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SBGI >> The fallacy of "goal" setting. . .


8/2/05 11:06 AM
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Luis Gutierrez
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Edited: 02-Aug-05
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Excellent Dave.
8/2/05 4:01 PM
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SWhittier
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Edited: 02-Aug-05
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Nexus Martial Arts, LLC
"If everyday you do something because you love doing it, and you dissolve your self awareness in that action, that act...that meditation... then I would imagine the identification process with goals would be dissolved with that same act... of love." Perfect.
8/18/05 8:23 PM
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dracovich
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Edited: 18-Aug-05
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There's an option on the bottom of each page that says "Add to my threads" Which adds a thread to your myThrds without having to post there :)
8/19/05 11:22 AM
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scrappy
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Edited: 19-Aug-05 11:29 AM
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I work for a major corporation in R&D. There are a lot of well educated people here and we are forced to set goals...It's funny cause it is just modified Anthony Robbins stuff that higher ups were sold as the way to 'optimize performance.' The way I feel about it is if it works for you and your happy with it great. But from where I sit it does seem hinder creativity and innovation. ...Anyway, Matt what is your goal for releasing FJKD3??...I need to tap this purple belt where I train by the end of the year or I won't feel good about myself... ;-)
8/19/05 1:32 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Edited: 19-Aug-05
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LOL. . .I'd like to have it done by this Christmas. We will see what happens. I will keep you updated.
8/20/05 7:58 AM
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Rob Pugh
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Edited: 20-Aug-05
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I've actually just finished up reading some Robbins stuff... I found the goal setting stuff useful as far helping to clarify the kinds of journeys I'd be interested in having my life follow... not as "goals" that demand "achievement" per se, but ideas about the directions I'd like to pursue. But I spent a lot of time growing up meeting the expectations of others [family, etc] before finding that to be a sucker's game, and unfullfilling... So it was useful for me in ways it might not be for others in helping to point the way towards what I, and not others, would be interested in for my life... I also got from Robbins the patterning stuff to develop empathy, but didn't read the idea of using it to manipulate. That is a distasteful idea... and certainly the opposite of genuine connection. Though I have to say that the theories of fluidity of response to "problems" and "goals" themselves were something I read in Robbins that doesn't seem totally disimilar to aspects of what Matt writes. Thanks for the essay Matt. Your writings and blog are always fascinating and interesting.
8/20/05 1:00 PM
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mandalalisten
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Edited: 20-Aug-05
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"I also got from Robbins the patterning stuff to develop empathy, but didn't read the idea of using it to manipulate. That is a distasteful idea... and certainly the opposite of genuine connection. " Although I am not familiar with Robbins work, this sounds similar to the work of Bandler and Grinder's NLP (neurolinquistic programming). Pattern Dialog; Entrainment; Etc was also a major theme of Erikson, whom Bandler & Grinder seem to mimic if only in practice, since "NLP" is their baby. The use of NLP for manipulative purposes is distastful (ignorant) at best, and diabolical (luciferian) at worst. The "virtuous" use of nlp and associated observations of biological / psychological patterns COULD be used simply as a navigation tool to diffuse combative or negative patterns, but again, perspective, context & judgement all play a roll here. And us humans are o so sensitive about the songs we sing. Dave Copeland Beaverton SBGi
8/20/05 2:15 PM
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vermonter
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Even if the Yale study were real, it does little to prove that goal setting, and writing your goals down is a means to personal success. It just as successfully "proves" that people with the right sort of motivation to have economic success, or what have you, also have the right sort of motivation to write things down. Write things down-->motivated person-->success or Motivated person-->success AND --> writing things down. The second is far more plausible, in my opinion. Now, i have no problem with goal setting personally. I think it is a critical part of our existence as it is (of course, we could be non-self aware beings, or ignorant of things past or future, but that isnt the case). Certainly, i know that i will be hungry at a later time, so i plan on going to the grocery store now to be adequately prepaired. This is a goal, that i plan to acheive. I most certainly could get along without any goals, but i'd act less like a person and more like some animals (certainly, it would have to be pretty a non-complex animal, since "I'm hungry, it's time to go chase after some food" probably manifests itself into a pretty goal-like state in most mammals. I suppose a definition of "goal" is in order). This is not bad, per se, but it's not what i want for myself. Now, before going on, i have to admit that i also had a hard time reading Matt's original posts, because sifting through the relevant points in his "continental" style to come up with the logical structure was beyond my patience at the moment, but i'd still like to join in and maybe figure it out in time ;) Now, let me play devil's advocate here, just a little, in defense of Robbins and his ploy to dupe people into deeper connections with you via mimicking facial expressions and other gestures. Mimickry is one of the most potent forms of sub-conscious connection and communication that there is. We all do it naturally, and the more we do it, the more we are connected inter-personally with someone. Robbins' concept is to do this same act consciously, to achieve the same results, but in a more controled and purposeful way. Now, let's say i've picked up on this little trick (i actually did years ago before ever hearing about Tony Robbins, in an "Interpersonal Relationships" class) and i plan on hitting the town tonight to try it out on some young ladies. I meet one that i'm pretty keen on, and sure enough this technique works and we plan a date. On our date, i try the techniques again and again they work (let's assume for the sake of argument the technique is actually the deciding factor between the meeting and the date). We have formed a strong enough bond at this point to continue on in our relationship without use of the technique and we eventually get married and have children and live happily ever after. The reason I bring this up, is that you make the rather bold claim that "manipulation = seperation" but which doesnt appear to hold up in this case example. Now you may want to make an argument that this isnt manipulation in this case (which i dont think you will), or that the two people in this case are "seperated" (which i think is the line you could take, but i'm not sure what your argument would be), but a think that your claim might need some modification. I.E. I'm not clear how mimickry is wrong or bad per se, nor am i clear as to how one can achieve much without setting any goals. Of course, you could HAVE goals without "setting" them, but i think random goal aquisition is at least as ineffective at not having any goals (since, a potential goal could be to jump off of a very tall building). Again, some clarification on "goal" is in order. I think you say somewhere that it is a mental state focused on some particular future event, but then i fail to see how that is something you would prefer to do without considering the above arguments. -doug-
8/20/05 2:43 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Edited: 20-Aug-05 03:26 PM
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Doug, I have fried my computer. So I can only respond briefly as I am checking e-mail from another place this weekend. I should be back up soon (fingers crossed). But briefly: "in his "continental" style" I am not sure what this means? "I most certainly could get along without any goals, but i'd act less like a person and more like some animals" That is an assumption. Would you really? And how do you know, have you tried it? I understand you are playing devils advocate, and I respect that. I bring this up because that assumption gets to the heart of my opinion on the matter. "We have formed a strong enough bond at this point to continue on in our relationship without use of the technique and we eventually get married and have children and live happily ever after." Do ends justify means? And even if so, does that therefore mean another type of connection was not possible, one that may be far more open, honest, and sincere? And could that have an effect on the nature of the relationship itself? And who do you know that has lived "happily ever after"? www.straightblastgym.com
8/20/05 3:07 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 20-Aug-05
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Continental style rocks :) (Matt I think he is referring to the continental philosophy style of writing which is more like literature vs anglo-american analytical philosophy style of writing which is more dry and technical)
8/20/05 3:11 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Ah, thanks : )
8/20/05 3:36 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Rob, Thanks much, I am glad you enjoy my blogs. Regards: "I also got from Robbins the patterning stuff to develop empathy, but didn't read the idea of using it to manipulate. That is a distasteful idea... and certainly the opposite of genuine connection. " A real smile comes without effort. Watching young children play and relate to each other has been helpful to me in this regard. In comparison to say, Eddie Haskal : )
8/20/05 4:55 PM
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vermonter
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"and certainly the opposite of genuine connection." So... a genuine connection is one derived from interactions you arent aware of? how does putting your sub-conscious interpersonal reactions to the forefront of your consciousness make the social interaction less genuine? Dictionary.com says this about genuine: "Honestly felt or experienced: genuine devotion. Actual; real: a genuine dilemma." Perhaps one might actually construe Robbins methods to be MORE genuine than the traditional, accidental methods, because (in some cases anyway) they require much more thoughtful effort on the part of the person doing it. Maybe we are too quick to think of the negative possibilities of this, since, even if the same motions were sub-concious but represented some morally corrupt purpose (flirting with someone to make your girlfriend/wife jealous, and mimicking her motions sub- consciously), we would still consider it wrong or manipulating. I'm not sure if the mimickry itself qualifies per se, but those who oppose its use would have to give me their definitions of the term "morally wrong" for me to be positive. Anyhow... these questions are for everyone. I'll respond to Matt's post in a couple minutes. -doug-
8/20/05 5:57 PM
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vermonter
