Intellectual Integrity

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
danieLion
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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:38 am

Cittasanto wrote:
danieLion wrote:you miss my point; AS a psychology, the teachings are outdated; AS a philosophy--outdated; AS a theology--outdated...the teachings are an anachronism because they only "work" in a certain domain (the time and place of the Buddha); they're just the Buddha's opinions; impressive opinions, yes, but still just opinions

and how do you come to those conclusions?

they're not conclusions

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Mr Man
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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Mr Man » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:03 am

danieLion, I'm not sure if you need to contextualize the "practice" of the Buddha's teaching. This action may be what makes it anachronistic. Go with "akaliko".

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:50 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:Okay, to put it another way, why do you think that the teachings of the buddha are outdated across the board, i.e. as a psychology, philosophy, etc.? I would imagine you have some reasons for making this assertion. I'm more interested in why you think it's outdated as a philosophy, a psychology, and a way of life than anything else.


I didn't say "across the board." Don't put words in my mouth. And I didn't say they were outdated as "a way of life."

In general I am informed by Bikkhu Bodhi, Reverends Analayo, Sujato, and Thannisaro, and the sutta pitaka. My principle method is critical thinking.
Philosophically (here I am informed by authors like K.N. Jayatilleke, Richard Gombrich and Paul Fuller) the teachings of the Buddha have been improved upon (not in a totally dismissive way) by the likes of empiricism (e.g., via Hume), pragmatism (e.g., via William James and Richard Rorty), and Wittgenstein (post Tractatus). In the psychological/philosophical overlap, for instance, William James' Principles of Psychology, Alfred Korzybski's Science & Sanity, Robert Anton Wilson's Promethues Rising and Quantum Psychology are far superior (yet not entirely unrelated) to Buddhist psychology/philosophy. In the psychological literature, you'll find a much more relevant psychology of human suffering than in Buddhist psychology (my ideas here are informed by the Abhidhamma and authors like Rune E.A. Johansson and Sue Hamiltion), in the likes of Albert Ellis et al. You'll find a better understanding of karma in B.F. Skinner et al, and a better understanding of introspection in, for example, in E.G.Boring's A History of Experimental Psychology and John C. Lilly's Progamming and Metaprogamming in the Human Biocomputer. In the "theological" or religious studies realm, you'll find a much less primitive and much more sophisticated understanding of "spirituality" in Aleister Crowley's works, Joseph Campbell's works, Robert Anton Wilson's works, and in the field of cultural anthropology.

I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Some teachings of the Buddha at times appear to me to have direct relevance to modern living and my life, but thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process. For instance, I don't believe in reincarnation and think the Buddha and his followers were merely creating inner hallucinations for themselves about past lives. I don't doubt modern man can do the same, but even if I attained knowledge of past lives I wouldn't CONCLUDE that that particular cosmology is an absolute truth. However, I don't exclude the possiblity that I could experience it in way that left no doubt. I predict, however, I would understand it as an experience that likely defies categorical definition and refrain from attributing any subjective, objective or subjective-objective validity to it. The Buddha was not superhuman and made mistakes and changed his mind frequently after his "awakening." He was clearly a critical thinker. He should not inspire blind faith. So, by "outdated" I don't mean totally useless or completely irrelevant. I mean, in the context of current knowledge, which parts can we discard and which can we retain for the sake of intellectual integrity?

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:16 am

Mr Man wrote:danieLion, I'm not sure if you need to contextualize the "practice" of the Buddha's teaching. This action may be what makes it anachronistic. Go with "akaliko".

Of course it's not a necessity to contextualize the "practice," but I believe it is preferable to do so when one can, especially if one wants to test it's relevance for our own lives. I want the teachings to appear more relevant, but that's just a wish. Critical thinking for the sake of intellectual integrity demands one look at just how "outdated" (see my other post for clarification of this term) some parts of Buddhism are and to look just as hard as the Buddha looked into the nature of suffering and the end of suffering. The history of Buddhism itself puts the lie to belief that the teachings of the Buddha are timeless, and modern controversies like the one over the meaning of sati, for instance, are indicative of the fact Buddhism lacks intellectual integrity. Some of the teachings clearly are not timeless. What makes many aspects of the teachings of the Buddha anachronistic is not how we understand them retrospectively but how the Buddha and his comtemporaries understood the world during their life and times in a way we'll never understand. And at some point, one is no longer contextualizing but merely cramming round pegs into square holes. They obviously won't fit, and no amount of blind faith will make them fit.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Mr Man » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:36 am

danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:danieLion, I'm not sure if you need to contextualize the "practice" of the Buddha's teaching. This action may be what makes it anachronistic. Go with "akaliko".

