At 10:43 PM 10/2/98 EDT, Jay wrote:
>Ha ! very nice,
>Pirsigs ideas on Quality have been useful in Extropian epistemology.
>least] Even if in the final analysis you counter Pirsig's arguments, you need
>to consider his critique. It strikes to the heart of strong AI, the
>can the Quality of human consiousness can be completly contained by
>mechanical computations? Or can the quantative calculation simulate the
>brain, or is the Quality of consciousness, beyond material, not capable of
>computation. As for the Zen, I think Buddhism is the most Extropian
>religion. I know that not many Extropians adhere to conventional religions,
>but Buddhism's idea that one can transcend the human suffering, and reach
>enlightenment by mental effort and self development is Extropian. The
>Bohdisattva ideal is an excellent example of a trans/post human. Affirmation
>methods are a tool in personality development, like the Tibetan practice of
>repeating a mantra 100,000 times.
I've been reading a bit of Ginsberg, Kerouac and Snyder. All Zen Buddhists from the Beat culture. They wrote/talked about what they considered to be the major problems of the day -- computers, pollution, population and consumption. They viewed ecology as a mandala. Their voice was mellow and compassionate yet cutting, while encouraging society to think ahead and to problem solve, even though this is before think tanks and brain trusts.
I don't think that conventional Buddhism ties in so neatly to extropianism, mainly because of reincarnation and the acceptance of suffering and that it can only be eliminated by a spiritual overcoming. Accepting suffering is accepting death. Overcoming suffering through spirituality is a fairy tale reality and pseudoscience.
Zen Buddhism gets a little closer in its systematic thought that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion. A bit more rational, but not quite there.
This is only have of the pie. The other half are the applications of science and technology to achieve enlightment which emphasizes the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions to bring about many (trans)humanitarian reforms.
I like a poetic aspect of zen. Becoming one with what I am doing. I enjoy creative visualization. However, I tend to look at it in more cognitive science, that I focus my mind on mental tasks, become absorbed in the tasks, and the process of preforming them.
Natasha Vita More [fka Nancie Clark]: www.natasha.cc Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art: www.extropic-art.com **NEW** Transhuman Culture InfoMark: www.transhuman.org PRESS RELEASE: "We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!
"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."