“against” stream-entry and multiple enlightenment axes

edit: a better title might be: ‘”against” stream-entry but not super-against multiple enlightenment axes but kind of but in any case definitely want to characterize all the aspects of enlightenment and good stuff can get along the way’

[chat transcripts:]

“against” stream entry:

some poking at “done” and “done-done”

[UPDATE: I have lightly revised this thing to make it more clear.]

[Follow-up to: https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/arhat-no-self-nondual-done-ish-something-update/ ]

[Yay, “fighting!”]

[Previously Romeo and I were messaging about the pluses and minuses of making potentially premature [and potentially imprecise] attainment claims. The below happened near the end and seemed like a nice thing to make publish, with his permission. It’s way too terse but I think value can probably be extracted from it. Hopefully the beginning of many conversations with many people.]

[Romeo can be found here and other places: neuroticgradientdescent.blogspot.com]

Ingram’s “done” on at least one axis, circa 2012:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/2759757#_19_message_2718243

[I, Mark, think this axis is not super interesting and maybe even a detour. I don’t have centerless or agencylessness at this time, though I’ve gone through many, many flavors of determinism. My current thing is very atman dissolved into brahman but there’s still an atman. My identity remains in the small self, though “everything is mind” in some very, very excellent nondual-y sense. (I still believe in an “external” reality or “noumena” reality.)]

And notably, Ingram’s model above leaves out anything like trauma processing, skhandas(sp?), conditioning, etc. And, even though Ingram says he thinks morality is supremely important, I maintain it still feels bolted on in a really unsatisfying way.

My conception of done-done is something like “no technical debt”:

https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2019/04/11/technical-debt-meditation-and-minds/

This includes “no unprocessed trauma or negative conditioning,” “perfect behavior up to ignorance/bayesian surprise, etc.” etc.

And this may have centerlessness and agencylessness as attributes, but that’ll happen when it happens, if it does. I’m using global wayfinding that really doesn’t care about those details as such.

Oh, I really, really, really like Greg Goode’s done-done at the end of the below, though he leaves out trauma-/conditioning-type stuff, too, IIRC. Oy!

After Awareness: The End of the Path by Greg Goode

So, anyway, off the top of my head, my current situation [not “done-done”] is something like:

1. Still a few remaining fixed points in the system (but generally hugely fluid [think like honey not water]).
2. Still a decent amount of conceptualizing not seen through or dichotomy-unified (but fuck-ton “emptiness through and through and through.”
3. Radically fluid/deconceptualized “path/plan+goal” plus determinism plus identification with process versus “me desiring and trying to get particular things.” This is what led to my last blog post. So, I’m still acting on the basis of trying to get particular things, but those things are prereflectively seen as empty (though again I still believe in “noumena-reality” and that whole process is unfixed/deconstrained/fluid though not arbitrary and also empty)
4. Something radically different with “suffering.” (This has been stress-tested by one extreme life event, so far.)
5. I will add more things here if I think of them.

So, my conception of done-done is something like “you’ve radically run out of things to think about or meditate about (in a globally embodied, action-oriented, whole-mind, whole-body, whole-life, whole-reality sort of way)” until reality surprises you in a way that you couldn’t have possibly forseen, no matter how proactively and strategically meta you’ve thought and acted.” And this has baked into it something like experiential and moral perfection [again up to ignorance. such a person could still contingently do terrible things but it starts getting very, very unlikely]. Very high bar, etc. But not an insane thing to go after at all.

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Romeo
oh I’m also very curious what your take on tanha is at this point

esp since it differs from links of orig.
Mark
I think it’s possible to burn out or wear out a particular agonizing/suffering quality of thirst/craving/desire. Desire or motivation remains. At least as far as I could tell, this was pretty separable from everything else. Maybe there are deeper layers.

Long after I had that experience, I still suffered terribly.