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"I am not sure what this means?" Indrek is pretty much right. Analytic has more structure and generally moves from supporting points to conclusion. I'm not sure your style really qualifies as continental, but at the very least it's "loose" analytical :) "That is an assumption. Would you really? And how do you know, have you tried it?" Like i said, it depends one what you think qualifies as a goal. I would count "I need to go get food at the grocery store later" as a goal, for example. If i never had thoughts like that, i would only be "living in the now" as they say in the Zen philosophy, and it's a terrible way to get things done. I do know, because i have tried it. The "moments of enlightenment" sure do feel great, but they don't get the bills paid, the mouth fed, or the woman satisfied. Basically, its an extremely impractical way to live, and, dare i say it, actually impossible to do considering human nature. Now your definition of goal, might be stricter than that, and if that's the case, you might well be right that it's bad to have them, but i'm not sure why exactly. "I understand you are playing devils advocate, and I respect that. I bring this up because that assumption gets to the heart of my opinion on the matter." My actual way of thinking is somewhat different from what i am arguing. Truthfully i've thought of similar topics like "Desire" (is it good or not, E.G. stoic philosophy, Zen, Hume, etc) and "Thoughts" (zen) and "living in {a time period, past, present, future}," but never "goal setting" specifically. I do not believe that "manipulation" even in the way you mean it, is bad or wrong per se. "Do ends justify means?" According to Utilitarianism they do. Of course the means, are ends as well, in some sense or other, and it's all factored in. Truthfully, think about the situation i presented with the guy using on a woman and they end up happy together. If the results were so positive, and no pain of any kind resulted, where was the harm, exactly? As a mean, it's safe to say that the woman enjoyed the interaction, and its also safe to say that the man didnt have a single harmful intention. He really liked her, BUT she would not have had the right level of interest to pursue a date if he hadnt used the techniques AND they were both much happier over all as a result of his actions. Considering these few points, you dont even need a utilitarian stance, but rather a Intentionalist type stance would work just fine too. Additionally, it can be difficult to point just at some less than savory means to achieve a superior end as a sole means of defining when something wrong has occured. Going to the dentist results in a lot of pain, but might be best in the long term. Even if i were to admit that the technique employed by Robbins was somehow bad, as long as i can make a case like this one in which the results were better than the alternative (say, she wouldn't have been as happy in her life if it werent for him, and same for him) it sort of shakes the foundation of the argument i think. "And even if so, does that therefore mean another type of connection was not possible, one that may be far more open, honest, and sincere?" There;s a lot of things going on in this statement. Firstly, you are assuming that the conscious mimicry is not open, honest, or sincere. I'm not sure how i couldnt say the same for the unconcious mimicry that you normally perform. Is being unaware of your actions open, honest, or sincere? I actually made a (weak) case in the last post that makes it seem as though purposely acting a certain way, as opposed to not being aware of your actions, might be even more sincere, or "from the heart." If i were to purposely buy someone a gift that i know will make them happy, is that more or less desireable than getting them something they just happen to like but might not? Is this attempt at making someone happy manipulation? Is it seperating? How might it be less desireable just because the part about affecting their emotions was conscious and purposeful? Can you make a meaningful difference between that last paragraph and my Man and Woman example? Certainly another type of connection is possible, i suppose, but i'm stipulating in my example that the two would not have gotten together otherwise. "And who do you know that has lived "happily ever after"?" Not sure what you mean to argue with this statement. I could think of a few couples, both members dead, who were very happy with one another in life. Do those count? Again... i've stipulated that to be the case in my example. That doesnt make it unrealistic, or impossible, unless you believe the term "happily ever after" itself to be impossible. How does "Happier than they otherwise would be," do? Good discussion. Talk with you soon! -doug-
8/20/05 9:45 PM
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mandalalisten
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Edited: 21-Aug-05 12:06 PM
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doug - Do you train jiu jitsu or another art? "i would only be "living in the now" as they say in the Zen philosophy, and it's a terrible way to get things done. I do know, because i have tried it. " How? Doing what? The "moments of enlightenment" sure do feel great, but they don't get the bills paid, the mouth fed, or the woman satisfied. Your moment of enlightenment sounds more like a dissassociative state of consciousness. Not something that is practical... which you confirm... "Basically, its an extremely impractical way to live, and, dare i say it, actually impossible to do considering human nature." How many times a day do you put yourself in a situation where you are forced to forget everything except what is there? What are you bringing to the table in your personal assumptions about "enlightenment"? Why is hunger seperated from this "enlightenment" you speak of experiencing? Perhaps "enlightenment" is impossible for any individual based on it's practicality; the repeatable path anyone choses to "get there"... (healthy of unhealthy: athletics, meditation techniques, drugs... you make it sound like you came back with an empty knap sack and your pissed. I'll shut my big ol mouth now. Dave Copeland Beaverton, SBGi www.technical-journal.com