Of course it's not a necessity to contextualize the "practice," but I believe it is preferable to do so when one can, especially if one wants to test it's relevance for our own lives. I want the teachings to appear more relevant, but that's just a wish. Critical thinking for the sake of intellectual integrity demands one look at just how "outdated" (see my other post for clarification of this term) some parts of Buddhism are and to look just as hard as the Buddha looked into the nature of suffering and the end of suffering. The history of Buddhism itself puts the lie to belief that the teachings of the Buddha are timeless, and modern controversies like the one over the meaning of sati, for instance, are indicative of the fact Buddhism lacks intellectual integrity. Some of the teachings clearly are not timeless. What makes many aspects of the teachings of the Buddha anachronistic is not how we understand them retrospectively but how the Buddha and his comtemporaries understood the world during their life and times in a way we'll never understand. And at some point, one is no longer contextualizing but merely cramming round pegs into square holes. They obviously won't fit, and no amount of blind faith will make them fit.


It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context. The teaching is no a pursuit of the intellect (it is also not a rejection of the rational in daily life). The timeless aspect (to me) is the benefit, which can be known.

I would also add that for me much of the symbolism does resonate. I might not connect with the personality of a particular monk (for example) but I do relate to "the bhikku" symbolically (apologies if I am rambling).
Last edited by Mr Man on Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:00 am

Mr Man wrote:It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context.
Contexts are neither wrong nor right.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby daverupa » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:10 am

danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context.
Contexts are neither wrong nor right.


But they can be improper (which is to say, unsuitable or otherwise deficient).
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby kirk5a » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:46 pm

danieLion wrote: thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process.

Is critical thinking completely reliable?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:01 pm

danieLion wrote:In the "theological" or religious studies realm, you'll find a much less primitive and much more sophisticated understanding of "spirituality" in Aleister Crowley's works, Joseph Campbell's works, Robert Anton Wilson's works, and in the field of cultural anthropology.


Aleister Crowley, really?

:anjali:

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:25 pm

danieLion wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:Okay, to put it another way, why do you think that the teachings of the buddha are outdated across the board, i.e. as a psychology, philosophy, etc.? I would imagine you have some reasons for making this assertion. I'm more interested in why you think it's outdated as a philosophy, a psychology, and a way of life than anything else.


I didn't say "across the board." Don't put words in my mouth. And I didn't say they were outdated as "a way of life."

In general I am informed by Bikkhu Bodhi, Reverends Analayo, Sujato, and Thannisaro, and the sutta pitaka. My principle method is critical thinking.
Philosophically (here I am informed by authors like K.N. Jayatilleke, Richard Gombrich and Paul Fuller) the teachings of the Buddha have been improved upon (not in a totally dismissive way) by the likes of empiricism (e.g., via Hume), pragmatism (e.g., via William James and Richard Rorty), and Wittgenstein (post Tractatus). In the psychological/philosophical overlap, for instance, William James' Principles of Psychology, Alfred Korzybski's Science & Sanity, Robert Anton Wilson's Promethues Rising and Quantum Psychology are far superior (yet not entirely unrelated) to Buddhist psychology/philosophy. In the psychological literature, you'll find a much more relevant psychology of human suffering than in Buddhist psychology (my ideas here are informed by the Abhidhamma and authors like Rune E.A. Johansson and Sue Hamiltion), in the likes of Albert Ellis et al. You'll find a better understanding of karma in B.F. Skinner et al, and a better understanding of introspection in, for example, in E.G.Boring's A History of Experimental Psychology and John C. Lilly's Progamming and Metaprogamming in the Human Biocomputer. In the "theological" or religious studies realm, you'll find a much less primitive and much more sophisticated understanding of "spirituality" in Aleister Crowley's works, Joseph Campbell's works, Robert Anton Wilson's works, and in the field of cultural anthropology.

I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Some teachings of the Buddha at times appear to me to have direct relevance to modern living and my life, but thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process. For instance, I don't believe in reincarnation and think the Buddha and his followers were merely creating inner hallucinations for themselves about past lives. I don't doubt modern man can do the same, but even if I attained knowledge of past lives I wouldn't CONCLUDE that that particular cosmology is an absolute truth. However, I don't exclude the possiblity that I could experience it in way that left no doubt. I predict, however, I would understand it as an experience that likely defies categorical definition and refrain from attributing any subjective, objective or subjective-objective validity to it. The Buddha was not superhuman and made mistakes and changed his mind frequently after his "awakening." He was clearly a critical thinker. He should not inspire blind faith. So, by "outdated" I don't mean totally useless or completely irrelevant. I mean, in the context of current knowledge, which parts can we discard and which can we retain for the sake of intellectual integrity?