For me, loss of identification with goal was the big suffering killer. Still desire, still goal, but identification moved to fluid though nonarbitrary process.

Fluid goal.

fwiw 🤷‍♂️
Romeo
dissolution of sanna around goal maybe

Romeo
thanks!
Mark
hmmm, not sure re sanna. doesn’t resonate but i don’t always get what a term is pointing at first pass, or nth pass, ofc

Romeo
I think in terms of funcitonal fixed-ness

functional*
Mark
yeah, ok.

Romeo
fixed points generate snarls around them as the network contorts to maintain something that isn’t true
Mark
yup, highly resonates.

i think something like once functional fixedness is basically gone you’re done [for some meaning of done]. like, things have a function at any given time, but if that function is fluid, then you’re in much better shape than someone who has fixed points.

and over X years you can move the entire system into something way better for your karma and life situation.

Romeo
I equate that with 3rd 😜
Mark
👍
done as in the done I recently blogged about. still base of the mountain.

yeah–well i say i’m at the base of the mountain in the blog post.

ingram is hella not done by my done-done defintions [edit for blog: I haven’t interacted with Ingram personally, and it’s maybe dickish to make terse public claims about him or anyone. Not sure. I do this a lot on my blog, and there’s maybe a much better thing, here, as I dig myself deeper.]

*defintion

*definition

Romeo
another frame is boundaries/boundary making has been pierced with 3 marks
Mark
done-done is all technical debt dispensed at a given time.

i’m quite far along that axis as well.

Romeo
which, come to think of it once it wraps back on itself might be done
Mark
i think the three marks are pedagogic and not ontologically interesting, fwiw

they heuristically map more than good models heuristically map

Romeo
with sufficient ‘purification of the tools themselves’ all of the dharma becomes ontologically uninteresting?
Mark
yes but it’s relative

“boundaries/boundary making” this does resonate fwiw. all conceptual dichotomies collapsed. i have a lot to do, here.

Romeo
I’ve been thinking the dichotomy collapse might be the referent of ‘fundamental ignorance’ in the discourses
Mark
hmm, not sure. could be. doesn’t resonate; haven’t seen it used enough.

could see that referring to a bunch of other referents

Romeo
ie the tendency of the mind to skip over the vast majority of experience in favor of end points, extrema, fixed points, point estimates, etc.
Mark
i think that’s something different. could be the intended referent, though.

Romeo
and then building reality out of those instead
Mark
most people’s cognition/perception is chaotic and fragmented. discontinuities of attention versus continuous traversal. i’m not sure that lines up tidily with various(?)technical terms that translate to ignorance. not sure. i’m no scholar i’m just handwaving, here.

Romeo
👍

Mark
hmm i feel like this conversation post tanha, inclusive, should get posted somewhere. do you think that would be good? on my blog?? your name on or off? would run it by you first either way. lemme know your thoughts, no rush

Romeo
yup all good, whichever feels good. no preference
Mark
very cool. ok i’ll send you the draft just to be sure.

brief personal history of learning about learning

This is an intro I recently wrote to an online workspace/forum thingy about “noncoercive parenting” and related. It’s a bit different from my usual blog writing style and blog topics, and I thought people might find it kinda of interesting and that it might interestingly humanize (or alien-ize?) me in good/something ways, among other things.

Hi all,

[…]

When I was in college (a billion years ago), I had the nepotistic opportunity to do not-for-credit curriculum design and instruction for a bunch of different age groups (not simultaneously), maybe six-years-old to fourteen-years-old, ultimately several hundred hours of classroom time, for programming, digital circuits, and lego mindstorm type stuff. There were some bloopers, but it was lots of hushed concentration, anonymous rave survey reviews from the kids, and a sprinkling of thank you letters.

I thought of it as fascination with pedagogy, at the time, but, more recently, [some] people have been flinching when I use that [specific] word. Thinking about it, I was doing something like, “Does the material have a continuous-enough gradient of no-brainer-recognizable-to-the-students intricate exciting-ness and empowerment, yet? If yes, done. If no, make it that way. Repeat.”

