914
Lectures Watched
Since January 1, 2014
Hundreds of free, self-paced university courses available:
my recommendations here
Peruse my collection of 275
influential people of the past.
View My Class Notes via:
Receive My Class Notes via E-Mail:

VIEW ARCHIVE


Contact Me via E-Mail:
edward [at] tanguay.info
Notes on video lecture:
Laozi on Shutting Down the Prefrontal Cortex
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
time, modified, naturalness, conscious, encouraged, sage, literal, face, harmonious, soteriological, Rousseau, brain, elite, child, agricultural, fish, koan, emulate, learning, hallucinogens, master, expensive, mirror, lower, heaven, themselves, cognitive, unhewn, enduring, unclear, Dao, primitive, GMO, sports, fallen, energy, De, hypofrontality, paradoxical, concrete, peaceful
Laozi has the most                sense of wu-wei
in the sense of non-action, or do nothing
he wants to
shut down activity
shut down the trying the society has                      us to do
strip away desires, artificial hypocrisy and learning that's been laid on top of our natural desires
Daodejing, Ch. 48
"In the pursuit of                 , one does more each day, but in the pursuit of the Dao, one does less each day, one does less and less until one does nothing, and once one does nothing, nothing is left undone. Gaining the world is always accomplished by following no activity. As soon as one actively tries, one will fall short of gaining the world."
stop trying
but if you are able to read this book the Daodejing, you have already been learning for awhile
you are already part of the           
we are already in a              world
we've already done enough and need to prevent further degeneration
get back to the                        that has been ruined
how to get back to the natural
his                              strategy
to get back in touch with the Dao
the way he wants you to do this is left                in the text
probably done intentionally
he doesn't want to set up any                  practices because he doesn't want us to do anything
but still wants to get us from state A to state B
from being fallen to being in harmony with the       
hints that he is affecting a kind of conceptual transformation
the mysterious qualities of the text, the riddles, the rhymes
Daodejing, Chapter 1
"The Way that can be spoken of is not the                  Way. The name that can be named is not the enduring name. Within this enigma is yet a deeper enigma. The gate of all mysteries."
it's telling you that it is trying to teach you something                       
the practice of          meditation
something that doesn't make sense which frees you from rational thinking
what is the sound of one hand clapping
what did your          look like before you were born
the idea is that your              wood will come out after you get past this need for reason
hints of possible physical practices
Daeodejing, Chapter 10
"Embracing your soul and holding on to the One, can you keep them from departing? Concentrating your qi [chee] and attaining utmost suppleness, can you be a child? Cleaning and purifying your enigmatic             , can you erase every flaw? When the portal of Heaven opens and closes, can you play the part of the female?"
concentrating your qi
concentrating on your breath
cleaning and purifying your enigmatic mirror
becomes a metaphor for the mind, make it empty through meditation
portal of             
references to physical sexual practices
the early century CE, people claiming to be inspired by Laozi are doing meditation, breathing exercises, sexual gymnastics, tantric sexual practices, taking                           
what your            looks like in wu-wei
the state they are trying to get you into from a neurological perspective is a state called transient                             
transient = temporary
hypo =           
frontality = prefrontal cortex
people who do long-distance running describe getting this high
they feel exaltation
they feel at one with what they are doing
they lose a sense of         
they seem to be in a state of wu-wei
when you are doing intense exercise, your body has to make decisions about where to put resources
your muscles need             
it starts to shut down parts of your brain
your brain is a very                    organ and at some point your body says, ok, we're not using this part much, we are going to reduce its resources temporarily, and the first part that gets shut down is your prefrontal cortex
your prefrontal cortex is your seat of                    control
ability to make decisions
the seat of working memory
the seat of consciousness
where we keep our narrative sense of what's going on
so if you are shutting down the prefrontal cortex, you are shutting down the conscious mind to some degree
the shutting down of the prefontal cortex also occurs in             , meditation, alcohol, drugs, and sex
features of this state
living in the present
you feel                 
a feeling of floating
diminished working memory
diminished attention ability
a feeling of unity
because your prefontal cortex discriminates you from others
Laozi's metaphor: mind of a           
prefrontal cortex is late in developing
it's the most recent part of our brain to evolve
it doesn't develop fully until late teens
the goal is to go back to a more                    part of the brain
metaphors of going back home, being like a child again
let's go back to using more simple parts of our                    apparatus
state of naturalness
"so of itself"
in touch with natural natural, an assumption that we are good
Daodejing, Chapter 25
"People model themselves on the Earth. The Earth models itself on Heaven. Heaven models itself on the Way. The Way models itself on what is natural."
authentic, spontaneous, acting in a way that heaven made you
it's good in the sense that a          swimming in water is good, not in the sense that self-conscious Confucians walk around saying that they are good
it's not something you have to talk about or think about, it's just something that you do
Laozi's soteriological strategy
similar to Confucius
you as a          can attain a state of wu-wei
get a ruler to embrace wu-wei, or naturalness
will be able to influence the rest of the world to fall into this naturalness as well
Daodejing, Chapter 57
"I do nothing and the people transform                     ."
Daodejing, Chapter 32
"The Way is forever nameless. Unhewn wood is insignificant, yet no one in the world can              it."
Confucian vs. Laozian     
de = virtue
they both want to get you into the state of wu-wei
Confucian model
de is something that the rule has
he is the pole star, the center of the universe
Laozian model
rule is dark, like the valley, but all rivers come to it
you                the way, which is dark and lowly
Laozi's lost golden age
primitive villages
                         utopia
no technology, no writing, no luxury goods
no explicity morality
people are living in perfect harmony with each other and the natural world
one imagines a super-                    , primitive wonderland
a very appealing image
many societies have suggested this
                : noble savage
the back-to-nature-movements in the 1960s
with self-conscious primitive technology
today's counter-culture movements
anti-       movements
it is easy to be convinced that anything that is natural is good, and as soon as you start departing from the natural, it's bad
people just have to say that something is                 , and it can easily be labeled as bad

