What is your Minimum Working Hypothesis?

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30 Jan 2017 05:11 #274391 by Rosalyn J
Hello everyone,

I am reading a book by Alduos Huxley, the first essay of which is called "The Minimum Working Hypothesis". To read online, please see the link here: www.unz.org/Pub/Horizon-1944sep-00176 .

I'd like to pose a question: "what is your minimum working hypothesis?"

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30 Jan 2017 05:54 - 30 Jan 2017 05:58 #274396 by Adder
Hmmm, well I have an experiential idea on a concept of "clear light of the void", which to me represents the points where awareness emerge into some spatial representation whence the temporal frame is set (based on the conditions of that awareness). The path then becomes about understanding the ground if emerges from, and the factors associated with its manifested form. To relate it to Buddhism I might say the ground is dharmakaya, and the experience of clear light is sambhogakaya, with nirmanakaya being the distortion of sambhogakaya as it relates outwards and thus becomes 'relative truth'. This then starts to inform the 'shape' of the phenomena I call awareness and what might exist beyond our familiar senses, to help cut away counter-productive habits, beliefs or practices.

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30 Jan 2017 08:40 #274411 by Loudzoo
Minimum Working Hypothesis: Breathe

From the Latin root: spir. This leads to Inspiration, Spirit, a modest aspiration, a little perspiration, and an inclusive conspiracy (breathing together)

From the sanskrit root brh: inferring to swell, grow. enlarge and expand. Not of the superficial and hallucinatory ego, but of the Brahman or what me might call The Force

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30 Jan 2017 14:05 #274428 by Alan
Humanism and nature are sufficient for me; even so, my life/path has always been an investigation into the nature of the sacred.

Religious/mythic persons often are working with their sacred texts and myths in their search for the best way to live the revelations and mythic expressions.

There are academic definitions of myth that provide a minimum working hypothesis.

Myth:
narrative embodiment of an idea
narrative about origins
narrative about the nature of the sacred
narrative account of the origin of a symbol of the sacred
narrative of sacred history
symbolic expression of primal experience.

Myth is a culturally specific verbal narrative describing a form of life that is felt and lived.
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30 Jan 2017 14:13 #274430 by tzb
I find Huxley's assertion of a "final end" unnecessarily reductive.

My minimum working hypothesis is precisely that: there are no ends, only a functionally endless and massively chaotic web of translation, transformation, transmutation, on and on and on.

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30 Jan 2017 14:31 #274435 by Rosalyn J

tzb wrote: I find Huxley's assertion of a "final end" unnecessarily reductive.

My minimum working hypothesis is precisely that: there are no ends, only a functionally endless and massively chaotic web of translation, transformation, transmutation, on and on and on.


Excuse me what what do you mean by that?

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30 Jan 2017 15:04 - 30 Jan 2017 15:11 #274437 by tzb
I find it a little hard to put into words.

Huxley suggests for secular people, the minimum working hypothesis amounts to something approaching:

That to achieve this unitive knowledge of the Godhead is the final end and purpose of human existence.
That there is a Law or Dharma which must be obeyed, a Tao or Way which must be followed, if men are to achieve their final end.



He suggests that what exists outside of this is either religion, or "the darkness of ignorance, the squalor of vice or the other squalor of respectability". And I find that very reductive, to assert without some higher "ulterior motive" existence cannot be anything but dark or squalid. In other words he asserts that there's a meaning and point to existence, which is to reach a place of unification called "enlightenment" to give it one name, beyond which one's troubles and travails will be over - and those not engaged in this are content to languish in the dark.

But from my perspective, there is no such thing as "over". The universe knows and demonstrates no such thing. I'd go further and say, categorically, that I perceive no "meaning" in reality writ large, only in our necessarily "embodied" interactions with reality. We bring that with us, it's not there in and of itself. Meaning for a fish, for a rock, for a river must look very different to meaning for a person. It's wholly subjective and no ground for a minimum working hypothesis in itself.

So for me, the core of MY minimum working hypothesis, which absolutely comes from a similar place of understanding our unity with what is, is an understanding that far from being en-souled boats trying to reach some indistinct harbour of enlightenment beyond which the journey is over, we are and always will be just some stuff which coalesced some way for a span, during which time many meanings will come and go and have essentially no lasting effect; that we are "universe stuff" masquerading, at best, as travellers without a destination; that all goals and aims are at best temporary, at worst illusory, and that our endeavours are therefore much more authentic and thereby, ironically, meaningful where they focus on the journey, the transient "now", than on any particular end.

And that that, in itself, is every bit as good a minimum working hypothesis as devoting oneself to some imagined idea of transcendence, as per Huxley.
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30 Jan 2017 15:08 - 30 Jan 2017 15:40 #274438 by Rosalyn J
Thank you. Your explanation was very helpful.

In looking at your explanation one thing comes to mind and its a bit of a qualifying statement, though it doesn't diminish the point you made about the reductiveness of Huxley here.

"For those of us who are not congenitally the members of an organized church, who have found that humanism and nature-worship are not enough, who are not content to remain in the darkness of ignorance, the squalor of vice, or the other squalor of respectability, the minimum working hypothesis would seem to run to about this:"

It would seem that "those of us" would meet the first criterion and then at least believe ourselves to be within one of the three catagories he mentions.
I contend that the above is a smaller subset than those who are not involved in church, humanism or nature worship.

In that subset there are people who either believe their life is a mess or else unfulfilling. In which case they need a purpose which they don't believe themselves strong enough to generate and live in.

I think our tedency towards something greater stems from our supposed differences with the rest of the world, which is to say our status at the top of the food chain. Depending on culture our paradigm will be different and I don't think we can ignore Huxley's Christian paradigm. Even while comparing various religions, he does so with a few carryovers:

1. There is a purpose for man's existance.
2. That purpose is to become more "perfect".

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31 Jan 2017 03:59 #274551 by J. K. Barger
That there is the Force- the source of all things.
That the Force is at once U/unified (transcendent) and L/living (immanent).
That it is possible for human beings to feel (love/ know/ become identical with) the Force.
That to achieve this alignment with the Force is principal impetus of (human) existence.
That there is a Path that guides this impetus.
That the more there is of self, the less there is of the Force;
and that the Path is therefore a natural spirituality and consequently, a way of Life.


Not sure if I did a Jedi version of this- but here's a shot :)

I like what you brought up TZB, very good point. What about here? Does that still ring true for you in this instance?

The Force is with you, always.
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31 Jan 2017 05:23 #274558 by Rosalyn J
What if Huxley's thesis for this essay is fundamentally flawed from the outset?

The title is "the minimum working hypothesis"

Maitre might be rubbing off on me, but that word "working" conotes something that might be impossible. It has to be asked "can you really work yourself to enlightenment?"

One works, I believe, at a skill. To become a blacksmith or a blackbelt or what have you. Enlightenment isn't a skill. It is what we have already. Enlightened is what we are. We "work" hard at becoming enlightened because we are convinced that we are not.

Further, Huxley mentions that without a working hypothesis, we fail to have the motivation to carry out the more arduous experiments. But there is a world of difference between experiments and experience. One is made and one is had. The mountain of things we must shed may be the direct result of us sometimes being the lab rat and sometimes the scientist.

Experience, though, is engagement without an end game. But I don't think we can learn how to do that. We had known at one point. Consider a baby. We then learned experimenting. Do this thing, get that result.

So maybe the one thing we need to learn is how to unlearn. In unlearning maybe we become en-"lite"- end.

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