03 Sep 2014

If you believe that the mind is the brain and you’re unwilling to change your opinion, you should not listen to this - otherwise your world view might be shattered.

Alan gives a brief historical overview of how the mind was viewed in the scientific community from the 1900s up to today. Starting with William James the mind was off to a promising start: James emphasized radical empiricism and was therefore open to include introspection in psychological research. However, soon after his death John B. Watson, a pioneer of behaviorism, declared that psychology should never use, refer to or in any way work with the concept of consciousness. He simply banned it without giving any empirical reasons for doing so - and people believed and followed him. Later people such as B. F. Skinner argued in the very same vein and such views still dominate academia and the press today. Luckily, there are also some fresh voices out there, such as John Searle, Christof Koch and Paul Ekman, who all (to varying degrees) allow for consciousness to play a vital role and do not simply equate it with the brain. At the end, Alan emphasizes that this is not a case of “Buddhism vs. Science” or anything the like - it really is simply a battle between open empiricism and dogmatism.

Meditation starts at 08:29

Download (M4A / 27 MB)

Transcript

*Transcriptionist note for our listeners: Due to technical difficulties, the audio output can only be heard through the right speaker, the audio output for the left speaker is silent.

Transcriptionist note: The Seven Line Prayer and Mantras (in Tibetan and English) and Guru Rinpoche Mantras (in Sanskrit) are written below.

The Seven Line Prayer and Mantras

HUNG ORGYEN YUL GYI NUP JANG TSAM HUNG
In the northwest frontier of Oddiyana,

PEMA GE SAR DONG PO LA
In the heart of a lotus

YAM TSEN CHOG GI NGÖ DRUP NYEY
Sits the one renowned as Padmasambhava,

PEMA JUNG NEY ZHEY SU DRAK
Who achieved the wondrous supreme siddhi,

KHOR DU KHAN DRO MANG PÖ KOR
And is surrounded by a host of many dakinis.

KYED KYI JE SU DAK DRUP KYI
Following in your footsteps, I devote myself to practice.

JIN GYI LAP CHIR SHEK SU SÖL
Please come forth and bestow your blessings.

GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG

Guru Rinpoche Mantras

OM āḥ hūṃ VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI hūṃ

Oṃ āḥ hūṃ Vajra Guru Padma Tötreng Tsäl vajra

SAmayajaḥ siddhi phala hūm

[Alan and retreatants recite the Seven Line Prayer three times] [01:43]

[Alan and retreatants recite the shorter Guru Rinpoche Mantra under their breath for one mala.] [04:21]

[04:30] [Alan recites the shorter Guru Rinpoche Mantra one last time aloud]

[04:54] Imagining that your own body, speech, and mind have merged indivisibly with the body, speech, and mind of Guru Rinpoche, Samantabhadra, like pouring one glass of water into another, no longer distinguishable. From this perspective, settle your body, speech, and mind in their natural state. [05:18]

[06:37] And for a little while let the space of your mind be filled with the space of your body, the somatic field, which is conceptually silent, and in which you experience the ebb and flow of the sensations, the energies associated with the in and out breath. Ground your awareness there and fill your awareness with this non conceptual space, with non conceptual sensations. So there’s no room for chitchat, the space is full. [07:13]

[08:23] I’ll start the chime now, but simply continue.

Meditation begins [08:29]

[08:47] So you will clearly recall that in Padmasambhava’s instructions, prior to his instructions on searching for the mind, he says settle your mind in its natural state such that your coarse mind is dissolved into the substrate consciousness and that becomes your vantage point, your perspective. If you could view your mind from the perspective of rigpa, all the better. But until that happens, to the best of your ability, approximate the perspective of viewing and looking for your mind from the perspective of its origin, of its relative origin, the substrate consciousness. What is it that emerges from this deeper dimension, this more primal dimension of awareness? What is this mind and where is it? What are its characteristics? [09:47]

[10:32] And now we will continue with Padmasambhava’s instructions on searching for the mind, or engaging in the search for the mind.

