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Sam Harris vs. Deepak Chopra

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Gambit, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    I have read Sams book Waking Up. As far as I can recall (I read it a couple of months ago), he sees great value in the introspective practices (mindfulness in Buddhism, self-enquiry in Vedanta) of the two traditions, but refuses to commit to any metaphysical claims from either of the religions. He goes about as far as agreeing with both re: the false notion of the ego, and criticises materialistic approaches to science\philosophy in so far as they ignore the efficacy of introspective practices for understanding (and improving) the subjective dimension of life. He is also much more open-minded to the "hard" problem of consciousness, unlike his colleagues (Dawkins and Dennett, et al.)

    Apparently he has a rather long relationship with both Buddhism and Vedanta. He even sat at the feet of the renowned Advaita guru, Papaji, for a length of time, and from his words he seems to have a firm grasp of even very subtle teachings. In one chapter he lambasts Dennett for deeply misunderstanding the methodology of the Headless Way (an Advaita teaching method developed by Douglas Harding), which demonstrates both Sams intuitive grasp of the more cryptic pointers, and the total lack of it in the likes of Dennett who utterly discount the utility of non-conceptual forms of introspection.

    I think he is quite brave for writing the book, since by not placing himself firmly in either camp (materialists or the traditions) he opens himself to criticism from both. He even seems rather spiritually advanced, since in his own words he describes the results of his meditations and the experience corroborates with descriptions of samadhi and the like. In my view, however, his scepticism actually places him at a disadvantage, since his refusal to accept the implications of the insights derived from his experience robs him of even greater benefits to be had from them. Which is to say, his experiences, though profound, have not removed his avidyA. Nice guy though :)

    Also, I think Chopra is a fraud.


    -Edited
     
    #61 Makaranda, Jun 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
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  2. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    The subject matter of this thread is not about which individual you find more interesting.
     
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  3. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    could it possibly be that those that dont like Chopra simply dont understand what he is saying , .......frankly I thought Harris was realy strugling to explain a points which in my vew he had not fully grasped , ....

    I was never a fan of Chopra but due to the exposure he has been given here I have listenrd to numerous interveiws only to decide that he makes more sence than many who he is pitted against .
    if one wants to understand one has to listen with an open mind , there is a tendency in people to think that they know what a person stands for and to make judgement upon that initial assesment rether than actualy listening , ....
     
  4. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    in attempt to return to your orriginal question , .....

    I have not listened to the entire of the program only part of the exert following this one , ...and yes it would seem that chopra speaks of a conectedness or the possibility of a conectedness with a ''trancendent reality '' which is realisable by the embodied soul quoting Rumi ....''you are not just the drop in the ocean you are that mighty ocean within the drop '', .....he makes many references to sciences interest in the posible production of matter from non matter , .....

    Harris on the other hand seems to cling to the all being product of the mind , .....in the original portion of the interveiw he seems to imply that faith is merely due to oxitocin in the Brain , ....and yes I would take this to be a totaly atheistic tendancy to dismiss anything beyond its understanding as mearly a chemical reaction within the brain , ...

    I canot see that Harris's world veiw , ....(Oh I hate that expression , ....except it siuts harris down to the ground) is anywhere ither than atheistic anc materialistic in that all is matter all is product of the mind , ...where as Chopra speaks of our interconectedness with a greater consciousness , ....I canot possibly see them promoting the same spirituality in fact from what Harris says here it is hard to beleive that he has an unserstanding of spirituality , ...I would like to hear him speak on his veiw of , or definition of spiritualiry , in other words what is the spirit to Sam Harris , ....where as Chopra speaks of spiritual dicipline as being that which trains it self to go beyond mundane consciousness , ....

    I do struggle with listening to this very American scientificy new age jargon , ...but I do perfectly follow what Chopra is saying , any one from yogic background would , ...however Americans dont follow this which is tragic as there is this huge movement afoot for the scientific world to discover what the Yoga system has known for millenia , if not for eternity , ...but due to the wests identification with the phisical and mundane world it is blind to what lay right under its nose , ...it is trajicaly sad to see grown men scoff at another who is trying to explain a simple reality to which they are blind , they behave like a bunch of flat earthers , ...

