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Old 09-24-2010, 05:56 AM   #26
phitruong
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

meet the Buddha on your dusty aikido highway
kill him! kill him! it is the only way!
"where?" you asked the killing be done
let the deed be done on highway sixty one.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:33 AM   #27
torbjornsaw
 
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

The ego never dies but we can learn a lot about it. Sometimes it can feel like an inner battle and then words like break and submission and surrender can fit. No one can impose it but we can point it out if it helps. The dojo is many things for many people and there are different aspects that can be addressed. We can word it differently if not clear or precise. Thanks for all the feed back.

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:01 AM   #28
Keith Larman
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
If you have a degree, surely you must have learned how to make constructive criticisms, demonstrating compelling arguments, citing evidence and so on.
Ego. Please define your terms. Do you mean that inflated sense of self worth? Do you mean the more Eastern notion of illusory conception of self-existence? Do you mean one of the 3-part psychic structure as defined in Freudian Psychology (which is quite distinct from #1 above)? Do you mean the so-called "self-conscious mind" idea that is probably the most common "popular" conception of Ego in the west? Do you mean conscious "awareness" of personal identity (a rich area of discussion in philosophy)? And so on.

And of course there is the fact that most mix and match any number (or all?) of the above definitions.

There comes a point when the topic gets so "out there" with people each using subtly and not-so-subtly different definitions of their words (Freudian ego conceptions, general psych definitions, general philosophical ideas, popular culture ego conceptions, general "fuzzy" non-defined ideas of something "ego-ish", self-awareness, notions of (non-)existence) that most comments without a greater context sound very much like the non-sequitur spoken by the little boy. There is no common ground that I can find in this thread hence the disconnect. At some point it starts sounding more like new-age air blowing.

Please feel free to ignore the guy who spent way too many years in psych research. In my experience we are humorless about some stuff then tend to make jokes when things get too far afield.

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:09 AM   #29
Keith Larman
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

I should add that I am perfectly comfortable with the notion that maybe I'm just not deep or smart enough to understand the topic. Even having studied the stuff I will readily admit to being somewhat baffled by most discussions like this. So I admit to the possibility that the disconnect is in my brain, that my "ego" (inflated image of self-worth? conscious mind? simplistic control mechanism? ) won't allow me to understand this sort of discussion.

Please, carry on. I'll go back into my cave and quietly stare at the shadows some more...

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:16 AM   #30
Marc Abrams
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I should add that I am perfectly comfortable with the notion that maybe I'm just not deep or smart enough to understand the topic. Even having studied the stuff I will readily admit to being somewhat baffled by most discussions like this. So I admit to the possibility that the disconnect is in my brain, that my "ego" (inflated image of self-worth? conscious mind? simplistic control mechanism? ) won't allow me to understand this sort of discussion.

Please, carry on. I'll go back into my cave and quietly stare at the shadows some more...
Keith:

My teacher has told me that I must eat your brain since I have surrendered my ego in order to become a zombie. If I eat your brain you can surrender your ego as well! Personally, I like a nice Chianti with my brain. How about you?

Marc Abrams

ps- If there are some more great links in your cave, please share!
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:51 AM   #31
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Keith:

My teacher has told me that I must eat your brain since I have surrendered my ego in order to become a zombie. If I eat your brain you can surrender your ego as well! Personally, I like a nice Chianti with my brain. How about you?

Marc Abrams

ps- If there are some more great links in your cave, please share!
Sorry, I'll take the 1990 Ch Montrose with along with a couple grass fed ribeyes grilled over mesquite we had a few days ago over chianti any day.

Unless you include fava beans...

p.s. I also liked the zombie kid because years ago at a bar late at night I had a rousing discussion with a bunch of psych researchers about the best way to describe zombie intelligence. It was hilarious for me sitting there with a bunch of Ph.D.'s getting seriously involved in trying to figure out the best way to model the mental processes of a zombie. Was it best to consider them using a Freudian model where the id was the only structure left? The conversation got so wonderfully weird including considering brain evolution ideas (reptilian brain -- cue Anthony Hopkins doing that thing after he mentioned the fava beans), brain structure, heck, someone even somehow managed to bring up Jung and Paul Tillich (huh?). Of course I couldn't resist Julian Jaynes and that whole bicameral deal. What a great idea -- zombies as being throw backs to a more primal brain structure hence somewhat schizophrenic state of consciousness. Just with human flesh eating tendencies. Of course since most the people there were in the mental skills testing area we ended up discussing Guilford's theories and what sort of "mental stuff" would rotate out in a factor analysis after testing... So yeah, zombies can make for a good gedanken even in psych discussions.

