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Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

Last post 07-26-2006, 4:52 PM by 89875517873681764. 6 replies.
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  •  07-06-2006, 4:52 PM 1061

    Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    I’m trying to devote a new thread to a conversation that sprung up between myself and Coppersun (Gene) in the Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy thread. This is mostly to get it out of the way of people who don’t care about our little dialogue.

    I had asked whether there were books out there that give information on the phenomenology of various states. Two questions arose out of this.

    First is the question of whether one can have genuine knowledge of the phenomenology of the state without experiencing it. Second (and by far less important, but nearly as fun) would such knowledge be Zone 1 or Zone 2.

    Gene – do you agree that these are basically the issues at hand?

    I think it would be best to just reprint Gene’s last post on the subject (see below), and continue from there. If anyone cares enough to want more background, you can consult Integral Psychology & Psychotherapy Thread!

     

    Yotam

     

    [for context - I had just cited a description Ken gives of Non Dual realization in BHoE, and claimed it was significantly different from a poining out instruction in EoS. The stuff in << >> is quoting my previous post]

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  •  07-06-2006, 4:55 PM 1062 in reply to 1061

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    Coppersun:

    << This is Ken describing a non-dual experience (BHOE chapter 13). I assume it's an accurate description. Thus, in reading it, I know somthing about non-dual experience. >>

    here's where i was getting crossed up with your (previous) use of "knowing" and "taking as an object", etc.  to my way of writing/thinking, "knowing" and "experiencing" are one and the same.  i usually do not entertain the thought that i know something about non-dual merely by reading ken's description.  to that extent, spiral dynamics and ken's writing are similar zone 2 examples.  the difference between them, for me, is that ken is writing about a very specific example whereas spiral dynamics is describing with broad brush strokes entire realms of experience without focusing on a very specific example.

    it's the specificity of ken's description that allows me to induce, in myself, some state that is described. if i cannot induce it, then it remains an object for me to look at and understand mentally (symbolically).  when i can induce such a state, i am the state-subject (it's no longer an object) and only then do i know it.  prior to that i can mentally/verbally replay or translate the descriptions.

    that's the relative explanation.  there is also the fact that we can communicate about this (a miracle in itself) which, i believe, happens only because we are aspects of the same unity of Reality, and so i have to concede that reading (symbolic communication) can be a mode of "knowing", though not as direct (1p) as experiencing.

    ken's piece is written in second person.  there are various mystical writings describing first person ecstatic revelations.  i'm not sure what the point of that is, but there you go---is there another slicing and dicing of perspective to be had there?

    << I'll grant that the line between these is a bit blurry, but can you see what I'm getting at? The first kind describes, but does not induce a state. That's what I'm trying to find more of. >>

    my take is that the inducement of a state is based on the intention of the reader.  i can induce a state in myself whether the writer intended it or not.  writing a piece with the intention of inducement (depending on the writer's skill) may not help me induce a state in myself as well as another writer's unintentional piece.

    << I don't know of any way to explain why I think this is Zone 1 other than what I've said already. It's essentially because the knowledge originates with someone looking at herself, rather than with someone looking at someone else (the knowledge is then conveyed to someone who could not find it by looking at himself, because he hasn't experienced the state). How about we call it Zone 1.5 and let it be, eh?

    I'm really enjoying this conversation. My apologies to anyone reading on flat view who'd has to skip past it to seeother subthreads. >>

    same here.  we should probably carry on elwewhere.

     

    later,

    gene

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  •  07-06-2006, 5:12 PM 1063 in reply to 1062

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    Actually "new" material:

    It might help to note that not all states can be induced by words. Imagine if Ken had, instead of Non Dual realization, given us a description of what it's like to be stoned. (you can find an effort at such description here) Reading it might give you a little buzz, but it wouldn't be nearly the same as experiencing it. But someone who had never been stoned or read a similar description would learn something. You say "understand mentally (symbolically)," I say "know." Here's why we're both right:

    -If someone read such a thing, and then was slipped a brownie, he might be able to recognize himself as being stoned because the experience would resonate with the description.

    -Someone else who had been stoned could read the description and say "Yeah, that's about right. In fact, this one time..." This is because, again, the experience resonates with the description. The human ability to connect words with experiences is one of our great miracles.

    These both are indications that knowing the words - mentally and symbolically understanding the description - is a kind of knowledge of the state. It's just a different kind of knowledge than firsthand experience directly generates.