8/21/05 5:02 AM
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Matt Thornton
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Hi Doug, Regards the following I will try and clarify my thoughts on the matter for you. "I would count "I need to go get food at the grocery store later" as a goal, for example. If i never had thoughts like that, i would only be "living in the now" as they say in the Zen philosophy, and it's a terrible way to get things done." I'm sorry but I don't feel that represents a proper reading of Zen, or Buddhist philosophy. Sometimes you make a shopping list. Like everything else, that just is. "I do know, because i have tried it. The "moments of enlightenment" sure do feel great," You would have to define what you mean by 'enlightenment'? "Basically, its an extremely impractical way to live, and, dare i say it, actually impossible to do considering human nature." For me to understand your point above I would need to know what state of being you are trying to describe? In reality the state I have been writing about is an extremely efficient operating state for day to day living, and tasks. And also, yes, far more enjoyable. "BUT she would not have had the right level of interest to pursue a date if he hadnt used the techniques AND they were both much happier over all as a result of his actions." How could you possibly know that, even in your hypothetical? "as long as i can make a case like this one in which the results were better than the alternative (say, she wouldn't have been as happy in her life if it werent for him, and same for him) it sort of shakes the foundation of the argument i think." Yes, the problem is of course how would you make such a case? It is impossible to know what another type of approach, which did not occur, would have had on the state of the relationship. "Firstly, you are assuming that the conscious mimickry is not open, honest, or sincere." Yes, there is a vast difference between a forced smile by a salesman, or actor, and an actual smile which is spontanous and natural. I beleive that is a fact. And although both could be called smiles, I would only call one genuine. Others may differ though. "If i were to purposely buy someone a gift that i know will make them happy, is that more or less desireable than getting them something they just happen to like but might not?" That would of course depend on your definition of "desirable". And in the end it will depend solely on ones true intentions. The activity of giving someone a gift is actually a great example. We could say that their are really two types of gifts (for conceptual understanding), one is given without desire for reciprocation, or even credit. You don't want anything in return, there are no strings. And then their is the kind of gift that comes with some expectation of reciprocation, credit, or some type of specific recognition. You want the person to recognize how "good" you are, or perhaps you want them to feel like they "owe" you, or perhaps you want them to offer you something in return, etc. I think that when Jesus said it is better to give then to receive, he was specifically speaking about the kind of gift which comes without strings attached. But not everyone may agree with that. "Is this attempt at making someone happy manipulation? Is it seperating? How might it be less desireable just because the part about affecting their emotions was conscious and purposeful?" See above. "Can you make a meaningful difference between that last paragraph and my Man and Woman example?" Both hypothetical offer an opportunity for a greater connection. Although, yes, a rarer one. "Certainly another type of connection is possible, i suppose, but i'm stipulating in my example that the two would not have gotten together otherwise." And how could that ever be known? (And who do you know that has lived "happily ever after"?) "Not sure what you mean to argue with this statement. I could think of a few couples, both members dead, who were very happy with one another in life. Do those count? Again... i've stipulated that to be the case in my example. That doesn't make it unrealistic, or impossible, unless you believe the term "happily ever after" itself to be impossible. How does "Happier than they otherwise would be," do?" Only if you add the factors of time, and comparison. Again, how would you measure that? Happier in comparison to what? And within the relationship you must also answer, as measured when? Every couple I have known in my lifetime has experienced moments of extreme stress within the relationship, and moments of joy. I believe that is the normal set of circumstances, as opposed to the "happily ever after" fairy tale of childhood. As such, what a couple might say about their relationship would depend to a large degree on when you spoke to them about it. In addition, that description of the relationship is also subject to change at any moment. I should also make clear that I am not trying to make a 'moral' argument here. As in goal setting is less moral, or not setting goals is, etc. I think that would be silly. I'll sum it up again as I did in the original piece; What is really required is a sit in against the voices of conditioning that say you should have control. The control we think we have is in reality the control egocentricity has over us. The voice that says you should have control, controls you utterly. To restore order then would mean to liberate oneself from the spell of what SEEMS, and come back to what IS. It's all in 'redemption song'. : )
8/23/05 4:10 AM
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Rob Pugh
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Edited: 23-Aug-05
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Doug, The bit from my post you quoted was meant to imply that the manipulative aspect of patterning isn't, in my opinion, a real connection. I think patterning as a way to develop empathy and greater understanding might be a viable technique. But I can't really say with any certainty.
