Cellular communication, memetics, and the Dharma

Where members are free to take ideas from the Theravāda Canon out of the Theravāda framework. Here you can question rebirth, kamma (and other contentious issues) as well as examine Theravāda's connection to other paths
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Cellular communication, memetics, and the Dharma

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:10 am

I watched these two vids in this order...

1. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/bonnie_bassler_on_how_bacteria_communicate.html

2. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.html%20%20dangerous%20memes

...and it got me thinking about the our samsaric experience - I'll try to describe here.

As I listened to Bonnie (in the first vid) describe how bacteria communicates and the activity/condition that arises from their communications - it seemed to me that she was describing a potential pattern of "grasping/aversion" that exists in all living beings, all life, at the cellular level. A pattern of "this/not that"...of "me-us/not them". I began to think about the likelihood that our "samsaric" vision ("vision" used here as the Tibetans use it to describe the sum total of all our sensory channels) has a cellular basis - our habitual, reactive grasping at and shoving away (this, not that) is subtly or not so subtly reflective of a basic pattern of life here in planet Earth (and likely throughout this universe/multiverses) that we, unaware of this pattern, unconsciously mistake for "self".

I also noted her clear explanation of how we are a host organism, inside and surface (proof in itself that there is no "self").

And it occurred to me that as individuals and groups we communicate (in the most expansive, inclusive sense of the word) with each other, other groups, and our own host organism - planet Earth, in the same way that the above noted pattern moves through/with cellular bacteria.


And, as I listened to Dan (second vid) I began to think about the stories (memes) we unconsciously adopt, form, or come by in some way starting in infancy and then weave into elaborate delusional vision (again, the Tibetan meaning) that then dominate our samsaric existence....memetic stories (patterns) of "this/not that" and me-us/not them" that dominate the samsaric experience that we appear to appear in, and that cause us so much dissatisfaction. Stories that reflect that same universal (perhaps multiversal) pattern that takes place within/on our bodies and within all of life.


So...when we read that the Dharma is "medicine", I think it would be reasonable to conclude that the practices found in the Dharma (and in many other other premodern "ways of life") and to a lesser extent some of the views found in the Dharma (although many of them are now "infected", anaerobic meme'd stories) are a means of purification that conditions a homeostasis throughout the entire "being" - the ecosystem of cellular/body/mind/earth/universe/multiverses that could be seen as the middle way. Practices/views that are the means of balancing and stabilizing communication between all the elements of the host/host organism continuum (the whole) - transforming the multiplicities of battles between "us/them" and our tendencies to grasp/averse the outcome of these battles into a middle, harmonious, complimentary wholeness. Holiness emerging from clarity (clear-ness/undefiled) of body/mind. We get out of our own way, and encourage clear communication throughout the phenomenon of our appearance - cells/thought/environment - organically inter-existing.


Any thoughts would be appreciated (although I hope that the mention of Richard Dawkins and memes doesn't trigger a discussion re: agnosticism/atheism/faith - which has been done to death already). :rolleye:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen


Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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