During that time, I had already had a policy of “assuming kids are interesting people with interests,” and I got to practice having normal and rewarding conversations with people much younger than me.

Still on the pedagogy kick, I eventually found Siegfried Engelmann’s Theory of Instruction and from there his Low Performers manual. His stuff is interesting in that the material has some […] leanings while arising from a profoundly humane impulse as well as righteous anger. It is incredibly precise, [in places], and I was enamored. ToI was validating and clarifying, though I struggled to consistently apply it for reasons I only came to understand later. Perhaps more importantly, the Low Performers manual, while creepy and depressing, in some ways, helped me understand the combination of lawful confusion plus highly active and coherent intelligence even in developmentally disabled or delayed kids. The coolest (and still maybe creepy and multifariously problematic) thing is the use of a shill/conspirator to teach possibly even profoundly verbally delayed kids how to understand and *use* “yes” and “no,” as a basis for, well, everything. Amazing.

Much later, and this is a bit out of historical order, I found “Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kids” by Shaun Gallagher. If I were to do some of the “experiments” with a baby, I would do it more as an emotionality responsive game and in the spirit of mutuality and mutual personhood with said baby. In any case, I already knew a bit about things like the head-turn and gaze-length paradigms. But, paging through the book made it click more deeply the intense perception, cognition, and “cumulative deep learning” that’s going on *all the time* even when a baby is mostly seemingly just sitting there and looking around for months.

I also have had two experiences with animals that really gave me pause. One of my friends had a puppy that would play-bite way too hard, not enough to break the skin but very painfully. The puppy generally wouldn’t let go, either. My friend showed me that making a few high-pitched yelping [pain] noises made the puppy let go instantly. The other experience I had was with my parents’ cat. Due to an unfortunate confluence of factors, this cat [hissing, spitting, yowling] *hated* me, even though I had previously considered myself something of a cat whisperer. My dad eventually noticed that the cat seemed to like verbal praise. I then started continuously verbally praising the cat whenever I was in the vicinity, and, there were a ton of confounds, but the difference within five days was astounding. And now me and the cat have a pretty solid physical relationship, bunting and all, whereas before she wouldn’t let me remotely touch her. Confounds aside, all this made me think a lot more about “going with the instinctual grain.”

More recently, over the past few years, I’ve experienced a confluence of things:

1) [people interaction stuff]

2) [related to (1)]

3) bumped into Critical Rationalism, ideas of David Deutsch, and some of the Taking Children Seriously principles

4) developed new and effective meditation methods and applied them for thousands of hours

(1) got me thinking about coercion waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy more than I ever had before, even though I was already intuitively really (painfully) sensitive too something in that space

(3) helped me to think about a range of precise definitions of “coercion” and ways I might be more systematic and principled in how I interacted with people

(1) and (2) made me realize that *emotional and meaning laden* communication was happening between mother and fetus/child […] even in the womb, likely as soon as there were nerve endings and neurons, eventually with a dash of proto-limbic-system. Some people will be like “no shit,” and, I mean, it’s just undeniable if you look in the right way [but I was previously naively hung up on some dumb Fermi-estimate-style thinking, even with hormones and heart rates].

(4) has been continuously shaping my ideas about “natural” learning and unlearning, trauma, “memory reconsolidation,” “deep” and “global” mind structure, “natural” mind shapes, ethical interaction, and whether or not “coercive pedagogy” is an oxymoron.

