Jeff Lieberman, an MIT-trained artist, scientist and engineer, makes a scientific argument for mystical experience. He asks us to challenge our perception of what we are, our relationship to the universe, and our relationship to one another. Our minds are "thought-generating machines." What we would happen if we could turn off the machine? If we could transcend our individual experience of the world?
This talk was transcribed by Brad Miele. Transcript here: http://bea.st/inevolution/?p=264
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It just occurred to me that these Ted talks are always 15 minutes long, but the room is always full of people. Do they really travel all the way here for one 15 minute talk, or do they do a series of them in a row to form a larger show?
So powerful! Thanks. (Let this humble person say. I had first hand experience of what the speaker says. For several years I suffered so much from a broken bond. I was in a state of trauma and emotional pain so overwhelming that I felt it had broken me. My existence became my suffering. Then I found religion (spirituality). Through deep praying (meditation) giving up my sense of self, replacing the small "I am" with the big "I AM." My suffering gradually disappeared. It is a gift from above. An enlightenment. It requires effort but it is worthy of any effort. After that, I hope everybody finds religion (spirituality) in their own way.)
poetic idealized conceptualization of existence via science, that in essence, says we need to be empathetic and compassionate bundles of "energy" to all other bundles of "energy". monks and nuns are nothing special imo when you remove yourself from the obstacles of everyday life how do you grow and what are you really achieving. I say no ...monk and/or nuns are not good examples.
Exceptional.....super...."truth" in simple language....jeff has put this in such simple words, sentences. This video can be very useful (can be understood easily) right from students in 5th grade...should be shown in schools first.
I mean, doesn't most everyone by now understand that the physical bodies of all living creatures are a complex arrangement of atoms, which, in turn, are a complex arrangement of quants of energy? Or is it that I am missing out some particular point of this talk that reveals something new? I am baffled because I see so many awe-stricken comments.
So fare, so good... In this day and age, anyone can understand this simplistic explanation of energy evolving from individual atoms to the human brain. However, the philosophical dilema arises when the "wave" begins to wonder what to do with the brain that has suddenly appeared on its crest and says to itself: "Wow!... I am a wave!".
Jeff, you did pay enough attention to the Yogies of India. In this matter, theory is far away from experiencial reality. But there are ways and means to it. VOCAL always remain as an intelectual exercise. Bow down and make it all yours!
"The "I think I am," is, since Descartes, the fundamental error in all knowledge; thinking is not my thinking, and being is not my being, because everything is only God or the universe" Schelling, German Philosopher (1775 – 1854)
I have to say, although he is clearly intelligent and seems to be talking sense, I’m very skeptical. First of all, I find it difficult to believe that a human mind could ever reach a healthy state of mind without the presence of suffering. The whole notion that we can irradiate suffering is just rediculous when suffering is part of life. So he claims that we can irradiate suffering by reaching a state of mind that ‘realises that we are nothing but energy’. This is not the kind of state of mind I personally would like to engage in and I’m talking from experience. It is a cold, nihilistic position to be in, where nothing REALLY matters, because everything is nothing but ‘energy’. For example, why not commit crimes? If it’s all just ‘energy’, there is no right or wrong? Surely everything that brings value into human life is our experience and how we relate to it, so I can’t see how taking ourselves away from that could do us any good.
I'm not saying we're not energy. We're. But we're more than energy and believing we're nothing but energy doesn't annihilate human suffering.
Though color itself is not any physical matter, it does not mean that the object that possesses the quality of being seen in a particular color is not physical matter. Even for things that don't exist in physical form at all, there is no logical conclusion to draw that they only exist in our thoughts, since they can still be very real in their own form, despite we like/believe it or not. Emotions are not generated by thoughts, though can be influenced and controlled by thoughts. Human suffering is partially from objective reality because our body is a particular form of physical being. Even if we are nothing but "energy", so death is no longer frightening, this "energy" gets sick/weak that causes real physical pain in this life and not being afraid of death doesn't help. Actually how does he know we stay the same form of energy after we die that we are always like waves in the ocean? What if we're becoming ice that is distinctively separated from the water? Hence how does he know that existing in another form of energy doesn't mean another form of suffering? Even if the next moment is suffering free, it doesn't automatically cancel out the pain caused by a nail pierced through the hand at this very moment.
