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Brain rocks

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited September 2014 in Philosophy

Small part of another thread
. . . 'sentience is a function of brain complexity'

Part of that thread was potentially leading towards mind independent of object. In other words asking if a rock has sentience. What about the absence of rock or body?
:buck: .

Comments

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited September 2014

    today, before i offered Buddha Puja (food and water) to the Buddha statue (a symble of Bddha) i had to keep the glass and the plate in another place because it was a bit early to offer food

    where i kept Puja there is a kitchen plant in a pot

    at the time, it came into my mind, Buddha's body is in part of 'this' plant too and i really offering Puja to Buddha himself

    it gave me a real pleasure

    it makes me to think again,

    do we have any right to critisise those who deal with offering flowers, incesnse, fruits, oil lamp etc. in front of Buddha statues?

    JeffreyHamsakaCinorjer
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2014

    @lobster

    I think that asking what is sentient and what is not, is just a question whose answer depends on how widely one casts the parameters to measure it.

    Like having a difficulty in finding the sentience of a toenail but by expanding those parameters far enough, you can eventually see that it is all part of a wider sentience called lobster.
    The other hubris in searching for sentience is measuring it according to the speed in which humans experience time. Could a mayfly measure the sigh of a mountain?

    Earthninjalobster
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited September 2014

    If I was measuring or discerning such a thing as sentience, I'd probably go with anything that can experience pain and suffering. It doesn't need to be intelligent or self-aware or anything special. Just capable of experiencing suffering. The problem after that would be how to determine whether something can or not!

    HamsakaBuddhadragonCinorjerglenba
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I listened to a lecture, I think it was Genpo Roshi who said even rocks are considered sentient. Just a primitive version. :)

    Alan Watts also makes a point to that rocks have a potential to change into life also. Therefore are part of it.

  • I think there is only sentience if the being desires something.

    HamsakaEarthninjaCinorjer
  • :clap: .

    There are ideas that crystal rocks grow and have meaning or medicine for us in the form of sacred ground, mountains and even the interdependence of matter originally star dust that animates within us.

    The idea of extending 'sentient being' into the whole matter of existence equates with my experience, even though it seems contrary to our present scientific limitations.

    Did we just extend the Bodhisattva vow to not just save every blade of grass but every last atom it is composed of?

    EarthninjaBuddhadragon
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Small part of another thread
    . . . 'sentience is a function of brain complexity'

    Part of that thread was potentially leading towards mind independent of object. In other words asking if a rock has sentience. What about the absence of rock or body?
    :buck: .

    A better way to say that is 'sentience can be predicted by brain complexity'. At least on this planet :D .

    Mind independent of object? When I think of sentience, I see it as a continuum, not a specific thing. Some 'objects' have more or less sentience than others. Squirrels have more sentience (aware of itself) than grasshoppers and especially grass.

    I just don't want to eat something that suffered becoming my food.

    overthecuckoosnest
  • When I think of sentience, I see it as a continuum, not a specific thing.

    Yes, indeed. Understood. The 'sentience' of a tea cup is quite low but if one day as it inevitably must, the teacup becomes the aggregate components of enlightened beings, we might have more reverence, respect and humility towards this non entity.

    Do we reside in the realm of The Maitreyas? Too theistic for those of a secular persuasion maybe? :buck: .

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    Alan Watts also makes a point to that rocks have a potential to change into life also. Therefore are part of it.

    What did he mean?

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I think it was based around the basic building blocks of everything on our planet is linked.
    He talked about how we are as much a part of the planet as anything else. That we don't see or feel that our environment is a part of us.

    The very intelligent energy that created all we see today created the rocks, shells, trees, people. I think he says the energy is expressing itself in different ways. We are one way, rocks are another. They go with each other, without rocks what would we walk on?

