Anything interesting related to philosophy, mind, spirituality, religion, science, mathematics, etc.

  • Any interesting observations about the subjects in the title?

  • @jgill

    Perchance have you read Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

  • @toby Years ago. Delightful read. Largo was the resident expert on Zen on ST, having practiced the discipline for many years. Our arguments about no-thingness and form is emptiness were fun. I particularly enjoyed discussions about the nature of time.

  • @jgill Ditto. Years ago. I could be up for a reread and book club type discussion if such captures anybody's fancy. When I can get some time for such luxury... Speaking of the nature of time... Moving cloud infrastructure and house. Busy boy, be I. 🐕

  • Pirsig

    "Treated" with ECT and still wrote two amazing books, though I confess to having only read the first (does several times count?)

    Thanks for starting the thread Prof Gill

    Hope it gains traction.

  • @zBrown

    Pirsig's second book, Lila is totally different yet the same. Both involve real life, authentic like inquiries during journeys. Only this time instead of a motorcycle he is sailing his boat down the Hudson River. Been many, many years since I read that one as well. Like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it challenged me and I failed to grok it all. Recommended.

    And jeeze, talkin' about respect, I'll tell you it's had out here, boy, I don't get no respect. Ever since I was little. When I was born, I got no respect. The doctor told my mother, “I did all I could, but he pulled through anyway.” I tell ya'... no respect. What a childhood I had. My parents sent me to a child psychiatrist. The kid didn’t help me at all. No respect. I tell ya, when I was a kid, my old man never liked me. He took me to the zoo. He told me to go over to the leopard and play connect the dots. No respect, I tell ya'. No respect. .....

  • "Hope it gains traction."

    Guess it won't. It's become obvious the variety of participants at ST was exceptional.

  • Likely the most interesting thread on the ST for us "mindless" folks!

  • @jgill said in Anything interesting related to philosophy, mind, spirituality, religion, science, mathematics, etc.:

    @toby Years ago. Delightful read. Largo was the resident expert on Zen on ST, having practiced the discipline for many years. Our arguments about no-thingness and form is emptiness were fun. I particularly enjoyed discussions about the nature of time.

    Largo's "What is Mind" thread had the record for number of posts on ST. I never got the point. To existential for my feeble mind.

  • @jgill said in Anything interesting related to philosophy, mind, spirituality, religion, science, mathematics, etc.:

    "Hope it gains traction."

    Guess it won't. It's become obvious the variety of participants at ST was exceptional.

    Yes, the taco had quite the assortment of knowledge and perspective.

  • @jgill

    Yep. Unfortunate we do not enjoy more such contributions here at Redpoint. Pondering the Big Questions and sharing those thoughts takes significantly more mental bandwidth than posting up pics so it's easy to see how many are attracted to the low hanging fruit offered by a quick pic post here and quick comment there.

    Guilty. Although I'd like to engage in such, between a network and a house move I simply lack requisite time.... Sure be dandy if e.g. some of the other Pirsig readers stepped up. There is much thought food there, no?

    Speaking of which, I was pretty mid to maybe late teens when I read Zen & the Art. I mentioned, I failed to grok much of it at such a tender age but it still really made an impression on me. Particularly w.r.t. thoughts about quality. I am kind of a perfectionist to begin with and I sometimes wonder if Pirsig fanned the flames a bit too much. Perfection is a high bar to clear and led to a lot of frustrations and "failures" wh/may have otherwise been "small victories". I wonder how much of this goes back to having read Zen & the Art at such a young and impressionable age?

    Hmmm.... I am more seasoned now. So I will leave you with this one:

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. -- Voltaire, 1770

  • Yeah the Taco was entertaining at least.

    I just got censored over at MP for describing a coyote coughing up an RFID chip in a lost cat thread.

    Sheesh! and I can't even seem to post pix here.

  • @Toker-V

    [root@forums uploads]# echo "Uploaded Files Total: $(ll files| wc -l)"
    Uploaded Files Total: 1911

  • I know this won't be too long a story for folks likely to appreciate this thread.