Ideas and Concepts:

On the virtues of doing nothing, via tonight's Ancient Chinese philosophy class, Laozi, and the Daodejing, Ch. 48: "In the pursuit of learning, one does more each day, but in the pursuit of the Dao, one does less each day. One does less and less until one does nothing, and once one does nothing, nothing is left undone."
Laozi, the Daodejing, and insights into the ecstasy of marathon running, via tonight's Ancient Chinese philosophy class:

"The state that Laozi is trying to get your brain into through koan meditation is from a modern neurological perspective a state called transient hypofrontality, transient meaning temporary, hypo meaning lower, and frontality meaning your prefrontal cortex. People who do long-distance running describe attaining a runner's high in which they feel exaltation, that they are at one with what they are doing, that they lose their sense of time, a state they describe which is much like that of wu-wei.

When you are doing intense exercise, your body has to make decisions about where to put resources, your muscles need energy, and your brain is an expensive consumer of energy. At some point your body says, ok, we're not using this part much, we are going to reduce its resources temporarily, and the first part that gets shut down is your prefrontal cortex. Your prefrontal cortex is the seat of your conscious control, i.e. your ability to make decisions, the seat of working memory, the seat of consciousness, where you keep our narrative sense of what's going on, so if you are shutting down the prefrontal cortex, you are shutting down the conscious mind."
Humanity's timeless and seductive return-to-nature meme, via tonight's Ancient Chinese philosophy class:

"Laozi's lost Golden Age called for humans to return to primitive villages in a kind of agricultural utopia with no technology, no writing, no luxury goods, and no explicit morality, a world in which people would be living in perfect harmony with each other and a perfect natural world. One imagines a kind of super-harmonious, primitive wonderland.

This has been a powerful and appealing image which is not limited to early China but can be found in many societies throughout history, e.g. Rousseau with his concept of the noble savage, and more recently in the back-to-nature movements of the 1960s, and even in today's counter-culture anti-GMO movements which call for self-conscious primitive technology.

This back-to-nature meme has a powerful sway over people to convince them that anything that is natural is good, and that one should therefore depart from the natural as little as possible. One need merely mention that something is modified, and it is labeled as bad."
The Definition of Religion
Mind/Body Dualism and Cognitive Control
Deontology, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Ethics
Wu-Wei, Dao, Tien and De
The Shang Dynasty (1554-1045 BC)
The Beginnings of Written Chinese History
Eastern Holistic Thinking and the Paradox of Virtue
The Golden Age of the Western Zhou (1046–771 BCE)
Philosophical and Conceptual Innovations in Zhou Thought
Confucius and the Analects
Confucius: I Transmit, I Do Not Innovate
Confucius' Use of Ritual as a Tool
Confucius' View on Learning vs. The Enlightenment
Confucius and Holistic Education
Confucius and the Art of Self-Cultivation
At Home in Virtue
Non-Coercive Comportment, Virtue, and Charisma of the Zhou
The Transition to Becoming Sincere
The Primitivists in the Analects
Laozi and the Daodejing
Laozi: Stop the Journey and Return Home
Laozi and The Desires of the Eye
Laozi: He Who Speaks Does Not Know
The Concept of Reversion
Laozi on Shutting Down the Prefrontal Cortex
The Guodian Laozi
Mozi and Materialist State Consequentialism
Mozi's Idea of Ideological Unity
Mozi's Doctrine of Impartial Caring
Mozi's Anti-Confucian Chapters
Mozi's Religious Fundamentalism and Organized Activism
The Language Crisis in the Warring States Period