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    Land masses and oceans

    Forests and rivers and lakes

    The hydro-cycle, the warming and cooling of the earth day/night, the seasons,

    Cells working together for the locomotion of monoliths like our bodies..

    and yet, no one component does it all alone

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @lobster said:
    There are ideas that crystal rocks grow and have meaning or medicine for us in the form of sacred ground, mountains and even the interdependence of matter originally star dust that animates within us.

    The owner of the crystal shop nearby once told me that the crystals we use for healing purposes have evolved over millions of years, and keep evolving, changing as we use them. At the same time, we evolve and change, too, through our interaction with these crystals. Some stones, like emeralds and turquoises, even change colour as reaction to certain changes in our bodies.

    As @AldrisTorvalds said above, we usually define a sentient being according to its capacity for suffering.
    But since we can't always tell when a certain being is suffering, I prefer to extend the definition to every single particle in the universe that conspires to uphold the interconnection system.
    I am a part of everything, and everything is part of me. We are all relevant. We are all pertinent.

    EarthninjaCinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2014

    @Earthninja said:
    The very intelligent energy that created all we see today created the rocks, shells, trees, people. I think he says the energy is expressing itself in different ways. We are one way, rocks are another. They go with each other, without rocks what would we walk on?

    I had some interesting conversations with a new-age priestess type a couple of years ago, she was telling me about how rocks have "earth energy" - though she couldn't really explain what it was. I have a collection of rocks, and on occasion when touching them I do get a sense of history, though of course such impressions are very subjective.

    What I do know is that the natural world is a great teacher, and that close contact with it can be very revealing. Of course these days a large chunk of the world's population live in cities, and that close contact might only be very occasional.

    Then there's that "touching the earth" thing, it's popular with pagans but has also found it's way into Buddhism:
    http://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/touching-the-earth/

    Earthninja
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    What did he mean?

    His point was that if aliens swung by here a few million years ago they might have said "oh well' nothing here but a bunch of rocks". The same aliens coming back now might say "oops, we were wrong... It seemed like just a bunch of rocks but the darned thing is peopleing".

    Personally, I see the universe as more a mental phenomena. Bits of information flying around, bumping into each other and causing effects and changing.

    When I think of the Two Truths (conventional and ultimate) I try to include all of us. I don't see the rock as a being but like us, it just might be a state of being.

    I think a sentient being has to be able to distinguish between itself and the environment even if it doesn't realise there is no true separation.

    I don't think a rock has the ability to distinguish between itself and the rest of the universe any more than the atoms that form it.

    This ability for us, seems to be both blessing and curse because we too often forget there is no separation between us and the rocks and that leads us to mis treat them and others.

    HamsakaupekkaEarthninja
  • we don't know how others think until we develop our minds to be able to read others minds

    so how could we know how earth, rocks, trees, rivers etc. think?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Thanks @Cinorjer‌, I feel that wholistic interdependence with our environment is part of the equation and perhaps easiest to unfold from.

    Alienation and a sense of being a being apart, is a very harsh sense of individuality for some . . .

    In being a connected or karmic resonance, perhaps we try to attune with our environmental setting, without a constant need to live in a preferred heaven, Pureland or god realm.

    Describing Buddhism as an evolving Being, with rebirth and change inherent in its nature hopefully also is meaningful for some of us.

    Life, death, sentience are words that equate with various degrees of potential . . . that @sova expresses quite poetically . . . :wave: .

    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2014

    I think I will keep a rock as a pet. It seems like a cheap option, but maybe not as interactive as a cat.

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @upekka said:
    we don't know how others think until we develop our minds to be able to read others minds

    so how could we know how earth, rocks, trees, rivers etc. think?

    Great point,

    Considering our eyes have a relationship with light rays. Our ears have a relationship with vibrations in the air.
    Who knows what other media is out there we cannot perceive. Doesn't mean it isn't there!

    We only have 5 ways of experiencing the universe.

    glenba
  • After cutting my toenails , do the trimmings still constitute sentience?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    If they move on their own.....