So on self-examination I realize I also engage in some fairly odd discussions. So please, as I said, carry on without me. After further self-psycho-analysis I understand better why the zombie kid seemed so incredibly relevant to the discussion. Obviously it wasn't as relevant to everyone else as it was to me. Must learn to listen to the ego more and repress that irresponsible id that likes posting when I'm tired...

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Old 09-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #32
Marc Abrams
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Sorry, I'll take the 1990 Ch Montrose with along with a couple grass fed ribeyes grilled over mesquite we had a few days ago over chianti any day.

Unless you include fava beans...

p.s. I also liked the zombie kid because years ago at a bar late at night I had a rousing discussion with a bunch of psych researchers about the best way to describe zombie intelligence. It was hilarious for me sitting there with a bunch of Ph.D.'s getting seriously involved in trying to figure out the best way to model the mental processes of a zombie. Was it best to consider them using a Freudian model where the id was the only structure left? The conversation got so wonderfully weird including considering brain evolution ideas (reptilian brain -- cue Anthony Hopkins doing that thing after he mentioned the fava beans), brain structure, heck, someone even somehow managed to bring up Jung and Paul Tillich (huh?). Of course I couldn't resist Julian Jaynes and that whole bicameral deal. What a great idea -- zombies as being throw backs to a more primal brain structure hence somewhat schizophrenic state of consciousness. Just with human flesh eating tendencies. Of course since most the people there were in the mental skills testing area we ended up discussing Guilford's theories and what sort of "mental stuff" would rotate out in a factor analysis after testing... So yeah, zombies can make for a good gedanken even in psych discussions.

So on self-examination I realize I also engage in some fairly odd discussions. So please, as I said, carry on without me. After further self-psycho-analysis I understand better why the zombie kid seemed so incredibly relevant to the discussion. Obviously it wasn't as relevant to everyone else as it was to me. Must learn to listen to the ego more and repress that irresponsible id that likes posting when I'm tired...
Keith:

Oh how I wish that you and your wife were able to join George, his wife and mine for that week-long play date in Napa/Sonoma Valley this past summer. I think that I am still drying out....... Maybe next summer.....

Waxing poetic with pseudo-philosophical, pseudo-psychological babble may be a nice form of mental masturbation for some people, but I get genuinely concerned when people try and do so as teachers. Your zombie link seemed to go above some people (I just love the bell-shaped curve), but was biting, to the point and very accurate.

Maybe we should retreat to our caves and try and find some nice grape juice for this weekend. Seems to be a much more constructive pursuit. Speaking of which..... son-in-law hosting a grill fest in my backyard this weekend. My South American Grill, along with with my home-made smoker will get some good use. They are brining Captain Lawrence beers (Local brewer who went to HS with my daughter and now has the 17th top independent micro-brewery in the world!) and I have to figure out a nice red to sip amongst my friends. Thinking a Molly Docker Carnival of Love......

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:35 AM   #33
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Keith:

Oh how I wish that you and your wife were able to join George, his wife and mine for that week-long play date in Napa/Sonoma Valley this past summer. I think that I am still drying out....... Maybe next summer.....
Yeah, I'm really sorry we couldn't make it, but I'm still backed up and working way too many hours. One of these days I need to rob a bank then take a real vacation. Lord knows I need it. Conversations like this work much better with a little cabernet and lots of laughs.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Waxing poetic with pseudo-philosophical, pseudo-psychological babble may be a nice form of mental masturbation for some people, but I get genuinely concerned when people try and do so as teachers.
Amen.

The insidious aspect of this is that it is very difficult to discuss because to some it sounds good and appears (and may in fact be) internally consistent. But at best is rests on a shifting conceptual foundation (if there is a foundation at all) and it becomes a amorphous blob of what is ultimately misused technical sounding words expressing total nonsense.

Shrug. As I said, carry on.

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Old 09-24-2010, 08:37 AM   #34
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Geez, a lot of wining going on here. You two sure don't bottle up your feelings. Id be great if you'd just say what you mean. Okay, that was a stretch for a pun, so stomp me for it. Alright, alright, I'll put a cork in it. Psych! Just kidding.

Anyway, back to the topic and apologies for the thread drift of puns...