8/25/05 2:29 PM
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mandalalisten
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Edited: 25-Aug-05
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I was reading this last night from: "Bodhisattva Warriors : The origin, philosophy, history and symbolism of Buddhist martial art within India & China" pg 253 ...and thought it related to this thread. - Dave "Conditioned Confusion..." "A great part of the early training of monks lay in trying to recognize patterns and, by this knowledge, to eventually dissolve their "power" of automatic association and perceptive fictions." "Some may reason a psychological thoery of synchronicity from "events" in "time" when what is actually occuring is that the subject has, at some moment, become mindfully aware of a culminating pattern(s) of activity based firmly upon the causal forces of dependent origination."
8/27/05 12:27 PM
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vermonter
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Mandalalistan, I do train in BJJ. How about yourself? My team (Catamount BJJ) puts out a seminar series, of which John Frankl has a DVD. I believe he is associated with SBGI. In fact, i did most of the camera work for that dvd if you've seen it. I clearly possess extraordinary camera skill. "How? Doing what?" As an amature philosopher, some aspects of zen were part of my very first personal studies. Although i don't claim to be any sort of expert, i've picked up a few tecnhiques on quieting the mind, meditating and living "in the now." "Why is hunger seperated from this "enlightenment" you speak of experiencing?" It isnt. But forethought seems frowned on. I can be hungry now and seek out food, but part of human life, it seems, is planning for these things ahead of time. It's a piddly example, no doubt, but i have yet to get an answer that doesnt seem at least somewhat contradictory to eliminating thoughts, and not "living in the future/past." Additionally, from what i've seen, Zen is an idealist philosophy, and it seems as though, although we might talk the good talk about how to achieve real peace, we still live our lives with thoughts, desires, and whatever else might be opposed to enlightenment. Additionally, i dont claim to have achieved what you might call actual enlightenment. I just recall actual enlightenment being likened to the few glimpses you sometimes get into a real quieting of the mind that happens sometimes naturally. These moments feel good, and peaceful. No doubt. But they arent a way to live. -doug-
8/27/05 1:06 PM
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Chuckk
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Edited: 27-Aug-05
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". . . we still live our lives with thoughts, desires, and whatever else might be opposed to enlightenment." Not opposed. . . A part of. Pieces and places, speed bumps and teachers in the moment. You just don't hang your hat there. . . :-)
8/27/05 1:35 PM
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vermonter
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Matt, "I'm sorry but I don't feel that represents a proper reading of Zen, or Buddhist philosophy. Sometimes you make a shopping list. Like everything else, that just is." It might not be. Of course, i wasnt trying to capture it as a whole, but you might deny that it is even a part. A shopping list, IMO, is goal setting. If you want to define goal setting differently, then do so, but a difference between a goal to do something small tomorrow, and a goal to make major life changes five years from now, differ in magnitute and time, but they are both still set goals. One of my points is that motivation IS a key to any measure of success IMO (and it has been shown to be a key to material success), and motivated people are the sort that tend to make lists and goals as well. The goals don't have to be there, but the motivation does. I would take the goals to be more a possible measure of motivation than thh only measure of potential for success. On these points i think we reasonably agree. My other point, however, is that even without a shopping list for tomorrow, i've still applied forethought to needs i'm going to have in the future, and ways to satisfy them before they occur, which is goal setting. "You would have to define what you mean by 'enlightenment'?" I suppose peace via certain methods of quieting the mind would be a good one. I'm sure its far more complicated than that, but that's besides the point. Such a way of living would be an example of actually eliminating goal setting, and not having any plans set whatsoever isn't practical. You said it yourself. Shopping lists happen. Goals are all natural. :) "the state I have been writing about is an extremely efficient operating state for day to day living, and tasks. And also, yes, far more enjoyable." I'd love to hear about this way. Eliminating goal setting can't be it, because its hard to complete tasks (again, hard to plan the food you need for the week without the setting the goal of actually purchasing food BEFORE you are hungry) and be efficient at all that way. Unless of course you admit that certain "small" goal setting is acceptable day to day (maybe you said this, and i missed