Category Archives: Uncategorized

Suffering as Cybernetic Failure

From a stable and relaxed standing position, if you lean slightly you'll feel a slight impulse to push yourself back to center, unless you're operating at a higher level of the hierarchy of perception and interpreting a forward lean as neutral in order to walk forwards. If you get pushed far enough to break your ability to "push back" to centered, you hit cybernetic dysregulation, & panic and flail.

"Cybernetics" just means control systems, like thermostats, though sometimes in a higher-dimensional space with more complicated optimization targets. Balance while standing is a cybernetic process, we automatically apply force proportional to our degree of misalignment in order to keep ourselves at the desired physical orientation.

A lot of judo - Feldenkrais emphasizes this in Higher Judo - involves learning to treat local cybernetic dysregulation as part of a dynamic process of finding a new stable-but-mobile orientation, instead of trying to hold onto a single fixed posture, in other words, learning to fall without losing control.

For very many people, things like intense sadness and frustration are like being pushed over is to someone who isn't skilled at judo; they experience not just falling but panic at being knocked over.

If you don't experience sadness or frustration as suffering, that means it doesn't make you want to die / feel like you deserve death / feel profoundly dysregulated. In short, you're not interpreting frustration or sadness as a cybernetic failure. The experience of cybernetic failure is distinct and separable from any of these other experiences, but in most people they are highly correlated so they are blended perceptually.

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On Some Buddhist Teachings

Having read Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (MCTB) clarified for me that key features on "path" are artifacts from persistently blocked info flows seekers are specifically advised to ignore. The description of 3 characteristics is clear enough for me to feel like I can articulate disagreement: 

Suffering - or, Sure, Enlightenment is Great, but Have You Ever Tried Wiggling?

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Honey Butter and the Grain War

Ate a bunch of butter topped with raw honey and salt yesterday, and I feel just fine today. Increasingly impressed by Dave Asprey, who seems to hold an unusual posture with respect to health that involves just orienting towards value, not picking sides.

Paleo / low-carb / carnivore cluster is biased towards hunter-gatherer autonomy, against agricultural norms and social control, macho, individualistic. Vegan / puritan / low-fat / Kellogg cluster ends up promoting rules that favor people with compliant metabolism. Butter is very clearly an agricultural food, but has the desirable performance and health attributes that the *logic* of paleo/keto/carnivore points towards. Honey violates crude versions of this logic but empirically is just good. Noticing both as good requires equipoise.

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Floating into Awareness

Finally getting something out of sensory deprivation float tank time. Most recently went in for 90m, spent first 30-45 minutes just paying mindful awareness to my defense mechanisms anxiously craving reference points, and then I started spontaneously exploring range of motion for my left arm, gradually adding integration with other motion. This is a LOT like my experience of solo MDMA trips. I don't think I could do this work without prep work in Feldenkrais's modality (most value coming from solo ATM practice from his book, and most of the rest from a single guided-meditation session from a top Guild instructor.)

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Who controls the vertical? Who controls the horizontal?

Recently I've been investigating a phenomenological distinction between two different kinds of vision.

The first is horizontal, peripheral, reactive, associated with "shifty-eyed" lateral eye movement, evasive behavior, functioning socially as a sort of stimulus-response machine, treating bids from others as a kind of social threat to be either hidden from or deflected by making the appropriate response. Herd and prey animals have widely spaced eyes, the better to see threats from many angles. Call it Epimetheus.

The second is more vertical, centered, involves activation of the area around the "inner/third eye," has better lookahead both visually and mentally, and can have active preferences and intentions around the future. It feels "taller," like it sticks out more. Call it Prometheus.

Prometheus is photopic, Epimetheus is scotopic.

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