The Useful Idea of Truth

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:17 am

This page from a rationalist site (nothing to do with Buddhism) is a clear explanation of something fundamental which we very often forget to be aware of.
Don't worry if your browser makes it look like a very long article - more than 3/4 of its length is comments.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/eqn/the_useful_idea_of_truth/
:coffee:
Kim
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:42 am

This is fascinating from a philosophical perspective, but I'm always worried that such metaphysical ruminations are the surest way into a thicket of views...

I found that marble study very clever though; the rest was a little above my pay-grade :?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:49 pm

For me, enquiring into why we believe whatever we believe is another way of looking at how our mind works and is therefore a useful supplementary approach.

:namaste:
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:37 am

Many thanks Kim, I found this interesting if a bit hard-going in places.

I liked the idea that "My beliefs determine my experimental predictions, but only reality gets to determine my experimental results". This seems to relate to a useful way of holding beliefs or views regarding practice, or things which arise associated with the practice. My beliefs are that the type of meditation I do, and how I conduct myself ethically, will make me happier. I hold these rather as a form of Popperian conjecture. Reality in the form of my happiness then strengthens my belief, in that they they relate to real things. They are conditionally (conditional upon my experiences and memories) true.

I was also reminded of this post and the associated comments on a blog I often read:

http://www.markvernon.com/friendshiponline/dotclear/index.php?post/2012/11/06/The-master-and-his-emissary%3A-what-difference-does-it-make#comments

The rationality article focuses mainly on a kind of propositional and instrumental notion of "truth" which the Mark Vernon article characterises as "left brain". (I've no idea as to the "truth" of the biology, but whatever...) There is also the "right brain" sense of open-minded awareness and acceptance of what there is now (including propositional and instrumental uncertainty) which we are familiar with via meditation and mindfulness. I would like to give a bit more thought to how this distinction applies to Sacca and its various uses in the canon and the commentaries.

Thanks again - thinking about this has woken me up a bit and made me feel better!
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:03 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Many thanks Kim, ... thinking about this has woken me up a bit and made me feel better!

My pleasure, Sam :smile:

I agree with your suggestion that the article's notion of 'truth' could do with a bit of work (ditto 'reality', actually) but I think the article is valid within its limits and will help some of us avoid some sloppy thinking. And that's always a good thing. :candle:

Myself, I've been looking for a reliable way to differentiate 'knowledge' and 'belief' for about ten years and so far haven't found one. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:19 pm

It is food for thought, I do like the title of the sequence "Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners" this gave me a little chuckle.

I like this reply you gave earlier.
For me, enquiring into why we believe whatever we believe is another way of looking at how our mind works and is therefore a useful supplementary approach.



This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The Useful Idea of Truth

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:10 pm

He lost me when it turned out that he didnt know the difference between brain and mind.
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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