As for the part that is indeed created by ourselves in this daily life, what we can do is not to deny the existence of suffering, but learn to recognize early and resist those wrong thoughts causing potential negative emotions and find ways to deal with ongoing physical and emotional pain. His idea of "MAYBE we are energy and therefore all suffering can be and should be ignored" is simply outright illogical. But definitely one is free to choose to believe his "maybe" theory.
Science and all main stream religions actually have one major character in common. They all try hard to stay logical, given their own set of prepositions. As for who provides the ultimate correct answer to certain questions, that's a totally different topic.
Is he suggesting all 7 billion of us drink the kool-aid? I've already accidentally achieved spiritual enlightenment thanks to a weird NDE and unfortunately, he is telling the truth. I say unfortunate because I had a really big ego haha. It hasn't died yet.
He mixed evolution-ism and Buddhism to make his point, very interesting combination of concepts to make us understand who we are, why we suffer and what is our purpose. I am still soul searching trying to figure this life out. I am keeping an open mind trying to understand why we as the human race have so many different perspective about life and our purpose, whereas the animals only care about food and procreation. For now, my purpose will be to be a life long learner trying to make sense of this world we live in. Thanks to google and youtube.
I agree with most of these ideas but I dont understand why the death of the body which is ENERGY as he said should be accepted as " normal" and expected and not make us suffer or feel disappointed...why shouldn't it immortal ?
These two are contradictory.
When he says WE are energy...What does he mean then if not the body (and mind) as well if they too are made up of cells-atoms and thus ENERGY? WHICH PART of us is energy then? The consciousness ? But isn't this notion that there is ONE part of us ( mortal) different from the other ( immortal consciousness energy)
Also based on THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATION?
What if we realized instead that our body IS also our consciousness and thus is also immortal and the ONLY thing that stops us from experiencing this is the FALSE BELIEF (the mind creates) that Matter and Spirit, the Body and the Soul are SEPARATE ?
Even when i am watching everything inside my body....that is my mind my though and everything i can feel ...i can expirience ...then how am i separated from my mind and hence my body?........it is not a stage of complete emptiness ...i can still experience and feel and that itself contains time...isn't it?
An easy way to initiate a good meditation state. Focus on certain part or feeling on your body like you see the monks holding finger tips together , listen to a flat white noise to keep you from running thoughts and close eyes and stare at one spot do not move eyes around.
Search this on youtube... Khalil Gibran, "The Prophet". listen to the video on Love. It is an awesome book that really makes you think. I learned of it through a song by Mad Season, layne staley read the book when he was near the end.
There is a western tradition in this line of thought as well. One forerunner is the cosmology of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, from the early 1800's. In the early 1900's, philosopher William James sought to reconcile the question of "how can everything be One and Many at the same time?" Another forerunner is David Bohm, the physicist, who theorized about the Implicated Order (the underlying wholeness) and the Explicate Order (the forms we take, see, and experience).
Can't get enough spirituality..... "Food, drink, shelter and a degree of material comfort are essential, but human beings cannot and never will find fulfillment in these necessities. Nor is contentment to be found in the somewhat more
intangible material attainments such as social recognition or political power. Ultimately, not even intellectual achievement satisfies our deepest needs."
~ Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations
So where was that energy before you were born ? I dont recall anything at all before I was born. We may have a connection to a source, but that does not matter when you are dead. I have been dead forever. I can not recall anything, and I do not see it different from being dead after being alive. I am still a human being, I still need to carry my water buckets, and when I die there will be just nothing, forever. Not even the concept of nothing, so one might say death is very safe, you wont experience it. Still, it is awful to think about from a living perspective. Nothing scares me more than the fact that I'm going to, no matter what, fall into the void of darkness.
The funny thing tho, is that death only exist in our capability to plan. Without imagination and this "making of future reality" there would not be a concept of death. But then again, there would not be a concept of life either. Is it any wonder why we try to ignore or not think of death so much ? The horror of death only exist in our mind. Why purposely torture ourselves with the thought, right. And here is the concept of all enlightenment. Whats not in our stream of consciousness does not bother us.
