little lies, big lies

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:34 am

Part of that work is determining what is true, and what is a false assumption based upon our emotional responses to what we want to believe.

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Kim OHara
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:04 am

Hi, Alan,
I am not saying we should ever abandon reason.
I am saying that reason is not what makes us choose the subjects or situations to which we apply our reasoning faculties.
Reason without emotion to direct it will not do anything, any more than a hammer will do anything without a hand, arm and brain to guide it - or a computer without a person to direct it to perform a task.
If you track any of your actions or choices back - from effect to its cause to its cause to its cause - you will always end up with 'because I wanted to' and that 'want' is a choice powered by emotion, not by reason. Even if you get to 'because otherwise I would die', the choice is driven by emotion - not wanting to die - because reason has no stake in your continued existence. After all, people die all the time, don't they? What's one more or less?

:thinking:
Kim

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:31 am

I'm going to respectfully disagree, and try to show why reason is a neglected aspect of our outlook, and why placing reason above our emotions can be a useful strategy in many aspects of life.
The foundation of my argument is based upon the realization that we don't really know why we like what we like. We just like it, so we do it. But is that anyway to live? I say no. I'd rather have an understanding of my motivations. Maybe I used to like french fries, so I'd eat them. Or, I can read about health and understand it is much better to eat wholesome foods. Using reason, I construct a new, better diet. I do research, I find out which foods create energy and are most healthful. Eating those foods, I feel better, I get up earlier and try that Yoga stuff I've read about but wasn't emotionally interested in before. Recognizing the usefulness of that, I decide to start treating exercise as a fundamental good. Several years later I'm healthier and happier, and no longer held captive to what I used to consider my likes or wants. I've created a new way of understanding what should be considered good. I now like eating broccoli and doing yoga. I've changed my "likes" to better correspond with what is best for my body, and I've done it through a process that was based on rational decisions.

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tiltbillings
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:36 am

alan wrote: I've changed my "likes" to better correspond with what is best for my body, and I've done it through a process that was based on rational decisions.
And what is the underlying emotion for all these choices?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:50 am

In this case, it would be the sensation of taste, and all the emotions that arise due to that feeling.

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tiltbillings
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:53 am

alan wrote:In this case, it would be the sensation of taste, and all the emotions that arise due to that feeling.
To be a little more clear: What is the emotion ( or set of emotions) underlying the choices that led to: 'I've changed my "likes" to better correspond with what is best for my body.'
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:10 am

I'm sorry, but you seem to have misunderstood my point. I've changed my likes by determining what would be best for me, acting on it, seeing the results, and confirming the usefulness of those actions. My former emotional responses, when subject to reason, no longer have an emotional impact.

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tiltbillings
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:17 am

alan wrote:I'm sorry, but you seem to have misunderstood my point. I've changed my likes by determining what would be best for me, acting on it, seeing the results, and confirming the usefulness of those actions. My former emotional responses, when subject to reason, no longer have an emotional impact.
Okay, but what was the emotion behind the "reason" for the change?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:34 am

You are presupposing the answer you want to hear. As long as you do that there will be no end to your line of argument.
For those interested in getting into the philosophy behind this question, the real debate should be centered on these questions: How can I know my emotions are real? Why do I accept them without scrutiny? Is it really in my best interest to supplicate my rational mind to these forces not properly understood?

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tiltbillings
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:58 am

alan wrote:You are presupposing the answer you want to hear. As long as you do that there will be no end to your line of argument.
Not at all. That is your assumption.

Again, to ask my question is a different way: are you saying there is no emotional component behind your choices as you outlined them?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Kim OHara
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:21 am

alan wrote:I'm going to respectfully disagree [with Kim saying: Reason without emotion to direct it will not do anything, any more than a hammer will do anything without a hand, arm and brain to guide it - or a computer without a person to direct it to perform a task.
If you track any of your actions or choices back - from effect to its cause to its cause to its cause - you will always end up with 'because I wanted to' and that 'want' is a choice powered by emotion, not by reason
], and try to show why reason is a neglected aspect of our outlook, and why placing reason above our emotions can be a useful strategy in many aspects of life.
The foundation of my argument is based upon the realization that we don't really know why we like what we like. We just like it, so we do it. But is that anyway to live? I say no. I'd rather have an understanding of my motivations. Maybe I used to like french fries, so I'd eat them. Or, I can read about health and understand it is much better to eat wholesome foods. Using reason, I construct a new, better diet. I do research, I find out which foods create energy and are most healthful. Eating those foods, I feel better, I get up earlier and try that Yoga stuff I've read about but wasn't emotionally interested in before. Recognizing the usefulness of that, I decide to start treating exercise as a fundamental good. Several years later I'm healthier and happier, and no longer held captive to what I used to consider my likes or wants. I've created a new way of understanding what should be considered good. I now like eating broccoli and doing yoga. I've changed my "likes" to better correspond with what is best for my body, and I've done it through a process that was based on rational decisions.
That's all right, Alan, but (since Tilt's line of questions seems to have stalled), why did you bother in the first place?


:namaste:
Kim

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:21 am

Because learning is always good, and I can't learn much by withholding my viewpoints. By putting my honest opinions on a forum like this, I get to hear responses from intelligent people like you and tilt.

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Dan74
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by Dan74 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:05 am

I might be wrong but I guess tilt was hinting (or trying to get you to explore) the emotional biases that underlie your choices.

I mean it's not just alan, Dan or tilt - we'd all be naive to think that we are completely rational and objective in how we do things. Not even close, I'd say.

What I try to do is to deepen my commitment to truth - to facing what's happening with clarity and without judgment or preconception, so I can (hope to) see how it really is. Including all the emotional baggage, conditioning, genetics and the biases that result from it.

But every now and then I get a glimpse of a smidgeon of the delusion I labour under and it's still scary! But what else can I expect?
_/|\_

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:15 am

Of course, we always "like" what we choose. But to extrapolate from this and assume that all choices are based upon "Emotion" is a tautology.
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tautology.html

alan
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Re: little lies, big lies

Post by alan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:41 am

When people talk about the primacy of "emotion" what do they mean?
Can anyone define emotion? Is it love, is it hate, is it "feelings"?
Why would anyone think that an emotional approach is better suited to the needs of the moment than a clear-minded, sensible, rational understanding of the situation?

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