    I never did solo overnight trips into the mountains, since I was always with climbing partners, until after my divorce in 1985. During some solo daytrips after the divorce, I experienced my first-remembered “chills up my back” episode. I would be in a remote area having a great time, & suddenly I would have a profound chill up the middle of my spine. As I walked onwards, I would start feeling that something nearby was threatening me, & I would start pausing, & apprehensively looking around for an unseen threat. Usually, after a few minutes of this, I would have the sensation go away, as I departed the area causing my chill.

    This also happened to me during a solo trip to a remote area in Northern Nevada searching for fossils & arrowheads. Happily, it never happened to me while in an overnight camp. I discovered I was not the only one affected by this phenomenon, when I took the woman who would soon marry me back to the spot in Nevada where I had suffered a severe chill up my back.

    The spot was part of an abandoned ranch just south of a large lake on the east side of the Ruby Range. After parking, I had previously discovered the whole area was covered with lithic flakes, aka arrowhead chips. The obvious place to surface hunt for arrowheads went down towards an eroding 100’ tall granite outcrop & around it. I had suffered major chills & nervousness, while walking the area around the outcrop. When Heidi & I got there, I contrived an excuse to have her start on that walk, while I fiddled with my SUV. Being a strong woman, comfortable with herself & the outdoors, she happily wandered off towards the outcrop. We met up on the other side of the outcrop about a ½ hour later. Over dinner, I brought the subject of chills up & she immediately confessed she had been gripped with chills & real fear of unknown watchers, but she had carried on. So! Two people could experience the same chills, at the same place, at different times.

    After we married, I had a couple other episode of chills, the most severe while looking for ancient Native American rock art in Nine Mile Canyon Utah. I also experienced profound chills up my back, but no real fear, during two late fall visits to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, aka Custer Battlefield. My first visit was during a business trip from Sheridan WY to Billings MT, & I stopped by on a cool & cloudy day to finally visit a spot I had read about most of my life. My first stop was at the visitor center & when I walked in, the building was noisy with the sounds of deep heart-felt sobbing. As I hesitantly approached the front desk, I realized the Native American woman there was noisily crying her heart out. I felt bad for her, but there was nothing I could do & I soon left for the self-guided battlefield auto tour.

    After getting to the hill where Custer & his command all died, I walked around the deserted site. I immediately had chills up my back & they stayed with me until I got back in my SUV & left. A few years later, on a similar cool & cloudy Fall afternoon, I walked much of the south end of the National Monument, where Major Reno’s men survived several days of being surrounded & besieged by the Sioux & Cheyenne after half of his command had barely made it our of a hard-fought battle down on the Little Bighorn. After being alone for a while, with no chills, I noted a Native American in traditional costume several hundred yards away. He was chanting & making profound gestures towards the sky & earth & my chills started up.

    A few years later, I hiked into deepest Idaho & was fly fishing a remote small river. A rough & mostly destroyed trail led though brush & rattlesnake country in there, & of course I knew I would not encounter other humans on my adventure. As part of my cultural heritage I was carrying my old 22 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver in a belt holster.

    Shortly after my turn-around point, I was happily hiking down the trail after a great day of catch & release trout fishing, & suddenly the chills up my spine hit me hard. Each step forward raised my apprehension, which soon turned into fear of an unknown, but very real threat. I kept turning around & looking behind me, & I eased the pistol our of its holster, since I was now almost frightened. Then I saw a dead log across the trail that had recently been turned over, with agitated ants pouring out of it, then an indistinct but large paw print, then a very fresh pile of what was obviously bear scat. I relaxed, since it all suddenly made sense. I had spooked a black bear off the trail & it was likely up in the trees fearfully watching me, a dangerous & dreaded human. My subliminal senses had smelled, heard, or otherwise “sensed” the bear.

    A 2005 photo of my buddy Jerry & the “small” river near where I was “spooked” by the bear, a few years earlier.
    9-2-2005 017.jpg

    After that experience, I could easily rationalize that a lot of my “Chill up my back” experiences could have been caused by nearby wild animals, but of course the battlefield chills were not as readily explained.