He continues: Let the one who is pondering, “What is the mind like?” observe that very consciousness, and search for it.

Commentary: We’re now not content simply to observe the phenomenal characteristics of consciousness, the distinctive features of the substrate consciousness. We’re seeking now to determine whether this flow of consciousness is inherently existent, existing by its own characteristics independent of and prior to conceptual designation. observe that very consciousness and search for it.

He continues, Steadily observe the consciousness of the meditator, and search for it. We’re going deeper now than the phenomena, the apparent characteristics. We’re looking for the very nature of consciousness. Does it exist by its own nature, inherently existent, or not? Search for it. What is this phenomena that has the qualities of luminosity and cognizance? Can you identify it, that entity that is imbued with the qualities of luminosity and cognizance? [12:11]

[14:53] Observe: in reality, is the so-called “mind” something that exists? If it does, it should have a shape. What sort of shape does it have? Look nakedly and seek it out.

So commentary: Clearly there are many things that exist that don’t have shape but he’s posing here, implicitly but quite obviously, if the mind is something physical, it must have shape, some physical extension within physical space. It should have other physical qualities as well. So, now check closely. Be a scientist of the mind and examine it closely with as little filtration by dogma, biases and prejudice as possible. Just observe it nakedly. Does the mind have any physical attributes whatsoever when you observe it, shape or anything else. [15:55]

[18:49] To repeat, if the mind has shape, what sort of a shape does it have?

Look nakedly and seek it out. Decisively look to see what sort of a shape it has, whether it is a sphere, a rectangle, a semicircle, or a triangle, and so on. If you say it has one at all, show me that shape!

More broadly speaking then, if you have empirical evidence that the mind in fact is physical, demonstrate it. Cough it up. [19:31]

[20:44] He continues, If you say there is nothing to show, [you have no evidence] tell me whether it is possible for there to be a real shape that cannot be shown. So are there shapes that are invisible? And similarly are there physical attributes or physical phenomena that display no physical characteristics and are physically unmeasurable? Is that possible?

And he concludes, Identify the emptiness of shape. So, if we have to empirically investigate the mind, as brilliant scientists have empirically investigated so many other natural phenomena, then we start with a question, “Is the mind physical?” And if it’s empty of all physical characteristics including shape, then this is the first step to clarity and a step on the way to realizing whether or not the mind or consciousness itself is inherently existent. Existent prior to and independent of all conceptual designation.

Let’s continue practicing now in silence. [22:11]

Meditation ends [28:30]

[29:06] Get comfortable. We’ll be here for a little while.

This mind treasure by Padmasambhava, put into writing in the eighth century, was then hidden. Right? That’s why it’s called a treasure, it was not a mind treasure, it was an earth treasure. He wrote it down but felt that the time wasn’t ripe, that just in the course of the transformations of human society in Tibet and elsewhere, the time wasn’t ripe for this particular teaching in the eighth century, otherwise he would have just taught it. He wrote it down and he secreted it, secreted it as an earth treasure. It was like a time capsule. And with this wonderful connection between his mind and the mind of Karma Lingpa, this great Terton from the fourteenth century, then Karma Lingpa was intuitively drawn to finding it, revealed it, and then it became manifest. So, the time was ripe - fourteenth century Tibet. And it became a classic.

So that was a six hundred year interval, right, from the eighth century to the fourteenth century, six hundred year interval. But the time was ripe for these teachings to be disseminated throughout Tibet. And teachings on the six bardos are now... They’re everywhere especially in the Nyingma tradition, primarily in the Nyingma tradition. But they remained in Tibetan for six hundred years and then right towards the end of the twentieth century, about ten years ago, then Gyatrul Rinpoche, a lineage holder of this tradition, felt the time was ripe to teach this publicly. Because as I mentioned before, when he taught this in San Francisco roughly ten years ago he place no restrictions on people who could come except come with an open mind, come with faith. If you would really like to listen to these teachings and if you find them accessible, inviting, helpful, then put them into practice. That was it. So, Buddhist, not Buddhist, no reference to receiving empowerment unless you have already completed all the preliminary practices and so forth, no reference to any of that. That was his call and he was, bear in mind, the representative of His Holiness, Dudjom Rinpoche for all of North America. So he wasn’t exactly a heretic, you know, a representative of his lineage.

