Psychoanalysis

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Malcolm
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:14 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:07 pm
Then I would have to say that "Buddhism" needs to reassess it's theories on memory. I guess the Yogacarin's tried to do it with the Alya Vijnana, but met with resistance from the dominant theoretical thread of Madhyamaka.
The definitions I provided to you above from strictly from Yogacāra and its antecedents.

Regardless, quite clearly the current position does not adequately explain memory and how it functions. Not by a long shot. It does not answer any of the questions/hypothetical points I posed to you. Keep in mind that these points are based on practical observations, so it is going to take a little more than a few Sanskrit terms being thrown around to convince me of something different.
Buddhism explains memory perfectly well. It does just not explain memory with the present-day metaphor of data stored in a storage medium for later recall. Instead it describes memory as a function of mental nondistraction.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Grigoris » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:14 pm
Buddhism explains memory perfectly well. It does just not explain memory with the present-day metaphor of data stored in a storage medium for later recall. Instead it describes memory as a function of mental nondistraction.
Before the present day metaphor there were other non-technological metaphors that pointed in the same direction/towards the same notion.

Also this idea of memory as non-distraction does not even come near to explaining what I said earlier:
You are talking about recalling/remembering. I personally do not walk around with a conscious recollection of every single one of my memories during every single moment of the day. It would be impossible to do so. Ergo...
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:57 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:22 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:14 pm
Buddhism explains memory perfectly well. It does just not explain memory with the present-day metaphor of data stored in a storage medium for later recall. Instead it describes memory as a function of mental nondistraction.
Before the present day metaphor there were other non-technological metaphors that pointed in the same direction/towards the same notion.
Not in Buddhism.


Also this idea of memory as non-distraction does not even come near to explaining what I said earlier:
You are talking about recalling/remembering. I personally do not walk around with a conscious recollection of every single one of my memories during every single moment of the day. It would be impossible to do so. Ergo...
Buddhadharma does not have the word "memory" as you are using it here. This is the problem. You are framing memories as data (familiar or strong experiences) which is stored somewhere (the body, consciousness, etc.). This metaphor is absent in Buddhadharma whether we use the notion of marks on a piece if paper or data on a drive. This may be because the semantic field of the Buddhadharma ideas of memory/recollection predate and never later accommodated a model of data storage based on writing things down on paper.

The model used, if one can call it a model, is clarity vs. cloudiness, distracted vs. undistracted. That is If your mind is clear/concentrated, you can remember more, if your mind is cloudy/distracted, you remember less. But in this model, no storage medium was ever proposed or even intimated.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Grigoris » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:58 pm

The other point is that non-distraction means that the mind is not drawn away from something, an object of the mind. Thus we come back to the point you refuted earlier of wrongly considering memories as phenomena.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:15 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:58 pm
The other point is that non-distraction means that the mind is not drawn away from something, an object of the mind. Thus we come back to the point you refuted earlier of wrongly considering memories as phenomena.
Memories are mental concepts possessed by any of seven dhātus of consciousness of external or internal objects with which we are familiar. This is the basic definition.

My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later. Memory, in Buddharma, is simply the ability to recall objects that the mind has experienced. The power of that memory is commensurate with one's level of concentration. To repeat, no medium was ever proposed in which memories are stored. Essentially, from the point of view of Buddhadharma, we do not have unrecalled memories. If we do not remember something, it is not a memory. A memory can only be called a memory if there is a recollection of some past experience we have recalled in the present through a conceptual operation related to the seven dhātus of consciousness. An unrecalled memory is a nonmemory in Buddhadharma.

But in modern parlance, we have become accustomed to referring to things we have not recalled as "memories" because we recall things we have forgotten, and so we infer, we must have unconscious memories because we are very conditioned by pop Freudianism, and imagine there is such a thing as an unconscious mind, also rejected in Buddhadharma, which stores memories and so on.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:19 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:57 pm
...
The model used, if one can call it a model, is clarity vs. cloudiness, distracted vs. undistracted. That is If your mind is clear/concentrated, you can remember more, if your mind is cloudy/distracted, you remember less. But in this model, no storage medium was ever proposed or even intimated.
In other words, theoretically, one does not remember everything that one ever experienced due to obscurations but in reality it's all "there"?

Also, could you please answer how (non-lucid) dreams are not an unconscious working of the mind?
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:22 pm

Pero wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:19 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:57 pm
...
The model used, if one can call it a model, is clarity vs. cloudiness, distracted vs. undistracted. That is If your mind is clear/concentrated, you can remember more, if your mind is cloudy/distracted, you remember less. But in this model, no storage medium was ever proposed or even intimated.
In other words, theoretically, one does not remember everything that one ever experienced due to obscurations but in reality it's all "there"?

Also, could you please answer how (non-lucid) dreams are not an unconscious working of the mind?
When you dream, you are conscious, but what you are experiencing is the activation of traces.

Simply put, when you have more clarity, you can remember more of your experience. You don't need to worry "where" those experiences are stored.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later.
As a matter of interest, what is the translation/etymology of the term ‘alaya’ in the compound ‘alaya-Vijñāna’?
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:22 pm
When you dream, you are conscious, but what you are experiencing is the activation of traces.
But if I don't know I am dreaming, how can you say that I am conscious?
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Grigoris » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:15 pm
My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later. Memory, in Buddharma, is simply the ability to recall objects that the mind has experienced. The power of that memory is commensurate with one's level of concentration. To repeat, no medium was ever proposed in which memories are stored. Essentially, from the point of view of Buddhadharma, we do not have unrecalled memories. If we do not remember something, it is not a memory. A memory can only be called a memory if there is a recollection of some past experience we have recalled in the present through a conceptual operation related to the seven dhātus of consciousness. An unrecalled memory is a nonmemory in Buddhadharma.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:27 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:34 pm
Malcolm wrote:My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later.
As a matter of interest, what is the translation/etymology of the term ‘alaya’ in the compound ‘alaya-Vijñāna’?
Ā means all. Laya means, in this context, a place of repose, residence, etc. It is glossed by the Tibetans as gzhi, i.e. a basis.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:29 pm

Pero wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:22 pm
When you dream, you are conscious, but what you are experiencing is the activation of traces.
But if I don't know I am dreaming, how can you say that I am conscious?
You mean if you do not remember your dreams, or do you mean being unaware that in a dream you are dreaming?

