nathan wrote:There are growing indications that this dependence will prove shortsighted on an equally vast scale.
Nathan, I think you got a point. There seem to be quite a few problems with how
we use technology. My personal view is that this is caused by a disproportional development in society: high technology vs. low spirituality. But I don't really want to go further into this, as it would lead too far away from the original topic. Enough discussion material for an whole new thread.
David N. Snyder wrote:I agree that without these 'animal arts' we might be still at a less than successful technological pace. But this does not move us closer to the eradication of dukkha. We are still beset with all sorts of cravings and attachments and in fact we may have added some more with the advancement of technology. There are some positive effects, such as those you and I listed above, including an easier spread of the Dhamma and teachings. But these are just aids to get to the goal, they are not the goal.
David, it sounds like a balanced view of the situation. I'd like to add that at least for the population of the OECD countries there has been a noticeable reduction in suffering over the last centuries, at least a reduction in suffering at the crude level. This manifests in longer lifespans, better health, more free time, not having to toil on the fields and scramble for survival, having access to education, and of course having access to dhamma. All of these blessings can be used in very positive ways. We know that they are not always used that way, but we've come a long way since the time of the Buddha.
David N. Snyder wrote:I think this is what happens using mathematical concepts to try and explain atta or anatta. It is basically using the mundane, the worldly man-made concepts to try and prove a supra-mundane.
To be honest, I don't think atta can be proven using mathematics. It was more intended as a suggestion, a possibility, food for thought. Ultimately, anything supra-mundane is beyond language and therefore beyond proof. What can be proven are concepts and ideas, and some of these concepts have interesting and useful properties, because they do model reality and the phenomena we observe. In addition, they are not subject to impermanence or dukkha. But that's as far as it goes. My personal experience with mathematics is that mathematics leads to emptiness: emptiness is form, form is emptiness - the very mantra of the heart sutra. But, that's again material for another thread.