So that’s when this earth terma then became, because he asked me to translate it and I translated it of course, his commentary as well, then it became a global... So, Karma Lingpa revealed it for Tibet, and frankly, I think it’s true, then Gyatrul Rinpoche, at least this text, then made this manifest, unveiled it for the English speaking public, and that includes Singaporeans and everybody else who speaks English, reads English. Right? So there it is. So, here we are, the recipients of this now, thanks to Guru Rinpoche, Karma Lingpa, Gyatrul Rinpoche, and I’m simply Gyatrul Rinpoche’s interpreter. But I think it’s imperative, if we’re going to honor the teachings, we honor it where we are and not where we’re not. Where we’re not is we’re not in fourteenth century Tibet or nineteenth century Tibet. We’re here. People right here, I don’t know how many countries are represented here, but we’re from all over the place. Right? We are here as representatives of this new mutant species of human beings called people of modernity. You know? So I think we need to receive this where we are, where we are in our culture, with our acculturation, with our education. If this isn’t brought into the twenty-first century then we’re looking at a historic relic. Okay? [32:34]

So, this is running, these teachings right here, and you can see it. Was there a Buddhist part there, by the way? You know, like you have to believe this, believe that, you have to take refuge first. It was simply radically empirical, wasn’t it. I mean there was nothing more to it than look nakedly. That’s what William James called radical empiricism. All your dogma, whether it’s religious or materialistic or whatever, set it to the side, try to take the blinkers off your eyes, and look closely. Right? Well, that’s what William James tried to do - radical empiricism. And when it came to the study of the mind, and he was one of the great, I think he was the greatest pioneer of the modern experimental, scientific study of the mind. And brain, because he started the first neuroscience lab in the United States. He said, “Introspection should be first, foremost and always the primary way of investigating the mind.” Right? [33:29]

So they tried it. They tried it in the latter part of the nineteenth century, they tried it until, basically until he died, and that was 1910. And then somebody came along named John Watson, and I don’t know what he was like as a person but here’s what he wrote. And so I’m here to critique what he said, I’m not here to critique the person. He’s dead, why should I critique a dead guy? He now is reincarnated as somebody else, maybe my uncle or something. Who knows? I have no idea, but here’s what he said, Psychology must never use the terms 'consciousness, mental states, content, introspectively verifiable, imagery, and the like. Just stop it. Psychology, and he continues, Psychology must discard all reference to consciousness. And he absolutely banned introspection and any reference to subjective mental states, emotions, desires and so forth. In other words, he put a spike through the heart of William James, who was just dead. He said this in 1913.

He put a spike through his heart, he just... He was like a dementor, if you like Harry Potter. They don’t kill you, they just suck the life force out of you. And then if you thought like a Harry Potter fan, if you’ve had a dementor give you the kiss then you walk... And you’re not dead, you’re just kind of like hollow, directionless, dazed, in a stupor, and then you keel over dead. If that sounds like pure, you know, fantasy, and of course J. K. Rowling wrote it as pure fantasy, delightful fantasy, then it might just be worth noting on the side that in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, I mean absolutely mainstream, core Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, there’s something called la, la. You find this everywhere in shamanic traditions as well. A la, and a la is your life principal, not the same as consciousness, not the same as your prana. It’s something else, it’s the life principle. And then a black magician, a sorcerer, may come and la [?Tibetan], steal your life force. There’s black magic for that.