Anyway, for a little TMI context, I’m 39, single, no kids. A couple relationships ago […] seriously started talking about marriage with. […] And in my last relationship […]. So I’m incrementally inching along, here. I’m hoping to be in a lifelong partnership with kid 1 of 1 or 1 of N within like three years or something. Would consider being a stay-at-home child-raiser [for ages X to Y]. (I love the UK and maybe want to eventually make my way over there, and/but I also want to keep an eye on my USA parents maybe for a while. Unclear. I’m curious about parts of Europe and Canada, too. [Some parenting-relevant things in all that.] I’m a USA citizen only.)

tl;dr: I’ve been interested in learning, kid interaction, humane interaction, and parenting (and society) for a long time.

arhat/no-self/nondual/done-ish/something update

Well, this post is pretty scattered. The below started out candid but I pretty quickly knew I was going to make a blog post out of it. It’s still relatively stream-of-consciousness-y.
No-fault blowing it house rules still apply for everyone.
This is a low-content update these:
https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/arhatship-and-expansionary-community/ [Oh man things still got beyond bad after this, over and over again.]

→ I guess I will now claim some messy version of no-self/nondual something. So not “flawless” and not “turiya.”

Some aspects of I-ness became much more stable after those posts, and there was another big no-selfy change this round, plus the nondual thing.
I still feel like none of the weird experiential stuff is really the point, though there are important metaphysical/epistemological aspects. That’s why I’m not super-careful with mapping/ordering/claims. There are important ways in which learning a new time-saving trick on your cell phone is the same as realizing something about the relationship between, say, out don’t know, experience and the future. And something about your the time-saving trick as well as a memory of what you had for breakfast will factor into your current “beliefs”/knowledge about the relationship between experience and the future. It all matters.
What’s most important is something like (a) are you relatively cool with likely death, possibly sudden, with a small chance of some sort of good not-death, (b) do you feel good about your life or your relationship with you life, (c) are you patient and gentle with self and others, (d) do you have food/shelter/friends/intimacy/wifi/possibility, (e) are you not tortured by other people’s suffering nor torturing yourself for not doing more while inching towards doing more and more and more and more and more and more in whatever appropriate capacity, micro, local, or global that works with your karmic trajectory. Seamless life, perfect exactly as it is, gateless gate, stateless state, goal-less goal. It’s a deterministic process that can also be exciting and fun and filled with discovery.
I still consider this the base of the mountain.
?????????????????🌸
Yesterday was shitty, today is food, money stuff, laundry (haha), and starting to catch up on relating backlog.
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me again:

Deutsch’s Fun Criterion

When I first heard about the Fun Criterion, I was immediately struck by its similarity to one of the workhorses in my meditation protocol (see Main Practice P2).

https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1

Simplifying(!), my thing is, like, if it’s good to do it, do it; if it’s bad to do it, don’t.

Deutsch’s thing is like (I hope I’m not mutilating this), do what’s fun.

So, my thing uses the word “good” and Deutsch’s thing used the word “fun.”

I expect we could both be said to be using these words in very precise ways, so please be aware of that and try to suss out something in the neighborhood of what each of us means. (I’m told that Deutsch use of “fun” is consistent with Richard Feynman’s use of the term.)

It is also my understanding that “fun” takes into account something like bare-metal epistemology and the correct use of mind in relation to reason:

(See links below.)

See more, here, for my use of “good,” and also see more in the protocol document:

https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/post-conceptual-meta-goodness-and-changing-in-the-deepest-of-ways/

Now, Deutsch, a far as I’m aware, isn’t a meditator. But, it’s interesting to think about what kinds of mind shapes and what kinds of life shapes you get, from my thing and his thing, if you do my thing for thousands of hours and/or you do his thing for many years.

It’s, perhaps, all in the details of how one’s interpretation of “good” and/or “fun” changes, what bootstraps, in mind and life, as you progress.

Might they become one and the same, for some people, some of the time? I’d say it depends, but, pretty cool, right?

For more similarities, check out more of David Deutsch’s ideas in his books and videos. And, see also Critical Rationalism and Popperian Epistemology. It’s pretty cool–I think a lot of the correlations aren’t because of common causes in the discourse space, though some are definitely are, Western Canon or whatever and all that. But I hadn’t encountered DD stuff and CR until very, very recently–I think a lot of the similarities are due to common causes in reality plus good method, if I do say so myself. Other technical terms in that space are “coercion” and “creativity.”