    The same, I think, goes for states that can be induced by words. Because even thought I've tasted hints of non-dual, thanks to Ken's pointing out instructions, I haven't experienced it enough to create my own description. If anyone asked me what non-dual is like, I'd probably find myself paraphrasing the bbg, instead of translating my own experience into words. Perhaps I haven't entirely managed to sync up my two knowledges of non-dual, or I just can't recall the experience well enough when I'm not in it to put words to it.

    I'll stop here. I wouldn't want to convince you completely right now, 'cause then there'd be very little point in having started a new thread.

    Yotam

     

     

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  •  07-20-2006, 7:12 PM 1696 in reply to 1061

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    I had asked whether there were books out there that give information on the phenomenology of various states. Two questions arose out of this.

    First is the question of whether one can have genuine knowledge of the phenomenology of the state without experiencing it. Second (and by far less important, but nearly as fun) would such knowledge be Zone 1 or Zone 2.

    Gene – do you agree that these are basically the issues at hand?

     

     

    yes, that's about it.  i think we can distinguish genuine knowledge from "knowledge by description". they are two different things.  i can read a mystic's rapturous descriptions amounting to "i am that."  i can then read ken transforming it into a "you are that" inducement. but my actually inducing the "knowledge by description" in me isn't because the second version says "you" (iow, it's talking to me) while the first one is "only" in first person.  it is my intention to want to empathically undertand another's experience that determines whether i induce the experience. and i can read ken's piece without making an effort to experience it at all.

     

    once i thought that if i ever spun out in my car while driving that it would be like an amusement park ride. it happened to me once and, you know what?, it was like an amusement park ride, all bouncy and jerky and stuff. when i read the pot smokers description i am matching patterns that he describes with other similar experiences i've had and trying to put them together coherently. have you heard the one where a researcher showed a native tribesman in borneo a sheet of paper---the tribesman thought it was a leaf from some strange plant he'd never seen.  flat, thin=leaf, in the totality of experience of the tribesman.  is reading about an experience like the real thing?  just as much as a sheet of paper is a leaf, imo.  someone asked ramana maharshi if this world is real. supposedly, he said "it's as real as your dreams".  is reading about an experience like the real thing?  just as much as your dreams are the real thing, imo. (hey, that can be quite realistic.)

     

    where are we now? i think that genuine experience is 1st person zone 1. all other descriptive writing, whether it uses "I" or "you" or "it" is zone 2.

     

    at some point later on i'd like to ask about UR zone 3 and francisco varela, et al. but let's not leave this until it's wrung clean.

     

    later,

    gene

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  •  07-24-2006, 4:51 PM 1837 in reply to 1696

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    Where are we now? You've granted me that the knowledge I'm talking about is partial truth. I'm pleased with that.

    As for why it's Zone 1, it's because you can get in on your yoga mat, whereas Zone 2 comes from studying lots and lots of other people. Zone 2 knowledge requires a large LL to study, even though you're then bringing the knowledge down to a single person. This sort of knowledge is based in one person's experience, it just isn't still posessed only by that person.

    Consider - Wilber tells us a few times that Zone 2 is the big contribution of the west. The east has the sort of descriptions debated here. So he, at least, seems to think that this is Zone 1 knowledge.

    But I want to push the reality of the knowledge a little further, too. It's one thing to have an experience. It's something else to be able to describe the experience in terms that can be comprehensible to another person. This takes an ability to see your experience from the outside a bit, and hence is different knowledge than the experience itself.

    Okay. There's a bit more wringing.

    Yotam

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  •  07-24-2006, 6:47 PM 1858 in reply to 1837

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    Consider - Wilber tells us a few times that Zone 2 is the big contribution of the west. The east has the sort of descriptions debated here. So he, at least, seems to think that this is Zone 1 knowledge.

    i'll buy it. that's a nice high level view---whatever the source, whether written or personally experienced, if it's related to a view from the inside then it's zone 1.  if you're talking about what it looks like from the outside, then it's zone 2.

    the reason i like it is that i've been saying for a long time that a UL view of a cut rose is "i'm thirsty, i'm dying" and have been told that i can't possibly have knowledge of a rose's interior because it's zone 1. (maybe the real reason i can't know isn't because it's zone 1, it's because i'm guessing!)

    later,

    gene

     

     

     

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  •  07-26-2006, 4:52 PM 2111 in reply to 1061

    Re: Third person descriptions of states (moved from Psychology and Psychotherapy thread)

    The best non-dual experience is having an orgasm in phase with your partner. Any split second off (or any thoughts involved) and it is dual.
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