It’s widely recognized in Tibetan Buddhism, everywhere. And there are ways of protecting yourself from that. Because if somebody steals your la, well you’ve just been kissed by a dementor. And you won’t die quickly, but you’ll just have all the juice sucked out of you. You have lost your life force. You might be able to retrieve it if you find some really accomplished white magician, some sorcerer. You might be able to retrieve it. Then you’ll be fine but if you don’t retrieve it then you’re basically on death row and until, until death strikes you’re a hollow, empty person. [36:17]

John Watson was for William James a dementor. He was for the whole spirit of empiricism, taking introspection at its core, a dementor. He sucked out its life force. Here was this little baby, baby, open-minded, radical empirical, experimental science of the mind toddling about on its little introspectionist legs, but not knowing how to train attention, not knowing how to really refine introspection into a rigorous mode of inquiry. And instead of taking care of that baby John Watson committed infanticide. And unfortunately, people followed him instead of William James. I think it’s one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, I mean, you know, in terms of science. I don’t want to compare it to the holocaust and so forth. There were so many tragedies.

But that was John Watson, and people actually followed him. They followed him. They threw all of their common sense, they threw their own sense of their own subjective experience of having a mind, they threw it to the winds. So terribly tragic. Why would they do that? Why would they let somebody just suck the whole life force out so you no longer trust your own consciousness, your mental states, your introspection, your awareness of your own feeling, emotions, the richness of your own inner life. You don’t trust it at all. You trust people that say, “You’re just an animal. You just have behavioral dispositions, that’s all the mind is. You’re a computer. You’re a robot. You are hollow. You are empty. You’re nothing.”

And amazingly this entranced, captivated, mesmerized so much of academic psychology, especially in Great Britain, in the United States for some fifty, sixty years. B.F. Skinner was the next great torchbearer, and he argued forty years later, this would be in 1953, that since mental phenomena lacked physical qualities they had no existence whatsoever. I don’t know what could be more insulting to a human intellect than to tell you you have no intellect, that mental processes, mental phenomena, what you experience internally, don’t exist at all. Why? Because they’re not physical. Like, for me to treat this with respect is extremely hard even though he was a Harvard professor and renowned in his time in the most prominent proponent of behaviorism in history. But I find it impossible to respect this.

There are many things I find it impossible to respect - racism, ethnic cleansing, sexism, many things. But people who do those may have some great respectful qualities, but I do not find it possible to respect that any more than I can respect Aristotle’s view that the brain is a refrigerator. He had no empirical evidence, he had no reasoning, he just blurted it out as if he’d coughed up some phlegm. But that phlegm kept on being, you know, passed on with all of its internal bacteria for eighteen hundred years. Aristotle’s ideas were dominating European academia at the time of Galileo, for two hundred and fifty years. And Galileo broke the spell. All of these utterly, empirically unfounded, and frankly, many times irrational views of Aristotle, that he just dreamed up out of nowhere, with no empirical evidence and no cogent reasoning to back them up. Then Galileo just broke the spell and looked carefully, and that basically was the end of Aristotelian physics. Because he looked carefully, which Aristotle didn’t bother to do. [40:26]

But we don’t see any reasoning or empirical evidence from John Watson or from B. F. Skinner. Here’s B. F. Skinner’s reasoning, To agree that what one feels or introspectively observes are conditions of one’s own body is a step in the right direction. He’s not giving any evidence for that. He doesn’t give any reasoning for that. He just says go that direction. Like he’s a general saying, “March!” A general doesn’t have to give reasons, you just have to obey, otherwise you’ll get court martialled. It is a step toward an analysis both of seeing and of seeing that one sees in purely physical terms. He doesn’t give any reasoning to justify that, he just said this is a step in the right direction. “Forward, march!” Like a bunch of lemmings. How can he do this? And why did anybody take him seriously? Then he continues, After substituting brain for mind, Oh, now we’re going to go further, with no reasoning, with no empirical evidence. We’re just going to say it. After substituting brain for mind, we can then move on to substituting person for brain He didn’t give any reasoning or empirical evidence, he just said it! What the hell is this? This isn’t philosophy, this isn’t science, this is just what?! Are you a general? What, what? Why is anybody taking you seriously? we can then move on to substituting person for brain and recast the analysis in line with the observed facts. What observed facts? And he concludes, But what is felt or introspectively observed is not an important part of the physiology which fills the temporal gap in a historical analysis. So, in other words, what you feel doesn’t matter. What you experience, doesn’t matter. If you have some notion that you have a mind and know something about it, well, banish the thought. That is the saddest excuse for philosophy and science I’ve ever seen. And it dominated western academia for sixty years.

