We’re back again with Artificial Intelligence researcher and Zen-dabbler, Ben Gortzel. We continue our exploration of some of the major themes in his non-fiction story "Enlightenment 2.0". This precipitates a conversation about whether consciousness is a result of the mechanisms of the brain, or whether it is fundamental. And connected to that, what are the ethical implications of creating an artificial intelligence, if we do indeed see it as having BuddhaNature? Finally, Ben shares what he has discovered while exploring the notion of "artificial wisdom"—including what difference there is between intelligence and wisdom. He also talks about the seeming incompatibility between intense scientific thinking and enlightenment, and how that might be rectified by creating a more wise and intelligent super-mind. This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Enlightenment 2.0.
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Philosopher and long-time Buddhist practitioner, Ken Wilber, continues his discussion of the meditative terrain and of his spiritual philosophy in general. He finishes off his discussion of the meditative maps with an exploration of what it actual takes–both in terms of time and effort–to master these various stages of consciousness. He also explains the difference between what he is now calling “horizontal enlightenment” (which is basically everything we’ve explored up to this point) and “vertical enlightenment” which encompasses other areas of human development that can’t been developed while on the cushion.
In this episode we have a round-table discussion, with members from the NYC-based Interdependence Project, on issues surrounding 21st century dharma in the West. Both Buddhist Geeks and the Interdependence Project tend to attract younger practitioners in their 20s & 30s. So, in this dialogue, where the oldest of us is 31, we take on some interesting questions about how Dharma is changing in the West, what challenges we face in the future, the economics of dharma, and the implications of a generation who are so interconnected with technology and culture. Listen in to hear a genuine conversation between young practitioners who are trying to find their way as Buddhist practitioners in the 21st century.
Philosopher and long-time Buddhist practitioner, Ken Wilber, shares with us a 10,000 foot view of the terrain of meditative experience. He describes several of the most common Buddhist maps and their progression, including the one presented in the Visuddhimagga (one of the most prevalent in the Theravada tradition), the 10 ox herding pictures in the Zen tradition, and the Anuttara Tantra from the Tibetan tradition.
He also gives an overview of the very difficult stages of practice called the Dark Nights. These are periods where after being plunged into a whole new experience of reality we have it stripped from us and feel like we have lost what was once discovered. Another meaning of the dark night has to do with dis-identifying with previous levels of consciousness, and the difficult journey of releasing our grasping and addiction to these lower levels.