Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

Nirvana

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Post Reply
Eduk
Posts: 2258
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Nirvana

Post by Eduk » September 10th, 2018, 3:14 am

Greta not sure what society you live in or how you can you can read my mind and know why I avoid certain drugs.
The society I live in romanticises drug use about as much as it demonises it.
In my personal anecdotal experience addictions are at best neutral but often much worse. My mother smokes 20 a day, seemingly without joy. Certainly I can say it has not enriched her life. You could I guess make an argument that smoking 20 a day is not the way to do it, perhaps so.
I know many many people who take illegals. Thus far I have witnessed nothing which I would say enriched their lives. To my experience while on various illegals their quality of discourse is stunted, or at absolutely best unchanged. After there is usually a period of recuperation. I have seen no long term benefits.
I do drink coffee. I doubt this is a glimpse into the nirvana that is being discussed. When you get down to it almost everything ingested is a drug. I enjoy the taste of coffee, you could argue this is enriching. I am less sure about the positives of caffeine, again like anything, in moderation it is fine but I wouldn't say it was a positive thing.
I also drink alcohol. I enjoy the taste. I rarely get drunk. Getting drunk has never been edifying to me. Again moderation is good.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7431
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » September 10th, 2018, 6:27 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 12:10 am
Greta
There is no interest in individuals' happiness or health, only productivity.
Guy Debord wrote very bitterly about a society's dignity and worth being reduced to commodity fetishism. That was the sixties when ideas seemed to matter. Hope it doesn't take a crisis to bring respect for persons, as the multiculturalists used to put it, back.
Alas, I think your hope is a forlorn one. Greater populations always bring greater objectification. Consider how important a person is to a society in a tribe of twenty, and compare with the importance of a person in a society of many millions.

It's just nature in action, a population boom-bust cycle, which is never pretty but ultimately impressive when we consider how its hard journey over the last billion years evolved from microbes to all this.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7431
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » September 10th, 2018, 6:42 pm

Eduk wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 3:14 am
I know many many people who take illegals. Thus far I have witnessed nothing which I would say enriched their lives. To my experience while on various illegals their quality of discourse is stunted, or at absolutely best unchanged. After there is usually a period of recuperation. I have seen no long term benefits.
I do drink coffee. I doubt this is a glimpse into the nirvana that is being discussed. When you get down to it almost everything ingested is a drug. I enjoy the taste of coffee, you could argue this is enriching. I am less sure about the positives of caffeine, again like anything, in moderation it is fine but I wouldn't say it was a positive thing.
I also drink alcohol. I enjoy the taste. I rarely get drunk. Getting drunk has never been edifying to me. Again moderation is good.
Most drug use is drug abuse. The daily grind of addiction satiation is, as you point out, not Nirvana.

You are not appreciating the kind of experiences being discussed here, trying to shoehorn the idea into your pre existing schemas. This is understandable; I would have done the same before it happened to me (without drugs).

Simply, if you came away from a peak experience for the first time without being shocked and amazed to your very core that such a state is possible then you haven't had a peak experience, just a joyful and edifying one. There is a significant difference that seems impossible to articulate, hence the frequent confusion.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2062
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Nirvana

Post by Hereandnow » September 10th, 2018, 7:28 pm

btw I may have crossed a line calling Burning Ghost and blithering idiot in a post. Shouldn't have.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 2870
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Nirvana

Post by Burning ghost » September 10th, 2018, 9:38 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 7:28 pm
btw I may have crossed a line calling Burning Ghost and blithering idiot in a post. Shouldn't have.
Not at all. If you can back it up with evidence it’s perfectly acceptable in my eyes. PM if you wish to explain.
AKA badgerjelly

Eduk
Posts: 2258
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Nirvana

Post by Eduk » September 11th, 2018, 3:45 am

Greta you talk as if your peak experience and nirvana are the same thing? How do you know? Buddhist's might not agree with you?
The problem is that nirvana is incredibly vague. The effects are incredibly vague. The causes are incredibly vague. It's pretty hard for me to say much, as you point out. It's an extraordinary claim and therefore I require extraordinary evidence before it would be reasonable for me consider it 'real' or 'desirable'.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2062
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Nirvana

