a reply to: zackli
I think the problem with the logic is found in thinking about it logically in the first place. Heck, even Spock came to realize that there is more to
a total being than just logic.
"And yet, for thousands of years, contemplatives have claimed to find extraordinary depths of psychological well-being while spending vast stretches
of time in total isolation. It seems to me that, as rational people, whether we call ourselves “atheists” or not, we have a choice to make in how
we view this whole enterprise. Either the contemplative literature is a mere catalogue of religious delusion, deliberate fraud, and psychopathology,
or people have been having interesting and even normative experiences under the name of “spirituality” and “mysticism” for millennia.
Now let me just assert, on the basis of my own study and experience, that there is no question in my mind that people have improved their emotional
lives, and their self-understanding, and their ethical intuitions, and have even had important insights about the nature of subjectivity itself
through a variety of traditional practices like meditation.
From the point of view of our contemplative traditions, however—to boil them all down to a cartoon version, that ignores the rather esoteric
disputes among them—our habitual identification with discursive thought, our failure moment to moment to recognize thoughts as thoughts, is a
primary source of human suffering. And when a person breaks this spell, an extraordinary kind of relief is available.
But the problem with a contemplative claim of this sort is that you can’t borrow someone else’s contemplative tools to test it. The problem is
that to test such a claim—indeed, to even appreciate how distracted we tend to be in the first place, we have to build our own contemplative tools.
Imagine where astronomy would be if everyone had to build his own telescope before he could even begin to see if astronomy was a legitimate
enterprise. It wouldn’t make the sky any less worthy of investigation, but it would make it immensely more difficult for us to establish astronomy
as a science.
To judge the empirical claims of contemplatives, you have to build your own telescope."
edit on 715Sunday000000America/ChicagoJul000000SundayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)