[extropy-chat] Psychological stress and Suffering

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sat Mar 3 19:20:46 UTC 2007

citta437 wrote:

> As a student of Zen, I agree with Stuart's assessment of
> suffering/samsara is itself Dharma/reality. However I don't know of any
> Buddhist school that teaches otherwise. All I know is that suffering as
> psychological stress is universal in sensient beings capable of
> thinking and feeling in various degrees.
> Some Buddhist psychologists merged the study of mind/consciousness with
> Buddhist's practice of awareness as in meditation.
> Zen addresses this as an effective tool for relaxing the mind from
> entropic thoughts to see reality/extropy imho.
> If extropic reality is a process of growth to relieve mankind's
> suffering then that parallels the goal of Buddhism towards liberation
> from suffering.

citta437 (if I may be permitted to call you citta437), I would like to
welcome you to the list!

I studied Zen Buddhism intensely for several years and at first it
seemed to be a very effective complement to my scientific world-view.
But eventually the two frames of thought became integrated in my mind,
providing a great deal of clarity about the relationship of the
subjective and the objective.

I would like to ask your opinion on the issue of universal suffering
with regard to extropic thinking:

In my opinion, the Buddhist concept of the universal suffering of all
sentient entities is useful, but it is a concept framed within a
traditional paradigm of scarcity, and as such it is seen to offer
escape from an unpleasant state of being.

However, upon gaining an aware acceptance of self as/within nature,
one finds that there is no objective suffering, nor is there any
objective self who can suffer. From this perspective of aware
acceptance, one can choose most freely.

It seems to me that at this point the traditional Buddhist view, or
common expectation, is that one would freely and naturally choose a
state of peaceful and harmonious, but essentially static existence.

I am aware of course of the Zen Buddhist warrior, at peace within his
fighting art, but I don't see this as an exception.  Again the
implicit aim is one of harmonious flow, rather than intentional

II would suggest that this traditional Buddhist conception is framed
within a world-view that did not include today's knowledge of adaptive
dynamical systems nor the dynamics of co-evolutionary ecologies.

In contrast, extropian thinking recognizes that striving for ongoing
growth is essential and intrinsic to survival of any entity in the
bigger picture.

Now one could easily respond that striving for growth may certainly be
conducted with a zen-mind, and I would agree, but would refer back to
my point that this would be commonly seen as an exception rather than
a preferred new "standard" among most Buddhists.


- Jef

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