Post by Hereandnow » September 11th, 2018, 6:06 pm

Eduk
The effects are incredibly vague.
If I may: vague? Okay, granted. The talk is vague, but try to talk about something that has as its explicit signature that which cannot be explained and things will get vague. If I mention Kierkegaard's eternal present, as an illustration, what could be more vague than this? But it is not as if the founder of existentialism is just tossing in his sleep, delirious. One has to acknowledge that, even though it is vague in it everyday comparative meaning, there may be something that is realized only if the effort is made. We are, you and me and the rest of us, made of a body of assumptions in out daily lives. Read philosophy begins right there, where daily thinking ends.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7431
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » September 11th, 2018, 7:55 pm

Eduk wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 3:45 am
Greta you talk as if your peak experience and nirvana are the same thing? How do you know? Buddhist's might not agree with you?
The problem is that nirvana is incredibly vague. The effects are incredibly vague. The causes are incredibly vague. It's pretty hard for me to say much, as you point out. It's an extraordinary claim and therefore I require extraordinary evidence before it would be reasonable for me consider it 'real' or 'desirable'.
I wouldn't expect people to believe me about anything that can't be checked - a random person online - so that's a conundrum, perhaps an insuperable one.

I don't know about "nirvana" as such. I can say that for sheer joy the second PE left every other time in my life in a dust. If Nirvana is even better than that, how do I sign up without passing through the veil? :)

It is not an extraordinary claim as such because no laws of physics were broken. I didn't astral travel to Paris for croissants and bad coffee and float back again; I just lay in my bed feeling some very weird and wonderful things, including a sense of travel at incredible speed and a feeling of unconditional love and absence of judgement that was warm and wonderful beyond belief.

More importantly, there was a resonance resulting in a period of unusually lucid thought over the next few days that helped me past some attitudinal problems to positive effect in my life. A lucky dopamine wash? Could be. So these are not extraordinary claims.

There was a common link in the PEs in that, just before the peak experiences, I was already feeling unusually happy. In hindsight it's as if I was allowing the experiences to happen more than generating them. That is much easier said than done because there's a lot of mental defences we cling on to without having a clue they were there. My guess is that those "fences" have to open up before such experiences are possible.

Here's an example to reduce the vagueness: What precipitated the second PE was lying in bed imagining that I was on stage at the Enmore Theatre in front of a full house, the lights beaming down on me, the band ready to start the first song. I could not do it, though - I simply could not imagine me being confident and poised enough in such an exciting situation to perform with confidence and, consequently, competence.

At that point I realised that I was so stuck on reality that I could not even let myself just imagine being confident. That is quite a mental lockdown! Since I was in a good mood I challenged it and thought, 'Why not? Why not let myself just imagine it to myself? It's not delusion, just imagination'. So I started imagining myself on stage, playing with poise and confidence, and almost immediately the experience came on. It was awesome beyond belief and, regrettably, beyond explanation, hence all the annoyingly vague comments.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3136
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Nirvana

Post by LuckyR » September 12th, 2018, 1:45 am

Greta wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 7:55 pm
Eduk wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 3:45 am
Greta you talk as if your peak experience and nirvana are the same thing? How do you know? Buddhist's might not agree with you?
The problem is that nirvana is incredibly vague. The effects are incredibly vague. The causes are incredibly vague. It's pretty hard for me to say much, as you point out. It's an extraordinary claim and therefore I require extraordinary evidence before it would be reasonable for me consider it 'real' or 'desirable'.
I wouldn't expect people to believe me about anything that can't be checked - a random person online - so that's a conundrum, perhaps an insuperable one.

I don't know about "nirvana" as such. I can say that for sheer joy the second PE left every other time in my life in a dust. If Nirvana is even better than that, how do I sign up without passing through the veil? :)

It is not an extraordinary claim as such because no laws of physics were broken. I didn't astral travel to Paris for croissants and bad coffee and float back again; I just lay in my bed feeling some very weird and wonderful things, including a sense of travel at incredible speed and a feeling of unconditional love and absence of judgement that was warm and wonderful beyond belief.