And that view, whether or not one cites Skinner or Watson, that view that the mind is the brain, the mind is physical, still dominates academia, still dominates the press. Just look at the popular press. Mind and brain, mind and brain used interchangeably everywhere. These materialists have cast a spell on the last century of modern civilization and put us into a dark age where we’re supposed to throw out reason and throw out empirical evidence and simply follow orders. If that’s not bullshit, I don’t know what is. If the word bullshit was ever appropriate, that’s it. If not here, then I’ll never use the word again. This is appalling! [43:33]

But happily I’m not pitting Buddhism against science or philosophy here. There are some fresh voices out there and I will cite some of them. Oh, where did you go? Oh, I had such juicy quotes from John Searle, John Searle. I’m going to give it tomorrow. Son of a gun! I had some wonderful quotes by John Searle and somehow I just dissed them. Let me check. No, they’re not here right now. Okay, I’m going to find them tomorrow. They’re really good. He’s one of the most prominent philosophers in the world today, endowed chair U. C. Berkeley, and so forth. I’m not going to paraphrase him, he says it very well and I’m citing him with respect. I don’t agree with everything he says, of course, but I’m citing him with respect.

I don’t have him right now, but I do have Cristof Koch. Cristof Koch is one of the, again, most renowned neuroscientists living today. For twenty-five years he had an endowed chair at Caltech. He had a lab named after himself and then a few years ago he moved onto the... He moved away from Caltech and was invited to the Allen Institute, the Allen Institute. [laughter] The Allen Institute for brain research. I would like to think that that was my institute but I can’t because it’s the Paul Allen institute for brain research and I didn’t cofound Microsoft whereas Paul Allen did. And I also don’t have sixteen billion dollars and Paul Allen does. So Cristof Koch is now working for him. [45:16]

But here’s what Cristof Koch, one of the premier neuroscientists living today, he says, referring to mental processes and brain functions, the two, I quote, Are they really one and the same [thing,] viewed from different perspectives? The characters of brain states and of phenomenal states (phenomenal states of your own mind) appear too different to be completely reducible to each other.

Now Cristof Koch invited me to Caltech several years back, just before he went to the Allen Institute, and I was there all day. I’ve never done this in my life, I had eleven hours of non-stop conversation with Cristof Koch, fellow faculty members at Caltech and then a number of his graduate students in his own lab. Eleven hours flat out, we didn’t stop talking. And I gave a lecture there on revitalizing the... I can’t remember the exact quote or the title, but it was basically “Furthering the Vision of William James of Radical Empiricism.” So, it was a mutually respectful whole series of conversations. He’s a very smart man. We differ of course on a number of points, but for eleven hours we talked, we talked. And he invited me to give a presentation and I gave it. Right?

So I think this is a way forward. That we talk. We don’t have to agree. But we also don’t have to respect every stupid idea that comes up. We respect people, we don’t have to respect views. Then you have to respect racism, sexism, or ethnic cleansing, and that the brain is a refrigerator. You have to respect that too, after all, Aristotle said it. We don’t have to respect everything. By the way, Cristof Koch in 1911 [2011], he joined the Allen Institute as chief scientific officer, 2011. I’m going to quote John Searle tomorrow because his thoughts are very insightful. They just disappeared so I’ll get them back. [47:19]

