Evan Thompson: Buddhism and the brain

Evan Thompson: Buddhism and the brain

Here is an interview with Thompson on Buddhism and the Brain. It starts with defining consciousness as awareness, its changing contents and how both then identify as a self in changing contexts. “Consciousness is something we live, not something we have.”

I also like using the metaphor of dance for the process of self. Both are in the enaction of the process, not a thing apart from that process.

He also goes into how mindfulness in our culture has turned into McMindfulness, how we might learn to pay attention non-judgmentally but then fail to  judge how the work we do might be harming others and the environment. It’s taken out of context with the entire Buddhist ethical framework.

There’s more in the interview with an embedded link to the full interview.
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Brent

I appreciate his insight about the inextricable link between consciousness and the body, “When you look for consciousness it never shows up apart from some context of the body. At the same time, the body always shows up in our field of awareness.” His following statement resonates, “Mindfulness is always an ethical notion.” He goes on to say “I’m very concerned with what I would call a decontextualized — or maybe the proper word would be recontextualized — consumerist notion of mindfulness, where mindfulness is about paying attention non-judgmentally in the present moment. That gets framed in terms of paying… Read more »

Brent

This article clearly highlights a lively debate across philosophical schools of thought. The article also brings up numerous questions for me. Below are a few. In his Clearing Dhamchoe’s Doubts (Dam chos dogs sel), Mipham says that: “Reality as it is (de bzhin nyid) is established as ultimately real (bden par grub pa). Conventional entities are actually established as unreal, they are subject to deception. Being devoid of such characteristics ultimate is characterized as real, not unreal and not non-deceptive. If this [reality] does not exist,” in Mipham’s view, “than it would be impossible even for the noble beings (ārya… Read more »

Brent

Excellent video. The self as a process resonates. Self being a process aligns well with consciousness being a process and awakening being a process. Summarizing one slide in the video, the enactive theory takes into account the self process enacting through social cognition, language, rooted in the life of the body and immersed in the environment. Enactivism takes into account the complexities influencing the process of self. Ignoring the complexities and reducing self down to the brain creates an illusion of self is a curious notion (neuroreductionism). It makes me wonder about the difference in peoples life experiences, home and… Read more »

Brent

The video below is Evan Thompson challenging an article in Scientific American that reduces mindfulness down to regions in the brain. He argues from the perspective of embodied cognitive science. During the Q&A someone asks what the Scientific American author’s response was when Evan questioned their article. Evidently Scientific American pressured them to present the data in a particular way.

Brent

Wrong link above. The one above is George Lakoff on embodied cognition and language. The correct one is below.

Brent

Weird. I pasted the link to a new tab and it was correct. I paste it to a comment and it is the George Lakoff link. Not sure how to remedy this one.

Brent

This may solve the problem. I used the share link rather than copying it from the URL.

https://youtu.be/OJHCae1liAI?list=PLfA-i8AjQ7xiGJZVDKS5WqFUH_kMCDZ06

Brent

That guy is hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing.

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