One of my things on method:

https://meditationstuff.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/human-epistemic-dynamics-and-phenomena/

I requested DD, CR, and TCS links, and I was provided links:

***

https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1

physiological changes, physical sequelae

[Edited with one two additions; see below: “Edit:”]

I wasn’t really expecting all the physiological/autonomic stuff, besides the first two, below. But it makes sense in retrospect.

The reduction in rate and volume of breathing was the first thing I noticed, because I used to have subclinical sleep apnea that I controlled with buteyko breathing and sprinting. If I didn’t do those every 7-10 days I’d start to wake up gasping. If I did do them, my sleep tracking app was nice and clean. Now my breathing is sometimes barely perceptible, unless I’m like jogging or sprinting or something. And both of the breathing modulation (to temporarily increase CO2) and the sprinting (to spike CO2) became completely unnecessary, at least for that purpose. [I eventually started skipping the breathing and just did the sprinting, and that seemed to work as well or better.] (Apnea is caused by overbreathing and loss of CO2 tolerance, which causes breathing to trigger to soon, which causes blow-off of CO2, which reduces tolerance further, which causes breathing to slow, which then causes smooth muscle relaxation and collapse of airway and then gasping because either too much CO2 or too little oxygen, etc., etc. etc.)

I noticed after that that my allergies were getting better and better. This I had hoped for, because the nervous pathways and molecular machinery do exist to fine-grain modulate the immune system down to epitopes. (Google e.g. oral tolerance). So that was cool and expected. It used to be that if I ate pizza, I couldn’t breath through my nose for literally three days. Now I can eat pizza and ice cream every day and breath fine at night (though that’s not healthy because palpable insulin resistance within a few days). I tried it, though. Yum. (So some food allergies are slightly different immune system machinery than e.g. airborne allergies. I’ve noticed less of an impact on seasonal allergies, so far. Maybe a mild to moderate improvement.)

My mind had been quieter for a while. But then my mind felt not just thought-y/image-y quieter, but really palpably “metabolically quieter.” (Not when I’m meditating. During meditation things can be intense. Smooth but intense. Months ago, I started to hardcore crave glucose, butter, and MCT oil. And sometimes vitamins and collagen and sulfur. That has calmed down.) I know that I could be completely wrong about this, and it’s objectively testable, but it just feels like the neurons are firing much less (in a good way), like everything is more efficient and effective but for less metabolic cost. (Of course, neural firing and phenomenology correlate in a lot of ways, but not necessarily intuitively.) I could be “imagining” it, but something feels palpably different.

Of course I’m generally [much] less jittery and anxious, and I don’t think mostly for general reasons but more because of precision changes to body/beliefs/models/plans/preferences/goals/whatever.

I wouldn’t say my digestion is better, that I’m aware of. [I think I generally don’t produce quiet enough stomach acid, and I’m hoping for this to improve.] But, something seems metabolically more responsive and efficient. If I don’t plan well and have to eat a large carb meal, I don’t get sleepy afterwards. That seems really different.

The precision of my food desires just seems to be going up and up and up. This is annoying, but probably means long-run good things for my health.

Sleep seems about the same. Perhaps if I stopped meditating I’d need much less sleep. Perhaps when meditating asyptotes more I’ll need less sleep. But I seem to average around somewhere in 6.5-9 hours. If I sleep less one night, it does seem like I have to precisely catch up.