it) but then where is the line crossed? "How could you possibly know that, even in your hypothetical?" I know it because i stipulated it. Your epistemological concerns don't make a dent in the argument. It doesnt really matter if i know it or not, but in this case i do, because its been stipulated as such, and the stupulations arent implausible. To demonstrate my claims about the epistemology of this case example would take far too long. If you are interested in this topic (it's a good one!) then please ask over at the philosophy forum. Some of the smart guys there should be able to help. "Yes, there is a vast difference between a forced smile by a salesman, or actor, and an actual smile which is spontanous and natural. I beleive that is a fact. And although both could be called smiles, I would only call one genuine. Others may differ though." There are differences. One is conscious and the other, largly unconscious. However, it is possible to mimic the appearance of an unconscious smile, and if it's taken by the observer to be genuine, what is the difference to the observer? These are finer points to refine your own argument. Of course, in most real life situations, i agree with you, and there are going to be big ramifications to your social life if you were to make a switch between "real" and "fake" smiles. For example, the muscles surrounding the eye are at least as important to a "real" smile as the mouth is, and forced smiles often lack this aspect, and we can all tell. However, you are making philosophical arguments, not just observations about the way things usually work. I have given you an example of mimicry founded on good intentions that had postive results, and were perceived by the observer to be genuine. You might be hardpressed to come up with a significant difference in any value between this case and the same case in which the guy mimicked unconsciously. "That would of course depend on your definition of "desirable". And in the end it will depend solely on ones true intentions." Define desireable however you like. You stated that in the end, it was the intentions that made the difference, and the intentions were actually the only relevant difference in the gift example. The point is, someone purposefully intended to make someone happy, instead of accidentally. If you extend your answer of the gift case (intentions to make another person happy, and/or to bring about the greatest possible good) to the mimicry case where the actions of the man are intentionally good, AND (double whammy) yield good consequences, then i'm afraid in this case the mimicry was a great option. Again, if your only response to this is a "but how would you know" type answer, than please do ask about it on the philosophy forum. There are plenty of folks that could answer you better. "Only if you add the factors of time, and comparison." I was factoring in time, even if i didnt state it outright. Sorry about that. "And within the relationship you must also answer, as measured when?" I did. I said that i knew couples, both of whom had died. I get your point here, but it could be possible to measure happiness. "What is really required is a sit in against the voices of conditioning that say you should have control." I guess a question that i have for you is this: Do you deny that you have any control at all? If the grocery lists happen, why do they happen? -doug-
8/27/05 1:49 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 27-Aug-05 02:08 PM
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Chuck, Last i heard, desires were opposed to enlightenment. Desire for something is the same as aversion to not having it. Fear and enlightenment don't mix. Geez. Don't you know anything about the path to the darkside? Fear leads to anger, anger to hate, and hate to suffering. Yoda knows whats up. -doug-
8/28/05 3:44 AM
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Matt Thornton
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Edited: 28-Aug-05 09:55 PM
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Hi Doug, "It doesn't really matter if i know it or not" I believe it would, as I stated, the problem is of course how would you make such a case. It is impossible to know what another type of approach, which did not occur, would have had on the state of a particular relationship. The best you or I can do is guess, based on past experience, and obervations. (Yes, there is a vast difference between a forced smile by a salesman, or actor, and an actual smile which is spontaneous and natural. I believe that is a fact. And although both could be called smiles, I would only call one genuine. Others may differ though.) "There are differences. One is conscious and the other, largly unconscious." Is that always true? Is it possible to be conscious of a smile which occurred without effort? And also, is it possible that some people may be quite unconscious of one designed to manipulate for selfish gain? Until the moment has passed, or perhaps not even then. "However, it is possible to mimic the appearance of an unconscious smile, and if it's taken by the observer to be genuine, what is the difference to the observer?" Unknowable, the only thing I think we can attempt to do is describe different methods, or belief systems on the topic. I offered one, others will offer