really bad and really good mental states, I guess?

I don’t know how I got linked to this “qualia computing” site but it’s occasionally-really-interesting and occasionally-crazy-seeming.

This post on “psychotic depression”¬†just quotes Infinite Jest, and it’s a good-though-terrifying read. Similarly, this post on logarithmic scales of pleasure and pain. Gets me thinking a few things:

1. holy god, how do people survive. how is there so much pain in this world. how can we even deal¬†with living in a world where there are people suffering so much. (my answer so far: mostly, ignore the problem and hope it doesn’t happen to me. obviously, this is unsatisfying.)
2. I oughta get back to meditating. (if I had a dollar for every time I said this…) I’ve experienced some pretty-faint jhana-type states, not regularly or dependably or strongly (“0.1th jhana”?), but it’d be really nice if I had a thing I could do to feel good more regularly.
(not that meditation’s goal is producing jhana states. as far as I understand it, they’re a nice byproduct, and/or a cool thing you can practice for fun.)

50 interviews with people experiencing PNSE (Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience) and a summary. This gets me thinking a few other things:

1. Enlightenment is a lot of things to a lot of people. Maybe a good analogy is, being a good chess player. There are some real discrete steps along the way (“oh, now I really get why you should control the center of the board” or “I finally found a good counter to the Sicilian Defense”) but it’s not a state you’ll get to and be done.
2. It’s also not blissful… except, I mean, I think I’d like it. It sounds like it’s a quieting of a lot of self-related mental chatter, an expansion of the “self”, less common occurrence of negative emotions. I guess that doesn’t sound like a general solution to all of life’s problems, but it kinda sounds like most of a solution to most of mine.
“When asked, none said they wanted their self-referential thoughts to return to previous levels or
to have the emotional charge returned to them.”
3. why the hell does everyone in the enlightenment/etc world write books that look like this


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