More recently, I’ve just started to feel “autonomically really good,” like a humming physiological wellbeing. This is quite interesting to me, because, after I had mono, years ago, I felt pretty autonomically fucked up. I just didn’t feel well for a long, long time. And I had mild to moderate POTS, I got dizzy just standing around. I think mono can chew up the vagus nerve a tiny bit. So I thought maybe even if I adapted to that, that’d still be a little fucky, ongoing. (I know the PNS can take like 18+ months to fully heal, and I still had some symptoms past that point. But that seems gone, too? Maybe?) I still get dizzy sometimes, but that’s not too uncommon? But something feels much better, here.

Edit: I totally forgot to put this in–one of the inspirations for this post was that I had noticed that I have a much larger temperature window between when I’m “too cold” or “too hot.” If I’m wearing “too many” layers, I seem to get hot less than other people. And if I’m wearing “too few” layers, it seems to take longer before I’m too cold. It’s just kind of like “whatever,” afaict. I haven’t tried to objectively nail this down, so I could be totally wrong. Thermoregulation is autonomically mediated inc. sweating and thermogenesis, and it’s a great indicator of autonomic health. People with dysautonomia can dangerously overheat because sweating gets messed up. Probably they’re more likely to get too cold, too, but I haven’t googled. [There are many things that affect this, such as size, bodymass, body composition, etc., so it can be hard to compare between people, btw.]

Edit: Oh yeah, I’m also peeing less and less, like down to 2-5 times a day. It used to be a bit more. My kidney labs are fine as of a few months ago, if that’s a thing and IIRC.

I deliberately don’t top-down cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, etc., because I’m suspicious of what happens if one kind of mashes it in. I’ve been waiting for bottom up stuff to start happen. And it recently has. Full-body sort of loving-compassion states are kind of starting to intermittently physiologically take over. Those not only feel psychologically/emotionally good but really, really physiologically/autonomically good. These do seem to include like some sort of relax/rest/digest parasympathetic ramp-up that I could imagine doing amazing things to the digestive system and healing. Go, stomach acid, maybe? Seems like maybe. I suppose I have been eating fewer meals, but larger meals, come to think of it, so like much more food but much less frequently–and now with much less chance of of LPR or GERD or anything. I used to need to limit my meal size more to not have indigestion. Ok, nevermind, then, yeah, this is happening, maybe pretty recently–digestion is improving, now, I think.

I think a bunch of people know, not everyone, that I did a bunch of crazy shit to myself prior to v1 and prior to the addition of the meta protocol, that gave me terrible muscle tension, cervical nerve root impingement, head pressure, and intraocular pressure. [I had my reasons–not necessarily good ones, but we are who we are and we do our best. I’ve done a lot of debriefing and retrospectives.] And there’s still problematic remnants of this, even though it’s ridiculously better and (lightly nonmonotonically) improving everyday. So, like, who knows how awesome my cardiovascular system would be regulated, minus this. And I’m hoping that, if I can get through the last of this without a stroke or something, I’ll have ridiculously good blood pressure and there won’t be any lasting issues.

And, so, lifespan? There’s the cliche of the ancient meditator. Maybe that’s legit or some sort of weird survivorship/confirmation bias. But if the dubious pop article below is relevant, that I only skimmed, and aging is heavily neurally meditated in some relevantly interesting way, which is plausible, and autonomic harmony is very important, which is plausible, then maybe this’ll be a real lifespan/healthspan hack.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/longevity-linked-to-proteins-that-calm-overexcited-neurons-20191126/

Or I’ll have a stroke because of all the crazy shit I did to myself. I’m trying to be responsible about that. v50-vCurrent like brought me back, hopefully in time. (Or I was never in any danger, but it sure felt like it. I checked out some things with docs and a few things not, hopefully sensibly.) Probably/hopefully, if there were any issues, it will be like there never was (like smoker lungs are supposedly indistinguishable from non-smoker lungs after 10+ years). Or I already had relative cardiovascular risks that aren’t well-managed enough or are hard to manage.

Anyway. Here’s to a long, amazing life. I/we will keep iterating on the safety of the tools.

We shall see.

https://github.com/meditationstuff/protocol_1