Topic-icon What is your Minimum Working Hypothesis?

31 Jan 2017 10:32 - 31 Jan 2017 10:33 #274570 by Loudzoo

If Huxley were here to discuss this with, I suspect he would agree with much of what you've said Stu. I guess I'm missing where your MWH's conflict!

Whilst I agree that the whole notion of an MWH is (by definition) too reductive, the MWH is presented as a tool that might help people temporarily on their path. It isn't an end, it's a potential step, and quite an early one at that.

If there is a unity to reality (the universe), and if 'meaning' is part of human nature (which I would argue it is) then it must be a genuine element across the unitive whole.

It's a bit like the question of intelligence. Intelligent beings, imply an intelligent universe. Any lines we draw are certainly not random, but they are arbitrary, and only crack the unity.

I'm not sure it's accurate to dismiss transcendence as imagined either. People across history have experienced it, and for many it is a visceral experience of those arbitrary lines disappearing and a communion with the 'whole' emerging. It's like falling in love - you know when it is happening, in a way that is utterly undeniable.

And yet that experience is not a final destination. The Bodhisattva ideal, the myths of Jesus, Krishna and countless others attest to a flux of transcendence AND worldly involvement, ongoing, in the now.


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Last Edit: 31 Jan 2017 10:33 by Loudzoo.
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31 Jan 2017 11:51 #274575 by tzb

I appreciate that many people do believe in transcendence, but not that it's a sensible base from which to investigate from.

In my opinion (and just that), those figures you mention just died. Their bodies decomposed, their energy dissipated through the system. Sure, there's stories of their transcendence, but for me those are as meaningful as stories of "things" vanishing from this plane and ending up in heaven or hell. I understand, psychologically, why the ego seeks to persist in those kinds of states... but again, that is part of the subjective "ground" of our current being, not the unified "ground" from which I form a MWH.

Huxley refers several times to a "final end". I'm not sure how that's compatible with a belief in a unified, ongoing system. Or rather, I'm sure it's not.

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31 Jan 2017 12:34 #274579 by Loudzoo

Yes agreed - they died. I meant a transcendence whilst we're alive, not after we're dead. Furthermore the transcendence is transient, so I agree, Final End is clunky language. I always assumed his language was equivalent to the end of that road, and that arrival at the end implies departure. It's a constant cycle.

To my understanding, there is a great danger to conflating the ego with the genuine Self. Running around proclaiming you are God / or one with the Force / or whatever can be an ego game - and a rather unsophisticated one at that. On the other hand those statements are true - from a certain perspective.

In communion with unity, however, we can't leave anything out. Do we not have to make peace with those subjective elements that we may find unpalatable? Even the notion of subject and object (me vs other) completely break down at this point. In this state there is no judgment as to subjective or objective.

And I'm fairly sure that words aren't going to get us there either. . . nothing new there! Won't stop us trying I hope!


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31 Jan 2017 13:54 #274588 by Rosalyn J

Loudzoo wrote:


In communion with unity, however, we can't leave anything out. Do we not have to make peace with those subjective elements that we may find unpalatable? Even the notion of subject and object (me vs other) completely break down at this point. In this state there is no judgment as to subjective or objective.

I got confused here. Would you be able to explain it a bit more or differently?

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31 Jan 2017 14:34 - 31 Jan 2017 14:35 #274589 by Loudzoo

Probably not but I'll give it a go . . .

It was in response to Stu's sensible point that the 'subjective ground' (our individual identies, with their ego games, hang-ups etc) should be differentiated from the 'unified ground' from which his MWH emanates.

I was asking whether we can exclude anything from the unity of the totality - including all those subjective elements.

When in communion with the whole surely we can't leave the subjective out? If we did it wouldn't be a union with the whole. Furthermore the whole notion of whether we do something, or whether something happens to us is (as Alan Watts suggests) impossible to resolve. Notions of subjectivity and objectivity merge when the whole system of experience and awareness is viewed in totality.

The irony of course is that this is typically what we would normally call the subjective experience of an individual - not objective reality. Even the words go wonky - which is why it is very difficult to discuss it - it can only be experienced - as countless others have reported.

The answer, to my limited understanding, lies in that fact that subject vs object is an arbitrary split that seems very real to a skin-encased ego, but is really just an inaccurate map we use to navigate existence / reality.

I suspect that didn't help :blush:


"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher . . . or, as his wife would have it, an idiot" Douglas Adams
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Last Edit: 31 Jan 2017 14:35 by Loudzoo.
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31 Jan 2017 15:02 #274591 by J. K. Barger

This is a pretty lofty discussion, so excuse me if I veer into the deep end…

It has to be asked "can you really work yourself to enlightenment?"

This question has been raised before, and the most notable example that I know of is in Zen, where it is referred to as “sudden vs. gradual” enlightenment. It also took root in Shingon, Japanese Tantric Buddhsim as “Sokushin Jobutsu”. Based on a non-dual metaphysic, both approaches are held to be valid in that sentient beings themselves are the conditioned Unconditioned- we are all different, but all have the potential to realize/actualize our enlightenment.

In this case, “working” IS, as working DOES. Very functional, and like any function, it can be mastered, however you define “it”; you have a goal, distinct from your current standing, and there is a path to it. The attempts to align those are ‘practice’, and what you learn from there is as Loudzoo puts it, meaningful. This isn’t to say there is an “absolute end’ to anything, just that one’s “end” can only be understood in light of one’s “beginning”.


“Experience, though, is engagement without an end game. But I don't think we can learn how to do that. “
“...maybe the one thing we need to learn is how to unlearn. In unlearning maybe we become en-"lite"- end.”


I was just working through a koan this weekend and this is exactly what came up. We let so many things get in the way of our experience that we often forget how to remain “unlearned”- empty, open, or what have you. Although it is something we naturally know how to do- we often place things between us and our experience to contextualize it. So in a way, our practice is ‘stepping out of our own way’.

The kicker to this “practice of enlightenment” is that it is a divine science- it is subject and objective at the same time- making any sort of satori, kensho, “aha moment”, or realization (which is the “END”) the BASIS or ground for further practice and introspection.

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15 Feb 2017 14:24 - 15 Feb 2017 14:26 #276156 by IDK My Name

If I follow the question, and the ensuing discussion, properly, I can only say this...

There is no "minimum working hypothesis".
"Minimum" refers to scale, and we can't know the depths of the Force.
"Working" would assume that a philosophy is right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, which cannot be proven nor discredited.
"Hypothesis" is a paradox in this case. You can't form a theory about something that you exist within. You can't look at it objectively because we are the subject of the hypothesis.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Maybe I missed the point, but that's what came to mind.

Last Edit: 15 Feb 2017 14:26 by IDK My Name.
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15 Feb 2017 20:42 #276215 by Adder

I agree with ya, it seems unlikely we can know its whole if we are part of the whole. But for me I took it as not so much trying to describe the Force but rather describing a particular effort to better relate to it. And as you say, thus, to myself.... but also outwards to others.

So I decided to take minimum to mean the most reduced state of, and working means connecting, and the hypothesis is just the class of structure itself. I used them together to share the view at the time of the most effective tools of belief to aid in getting results in the connecting to the concept I might call the Force.


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