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I think I will keep a rock as a pet. It seems like a cheap option, but maybe not as interactive as a cat.

    Just remember, a pet rock is a long term relationship. The roadsides are scattered with abandoned pet rocks, left to fend for themselves.

    ToraldrisBuddhadragonEarthninjaKundo
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Whenever I find them in my garden borders, I gather them all to one side and make piles of them. They then occasionally grow moss, plants in between, and offer safe haven to garden beasties like spiders, bumble bees and beetles. They keep each other company, and watch me as I tend my borders.... everyone's happy....

    CinorjerBuddhadragon
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:
    Just remember, a pet rock is a long term relationship. The roadsides are scattered with abandoned pet rocks, left to fend for themselves.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think I will keep a rock as a pet. It seems like a cheap option, but maybe not as interactive as a cat.

    My son would love a sibling, but unfortunately this option has not worked.
    We decided to buy him a pet, but as much as hubby loves animals, he abhors pet hair, so cats and dogs are crossed off the list.
    We'll go in the direction of turtles or tortoises, instead.
    I don't think the rock option would... rock anyone of us.

  • Some dog breeds have a single coat with a longer growth cycle. Here's another list for you:

    http://www.answers.com/Q/Do_Lhasa_Apso_has_fur_or_hair

    Buddhadragon
  • Among my four rescued dogs are two poodles. Until these wandered into my life, I didn't know their fur keeps growing until they look like little tangled sheepdogs, unless you take them to be cut and groomed every other month at least. That's 40 dollars each, every two months, for privilege of hearing these two yappy dogs bark at everything they hear or see moving. I'd rather have all four dogs with shedding cycles like the other mutts in the house.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I could lend you my beard trimmer. ;) .

    Cinorjer
  • single or double, they still do the doo do.

  • It may seem strange to acknowledge the future potential of the inanimate to become part of animate and sentient being. Overly respectful or worthy only of animism . . .

    However some of us have pet rocks shaped into a Buddha form. Is the form empty or the empty rock a potential form?

    Just the usual block head thinking . . .
    :buck: .

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Tortoises do move faster than rocks I suppose. :p .

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2014

    It's a close thing..... :D .

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    I'm reading Sam Harris' new book "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion" (well listening to the audiobook), and another measure of consciousness or sentience is to ask what it is like to be X (i.e. "what is it like to be a bat?"). If we can say there's something it's like, even if we can't really grasp how it would be, then we're ascribing awareness to that object.

  • @AldrisTorvalds said:
    If we can say there's something it's like, even if we can't really grasp how it would be, then we're ascribing awareness to that object.

    Part of some western occult schools training which I have indulged in, involves visualising, imagining and encompassing the feeling of being simple objects such as a rock or tin of beans. :orange: .

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited September 2014

    @lobster I'd love to know how that would work, exactly. How can we visualize being a rock without visualizing being an aware  rock? ;) If we did manage to do it, what next? Give it motives and desires? Oh that just ticked my funny bone!

  • What if we are the figments of a stone's imagination, and It's posing the same question to it's rock buddies?

  • It is just part of concentration, similar to Shingon focus on kanji . . .
    http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/the-tree-in-action-visualisation-1263/

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @bravehawk said:
    What if we are the figments of a stone's imagination, and It's posing the same question to it's rock buddies?

    Humans - pah! Here one minute, gone the next. :D .

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @lobster said:
    It is just part of concentration, similar to Shingon focus on kanji . . .
    http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/the-tree-in-action-visualisation-1263/

    I prefer tree-hugging. :p .

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Perhaps the title is supposed to read "Brian Rocks!" and as he's the forum founder, it's hard to argue with that!

    lobster
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I prefer tree-hugging. :p .

    Indeed.
    Some trees prefer rock hugging

    Buddhadragon
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I thought it was a tree laying an egg. :p .

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