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Total Interconnectedness

Anger, a wee little book by Robert Thurman in the "Seven Deadly Sins" series, is a heavy-handed mystical sermon—mostly uninteresting. But one paragraph lept out at me, a discussion of the essence of mind from a Buddhist philosophical/theological perspective:

... The Buddha discovered in himself the delusional, self-absolutizing habit-pattern at instinctual and intellectual levels, and took up the challenge to verify if he really did exist in that substantial, unique, independent manner. He dissected his mindbody complex with intensive critical insight and one-pointed concentration, and eventually broke through the delusion by failing to discover any absolute self within. He then avoided reifying that failure by taking mere nothingness as a self, as some modern materialist thinkers have done. Instead he understood the ramifications of that failure as being the absolute relativity of the self, its total interconnectedness, its illusoriness or virtuality, and so on. This freed him to develop his relative, virtual self as a living work in progress, actually limitless in horizons of excellence, given endless time for evolution.

This resonates strongly with (my impressions of) philosopher Daniel Dennett's comment: "You'd be surprised how much you can internalize, if you make yourself large." ... and with Ken Knisley's remark about people as ongoing projects: "How should one ongoing project, like me or like you, think of and deeply regard this panoply of other ongoing projects, peculiar living creatures that they are?" ... and with the beautiful reflexive-reflective image of Indra's Net.

^z - 2009-12-25