Archive for October, 2010

Success and the Ordinary Soul

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Here’s a test:

Think of someone you consider exceptionally successful, and hold in mind one or two of this person’s most important accomplishments.

I’m guessing that most people who complete this exercise will, like me, choose someone famous, and that the achievements listed will have been in the public sphere. We have fortunately moved beyond the era when the chosen person would usually have been male in gender and European in descent. But most of us will have selected a person acclaimed by society at large.

Now, imagine God’s choice. You may not believe God exists, or you might have a conception of God that precludes such value judgment. In fact, I probably do myself. But for the moment imagine a God who evaluates people and decides who is successful and who isn’t.

Uncertain Worlds

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Minds create the world. Rather, they recreate it, since there is some kind of reality ‘out there’ that the nervous system detects and affects. But the world we live in minute by minute is not that outer world, at least not directly. We reside in an inner model constructed by our brains.

The brain has plenty of information to work with as it continuously builds its inner reality. Sensory cues stream in at rates far greater than we can consciously process. Meditation is interesting for many reasons, but in particular it teaches us how much data the body ceaselessly collects about sound, touch, sight, and smells. The  physiological state of the body is also monitored, as are thought and emotion. Most of the time, we ignore the vast majority of this input. Even during meditation we can only attend to a fraction of it.


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