More importantly, there was a resonance resulting in a period of unusually lucid thought over the next few days that helped me past some attitudinal problems to positive effect in my life. A lucky dopamine wash? Could be. So these are not extraordinary claims.

There was a common link in the PEs in that, just before the peak experiences, I was already feeling unusually happy. In hindsight it's as if I was allowing the experiences to happen more than generating them. That is much easier said than done because there's a lot of mental defences we cling on to without having a clue they were there. My guess is that those "fences" have to open up before such experiences are possible.

Here's an example to reduce the vagueness: What precipitated the second PE was lying in bed imagining that I was on stage at the Enmore Theatre in front of a full house, the lights beaming down on me, the band ready to start the first song. I could not do it, though - I simply could not imagine me being confident and poised enough in such an exciting situation to perform with confidence and, consequently, competence.

At that point I realised that I was so stuck on reality that I could not even let myself just imagine being confident. That is quite a mental lockdown! Since I was in a good mood I challenged it and thought, 'Why not? Why not let myself just imagine it to myself? It's not delusion, just imagination'. So I started imagining myself on stage, playing with poise and confidence, and almost immediately the experience came on. It was awesome beyond belief and, regrettably, beyond explanation, hence all the annoyingly vague comments.
That is quite an event. You are truly blessed to have had the opportunity.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 2870
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Nirvana

Post by Burning ghost » September 12th, 2018, 1:56 am

Greta -

Any sickness or other strain leading up to the event? Imtense concentration? Sleep dep.? Depression? Any such thing? Or did it just “happen”?

Do you remember it clearly? Any gaps in memory from then?
AKA badgerjelly

Eduk
Posts: 2258
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Nirvana

Post by Eduk » September 12th, 2018, 4:26 am

Hereandnow. If something is vague then that means I cannot logically pursue it because I don't know what it is. How would I know what it was if I found it?
Many many people ascribed great value to undefined things. I try not to.
Rather than say assumptions are bad I would rather you were less vague and tell me what assumption I was making.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7431
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Nirvana

Post by Greta » September 12th, 2018, 10:24 pm

Lucky, it may be that I needed something like that more than those who haven't had such an experience. I was pretty badly damaged from my teen years and was more behind the eight ball than most of my age when it happened. After all, I have made tremendous personal progress since those experiences and yet I certainly don't feel like I am "ahead" of other people who never had them. So, with the fillips I've enjoyed, I logically must have been running closer to the back of the field at the time to be running along with the pack today :)

Good question, BG, the immediate common input or trigger for the experiences was an unusually strong feeling of happiness and sense of wellbeing.

Longer term, the first happened a year or two after my life started turning around following decades of being quite unsettled and unstable. The second one also happened as things were coming good after trying to look after Dad towards the end, and then his death and the post death readjustments.

So they both happened while I was on the upswing, and specifically at a time when I was feeling especially good. With the first there was no choice - it came unexpectedly and was gone just as quickly.

With the second there was a sense of allowing it happen. The words "Why not?" were perhaps most prominent in my mind just as I could feel something quite bizarre and extraordinary coming on. I could have stopped the experience happening if I chose, or if I became negative or cynical and messed it up, but I was in an especially good mood and went with the flow and it worked out. I think I might have killed off a few through over-anticipation since, but it's hard to know if it's imagination or not - or if that even matters!

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2062
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: Nirvana

Post by Hereandnow » September 13th, 2018, 11:00 am

Eduk
Hereandnow. If something is vague then that means I cannot logically pursue it because I don't know what it is. How would I know what it was if I found it?
Many many people ascribed great value to undefined things. I try not to.
Rather than say assumptions are bad I would rather you were less vague and tell me what assumption I was making.
That is a loaded issue. Really loaded, because it does require an account as to what an assumption is. How about considering a given dogma, that of the church and the conditions of salvation. Of course, tis s familiar ground: just pray enough, believe that Jesus died for you sins and through him your way to god's grace is made. Many believe this, but is it clear? How is Jesus the savior, how can he be a man and god's son, and how can god have a son at all? Did god have a wife for this???? I mean the questions just roll out. If you start asking such questions, what was clear before becomes obscure now.