    Chopra gives one explanation which Harris after pausing to select his words dismissis as ''many concrete things which Science can criticise '', ....if the attitude of the Scientific comunity is just to criticise rather than to examine things that it does not on the face of it understand , then it is behaving in a grossly foolish manner and wasting huge amounts of taxpayers money doing so , .....what Ammerica canot admit is that everything it is trying to discover in relation to the nature of God and the Universe has been known for time immemorial by a bunch of loin cloth wearing sadhus that they deem to be backward and supersticious , ....

    Chopra seems to be an object of their hate and ridicle because he has dared to cross over into their world and has been sucessfull withinit , ....
     
    #64 ratikala, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  5. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    I would be interested to read more of his writings

    long relationship does not nececarily obscurate selectivity , nor does aquired knowledge equate to experiencial knowledge

    brave maybe yes ? although spiritualy advanced , ....? I reserve coment upon this untill I read more of his work , ...however if he were advanced in any way he would understand what Chopra is saying and be able to look beyond the person , ....


    please try to look beyond the person of Chopra and beond other peoples opinions of him , ....
     
  6. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    You are building quite a collection.
     
  7. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    At the end of the day, Chopra simply rarely ever talks sense. That is the plain fact and there is no way around that. He uses unjustified extrapolations and platitudes that are appealing to many, but also worthless.

    It would do people good to learn to deal with reality as opposed to ill-chosen fiction.
     
  8. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    Have you actually done any Buddhist practice? If you're just relying on Wiki you'll probably miss the point.
     
    #68 Rick O'Shez, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  9. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    Harris, like Chopra, is a nonmaterialist. Both embrace Advaita's "nondualism."
     
  10. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a Buddist, but I am a longtime meditator. Buddhism is not compatible with materialism (not unless you redefine it to suit your own agenda).
     
  11. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    Metaphysics
    is a branch of philosophy. As such, it qualifies as a rational enterprise. This should not be misconstrued to mean that subjective experiences do not inform a metaphysical system. (Advaita is one of many philosophical schools of Vedanta.)
     
  12. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    Harris' "atheism" is not as obvious as you may think.

     
  13. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Born-again Glompist
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    Harris argues that "atheism" is nothing more than lack of belief, so it doesn't make sense to describe people by what they are not. He doesn't mean that he is a believer because he refuses to use the label.
     
  14. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Are you truly expecting to have the authority to make such judgments about a doctrine you don't even subscribe to?

    Don't be surprised if no one cares.
     
  15. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    I'm conversant in Buddhism. I'm familiar with and understand Buddhist doctrine. So, I'm more than qualified to characterize your 'Buddhism' as grossly misinformed.
     
    #75 Gambit, Jun 26, 2015
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  16. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    Harris appears to be identifying now as a "syntheist," not as an atheist.
     
  17. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Bold words, no substance at all.

    Far from understanding even the basics (such as the dangers of falling into the traps of dualism), you make a point of ignoring and distorting them.

    And then you declare that others need to follow your misguided example.

    No, thanks.
     
    #77 LuisDantas, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  18. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    why is it that just because you dont understand something it is unjustified and worthless ???.............?

    what you mean wouldnt it be great if everyone thought the same ???............?

    well actualy no it would'nt , ....thank goodness there some people in this world who are mature enough to discuss individual opinions without resorting to calling what they dont understand fiction .....
     
  19. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Such is not at all the case, Ratikala.

    The lack of worth of Deepak Chopra's ideas has nothing whatsoever to do with my ability to understand them.


    No. I meant what I said. Reality is more important than fiction, or at least than ill-chosen fiction.

    Come back when you want to discuss what I said, instead of a caricature, will you? :)
     
  20. Rick O'Shez

    Rick O'Shez Irishman bouncing off walls

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    In the suttas the Buddha discouraged metaphysical speculation.
     
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