Reducing neuroticism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
binocular
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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:45 am

polarbear101 wrote:Note that the Venerable and Dr. Watkins say much the same thing about the benefits.
People keep saying that. I remain unconvinced. YOLO is a death sentence for all but those with "lust for life."

The classic version and the modern version -- all lust for life.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by Polar Bear » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:50 am

binocular wrote:
polarbear101 wrote:Note that the Venerable and Dr. Watkins say much the same thing about the benefits.
People keep saying that. I remain unconvinced. YOLO is a death sentence for all but those with "lust for life."
I'm not convinced that "YOLO is a death sentence for all but those with 'lust for life' " is true. But even it is, almost all organisms, including almost all human organisms, neurotic or otherwise, have lust or craving or desire for life. Hence, the advice is generally applicable even for the neurotic.

: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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retrofuturist
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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:52 am

Greetings binocular,
retrofuturist wrote:I guess every individual would have their own reasons
binocular wrote:No. Depends where the individual wants to fit in, or expects themselves to fit in.
I'm not quite sure was you mean here. "Fitting in" better (socially?) would be a consideration for some, yet not for others, in greater or lesser degrees. Hence what I said... "I guess every individual would have their own reasons". I'm surprised such an open ended statement with such broad scope is responded to with a categorical "no", but so be it.
binocular wrote:Then why use the clinical term "neuroticism"?
Because, in Theravada Buddhism, many have been taught to see the "hindrances" as something that pertains only to meditation. Thus, to speak of neuroticism, makes it much clearer that it's something that can potentially apply at all times, regardless of the activity being undertaken.
retrofuturist wrote:Some people, by virtue of the way they frame existence seem to bring much dukkha upon themselves - misery, paranoia, dour joylessness, mental dullness and constriction etc. - a truly pathetic existence.
binocular wrote:I disagree. They simply believe about themselves and the world what other people told them.
People normally believe about themselves and the world what other people told them. Psychotherapists expect, even demand that their patients believe about themselves and the world what they tell them. If parents tell a child that he is worthless, on the gorunds of what should that child believe otherwise?
Regardless of the origins of those beliefs, only the individual can be accountable for their present manifestation, and only the individual can do something about removing them. If someone chooses to be and play the victim, and abdocate responsibility for their happiness in life, then I guess that's their decision, ultimately.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

binocular
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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:53 am

polarbear101 wrote:I'm not convinced that "YOLO is a death sentence for all but those with 'lust for life' " is true. But even it is, almost all organisms, including almost all human organisms, neurotic or otherwise, have lust or craving or desire for life. Hence, the advice is generally applicable even for the neurotic.
"Almost" being the operative term. Some people have the desire for non-existence.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:I'm not quite sure was you mean here. "Fitting in" better (socially?) would be a consideration for some, yet not for others, in greater or lesser degrees. Hence what I said... "I guess every individual would have their own reasons". I'm surprised such an open ended statement with such broad scope is responded to with a categorical "no", but so be it.
I mean that it is not a given that people see themselves as having a choice in these matters. Some people see themselves as having a choice, and some do not.

You, as an external observer, and with your specific self-efficacious, self-empowering, internal-locus-of-control, existentialist, autonmous vantage point, may perceive everyone as being an individual responsible for themselves.

But this vantage point is not a given. Not everyone has it. In fact, it is not clear how a person can attain to it, if they don't already have it.
retrofuturist wrote:Then why use the clinical term "neuroticism"?
Because, in Theravada Buddhism, many have been taught to see the "hindrances" as something that pertains only to meditation. Thus, to speak of neuroticism, makes it much clearer that it's something that can potentially apply at all times, regardless of the activity being undertaken.
Okay.
Regardless of the origins of those beliefs, only the individual can be accountable for their present manifestation, and only the individual can do something about removing them. If someone chooses to be and play the victim, and abdocate responsibility, then that's their decision, ultimately.
Seeing those things as a choice already requires a very specific metaphysical framework.

Like I said above: the vantage point you're seeing things from is not a given. One of the reasons why Western psychology sees those core traits of personality as static is because Western psychology works with empirical data, and empirical data indicates that those traits don't change, at least not significantly. People who have an external locus of control, for example, tend to have an external locus of control their whole life.

A vantage point like yours would first need to be established, in order to overcome neuroticism etc.

