not equivalent statements.


QUOTE
If the perceiver reacts, and the reaction modifies the perceptive state, then how is that different from the mind just sensing and moving?

If you build a robot, do you expect there to be associated a meaningful subjective 'qualitative' experience?

The distinction as I see it lies in whether or not a particular structure is generating a meaningful qualitative experience, and whether or not such an experience can lead to any kind of influence on the future state of the structure. This feedback loop is what I see as the basis of the emergence of intelligence.

If a structure can generate a qualitiative experience, but this experience has no effect on the future state of the structure, then only pure chance can iterate the structure in a direction that increases in qualitative meaningfulness. In this case, qualitiative meaningfulness are unnecessary and are likely quickly lost under continued structural evolution.
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Rick
post Oct 18, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Subject can exist without perception, but perception needs subject. This is not violated by assuming the subject and perception are two views of the same thing.

I don't expect that an artificial robot will have qualitative experience as we know it.
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