another. "These are finer points to refine your own argument." I agree to what you are saying there. "However, you are making philosophical arguments, not just observations about the way things usually work." Are those two things always mutually exclusive. And if so, why? Speaking for myself, I often write, or speak about both within any given conversation, or text. I don't mind when others do the same. But people are different in that regard. Which is also a good thing I believe. "I have given you an example of mimicry founded on good intentions that had postive results, and were perceived by the observer to be genuine. You might be hardpressed to come up with a significant difference in any value between this case and the same case in which the guy mimicked unconsciously." Again, 'who' measured "positive results", and positive when compared to 'what'? Those questions will determine the assumed "positive result" which seems to appear to the observer. As an example, positive result for who? For the person manipulating, or the person manipulated? Would that distinction make a difference? And secondly, it would also depend on exactly 'when' it was measured. And the combination of those factors, among many other things I am sure, create the label of 'positive' or 'negative'. And because I have seen how that is true myself, I know that I have to question any label my own mind applies. I consider that 'reason', but that is my own personal definition. "Define desirable however you like."? Yes, exactly. That definition will determine the perceived outcome of the observer. Again, among many other factors. "You stated that in the end, it was the intentions that made the difference, and the intentions were actually the only relevant difference in the gift example. The point is, someone purposefully intended to make someone happy, instead of accidentally." If "you" are not the 'sole' cause of an event, or conscious of the cause, or unconcious of the cause, does that therefore make it 'always' accidental? "If you extend your answer of the gift case (intentions to make another person happy, and/or to bring about the greatest possible good) to the mimicry case where the actions of the man are intentionally good, AND (double whammy) yield good consequences, then i'm afraid in this case the mimicry was a great option." Man if only I had that power! My problem is that I do see that the road to hell is actually paved by good intentions. And I know for myself that when I attempt to go around tricking people, even if I believe it serves a noble purpose, then I am also placing a kind of barrier in terms of depth of potential relationship. One that I am not sure always needs to be there. And the more I stay with it, I wonder if it ever practical for it to be there? But you can probably guess which side of that debate I usually sit on. I value that connection. In addition, with the example I gave regarding giving gifts, neither option was "accidental". The distinction was that one came with a goal for personal gain which extended past the action itself. Again: The activity of giving someone a gift is actually a great example. We could say that their are really two types of gifts (for conceptual understanding), one is given without desire for reciprocation, or even credit. You don't want anything in return, there are no strings. And then their is the kind of gift that comes with some expectation of reciprocation, credit, or some type of specific recognition. You want the person to recognize how "good" you are, or perhaps you want them to feel like they "owe" you, or perhaps you want them to offer you something in return, etc. I think that when Jesus said it is better to give then to receive, he was specifically speaking about the kind of gift which comes without strings attached. But not everyone may agree with that. (And within the relationship you must also answer, as measured when?) "I did. I said that i knew couples, both of whom had died. I get your point here, but it could be possible to measure happiness." Absolutely, anytime you say exactly as compared to what, and exactly when. That will determine how the mind labels it. Along with many other things I am sure I don't understand. "I guess a question that i have for you is this: Do you deny that you have any control at all? If the grocery lists happen, why do they happen?" I think those are two very distinct questions. And I am not sure that knowing one, would supply the answer to the other. But briefly: "Do you deny that you have any control at all?" That depends on what the person means who says the word 'you'. Do they mean their own thought patterns? Do they mean their habits, tastes, and belief systems? Do they mean their past history? Do they mean their physical body? Do they mean seem sort of 'soul'? So I don't think that is a simple question. And it is not one I can answer. "If the grocery lists happen, why do they happen?" That is an even tougher question. You are getting into issues of causality, or lack thereof, first cause, last cause, independent cause, interdependent cause, etc. And my answer to the questions is that I have absolutely no idea. And I am not 'sure' anyone else does either. "Not opposed. . . A part of. Pieces and places, speed bumps and teachers in the moment." = Fantastic! Thank you.
