Monday, January 26, 2015

Waking, Being, Dreaming, chapter seven

Continuing from this post:

It starts with a discussion of the different bodies according to Yoga: physical, energy, mental, subtle, causal. Thompson sees this not so much as actually different bodies in different planes of existence but as experiences of altered embodiment. The neural correlates of such different embodiments overlap with those of switching from first to third person perspective when we dream and imagine. E.g., in out-of-body experiences one still maintains a sense of a body from a centered perspective, which still orients via spatial image schema like up/down etc. This is even if we see our physical body from a third -person perspective, as if from above, since that perspective is still 'self'-centered with spatial orientation.

Such experience is grounded in seeing the self as subject or object. In OBEs the self is split between the two, since you identify with both but your self-location is seeing your physical body from a third-person perspective. This is confirmed with brain studies showing the tempoparietal junction being affected, which is responsible for these perspective shifts. This grounds such experience naturally in perspectival shifts instead of different bodies that can metaphysically separate from the physical. There is no evidence for the latter and plenty for the former.

It phenomenologically seems like the former, which often leads to ontological dualism within traditions devoid of such scientific study. This reinforces my prior contentions that when we develop formal abstract rationality we also develop the third-person perspective, which tends to be misinterpreted metaphysically both in the meditative traditions as well as even the scientific materialist perspectives with their own mind-body, subject-object splits. E.g., see Cook-Greuter's description of stages 3/4 and 4. She, like other developmentalists, use Piaget as a primary source up to this point, where there has been a lot of empirical research. (The post-convential stages go beyond Piaget, and that's where things get questionable, another story.)

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