What if i said, so it is with empirical science? With our everyday lives? Look hard at the assumptions BEHIND scientific knowledge claims at you find nothing but trouble, unsupported assumptions that prior to inquiry were simply taken as solid and immutable. If a person takes the matter this far, and I think it takes, for most, a lot of effort to break down systems of established belief, the point of philosophy if you ask me, then clarity turns cloudy at the foundation of all beliefs, for empirical science is at the basis at all beliefs (my belief that there is a cup on the table is an empirical and scientifically confirmed belief).

Knowledge itself becomes vague because there are questions that maust be answered to make it clearly authoritative again, but these answers are not forthcoming. The intellectual grasp of things around becomes vague because questions underpin the assumption now.

Here is an extraordinary threshold. it is where nirvana can make its appearance, because nivana is, as the Buddhists tell us, freedom from attachments, but the reason it is so hard to do this is because attachment needs to be conceived at the level of the certainty of basic assumptions. Seeing the cup AS a cup is an attachment. This is attachment at the Kantian level: to know is to be attached.

Buddhists (see the prajnaparamita, in the full) call profound liberation holy and the like, not just feeling really good. There is someting here that defies not just science as science, but common sense in daily living. To truly be an enlightened Buddhist you have to be a little crazy.

Eduk
Posts: 2258
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Nirvana

Post by Eduk » September 13th, 2018, 11:13 am

Sorry perhaps I'm not being clear. Please give one example (preferably the biggest/best/your personal favourite for whatever reason) of these assumptions which you say are there but then fail to elaborate upon regarding scientific knowledge.
Personally I'm not convinced that the scientific method makes any assumptions. I don't think that the scientific method, for examples, assumes that there is a reality. Of course it does rely on acting like there is a reality, but this is different from an assumption?
Some of the Buddhist philosophy is fine. It fine to consider that there is no you. It's fine to consider if a tree makes a sound if no one hears it falling in a forest. These are good things to think about. Not unique to Buddhism though and certainly not unconsidered (well at least in philosophical circles).
Again we can all agree assumptions are bad and that you shouldn't make them.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3136
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Nirvana

Post by LuckyR » September 13th, 2018, 3:42 pm

Greta wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 10:24 pm
Lucky, it may be that I needed something like that more than those who haven't had such an experience. I was pretty badly damaged from my teen years and was more behind the eight ball than most of my age when it happened. After all, I have made tremendous personal progress since those experiences and yet I certainly don't feel like I am "ahead" of other people who never had them. So, with the fillips I've enjoyed, I logically must have been running closer to the back of the field at the time to be running along with the pack today :)

Good question, BG, the immediate common input or trigger for the experiences was an unusually strong feeling of happiness and sense of wellbeing.

Longer term, the first happened a year or two after my life started turning around following decades of being quite unsettled and unstable. The second one also happened as things were coming good after trying to look after Dad towards the end, and then his death and the post death readjustments.

So they both happened while I was on the upswing, and specifically at a time when I was feeling especially good. With the first there was no choice - it came unexpectedly and was gone just as quickly.

With the second there was a sense of allowing it happen. The words "Why not?" were perhaps most prominent in my mind just as I could feel something quite bizarre and extraordinary coming on. I could have stopped the experience happening if I chose, or if I became negative or cynical and messed it up, but I was in an especially good mood and went with the flow and it worked out. I think I might have killed off a few through over-anticipation since, but it's hard to know if it's imagination or not - or if that even matters!
Thanks for the contextual info. If you don't mind my asking, what sort of real time frame are we talking about, start to finish? Seconds, minutes, hours?

Was there the perception of time expansion?
"As usual... it depends."

Post Reply