Ep. 37 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Reverse Engineering Enlightenment: Part 2



my notes

  • Proposal: that we can understand that which causes the experience of sacredness in terms of a a transjective inexhaustibiliity, deep anagoge between the no-thingness of the ever evolving RR and it’s mysterious depths and the nothingness of reality that is combinatorial explosive and dynamically changing itself
  • Can acknowledge the role of the symbolic - helps engage and activate the primordial aspects of religio
  • As open up the world open up ourselves
  • Don’t confuse indispensability with metaphysical necessity or absolute essence.
  • Larger critique that relevance can’t have an ultimate essence
  • Proposed part of what we saw the experience of sacredness doing was the higher order RR, homing us against domocide, the meta-assimilation, helping us confront the meta-accommodation, the numinous
  • Look at how the sacred helps us address perennial problems
  • Two components to meaning crisis:
    • Historical factors
    • Perennial problems
  • Experience of sacredness, attempt to articulate, appreciate, religio should address the PPs
  • PPs are perennial because the machinery of religio makes us adaptive but also susceptible to self-deceptive, self-destructive tendencies
  • Most cultures create psycho-technologies in the form of religion for addressing the perennial problems. Has to be fit into a legitimizing and sustaining worldview
  • The psycho-technologies have to be integrated with sacredness
  • We don’t have a worldview that legimates or encourages:
    • Project of meaning making
    • Self-transcendence
    • Cultivation of wisdom
    • Affordance of higher states of consciousness
    • Realization of gnosis
  • People turn to cobble together in dangerous auto-didactic fashion their own personal responses to PP without traditions, guidance communities, well-worked out set of practices, well-vetted, well-developed
  • So often bereft when face the PPs
  • Responding to meaning crisis two components:
    • Response to re-articulate a new world view in which the project of enhancing religio is validated
    • Set of practices to address the PPs
  • He proposes the sceintific account of relevance realization and Religio will give us a way of articulating a worldview in which we can resucitate meaning-making project
  • At core of meaning-making is RR - with a naturalistic explanation that hopefully does justice to the experience of sacredness
  • Looked at functional, structural, developmental aspects of religio
  • Cognition is inherently developmental. Functions by developing.
    • Capacity for self-transcendence, increase in what you know and the kinds of things you can know
    • Process of optimization
    • Developmental trajectory
  • He rehashes from last week, not writing out again: functional structural developments
  • Analytic: theoretical purposes. Often the case that these things are interacting and exacerbating each other. Can be overthinking things, getting stuck, contributing to modal confusion. Etc.
  • Hubristic element here: trying to get a balance between respecting where we are and respecting the historical heritage
  • Asking for patience

Ways to deal with the Perennial Problems:

  • Functional: ways to deal with:
    • parasitic processing is want to cultivate a counter-active dynamical system
      • Need to internalize, an active dynamical system in us. That is how to respond to the dynamical systems in parasitic processing
      • Ex: cultivation of the eight-fold path
    • Modal confusion; SATI, practices designed to invoke deep remembrance of being mode
    • Reflectiveness gap: combination dynamic integration of immersion and creative flexibility (flow state)
  • Structural: ways to deal with:
    • Clash of perspectives: Prajna: state of getting deep penetration of the perspectives: ateva/prajna: can scale down/up, get state of non-duality scaling up and scaling down at same time
    • Anxiety: inner dialogue: internalize the sage: as the adult is to the child is to the adult, the sage is to the adult, internalize buddha nature, Socrates, Jesus
    • Alienation: cultivate communitas: sense of connectedness to other, try to
    • recover what had in platonic dialogue, authentic discourse
  • Developmental:
    • Existential entrapment: gnosis and higher states of consciousness
  • Need an overall framing of these things: all within a wisdom framing

What can we now think about wisdom

  • Have to have a cognitive style in which the amelioration of self-deception and the affordance of self-optimization are paramount.
  • Going to go through each in more detail.
  • Concern about hubris: proposal to reverse-engineer enlightenment: instead of keeping enlightenment surrounded by mystique and nostalgia, need an account that recognizes what that mystique pointed to but exagerates whcih is the difficulty of enlightenment
  • If we have a kind of being, an ecology of psycho-technology that allows us to systematically alleviate and address the PPs, suggest we call that enlightenment

(is he kiind of doing what jesus did, bring enlightenment to the masses?)

  • If enlightenment is more than that then what is it’s value?
  • Insofar as we can give an account of this in terms that are naturalistic and open to scientific investigation, will have a scientific theory of enlightenment.

Parasitic Processing

  • Set of practices (ex: eight-fold path)
  • Enhances fitedness.
  • Set of practices interdependent with each other, mutually supportive, self-roling
  • If have a set of practices that can take on a life of its own, start to implicitly interact, becomes a counteractive dynamical system in me
  • Buddha: the goldsmith, gold is inherently valuable, mind is inherently valuable, if just do meditation without reflection, nothing happens. Has to be reshaped. If just do one thing don’t accomplish goal. Need to look, and notice, balance with heat, and hammering, creating a higher order skill of being a smith. Set of practices, fitted together, do something overall that each skill on own can’t do.
  • Cultivating an ecology of practices, that have complementary relationships to each other, organizing them together
  • Constellations of lower order skills and techniques,to build higher order
  • Operate in many ways and many levels
  • Cultivate a counter-active dynamical system. Overarching thing.