So you never was energy (before birth) and never will be (after death). But as of right now, you are. But life is like a breath in the wind, and before you know it, your current will be gone. Your stream of energy will fade away, and nothing of _you_ will remain. Just other entities or energies who now will use your remains, to power their current. Where this will end, is impossible to know. And impossible to experience. But hope still remains, because at some point in history you were _something_, so maybe that combination of whatever will once again _be_ ....
And btw, the energy that you are indeed, and that you are experiencing is that of which your body transform. You would not be or feel any energy is it was not for the fact that we are eating and transforming energy into ourselves, into our awareness, or into becoming awareness. You are simply a catalyst of energy, so that it can be pointed in another direction that it happened to be before you changed it.
My body and the energy it contains will go back to source. But I will die. I do no longer have anything to attach to. I will be forever gone (even tho Im trying to find bias that I will not be, and im becoming less and less sceptical, my mind is trying to find a solution to death, but it fails. But I will keep my (probably so) illusion of faith, we will see what death is when it comes).
Nice talk. Since you are a scientist in training, you might enjoy the works of Rudolf Steiner. He had 2 PhD's, physical science and epistemology. Amazon has close to 10K listings under his name. He will take you deeper than anything you have experienced in systematic and organized fashion. Since reading his works the mysteries and faith points are systematically changing to knowledge. If you have a hunger this is a route to check out. The spiritual path has changed radically with continued spiritual evolution on humans. We live in a time where the main portal of understanding for humans is the intellectual soul and we are beginning the development of the consciousness soul. Dig in a do the work and you will be amazed at the grounded transformation the occurs.
I like this video except where he throws the word energy around. I feel like a different word should replace it. I don't see how it fits and it just sounds like pseudoscience. I'm not saying i disagree with the point he is making, but people like me get turned off when we hear words get misused. I wouldn't want other people to miss out on this way of thinking because of a careless misuse of correct terminology
Joh_8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
Joh_9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
So should we end all individuality? I don't think so. Most animals don't realize that they are separated beings, only the most developed brains do realize their individual existence. without individuality we would lose our identity and degenerate to having only a collective soul like most animals.
The fun of being "one" is that we are also all different individuals. Nobody will ever really know you because you are alone in your head. This makes you so special. So I think we are both, connected and separated.
When you experience what he is talking about, it is more of a realization that you were never separate to begin with. It's not eliminating what makes you unique. It's clearing up the misunderstanding that is the source of all suffering.
Technically we are separate from nature, which is a breach of natural law. In evolutionary terms, this is nothing short of pure progress. In spiritual terms, this is a massive flaw that needs correction. Spiritual enlightenment comes second to existential self-awareness to any toddler. To suggest that we lose our self-awareness for the sake of an ideal utopia is nothing short of magical thinking. You can't kill progress.
Our minds work within this universe. Which is why concepts like infinity is totally lost on our minds. How can we be separate if we are bound by understanding only things that exist in this universe (there is a difference between knowing and understanding btw, not saying that we won't find out what's beyond our universe).
And how is the mind the only reality? We know that each and all of us have our own reality, our own universe in us, with things seen from each one's perspective. So the word "only" isn't suitable.
But if we're separate from nature, then what's going to be the next concept that we're truly a part of? How can we be a part of something and somehow still manage to relate to ourselves from it? The same process just starts over again.
The cycle is infinite. Thinking like that is just your mind tricking you to stop thinking about stuff like these and be content with what you know.
I hope it all made sense btw. I wrote it in one go.
No, we're not separate, even technically. We are still beings that this planet has spawned after billions of years of evolving. "Nature" is also a concept our minds have made up. Without us, such a definition would not exist. How then can we be separate from it?
Excellent talk! I agree 100% for I have had similar thoughts, based on my own experiences. Also all that you explained in a modern scientific manner has been understood by yogic sciences thousands of years ago. In fact Yoga starts with the sanskrit line "citta vritti nirodha" which means cessation of all thoughts and thus to meditation and enlightenment.
Yes great talk indeed. You probably mean second sutra from yoga sutras of patanjali. whole yoga is summarized in that one sutra. 1. atha yoga anushashanam 2. yogas (yoga) citta (mind) vritti (alterations, conditioning) nirodhah (cessation) 3. tada drastu svarupe vasthanam. (dont remember or want check how those are written, but something like that :D)
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