Broadcast 6/20/2014 at 23:12:39 (17 Listens, 24 Downloads, 1424 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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Edward Slingerland is professor of Asian Studies and Canada Research Chair in Chinese thought and Embodied cognition at the University of British Columbia. He is author of author, Trying not to Try, and head researcher on a three million dollar international study on the evolution of religion and morality
Rough Interview Notes Mostly my questions
Rob: Can you talk about the book and the terms Wu wei and De (Duh)
Wu wei spontaneity, in zone or like flow.
De= charismatic virtue and attractive power.
Rob: and what is the goal of the book?
explain why it's helpful to have these two concepts. We've had this disembodied model of the self.
Rob: Is wu wei passive?
it's really about making yourself empty in a way that allows you to respond to the environment in an effective way. But your conscious mind is not in the way.
Rob: How would you drive in a Wu Wei manner?
Rob: related to my work-- positive psychology, flow, peak performance, consciousness, psychopaths, bottom-up and top-down
Rob: how is this different than Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's idea of flow?
a sense of absorption into a valued whole"
talk about the Charismatic aspect of De that is produced by behaving in a wu wei way.
You mention Obey wan Kenobe's advice to Luke Skywalker-- trust the force.
Is intuition involved?
System two-- cold cognition
System one-- hot cognition-- implicit, knowledge that is not consciously accessible--- musle or basal ganglia memory.
slow, cold conscious mind vs fast, hot, unconscious set of bodily instincts, hunches and skills-- bigger, more powerful, deeper and more evolutionarily ancient
You've said that this Wu wei approach has actually helped civilization. How is that?
transition from tribal hunter gatherer-- to civilzation--
1- institutional model: incentive structure changed-- carrots and sticks
2-commitment or value based model-- change the way people feel and what they value. That's how you get people giving their lives for people they've never even seen, in wars"
What were the values?
Wu wei-- gets people being good citizens of the state
I'm not that comfortable with that-- good citizens make me think of obedient workers and soldiers"
John Haidt's work
Trust and psychopaths--
Psychopaths are often characterized as charismatic
authenticity and sincerity can be faked. And there are people who are better it and better at detecting it.
This reminds me a bit of the approach of one of my favorite revolutionaries-- Paolo Freire, who speaks about the problems with the western "banking" approach to education.
You say that scientists are beginning to emphasize the fact that the human brain is designed with a priority for guiding action, not for representing abstract information-- although it can also do this when necessary. Can you explain that?
You say that The Wu Wei approach is knowing HOW rather than knowing THIS or That
What makes a good person in west or east.
You say that westerners focus on conscious thought, rationality and will power"
What do the Chinese and their Wu Wei approach focus on?
training in ritual, imaginative stories, listening to right kind of music, interacting in dialogues with master and fellow students-- training a know-how.
It sounds like it uses bottom up practices to instill top-down practices.
about your research on evolution of religion and morality
Religion arose as a kind of cognitive mistake
In most small scale societies, gods aren't necessarily very smart.
Gods that can see inside you and punish you makes them powerful.
Groups that embrace religion "do better"
What do you mean, "do better" Seems to me you are talking about domination.
From what I understand you're an atheist.
What are the institutions that allow people to become atheist and not as dependent upon religion.
non-corrupt police and laws
Ivan Perkins The Vanishing Coup
Are there upsurges in religiosity when states fail?
studying indigenous people, brain imaging, historical data---
What about bottom up religions, as opposed to the top-down religions-- Christianity, Islam"
How do you avoid value judgments when you talk about religions dominating and destroying other religions?
Why are they so successful--
Top down religions enable ideas to spread".
Why are they so much better at it?
It's like a cognitive plague.
the point is it spreads.
Are there examples of Christianity and Islam where they don't engage in domination and destruction.
When you get strong institutions-- police forces" legal, judicial system, ways of dealing with inevitable conflicts that are note violent and have some rules to guide them.
But police in the US are becoming more militarized and less accountable.
What happens to police in other parts of the world?
America is both becoming more fundamentalist with one group, while another group is becoming less religious or atheist.
Existential security is much lower in the United States-- we don't have safety net like other nations have.
colleague Ara norenzayen Big Gods
Religiosity by zip code correlates with levels of insecurity
It seems to me that religions and corporations have an unholy alliance.
refers to George Lakoff's Don't Think of An Elephant
So in a sense, the right wingers oppose the kinds of things that weaken fundamentalist religion.
So we have one group that is becoming more atheist or non-religious and another group that is becoming more fundamentalist. Where do you think this will go.
How does atheism fit with Wu Wei and De?
it's usually associated with religion, so, for people like me, it's associated with a larger whole, not tied to a top-down way.
Do you think that a kind of bottom-up approach could evolve that is spiritual and wu-wei
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