Saturday, 5 May 2012

Consciousness as Emergent Interaction

Organisms were selected for sensitivity to environmental alterations.
Sensitivity increased until it became sensation.
Thus, consciousness was a by-product of natural selection.
It was a means to survival, not an end-in-itself.

The earliest consciousness was motivated, not dispassionate.
Motivation focuses attention on desired or feared objects of consciousness.
Meditation is the practice of consciousness as an end-in-itself.
Emergent consciousness is not perennial.

However, neither meditation nor Buddhist teaching requires perennial consciousness.
The Buddha rightly described psychophysical states as transient.
"No soul" means no enduring self underlying transient mental states.
"Emptiness" means no permanent substance underlying any transient phenomenon.

The Buddha taught that attachment to transient states causes suffering.
Marx analysed economic causes of alienation and conflict.
Their successors can address inner processes and outer conflicts.
Krishna in the Gita applied meditative non-attachment to work and war.

Darwin: natural selection.
Marx: class struggle.
The Buddha: meditation.
Krishna: non-attached action.

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