Thanks for the clarification.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:10 pm

danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
danieLion wrote:you miss my point; AS a psychology, the teachings are outdated; AS a philosophy--outdated; AS a theology--outdated...the teachings are an anachronism because they only "work" in a certain domain (the time and place of the Buddha); they're just the Buddha's opinions; impressive opinions, yes, but still just opinions

and how do you come to those conclusions?

they're not conclusions

Then what are they? has your reasoning not ended up with this at this point?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:12 pm

daverupa wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context.
Contexts are neither wrong nor right.


But they can be improper (which is to say, unsuitable or otherwise deficient).

:anjali:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:17 pm

kirk5a wrote:
danieLion wrote: thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process.

Is critical thinking completely reliable?

no, something can be sound but not true. it makes sense but there is fallacious thinking involved.
for a crude example
all beds I have slept on have a mattress
therefore everyone sleeps on a mattress

although this maybe true it does not follow that everyone does actually sleep on a mattress, or that I have always slept on a mattress.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:46 pm

daverupa wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context.
Contexts are neither wrong nor right.


But they can be improper (which is to say, unsuitable or otherwise deficient).

If you mean contexts are either effective or ineffective, then I agree. Any other terms are too loaded. However, a superior way to look a it--over relying on a primitive psychology like the Buddha's--is the set and setting "explanations" of modern psychology (for starters).

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:55 pm

kirk5a wrote:
danieLion wrote: thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process.

Is critical thinking completely reliable?

No epistemic method is completely reliable, but it's more reliable than other methods. I'm not after absolute reliabity. I'm after understanding the teachings in terms of pragmatism, especialy the pragmatism of John Dewey, William James and Richard Rorty.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:04 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
danieLion wrote:In the "theological" or religious studies realm, you'll find a much less primitive and much more sophisticated understanding of "spirituality" in Aleister Crowley's works, Joseph Campbell's works, Robert Anton Wilson's works, and in the field of cultural anthropology.


Aleister Crowley, really?

:anjali:

Really.

You got a problem with AC? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I bet your understanding of AC is based on propaganda you've heard about it him instead of a personal, intellectually integral inquiry into his teachings.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:13 pm

Cittasanto wrote:and how do you come to those conclusions?

danieLion wrote:they're not conclusions

Cittasanto wrote:Then what are they? has your reasoning not ended up with this at this point?


This has all been thoroughly addressed in my repsones to polarbuddha101's questions.

To summarize: crtical thinking for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about "coming to conclusions" or "ending up at a point." "Truth" serves no definitive, absolute, ultimate telos. It's not something "out there" waiting to be discovered.

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Mr Man
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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Mr Man » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:14 pm

danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It only lacks intellectual integrity when you put it in the wrong context.
Contexts are neither wrong nor right.


Of course context can be wrong. The intellect is not the ground for understanding (in the case of dhamma).

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby SDC » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:31 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Aleister Crowley, really?

:anjali:


I do not know very much about Crowley, but I give him a hell of a lot of credit, as I do many others from his era in the west, for having the guts to think outside the box when there really wasn't much there to work with. Maybe he went to the extreme, but there is definitely something there to respect...in my opinion.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't one of his early peers ordain in the Theravada tradition?

EDIT - Sorry for the off topic post

EDIT #2 - Posted here due to moderator note

beeblebrox wrote:
SDC wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Aleister Crowley, really?


I do not know very much about Crowley, but I give him a hell of a lot of credit, as I do many others from his era in the west, for having the guts to think outside the box when there really wasn't much there to work with. Maybe he went to the extreme, but there is definitely something there to respect...in my opinion.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't one of his early peers ordain in the Theravada tradition?

EDIT - Sorry for the off topic post


I think it's in the practice, not words...

Daniel made a claim that Aleister made a more sophisticated treatment on the spirituality than the Buddha did.

:anjali:


Ooooooh, now I get what you meant. You are on your own with that one, Daniel.
Last edited by SDC on Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Intellectual Integrity

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:36 pm

then I shall simply refer you back to my previous post.
Buddhism is whatever....
danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:and how do you come to those conclusions?

danieLion wrote:they're not conclusions

Cittasanto wrote:Then what are they? has your reasoning not ended up with this at this point?


This has all been thoroughly addressed in my repsones to polarbuddha101's questions.

To summarize: crtical thinking for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about "coming to conclusions" or "ending up at a point." "Truth" serves no definitive, absolute, ultimate telos. It's not something "out there" waiting to be discovered.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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