Monday, August 01, 2011
Introspection and meditation
I blundered into a conversation about introspection at Less Wrong (I have a sort of fondness for that community, although I disagree with their premises, they are smart and earnest, and I go over there every few months to stir up shit).
A couple of thoughts: one, the term "introspection" is misleading. We can't use some magical mechanism to peer into our minds. In some deep sense we are strangers to ourselves and have to cobble together stories about our own goals and behavior in the same way we do for other people.
Two, and here I'm on very shaky ground, but it seems to me the point of Buddhist meditation is not accurately captured by "introspection". In fact in my own limited experience with it, it is more like a cure for the pathologies of introspection. But maybe that's just me. I really don't know what I'm talking about in this area, so here's someone who perhaps does making roughly my point. My expert consultant on such matters is off at The Buddhist Geeks conference, but will perhaps chime in.