Disclaimer: No wines were harmed in the making of this thread, although some grapes were crushed that they had to be a part of it.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:30 AM   #35
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
meet the Buddha on your dusty aikido highway
kill him! kill him! it is the only way!
"where?" you asked the killing be done
let the deed be done on highway sixty one.
I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61

David Henderson
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:40 AM   #36
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

IMHO, do not surrender or break.
Accept, appreciate, transform, and utilize.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:37 AM   #37
Aikibu
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, do not surrender or break.
Accept, appreciate, transform, and utilize.
This is the true Aikido

Harmony not harm many

William Hazen
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:54 PM   #38
Janet Rosen
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Anyway, back to the topic and apologies for the thread drift of puns...
There ego again....not that I bear you any anima-sity.

Janet Rosen
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:20 PM   #39
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Id just never gets old, does it?

David Henderson
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:09 PM   #40
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Ego. Please define your terms. Do you mean that inflated sense of self worth? Do you mean the more Eastern notion of illusory conception of self-existence? Do you mean one of the 3-part psychic structure as defined in Freudian Psychology (which is quite distinct from #1 above)? Do you mean the so-called "self-conscious mind" idea that is probably the most common "popular" conception of Ego in the west? Do you mean conscious "awareness" of personal identity (a rich area of discussion in philosophy)? And so on.

And of course there is the fact that most mix and match any number (or all?) of the above definitions.
Sorry but nope. He didn't so I won't either. I did point out the Freudian model of the psyche. You can take that as what I thought was the basic meaning but any of the others you mention are fine too. You have effectively said that with all these different possibilities there is no "common ground" to discuss and are thus not interested. Yet you do think it necessary to wield your academic authority to make fun of and quash the efforts of others. Isn't that just an ad hominem argument? I do not know the OP but from what I can gather, he is speaking from some measure of experience himself.

Carl
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:06 PM   #41
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Carl, sorry, I just found the original post to be nearly incomprehensible and nonsensical. Mostly new-age gobbledygook. And as I said, I am perfectly willing to admit that maybe I just don't "get it". That's fine too. There is no requirement that I understand it for it to be correct or meaningful. Shrug.

As an analogy I know you know Japanese very well. You get to hear people start to pontificate on the meaning of Japanese terms and you likely will very quickly develop the impression that they don't speak the language very well. So there comes a point when you listen to something and you find a series of slight misunderstandings, spurious at best interpretations, then see them all strung together to create a whole new level of "meaning" to some rather innocuous term that in your opinion makes little or no sense. All the "logical" steps are okay, but all the small errors in meaning/interpretation/weighting/cultural underpinnings, etc. magnify into something that according to your understanding may be just flat out silly.

As a very low level example I remember hearing someone pontificate for a very long time on the deep, specific meaning of "onegaishimasu" in training in Aikido. About how it is the way we ask them to train with us, that it has all sorts of deep levels of special meanings of reciprocity, etc. The student asked if that was the "translation" of the term and he said "Yes, that is what it means". Well... all I'm thinking as I listened was that it was the word I used to be relatively polite when I ordered a beer the night before at the local family run Japanese restaurant.

Sorry, the post just struck me as incredibly superficial and "arm chair" psychology/philosophy. Bordering on an almost cult-like crazy focus with the whole "breaking" of the "will" of the "ego". That is my impression. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But again, as I said before, please go on. I had little problem with some of the posts and I'm most certainly not the thought police. The orginal post, however, struck me as, well, rather bizarre at best.

I'll leave this to the real psych people on this thread. I'm just a number crunching, study runnin' geek who never took the time to finish the dissertation. I ain't got nothin' on some of the other folk who posted who can actually "walk the walk".

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Old 09-24-2010, 04:17 PM   #42
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

And Carl, I will add that I fessed up to having a rather long discussion with a bunch of very serious research folk about the psychological makeup of zombies. Rather silly and stupid, no?

It was an interesting conversation, certainly kept me on my toes, and frankly was rather enlightening. However, nobody took it all that seriously. There are things that are interesting to speculate about, think about, talk about, etc. But when you start to get into "destroying the ego", breaking the will, etc., that gets kinda "over-the-top". That raises flags. I agree with Marc up above -- I hear that kind of thing and I'd be telling people to run away as fast as possible. Sometimes these things go from being, um, really earnest about this stuff into the realm of being kinda cultish.

Obviously (and I mean that sincerely) I could be wrong.