But Paul Ekman, again one of the most eminent psychologists living today, premier, top affective psychologist, renowned, very distinguished career. He wrote me yesterday. We’ve had a little dialog forever. We’re old friends. We’ve been friends for fourteen years now. And here’s what he wrote to me in his private correspondence yesterday, “For now, first person reporting by trained introspectionists is the main tool for understanding the mind.” So, I passionately want to make it clear, when sometimes I’m quite rough... I know, but I will continue to be when it feels appropriate. I feel no gentleness about racism. I feel no gentleness about many things, ideas that are not only wrong but terribly harmful. I’m not going to be gentle. But I’ll try to show respect for those people who would advocate them and have meaningful dialog and debate.

So, quite a few years back, John Searle and I, because we shared some common ground and differed in other areas. We were both invited to Northwestern University for a public debate. We held it, a mutually respectful debate. Right? So, this is not pitting Buddhism against modern philosophy or modern science. It is pitting something against something else. It’s pitting open-minded, radical empiricism and clarity of thought against anti-empiricism, dogmatism, close-minded intolerance to any view that differs from one’s own. And that’s what the materialism has been doing for a hundred years. [49:02]

I know many people, colleagues, friends of mine in modern philosophy and science, and listening to them, I would say the materialists have been tyrannizing modern philosophy and science for the last hundred years. They really have. I mean, I’ve spoken to so many of them. They are afraid... People who have some, you know, share something akin to Buddhist views. They’re afraid, literally, I’ve heard them say this, afraid of expressing their views publicly for fear of recrimination. That you’re a mystic. That’s like saying you’re a total asshole. “You’re a mystic. You’re an introspectionist. You’re a dualist! Ooh! This means you eat your own feces.” They have no problem being pejorative but they are tyrannizing, really, they are tyrannizing modern academia and they’ve totally sucked up modern journalism, the so-called scientific reporting. They’ve sucked them up lock, stock and barrel. I don’t know a scientific journalist who has the guts to stand up to all the dogmatism that’s dominating modern academic thought and scientific research that stifles, sucks the life force out of any truly open-minded, empirical and rational inquiry into the nature of mind, where you include, of course, introspection.

So really we’ve been living in a dark age for a hundred years and it’s really time to stop. It’s really time to stop. Not to replace religion with science, or Buddhism with cognitive science. Absurd! Nobody has a monopoly. Nobody has the one unique perspective that sheds light on everything. But there’s so much fear out there. It really is, it’s palpable. Journalists are afraid to go against it.

There are people nowadays who say they’re Buddhist and they’re materialists. That’s like saying you’re a Freudian and you don’t believe in the nature of the mind and the subconscious doesn’t exist. I’m sorry, maybe someone listening, but this is delusional to say you’re following the Buddha but you think he was having a psychotic fit on the night of his enlightenment is not rational. The Buddha was not a materialist. If you are, you’re welcome to that view. I’m so glad you have the freedom to hold that view and to express that view. It’s a wonderful thing, but please don’t put that bullshit into the mouth of the Buddha. It’s not appropriate. It has no empirical evidence, it’s irrational, it’s nonsense. [51:34]

But there are many people now citing these, “In Alan Wallace’s view, materialism is incompatible with Buddhism.” Bullshit! What are you putting this on me for? As if any of my teachers is a materialist. As if any, any Asian teacher of Buddhism is a materialist. As if there was any adept in the history of Buddhism, in any school for the last twenty-five hundred years who was a materialist. Show me one. If you want to be the materialist, I’m very happy you have the freedom to have that view. But if you call yourself a Buddhist, you’re deluding yourself and you’re deluding everybody else. That’s not a service. That is duplicitous.

