Re: virus: Susan, Silence, and Serendipity

Robin Faichney (
Thu, 1 Apr 1999 09:34:41 +0100

In message <v02140b32b32868ca7b9a@[]>, Reed Konsler <> writes
>>>>If you move, you're not meditating. But if <you> realise there
>>>>is no you, then you are not moving.
>>>That's what I said, isn't it?
>>I don't think so, but it might be more productive to
>>take another approach: you seem to be saying that your
>>ego is reborn every time you stop meditating. That's
>>actually OK, temporarily, but from a Buddhist point of
>>view, if your meditative technique is OK, you should
>>start getting insights into the nature of the ego (and
>>other stuff) that cause it to be weaker every time it's

>But why would I want to weaken my ego? ...
>What do you think "ego" means?

To have an ego, in this context, is to believe that you have independent existence. Ego is thinking of your self as separate.

>To be Buddhist, I presume, is not total mind-suicide
>but selective destruction of those components which
>are deranged. What is left behind, however, must
>be a complete must function.

What's left doesn't just function, it functions much better after being dis-illusioned about its relationship with the rest of reality, i.e. not separate-from but part-of.

>A functioning human being can have a "self" attributed
>to them...they can be given a name. Is this a
>convenient fiction, or a truth? Is there a difference?

I hope you aren't bringing up these big questions just to hit me over the head with them. That would be rather unkind.

>>Are you forcing nothingness, or just
>>letting it happen?
>I don't know. How do you characterise nothing?

The concept of nothingness I'm trying to work with here is your own -- you say you've achieved it, so I guess you must know what it is. Did you get there by making an effort, or by relaxing?

>Silence isn't, itself, an end to craving. There are still patterns
>within the silences...meanings in the nothingness. Meditating
>itself doesn't lend a seeker of pattern any rest. One has to allow
>things not to make sense, to suspend disbelief. But the longest
>senselessness will collapse again into what you're calling insight.

There's a big difference between restless pattern-seeking and spontaneous insight. And "senselessness" seems a very misleading way of characterising the cessation of cognition, while the senses remain highly alert.

>I agree that making a habit of this pattern of thinking weakens
>the ego in the sense that the construct or the present paradigm
>is becomes easier to dissolve distinctions once
>you have practice doing so.


>But this is only a desirable state
>of being if the mind has a resilience to outside influence. To
>be easily programmed by others is a weakness.

I agree with this. Meditators are vulnerable to influence, and you should be careful in what circumstances you do it.

>there is something beyond simple innocence which characterizes
>what you would call enlightenment. There is something
>which affords the constancy, focus, and resilience. This is
>why the enlightened may be described as child-like, but they
>are not children.
>What is this thing which differentiates the enlightened from
>the child?


>Some ideas are easily expressed in words, others are
>ineffable. Some media focus the mind away from
>wholistic, associative thinking. Text is such a media.
>This is what McLuhan pointed out, and I agree.

I haven't read McLuhan, but I'd have no problem supposing there might be such a tendency. On the other hand, tendencies can be countered.

>I don't think it's always desireable to be silent.

But you think it might be desirable sometimes?

[about the Meme Machine]
>If ones point is nothing, why not say nothing?

I don't think her point is nothing -- it is rather to promote a state of mind to which "nothing" is a pointer, unfortunately one with a dire tendency to mislead.

An alternative pointer is: "the experience of emptiness that is pregnant with infinite potential". Hope that's not too "mystical" (abstract?) for you!

>Her business? It's everyone's business! She's writing
>books about how to think. I think I want to know how
>she thinks before I go taking advice. I need to think
>about it before I think with it.

I think you're getting a little entangled here. In order to untangle such stuff, you need to focus on what that book can do for you. Are its memes symbiots or parasites, for you? Everything else is tangential.

>> you believe in something over and above the
>>mechanical material, or don't you?
>I don't understand the question.

Well, that's progress, of a sort!