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5 Cards in this Set

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In "the Crisis", Husserl insist phenomenology is the study of essences. What does Varela define phenomonology as in accordance to Western tradition and in relation to finding truth about the mind?
"Within our Western tradition, phenomenology was and still is the philosophy of human experience. Above all, it was and still is philosophy as theoretical reflection. Philosophy has been the discipline that seeks to find the truth, including truth about the mind, purely by means of abstract, theoretical reasoning."
How does Varela feel about philosophy in the West?
He feels "philosophy in the West no longr occupies a priveleged, foundational position, with respect to other cultural activities such as science or art," and that "a full appreciation of philosophy and its importance for human experience requires that we examine the role of philosophy in cultures other than his own." This explains his reason for taking a "bold step" and turning to Buddhist meditation for a solution to the mind-body question.
In Buddhist meditation, what does someone who meditates regularly discover (according to Varela)?
"Meditators discover that mind and body are not coordinated. The body is sitting, but the mind is seized constantly by thoughts, feelings, inner conversations, daydreams, fantasies, sleepiness, opinions, theories..." He explains how even when one attempts to return to their object of mindfulness, such as focusing on their breathing, they discover they are only thinking about the breath rather than being mindful of it.
Explain what Varela means by "It dawns [on the meditator] that there is an actual difference between being present and not being present."
"Even the simplest or most pleasurable of daily activities- walking, eating, conversing, driving, remembering...- all pass rapidly in a blur of abstract commentary as the mind hastens to its next mental occupation."

Ex. When driving home and you are suddenly "there"... you don't remember driving, the car seems to have piloted itself, but you have physically driven the car while mentally "not being present."
According to Varela, can the dissociation of mind and body be controlled?
Yes. "The dissociation of mind and body, of awareness from experience is the result of habit, and these habits can be broken. As the meditator again and again interrupts the flow of discursive thought and returns to be present with his breath or daily activity, and there is a gradual taming of the mind's restlessness." The meditator realizes the minds restlessness and becomes pacient with it instead of giving in to it... this is called AWARENESS.

Analogy: "Mindfulness is likened to the individual words of a sentence, whereas awareness is the grammar that encompasses the entire sentence..."