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Old 09-24-2010, 04:29 PM   #43
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Sometimes these things go from being, um, really earnest about this stuff into the realm of being kinda cultish.
i think this is an important point. Sincerity in and of itself is no measure of truth. A person can be extremely sincere.....but sincerely wrong at the same time.
And if you've gone this way; it can well be that you're the last one to see it too. This kind of stuff effects the *stuff* of who we are, and what we're made of; and how we see and filter the world. A better man than I wrote this; and I always remembered it: "If you open yourself up to being pervasively influenced, you will be influenced pervasively." or close to that. (thanks ea). hacking ego/worldview can be .. costly. IMO.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:39 PM   #44
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Keith, I understand where you are coming from and I am grateful for your more detailed reply. I particularly appreciate your example:

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
As a very low level example I remember hearing someone pontificate for a very long time on the deep, specific meaning of "onegaishimasu" in training in Aikido. About how it is the way we ask them to train with us, that it has all sorts of deep levels of special meanings of reciprocity, etc. The student asked if that was the "translation" of the term and he said "Yes, that is what it means". Well... all I'm thinking as I listened was that it was the word I used to be relatively polite when I ordered a beer the night before at the local family run Japanese restaurant.
Here you have pointed out why you thought the pontificator was wrong.

Surely you can do this with the OP's statement? Just take it apart, piece by piece. It is one thing saying you think it is nonsense and giving better examples of just how nonsensical you think it is. Giving us examples of how it actually is nonsensical (as above, showing contradictions or factual errors etc) is another.

Carl
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:49 PM   #45
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Carl, no time right now. The problem really stems from the whole notion of "destroying" the ego or "breaking" the will. These are all loaded terms. I kinda get what he's trying to say, but quite frankly human behavior is not all that easy to change. And just because we talk about things like "the ego" or the "will" it doesn't follow that they are in fact singular "things". A quick example that comes to mind is the notion of IQ. Testing guys (my area) use tools like factor analysis to rotate out factors that identify "trends" within really complex datasets. We try to find these underlying factors. But we take a huge leap when we move from identifying a factor and giving it a quantitative or descriptive "value" to the thinking that it is therefore a "thing". Reification of a factor results in moving from talking about an abstraction which is really a marvelously complex, varied, multi-aspect "set" of events/proclivities/whatever to thinking there's something more or less concrete there. What is the will? What is the ego? Beyond just defining the terms are we making the mistake of reifying the simplification of complex behaviors into some singular thing? When we do this we move from explanation into making new assumptions, forming new theories, then we can start talking about "breaking" the will, destroying ego, and all those things.

It just doesn't work that way.

But... Like I said, gotta go for now. Gotta go teach a class, actually...

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Old 09-24-2010, 10:08 PM   #46
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post

Please, carry on. I'll go back into my cave and quietly stare at the shadows some more...
Hello Keith,

Have you ever come across the writings of John Langshaw Austin? He was a powerful influence on the philosophy of language just after World War II. I cite him here because his writings are very relevant to what you wrote in Post #45. However, Austin had no time for the dialectic of Plato and his shadows in the cave, preferring Aristotle's much more robust and this-worldly ideas, which were rooted in the language spoken by educated Greeks.

We had a discussion of onegaishimasu last night in my rhetoric class. One student gave the usual 'deep meaning' explanation, beloved of some Japanese. Then we added 'yoroshii' and 'yoroshiku' to the mix (for 'yoroshiku onegaishimasu' is much more frequently heard here) and he was off, flying through the Japanese linguistic firmament. This student, who did kendo in his youth, also believes that the 'real' meaning of BU 武 is 'stopping spears'. Why? 'Because the Japanese are essentially peaceful.'

Relevance to this thread? None at all, really, except that Austin was a contemporary of Wittgenstein, who once wrote:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." (Ogden translation.)
"What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." (Pears & McGuiness translation.)

Wittgenstein intended this proposition (No. 7 of his Tractatus) to apply to mystical and ethical statements. I do not believe he was right in this regard, but Austin's approach, that of detailed language analysis, is much more congenial to me. I think this is not really possible in a forum discussion such as this. So the opening poster's statements have to stand, but only for what they are worth.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 09-24-2010 at 10:14 PM.

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Old 09-25-2010, 12:30 AM   #47
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Dr. Goldsbury...

Lovely to see you posting.