So here we are in our little mind center in Phuket, challenging the scientific community, philosophical community and modern journalism. Challenging the Buddhist tradition to get a grip and start emphasizing shamatha-vipashyana which is the core of the Buddhist teachings for meditation, for liberation, start emphasizing it more. Do I need to say this, this guy from California? Do I need to be reminding everybody this is the core of Buddhist meditation, shamatha-vipashyana? Why don’t we really focus on that and create environments, laboratories, observatories where we can be doing this professionally, rigorously and bring about a renaissance in Buddhism and a revolution in the modern mind sciences. [53:03]

So way back when, centuries ago, when the Roman Catholic Church, with all the dogmatism that that church and all other churches are prone to, when they basically put a clamp, a dogmatic clamp on the creativity, the open-minded thinking of Europeans with their church school, their church university in Paris. There were reactionaries, reactionaries against that, revolutionaries against that, said, “We’ve had enough. We French, we want to be able to think freely, and not be under the tyranny, to the point of inquisition, being tortured to death. We want the freedom to think our own thoughts, our own creativity, follow our own empirical investigations, rational investigations. We will not confine our thinking and our teaching and our writing to established Roman Catholic dogma. You’re stifling us! You’re strangling us!”

So they went on the opposite side of the Seine, the river flowing through Paris. The church university was on one side and they went to the other side, the left side, and they started their own little encampment and it became the Sorbonne as a revolution against dogmatism, close-minded, intellectual, ideological tyranny. That’s what we have right now. It’s not to say by any means that all the scientists and philosophers in academia are all tyrannical or that they’re all materialists. They’re not. Many of them are not. But the materialists are dominating the soundwaves.

Now pardon me, a great big opinion coming up. You can throw this out with the trash, it doesn’t matter if it’s of no value. But, speaking as an American, like these extremists in the Tea Party are dominating the Republican Party. For decades and decades and decades the Republicans and Democrats would have meaningful, respectful dialog and debate. They would debate on the floor and then they would go off and have lunch together. They would be comrades, they would be friends. This was true in the 1960’s, 70’s and so forth. They would debate but with mutual respect and they would work out compromises and so forth. That’s how good government operates. [55:18]

These extremists on the far right wing of the Republican party, they don’t want to compromise. To quote one, “Our notion of compromise, is you agree with us.” They would rather shut down the government than have any compromise with moderate Republicans, liberal Republicans, let alone the Democrats. To call that patriotic I find unimaginable. But they’re dominating a whole party going back to Lincoln. I find that terribly sad. I’m a Democrat just by political persuasion but there have been so many fine Republicans over the decades and decades and decades. But now they want to shut down the dialog. I think it’s terribly tragic.

And what these extremist, right wing Republicans are doing to the Republican party and American politics generally is what the materialists are doing to modern philosophy and science. They’re not a majority. Only one out of ten Americans is a materialist. But the materialists dominate all the media as if they’re the only intelligent voice around, and if you disagree with them, look out. You will experience what it feels like to be ostracized.

So is it possible to bring about a revolution in the modern mind sciences, to bring about a renaissance in Buddhism, that we really get back to our empirical roots? And don’t simply continue with momentum of the past. And I have a quote here, and we’ll end here, from this brilliant biographer, Walter Isaacson, who’s written, again as I mentioned, superb biographies of Ben Franklin, Steve Jobs, and then the one I’ve read so carefully, of Albert Einstein. You can find this on Amazon, by the way. But he was interviewed. The interview was included on the Amazon.com page for his biography of Steve Jobs. Here’s how the interview concludes from Walter Isaacson, Pulitzer Prize winning writer. Isaacson says, referring to Steve Jobs of course, he said, His legacy, as he said in his “Think Different” ad, was reminding us that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

So people listening by podcasts, if what I’ve just said makes sense, please change the world. For us here in the world, in this Phuket, little world of Phuket, let’s change the world. Let’s be so crazy, because I think we actually can do it. And not be intimidated, not be overwhelmed by the degeneracy of this age, not be intimidated, not lose heart, not let somebody steal our life force. We’re not dead yet. Viva la revolucion! [laughter]

So, enjoy your day.

Transcribed by Mark Montgomery

Revised by Rafael Carlos Giusti

Final Edition by Krisskringle Sprinkle

Discussion

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