Modal Confusion

  • Help us to remember sati. Not as a belief but as an existential mode that we can reliably reactivate and re-enter into a viable and enriching manner

Reflectiveness Gap and Flow

  • If just speak the lecture wantonly it’ll become chaotic, but if constantly stepping back and reflecting will choke
  • Try to get into a flow state: flow state
  • Try to set up practices that afford and wisely cultivate flow.
  • Try and get into flow state that keep immersed and engaged with the material but flexible insightful where needed


  • Because of the way attention works, atttention is both bottom up from the features, and top down from the gestalt
  • Attention the way you are related to the world is one in which the world and you can be co-creating
  • Spinoza talks about this in the Ethics
    • Idea that when reading an argument, knowing, have to see the world as Spinoza did, study and practice the ethics
    • Realized ethics designed to do this. Logical structure trying to lead to deeply intuitive knowing
    • Have this tremendous argument, up to the largest scale of reality, but premises along the way
    • Argument of arguments: meta-argument: premises go up into argument, which go into argument of arguments
    • Attention multiply layered
    • If practice the ethics you see the whole of the mata-argument in each premise and see how each argument fits into the whole
    • Get a cosmic perspective that is interpenetrating with the perspective of your individual moment of thought
  • Buddhist talk about something similar: Prajna: Self-liberating state of wisdom
    • Simultaneously looking in as deeply as can and as out as deeply as can
    • What you get is you practice scaling down as deeply as possibly can to the pure consciousness event, and scale up to profound at one-ment of everything
    • Eventually get non-duality, get both deeply down and in and as out and up as can be
    • At maximal breaking frame and maximal making frame, dynamically integrated.
    • That state is a place that addresses absurdity. Though doesn’t address the arguments of absurdity but that’s the point.
    • What drives absurdity is perspectival clash. If can reliably realize a state in which you overcome perspectival clash (ex. Lower order do this with humour), can have something like that, overcoming of the clash with this state of non-duality, deep intuitive knowing.

(kind of have the feeling of being disciples here, hearing revelation)


  • Sense that something is wrong, connected to innerconflict
  • Christianity: inner conflict of Paul, Plato - inner conflict, different goals, and we suffer
  • No specific target, anxiety the threat is indemic to you - no matter where you go feel the threat but there’s nothing threat can attach onto because has to do with your inner war within yourself
  • Idea of internalizing the sage: create an inner dialogue to coordinate the centers.
  • Cognitive science gives tremendous help. Lot of increase in knowledge of different centers of the brain.
  • What need is an internalized representation - a model, a role model, for how we can engage in dialogue.
  • Proposal: if I can internalize my capacity to interact with the sage eventually I get that ability I get only with the sage with myself, within myself. Becomes part of my meta-cognitive machinery. Dialogue with myself, get the various aspects of myself to various centers to dialogue with each other.
  • Jung: active imagination to create inner dialogue
  • Electio Divina: reading the text but trying to get the text to speak to me.
  • A lot we can do
  • Process of identification, identiify with the sage, internalize the persepctive of other, and the capacity for indwelling - perceiving through.
  • Not just internalize the sage, but indwel with it
  • What is it like to see things the way the sage does: without pretense or arrogance or inflation
  • Practice indwelling the sage: what would Jesus do, Socrates do.
  • Practice indwelling then internalizing
  • Start to afford the internalization of the sage, to converse with yourself, platonic dialogue with yourself.


  • Communautas: shared spirit (ex: Raptors)
  • A way of getting collective flow going
  • Also collective flow in which we feel like there is real communication and communion - shared identity of some kind
  • Careful look at the way in which our practices of communication have been so undermined by bullshitting and modal confusion
  • What’s been happening:

(what we’re doing in the podcast is part of this)

  • Jordan Hall: trying to free communication from the cultrual grammar that’s got us to where we are. Also trying to reaccess these other kinds of knowing. Not just propositional exchange, underlying procedural knowing and underlying perspectival knowing
  • Dependent on participatory process of our ongoing evolving attunement from which the agent and the arena co-emerge.
  • Most of our problem solving done in concert with other peopl
  • State called coherence, marshalling distributed cognition and collective intelligence, freeing us from the ways in which we are boxed in by our historical cultural cognitive grammar
  • Access other kinds of knowing
  • Cohering the integral We space: book
    • Circling practice. He’s not an expert in it
    • Communal practice in which we engage in something like a mindfulness practice, collective flow state. Dynamical system that gives people resources that address their capacity for being in touch with themselves and each other
    • Trying to get insight rather than victory in debating
  • Beginning of a whole set of practices for bringing about authentic discourse to really address issues of alienation

Existential Entrapment

  • Gnosis
  • Gnosis seems to need that open-ended mythos that the Gnostics talked about.
  • Transgressive, open-ended ongoing symbol