    During our recent visit to four significant Civil War Battlefields in & near Fredericksburg VA, I was expecting the "chill up my back" & a feeling of being watched, that I experienced on my two visits to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. I also experienced a similar feeling at the Civil War battlefield of Shiloh back in the last century. I didn't have the sensation this trip ------- until Heidi & I took a hike down to where the bloodiest & most desperate fighting of the battle of Spotsylvania Court House took place in May 1864. We were all by ourselves on a pleasant October afternoon. There were 32,000 soldiers killed or injured in that battle & even though I am not a strong believer in ghosts, I got a good dose of chills up my back there & Heidi didn’t. It's significant fun, when it's not scary, which it wasn't on that nice day.

    Heidi on the quiet path down to the Bloody Angle, with the Confederate trenches at the left of photo. This is where I got the chills.


    This informational poster was just beyond where I got the "battlefield chills."

    Does anyone else have personal experiences with chills up their back?

  • @FritzRay said in Anything interesting related to philosophy, mind, spirituality, religion, science, mathematics, etc.:

    Does anyone else have personal experiences with chills up their back?

    Not me. I have spent a fair amount of time alone in the wilderness, and have occasionally become frightened, knowing that bears, cougars, and wolves are around me. But the fear was strictly a function of imagination -- no tingly sensations, or weird vibe that "I am being watched", just the knowledge that an attack was possible.

    But despite many too-close encounters, there has never been an attack or even a mock-attack. I have woken up from a tentless bivi to find wolf tracks all around my sleeping bag, I've had a bear in a tent with me. Well, partly in the tent -- It was a small tent and a big bear. (I never even woke up, but several people saw it). I have been cornered by a giant aggressive goat who changed his mind and lay down to sleep at my feet (see the wildlife encounters thread). I have been followed across the ice by a polar bear...

    But throughout what is now approaching sixty years of going into the wilderness alone, and despite the encounters above, I have never once felt any inexplicable sensation. Worry? Sure. Fear? Sometimes. But nothing like what you describe.

    Edit to add: On thinking about this, I realize that most of the experiences you describe were not to do with any sensation of being watched by cougars about to attack, but rather, if I read it correctly, to do with ghosts from the past. For whatever it's worth, I haven't had any of those sensations either.

  • No chills to report. When a bear stuck it's big nose under the tent edge one night I think we both just froze. Bear left, we thawed.

  • Well, certainly an occasional electric thrill while climbing, but I always felt at one with the wilderness while on a solitary ramble. With others present it was a different experience.

    When I climbed by myself (95% of the time) I enjoyed the flow, and became lost in the experience. At the university of Chicago during 1958-59 I knew Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi slightly - he was getting a BA at the time and was a member of the Mountaineering Club there. The group would drive up to Devils Lake on good weekends.

  • @jgill Great link. But it begs the question of how "flow" could only have been... hmmm... discovered is not the word. Described? Mabye that's better.

    We, us humans, have almost certainly sought the state Csikszentmihalyi named "flow" for thousands of years. To push oneself into that state isn't for everyone, but it seems too intrinsic to whatever it is we are to be something that only started happening recently.

    Surely the Sumerians must have had a word for it. It just doesn't seem possible that a 20th Century person was the first to point out that such a state existed.

  • @jgill Thank you for sharing the link. I was not aware of Csíkszentmihály or his writing & theories. Per your link: "Csíkszentmihályi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."

    I suspect I reached the flow state a few times while giving sales presentations, but I vividly remember the few times during the 1970's when I apparently reached the flow state while leading difficult climbing. I was somewhat aware of "being in the zone," & having a "great day." I knew I had been there on two occasions, since I led stuff that my peer group, who were mostly more athletic climbers, could barely follow.

  • I agree that "flow" has been around since the beginning of mankind. I first became aware of the phenomenon when I began gymnastics in 1954. Then a year or so later on the rock. Some years back I had a more profound experience of the sensation of weaving in and out of the rock while doing one of my solo climbs on a long granite pillar in Southern Colorado - a climb I did so frequently over the years that I once calculated I had done over twenty miles on that one route.

    We talked about this on "What is Mind", but Largo kept pushing even further into this mystical spectrum as he glorified a Zen state he called "no-thingness" or "empty awareness" - the latter I would argue that to have the experience meant he was "aware" of it, a paradox. Go figure.

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