8/28/05 2:30 PM
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mandalalisten
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Edited: 28-Aug-05
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Doug thanks for the indepth replies. You said, "But they arent a way to live." I disagree with this assumption. Personally I seek it out as much as possible. I moved out of the city to experience it more, I work fewer days to enjoy my time here now more, and I spend more time getting to know the people around me on a much more genuine level as a result of it. My own prioritization of time has allowed me to experience an increase in the qualitative nature of my life. Something that is more genuine to me. If my own priorities take away from my qualitative life experience ... should I still wonder why I am not satisfied with life? I've heard only a crazy person does the same thing over and over with no change in results. So in that case, transformation seems a likely alternative. I know what activites lead me to peace (the ability to flexibly transition thru change) and I know what activities lead me into a state of fixation and stagnation. (the inability to change) I have followed this cycle of learning and here I am, one human who is simply saying progress is possible, it just takes training, jiu jitsu is a great way to do this work. "How about yourself? My team (Catamount BJJ) puts out a seminar series, of which John Frankle has a DVD" I train and coach at the Beaverton SBGi. That?s cool you helped put together a DVD. "Zen is an idealist philosophy...talk the good talk about how to achieve real peace, we still live our lives with thoughts, desires, and whatever else might be opposed to enlightenment." Talk is cheap, practice either results in transformation or failure. I believe jiu Jitsu, like many arts, holds a transformation process for any individual that practices with intent to learn. Jiu Jitsu being an art of embodiment takes the practitioner on a transformative journey. Stay the same, get beat up. Change, grow and learn. The experiential differences are quite different for each, I?ve experienced them both over and over. Awareness of patterns in this continued process of Jiu Jitsu are rapidly spreading to most of my hobbies and work. When I say patterns I mean simply phenomenological events that occur in periodic cycles or form. The story that each of us makes out of these differs greatly it seems. It?s funny that although lives are sometimes lived by ideas and ideals, they always end up being a story, and in the end, you die. If at the core you live and breath as close as possible to your source of life, how can you not be at peace? Reach in, not out. What are YOU DOING to disturb your center of being? Why can't we be quiet inside easily? My answer currently is information overload, and discontinuity of information. On a practical level this is the difference between glancing wildly around the cable television recieving dis-jointed information from all over creation; verses laying lazily by a stream listening to a series of ecologically connected lives and elements manifesting as various fractals on the 360 degree horizon. Both offer information, but one is connected and founded in reality, and the other is de-contextualized information. On a practical mental, or perhaps spiritual level, a simple meditation technique could also give observable biofeedback : The single point meditation. This is where you relax your gaze onto a single point until you break contact with that point; now ask yourself why did you break contact? Due to eye movement/defocusing right? This comes with thoughts. Now see how long you can look at that single point without thinking. How often do we meditate on things throughout the day and we do not realize it. I think often. Variations of this "technique" include filtering out peripheral vision to focus in on center, and filtering out center to expand awareness to peripheral. Single point fixation is only a tool to self wave-entrain your brain, ultimately you gotta throw that overboard to, ?techniques? that require can?t be taken with you into the land of Being. Of the things I hear most people say that keep them from being at ?peace? is that peace takes time. I think they are exactly right. When I?m totally at peace (what I call ground zero) my sense of time dialates like an eye to light. When I am completely relaxed my qualitative experience expands to deepen my experience of now, and linear time takes a back seat. That isn?t saying I don?t listen to my body. An experience that damages my natural relationships is no enlightening experience at all. Yet even if I stop to talk to someone out here on a country road, even a brief talk is 15-20 min. This isn?t the ?old way?, this is a dialated sense of time. In a land where time and experience has been compressed, the people who actually do not take a major part in ?the machine? do experience a qualitatively different level of consciousness than people living in cities. There are far to many environmental pressures in the city for people to be able to cultivate any type of spiritual practice. The process of fulfilling natural desires doesn?t impede the process of realization, the process of attachment (addiction) to those desires does.
8/28/05 2:51 PM
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mandalalisten
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Edited: 28-Aug-05
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"There are differences. One is conscious and the other, largly unconscious. However, it is possible to mimic the appearance of an unconscious smile, and if it's taken by the observer to be genuine, what is the difference to the observer?" You can keep pretending that there is some "one step removed" form of communication that is genuine communication. But there is not. Dualism of mind/body is an illusion to be overcome, not exploited. Keep on playing the conscious/subconscious card, but it is not honest to "mimic" heart felt communication to gain the favor of human instincts like love, trust & respect. To me it honestly sounds like a form of disassociation, and persuasion to engage with people on this level. Not to mention it would be very draining because it would require a "front" be maintained. "I know it because i stipulated it. Your epistemological concerns don't make a dent in the argument. It doesnt really matter if i know it or not, but in this case i do, because its been stipulated as such, and the stupulations arent implausible. " Your stupulation is impractical. I don't know anyone who doesn't grow thru an expansion & contraction process. This is demonstratable in every aspect of Nature. Dave Copeland Beaverton SBGi

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