Momento looks really interesting, but I haven't watched it yet. I ration out my brain injury themed movies for when the "I can relate" response is likely to override the "god this is making me incredibly anxiious" response.

As to the more substantive comments post #77 my response will have to wait since I've just gotten home from some out patient surgery and am pretty high from the pain meds.

But I don't see "will to power" inevitalbe at all after deconstructing the self. That was part of my point about Buddhism about nihilism being psychological acting out.

Good meds.

This should clear everything up...persevere to the second half.

"Trees falling in the forest" is Zen rather than exstential, as are frogs jumping in ponds from the Poetry Month discussion.

Buddhism and Heidegger have meaningful similarities. A big difference is that Buddhism provides a path to living while Heidegger does not. The embodied mind of Evolutionary Psychology and the Deep Ecology movement are the children of Heidegger in the west attempting to find a path for living coming out of the western tradition.

The closest current expression of how to live (perhaps a more direct formulation of the word "rights") with these insights currently existing is the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. I specify this school because of its analytic tradition proceeding from the observation that everything has a cause and everything produces effects.

Here, a primary result of these observations is one of the hallmarks of all schools of Buddhism: no self.

In the west this idea upends conservative thinking completely. In the east it is deeply conservative.

Part of my fascination with current neuroscience is that the piciture of the mind that has so far emerged form it it seems to support several aspects of the Buddhist picture of the mind. To be sure, differences abound, especially what the Dalai Lama calls the "ontological confusion" of science.

I have avoided going in this direction here because it seemed either too far afield or too contentious (despite the blog's title). I bring it up now only to provide a living illustration of the implications of what I have been discussing.

Perhaps there are significant defects to this way of looking at things. But I think they are not of any greater scale than the defects of proceeding from the assumption of truly independent individuals, which seems to produce a lot of confusion just in defining basic terms.


Ay yes, the legions of materialism are many.

Nihilism being the main charge.

Functionally, I think nihilism is the emotional acting out of those who are frustrated and thwarted in their relation with the world.

The implications of recognizing ourselves as completely contigent beings are no more nihilistic than any version of eternalism anyone has discussed here. If anything, those in the throes of nihilism often implicitly believe they themselves exist - how can "anything is permitted" be true for some one who doesn't exist?

The issue is how we understand what it means to exist, rather than the existence of existence or non-existence.

The issue is how do we reconcile our manifest contingency with the compelling experience of our point-of-viewedness.

The word most used to do this is "embodied" - experience is a physical phenonomen embedded in our bodies which are embedded in the world.

This of course suggests that the word "individual" could use some redefining.

I think this approach is different enough from our hapbitual patterns of thought that we might have a chance of using it to better out situation rather than conducting a little mental interior decorating.

Evolutionary psychology provides another direction for locating the basis of rights - our biology.

In a pluralistic society it has the appeal finding rights in the bodies we all posess.

Just as our physical form is the result of adaptation, so are the structures of our individual and group psychologies. Indeed, religion then becomes an adaptation.

The ontology of this will be disturbing to many. The evidence is controversial. But I think it is worthy of consideration.