This morning I’ve had a stunning non-verbal thought experience. Clear like water, very simple, and intense like a blast. Unfortunately my verbal description appears to me like a terribly flawed approximation, but I will give it a shot. Let’s start with the rather simple part:
The game of life that we (humans) are currently playing can be seen as a game of – and “played” by – atoms, quarks and beyond. Viewed as such, our experience is therefore obviously
(1) not-self (anatta),
(2) impermanent (anicca) in the sense of ever-changing, and
(3) stressful (dukkha) in the way as we currently play it.
Buddhist principles derived from game theory? Unfortunately I know very little about the latter. Maybe the related terms should be paraphrased differently, but I will keep using them for now.
I suppose that the third conclusion is least obvious, as it probably requires a glimpse of knowledge about dukkha, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. I have also included the assumption that consciousness is part of the universe and its laws. Our universe along with its laws could be regarded as “higher-level” player.
So far, so simple. Now it becomes complicated. :-)
After this initial thought I reflected upon the benefits of Gotama Siddhattha’s teachings, which somehow involve centering yourself in the here-and-now (“easily” observable through direct experience). Then I wondered whether such a path is ultimately leading your consciousness one level (like a “dynamic” or an abstraction level) upwards? Maybe, if enough human beings perform this task, they will “pull” the rest with them as the critical mass is reached? (this seems difficult to explain, as it was more like a “structural vision”)
I suppose we cannot yet speculate about similar tasks for other species and whether they will accomplish them as well (or have already done so, probably with a different set of rules?!), since we (humans as a “unified player” with “unified consciousness”) have not yet been able to “stand there on top and look around in all directions”. Nor can we speculate about what comes next (structurally something similar on higher levels, I suppose). But with this “pulling effect” arising from those “enlightened” ones who have reached the top, cooperation (involving active and passive teaching) would be a property of the game. The goal of any individual player might thus coincide with the goal of the unified player! And maybe this vast “journey upwards” is what the game of life is all about. :-)
I would not be surprised if these speculations contain numerous flaws. But I have no doubts about the intense non-verbal insight itself that gave rise to them. Maybe with growing experience I can create more fruitful and compatible conclusions.
I have no idea whether all of this makes any sense to anyone of you, but obviously I could not resist sharing my thoughts. As usual. :-)
“I have also included the assumption that consciousness is part of the universe and its laws.”
Nice to see you’ve included consciousness inside the universe. I’ve seen a lot of people try to set consciousness above everything else, but I still don’t know why. I have yet to encounter any evidence that consciousness is kind of “field” or backdrop, in the sense that spacetime is. I have, of course, seen a lot of BAD evidence that it is so, but none of them have yet won Randi’s million-dollar prize so I’m still waiting.
“I wondered whether such a path is ultimately leading your consciousness one level …”
I’ve always thought of it as moving DOWN a level. When I visualize people who are living in conditioned belief, I imagine myself looking UP at them (not down), because they’ve got so much more than I do! :)
“Maybe, if enough human beings perform this task, they will â€œpullâ€? the rest with them as the critical mass is reached?”
We may see that happen anyway. If we continue on our current course of belief-infested action, we’ll destroy humanity. So maybe we’ll (A) not see it because we’re dead or (B) not be dead because people have finally realized it’s time to wake up.
I do not, however, think that a bunch of people meditating in one house make the people next door more likely to wake up. (I could be wrong.)
“Nor can we speculate about what comes next…”
I’m predicting that within 50 years we’ll have something akin to a brain-Google interface, at which point our sense of Self and separation will become somewhat diminished. Of course, we’ll also occasionally be forced to beg off from responsibilities, saying, “Sorry, my brain has gone down.”
Interpreting that kind of thing in terms of Moore’s Law, I wonder just how “human” we’ll be in another century? If I could get into a time machine and visit the year 2106, would I even be able to make sense of what people are doing?
“I have no idea whether all of this makes any sense to anyone…”
Sure it makes sense. Mind you, I’m generally cautious when I read anything that seems like it could be interpreted teleologically. You didn’t do that, though.
“I do not, however, think that a bunch of people meditating in one house make the people next door more likely to wake up. (I could be wrong.)”
You probably are (but I could be wrong).
If a bunch of persons living a house next to you are constantly practicing towards liberation, awakening or whatever name you care to give it – I would indeed say that this makes it more likely for you to wake up. It’s a legitimate question to ask “Wake up to *what*?” and points directly to the point of inquiry to what is happening exactly, and what you mean by, when you say “bunch of people medidating”.
Considering the amount of influence the environment excerts on the individual mind I’d say that it would be highly beneficial to have more bunches of persons medidating in houses next to you (for arbitrary “yous”).
It gets of course a whole lot more interesting when belief-systems about “medidation” (a next to useless abstraction in my eyes – what exactly those this word signify?) enter the scene, especially the ones constructed to ridicule such persons (and the ones put in place by practicing persons themselves, of course).