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Malcolm » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:30 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:36 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:15 pm
My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later. Memory, in Buddharma, is simply the ability to recall objects that the mind has experienced. The power of that memory is commensurate with one's level of concentration. To repeat, no medium was ever proposed in which memories are stored. Essentially, from the point of view of Buddhadharma, we do not have unrecalled memories. If we do not remember something, it is not a memory. A memory can only be called a memory if there is a recollection of some past experience we have recalled in the present through a conceptual operation related to the seven dhātus of consciousness. An unrecalled memory is a nonmemory in Buddhadharma.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other...
Not really.

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Mantrik » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:57 pm

Surely it is simpler than that.
Memories only exist evidentially when recalled, for the time they are recalled.
Dreams only exist for the time they are experienced. They may become memories. But do dreams exist if never remembered as an experience?
There is simply no evidence of any 'storage' in a linear sense, as if 'put away' for later, so in the absence of evidence I'm going to guess at the whole mind being accessible simultaneously throughout its continuum with individual variation as to what content is revealed at any one time.

There is shaky logic that if we damage the brain and affect the person's memory it proves that the memories reside in the brain. It is like saying if we smash the TV we harm the actors in the film we were watching.

Are dreams karma? Theories suggest our dreams and memories have consequences in shaping our future action, but are they action themselves?
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Virgo » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:38 pm


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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:11 am

Malcolm wrote:My point was simply that there were, in the view of Buddhadharma, no such thing as unconscious memories, i.e. data that is storied somewhere in some medium to be called forth later.
It seems to me that this is hard to reconcile with:
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:27 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:34 pm
As a matter of interest, what is the translation/etymology of the term ‘alaya’ in the compound ‘alaya-Vijñāna’?
Ā means all. Laya means, in this context, a place of repose, residence, etc. It is glossed by the Tibetans as gzhi, i.e. a basis.
Bill Waldron's book, The Buddhist Unconscious, shows in detail the doctrinal requirements that resulted in the development of the Alaya-Vijñāna or 'storehouse consciousness'. I don't think you need to reify it as any kind of entity or over-arching 'one mind', if that is the concern. But I don't think it's feasible to deny that there is such a concept, either.

And I think as a practical matter, any Buddhist has to acknowledge that there are 'latent tendencies' which are not always fully conscious but which manifest (or 'come to fruition') in response to circumstances or stimuli (I know I certainly do). I find it a bit hard to understand why those wouldn't be understood in terms of being un- or sub-conscious tendencies.
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Grigoris » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:22 am

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:57 pm
Memories only exist evidentially when recalled, for the time they are recalled.
There is no denying this reality. The thing is: where are memories when we are not recalling them?

Malcolm says they are there all the time, but we are not aware of them.

But that would mean that with enlightenment, all moments of consciousness are present all the time. Doesn't sound very pleasant.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Mantrik » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:19 am

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:22 am
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:57 pm
Memories only exist evidentially when recalled, for the time they are recalled.
There is no denying this reality. The thing is: where are memories when we are not recalling them?

Malcolm says they are there all the time, but we are not aware of them.

But that would mean that with enlightenment, all moments of consciousness are present all the time. Doesn't sound very pleasant.
For us maybe, but that's what omniscience is, I guess.
I used the phrase ''the whole mind being accessible simultaneously throughout its continuum with individual variation as to what content is revealed at any one time..''
This means it is a revelatory process, accessing something already there, rather than having to be bought from elsewhere. It also means we don't have to use the vocabulary of 'Time' as if there is a simple past, present and future relating to our minds.

Humans try to divide up the mind into convenient parts as we're not very good at coping with continuums. We crave precision and a vocabulary to satisfy that need.
Psychiatry, of course, needs labels to define just how someone deviates from norms of thinking and behaviour; norms which themselves are fluid over time and across the globe.
Pysychologists, also, seem to crave them with such immeasurables as 'intelligence'; as my father was a psychologist I was able to use the tests to fake high intelligence for years! ;)
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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Grigoris » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:52 am

Mantrik wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:19 am
For us maybe, but that's what omniscience is, I guess.
It's not actually. Generally, omniscience is defined as the Buddha knowing about any phenomenon that he turns his attention towards.

So we run into a similar conundrum as the idea of memory in deluded sentient beings: where is this knowledge when awareness of it is not present? Now with knowledge one may say it is gained via contact with the object, but if memories do not exist as mental phenomenon...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Psychoanalysis

Post by Mantrik » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:19 am

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:52 am
Mantrik wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:19 am
For us maybe, but that's what omniscience is, I guess.
It's not actually. Generally, omniscience is defined as the Buddha knowing about any phenomenon that he turns his attention towards.
In which case it wouldn't be uncomfortable as the Buddha would need to turn their attention towards the memory rather than experience all mind simultaneously.

I had thought the enlightened mind would include awareness of all of the mind, which isn't the same as active focus, of course. It depends on how we interpret being free of all obscurations.
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Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
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