I would love to see how such a vantage point can be established.
How a person can actually go from having an external locus of control to having an internal locus of control.
How a person can change their view from seeing themselves as a helpless victim of circumstance or other people, to seeing themselves as masters of their fate. Etc.
I think this is what it takes to overcome neuroticism.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:16 am

Greetings binocular,
binocular wrote:I mean that it is not a given that people see themselves as having a choice in these matters. Some people see themselves as having a choice, and some do not.
I agree with this. Some will see it as an innate aspect of their personality, and others will see no path by which to transcend it.
binocular wrote:One of the reasons why Western psychology sees those core traits of personality as static is because Western psychology works with empirical data, and empirical data indicates that those traits don't change, at least not significantly.
Agreed. It also doesn't speak very positively for the efficacy of any practices taught by western psychologists. Perhaps if they cured neuroticism, they'd be out of a job. :tongue:
binocular wrote:People who have an external locus of control, for example, tend to have an external locus of control their whole life.
Yes, and that fits the literal definition of the word I used earlier - "pathethic".
1. arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness
2. miserably inadequate.
binocular wrote:I would love to see how such a vantage point can be established.
How a person can actually go from having an external locus of control to having an internal locus of control.
How a person can change their view from seeing themselves as a helpless victim of circumstance or other people, to seeing themselves as masters of their fate. Etc.
I think this is what it takes to overcome neuroticism.
I agree, and arguably there are grounds for such things to be taught in high school... possibly via Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Image

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by Polar Bear » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:35 am

binocular wrote:
polarbear101 wrote:I'm not convinced that "YOLO is a death sentence for all but those with 'lust for life' " is true. But even it is, almost all organisms, including almost all human organisms, neurotic or otherwise, have lust or craving or desire for life. Hence, the advice is generally applicable even for the neurotic.
"Almost" being the operative term. Some people have the desire for non-existence.
Yes, almost is an important qualification. But it still stands that the advice is generally applicable, i.e. for most people with neuroticism, death contemplation can be of much benefit.

In the same way, it makes sense generally to look both ways before you step into the street if you don't want to die or be injured. Of course, if an 18-wheel truck pops up onto the sidewalk and is about to bear down on you with deadly force with no time to look both ways, it is best to leap before you look if you value your life.

: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."

binocular
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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:I agree, and arguably there are grounds for such things to be taught in high school... possibly via Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs seems like the least appropriate tool for that. Through it, people are still taught what they should be and how they should think about themselves; ie. it's a tool for strenghtening an external locus of control.

Saying "I choose to do X" when X is something that the person has internalized in the process of socialization, is still an example of an external locus of control.

Merely making changes on the superficial level of utterances, so that a person says "I choose to" instead of "I have to" really is not indicative of a genuine shift of the locus of control, even if a psychological test might evaluate it as such.

I think that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is just an example of a secular (upper)middle class mentality, practice, and resources. It doesn't apply outside of those parameters.

(As an aside: In old age, Maslow actually had doubts about his theory and wanted to redo it, but by then he was too old to do it himself and had no help.)

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:39 pm

retrofuturist wrote: Image
According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by cappuccino » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:52 pm

It's not that self doesn't exist, it's that everything isn't self to begin with.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:55 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.

No, it doesnt. Some people misinterpertate the teaching on not-self to mean there is no self, but the Buddha clearly states that both the view "I have a self," and the view, "I have no self," are wrong. Not-self is a value judgement, saying that the object you perceive as not-self is not worth claiming as "I", "me", or "mine" because this is what leads to suffering. Seeing things in terms of not-self helps to to do away with any clinging of the aggregates through doctrines of the self.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:00 pm

bodom wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.

No, it doesnt. Some people misinterpertate the teaching on not-self to mean there is no self, but the Buddha clearly states that both the view "I have a self," and the view, "I have no self," are wrong. Not-self is a value judgement, saying that the object you perceive as not-self is not worth claiming as "I", "me", or "mine" because this is what leads to suffering. Seeing things in terms of not-self helps to to do away with any clinging of the aggregates through doctrines of the self.

:anjali:
I wasn't talking about what Buddha says but what American Buddhist "orthodoxy" says.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:03 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.
Actually, Buddhists, esp. monastics, are not living up to their potential according to Maslow's theory, because they aren't having sex.
:rolleye:

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:44 pm

binocular wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.
Actually, Buddhists, esp. monastics, are not living up to their potential according to Maslow's theory, because they aren't having sex.
:rolleye:
Poor Nikola Tesla. He invented technologies that are just now being understood by our "genius" scientists. But he didn't live up to his potential because he wasn't a slave to lust. LOL.

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Re: Reducing neuroticism

Post by chownah » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:38 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
binocular wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:According to Maslow's pyramid thingy orthodox Buddhism would be bad becauase it denies the existence of a self.
Actually, Buddhists, esp. monastics, are not living up to their potential according to Maslow's theory, because they aren't having sex.
:rolleye:
Poor Nikola Tesla. He invented technologies that are just now being understood by our "genius" scientists. But he didn't live up to his potential because he wasn't a slave to lust. LOL.
I think you will find that there are scientists today who understand tesla's technologies better than tesla did. Seems that your science education is stuck in the mid 1950's about...maybe even earlier.
chownah

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