Yes, I am quite familiar with Austin as "How to do things with Words" was one of my favorite books when I was an undergrad. I spent a great deal of time reading Austin, Wittgenstein, and Ryle. I even managed to catch a few lectures from Searle later on. Great stuff. I ended up doing an Honors Thesis in epistemology with an emphasis on many of these guys although I mostly focused on some rather dry and boring details from Carnap.

Honestly I still think about it all and "roll it around in my head" 25 years later. As a matter of fact a few months ago I went back to rereading the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Or at least trying to. It seems so easy, such simple sets of concepts. It becomes mind boggling so quickly. Amazing work...

I had thought of quoting the very same (very famous) Wittgenstein gem, but since I'd already apparently gone too far I felt I should probably toggle it back a bit. I've always thought the critique of a philosophy degree being useless was clearly incorrect. I found the work of people like Austin, Wittgenstein, et al gave me a tremendous advantage in later on dealing with the analysis and interpretation of statistical data for the large scale studies I ran. So many traps, so much subtle nuance. And I remember one day in a meeting with a bunch of psych/stats people I brought up the phrase "truth values" as I was trying to explain a problem I had with an interpretation of some data. Most of them had no idea what I was talking about. I was channeling Austin...

Regardless, after I posted my quick post above I started to regret it. I'm not exactly sure how to get any further in this sort of thing and I think you're quite right to say that the original post can just stand as it is. I would suggest that those interested might want to search the web for articles on signs of cult-like behavior. And Dr. Marc already went through much of it point by point well before I ever posted originally. His extremely insightful and relevant comments and how they were essentially misunderstood and/or swept aside really were what inspired me to post the video of the cute zombie-faced kid uttering the completely sincere but total non sequitur that he liked turtles.

Anyway, I'm really not sure there is much more to say in the context of a forum like this.

And as an aside I'm glad you picked up my Platonic reference as it was really more of an inside joke to myself. I recently reread Plato's Gorgias dialogue as a result of some of the incredibly silly political discussions we've been having here in the US. Ironically enough it also seemed somewhat relevant to this discussion. An interesting convergence of coincidence.

And I will admit to being vastly more sympathetic to the Aristotelean point of view myself.

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Old 09-25-2010, 12:37 AM   #48
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Oh, and in the interests of completeness and giving credit where credit is due, I can't believe I left out one of my most important influences -- W.V.O. Quine. It is very difficult to find anyone today somehow not influenced by his work. His insights ripple through everything right down to even more "popularly known" writers/philosophers like Dennett and Hofstadter.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 09-25-2010 at 12:37 AM. Reason: spelling...

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Old 09-25-2010, 12:49 AM   #49
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Suffice to say is that my post very much relates to a student/teacher relationship in a spiritual setting. This language is not uncommon in the eastern stories of the guru/disciple dynamics. It might seem harsh and un-aikido like but I am quite used to that expression. The context for such an eastern traditional relationship is foreign and rare in the west.
It might sound like new age or quasi spiritual psychology but really it is just part of my own personal experience of such an encounter in the past (please see my links for a full description of those events, if you like to see where I'm coming from).
I don't have the expertise to point out the various differing ideas and explanations of ego and will. I'm simply saying that the experience of a rigid self adherence based on a set of rules/ideas might in real life be difficult to give up or surrender in order to experience a greater sense of freedom.
If you like you can pick apart anything you like without ever considering or asking the meaning of a statement, leading into an (hopefully) enlightening dialogue.
Considering that you might not know you say but really do you?

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Old 09-25-2010, 09:18 AM   #50
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Oh, and in the interests of completeness and giving credit where credit is due, I can't believe I left out one of my most important influences -- W.V.O. Quine. It is very difficult to find anyone today somehow not influenced by his work. His insights ripple through everything right down to even more "popularly known" writers/philosophers like Dennett and Hofstadter.
Hello Keith,

Well, I would take issue with you about Quine, but this would cause too much thread drift. I know nothing about Hofstadter, except that he has written bestselling books. As has Dennett. When I was at Harvard in the mid 1970s, I took a course from Daniel Dennett, which was really a discussion of his first book. During the course, it became clear that he was not amenable to reasoned argument, so my respect for him diminished somewhat. By comparison John Rawls (A Theory of Justice) was an excellent teacher. His lectures and seminars were deathly, because he had a stutter. Harvard had 'pro-seminars', which in the case of Rawls meant three hours on Kant's ethical theory. But he supervised my thesis on Socrates and I found him a kind and caring teacher.

We will obviously have to discuss these and other issues when I come to the US.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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