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eBook Zen and the Art of Consciousness epub

by Susan Blackmore

eBook Zen and the Art of Consciousness epub
  • ISBN: 185168798X
  • Author: Susan Blackmore
  • Genre: Religion
  • Subcategory: Buddhism
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Reprint edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • ePUB size: 1899 kb
  • FB2 size 1107 kb
  • Formats mobi docx lrf azw


Susan Blackmore combines the latest scientific theories about mind, self, and consciousness with a lifetime’s practice of. .

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and visiting professor at the University of Plymouth; she blogs for the Guardian and often makes media . Her books include The Meme Machine, and Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and visiting professor at the University of Plymouth; she blogs for the Guardian and often makes media appearances.

What were you conscious of a moment ago? This groundbreaking book sees acclaimed psychologist Susan Blackmore combining the latest scientific theories about mind, self, and consciousness with a lifetime’s practice of Zen. Framed by ten critical questions derived from Zen teachings.

Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011), originally titled Ten Zen Questions (2009), is a book by Susan Blackmore. Most chapters in the book center around a Zen question and describe Blackmore's inner monologue contemplating the question's implications for subjective experience. The final chapter features a response by Blackmore's Zen teacher.

Then I realised that The Art of Consciousness is exactly what this book is about

Then I realised that The Art of Consciousness is exactly what this book is about. My central claim is that if we are really going to understand our own subjective experiences we need both a science of consciousness (which is now progressing well) and something more. I have written about developing skills, practice, and training in inner exploration; the term art covers all of these.

The book begins with two introductory chapters; Falling into Zen describes my own practice and how I set about tackling the questions, and The problem of consciousness outlines the scientific and philosophical issues at stake.

Susan Blackmore combines the latest scientific theories about mind, self, and consciousness with a lifetime’s practice of.

This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major .

This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories, whilst also outlining the amazing pace of discoveries in neuroscience. Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, writer, and Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. Her books include The Meme Machine (OUP, 1999), Conversations on Consciousness (OUP, 2005), Zen and the Art of Consciousness (Oneworld Publications, 2011) and Seeing Myself: The New Science of Out-of-body Experiences (Little Brown, 2017).

Who are you? When are you? What were you conscious of a moment ago? This groundbreaking book sees acclaimed psychologist Susan Blackmore combining the latest scientific theories about mind, self, and consciousness with a lifetime’s practice of Zen. Framed by ten critical questions derived from Zen teachings and designed to expand your understanding and experience of consciousness, Ten Zen Questions doesn’t offer final - or easy - answers, but instead provides an inspiring exploration of how intellectual enquiry and meditation can tackle some of today’s greatest scientific mysteries. Dr Susan Blackmore is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Bristol, UK.
Comments: (7)
Hǻrley Quinn
Let me start this review with a quote from the introduction: "I am not a Buddhist. I have not joined any Buddhist orders, adopted any religious beliefs, nor taken any formal vows. I say this now because I do not want anyone to think I am writing under false pretenses. Nothing I say here should be taken as the words of a Zen Buddhist...This book is an exploration of ten of my favourite questions and where they took me...This book describes my own attempt to combine science and personal practice in the investigation of consciousness." As someone with a passing interest in philosophy, Buddhism, and the study of consciousness, I found the book quite interesting. My only real complaint is that perhaps Ms. Blackmore could have included a bit more "science." To be fair though, there is brief mention of familiar folks like Antonio Damasio ], Daniel Dennett, Benjamin Libet, Christof Koch, Alva Noe, and Richard Wiseman ], to name of few. On the plus side, I found myself agreeing completely with her general opinions, which she derives by the end of the book, on what consciousness is: "There is nothing it is like to be me. I am not a persisting conscious entity. I do not consciously cause the actions of my body. Consciousness is not a stream of experiences. Seeing entails no vivid mental pictures or movie in the brain. There is no unity of consciousness either in a given moment or through time. Brain activity is neither conscious nor unconscious. There are no contents of consciousness. There is no now."

The ten questions that Ms. Blackmore asks are: 1) Am I Conscious Now? 2) What Was I Conscious Of A Moment Ago? 3) Who Is Asking the Question? 4) Where Is This? 5) How Does Thought Arise? 6) There Is No Time. What is Memory? 7) When Are You? 8) Are You Here Now? 9) What Am I Doing? 10) What Happens Next?

In sum, this book makes a great prelude to her newer book, Consciousness (A Brief Insight), and for an introduction to the study of consciousness, this pair can't be beat. Lastly, I would say that everything neuroscience is telling us now-a-days, [for example: Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind,Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, or The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human] was presaged in many Buddhist writings, which makes this particular line of attack on consciousness studies very unique indeed. Highly recommended.
saafari
Zen and the Art of Consciousness
Susan Blackmore
Oneworld, Oxford 2011

For decades now, British psychologist Susan Blackmore has been writing about consciousness, about Zen Buddhism and numerous other subjects. As a young person she'd taken an interest in parapsychology but was put off when one of the researchers for whom she worked asked her to fudge the results [1]. She came around to being a skeptic of claims for paranormal experiences, although in her years of investigating people making such remarkable statements she became convinced that almost all of the people who make them weren't deliberate frauds, rather, that they believed that what was happening in their lives was genuine; but she has yet to be convinced of any such claims. Over the years her work has focused on things like consciousness studies, memes and tremes; and it is a running comment throughout her work that she practices Zen meditation. Better than a decade ago Oxford University Press published her Conversations on Consciousness, which was a delightful romp of visits with the leading-edge researchers in consciousness studies. Daniel Dennett, Sir Francis Crick, Patricia and Paul Churchland, Christof Koch among numerous others sat with her and her recorder and discussed with what is still a hot topic in science.

Zen and the Art of Consciousness was originally published by Oneworld in 2009 as a hardcover with the title Ten Zen Questions; her publisher suggested the change of title when it came time to re-release it in paperback, to which she agreed. This is a highly personal and unique account of her pursuit of Zen meditation practice under the guidance of British Zen Master John Crook. She details her visits to Crook's meditation center in Maenllwyd, Wales, a rustic farm where Crook leads retreats for his students and practitioners. I should point out that while she practices Zen meditation, Susan Blackmore is not a Buddhist, preferring not the taking of vows and all of the things which entail entering a sangha, or Buddhist community.

She began going to retreats at Maenllwyd in the early 1980s and each visit was a protracted consideration of a number of koans and koan-like statements given to her and the other participants by Crook. When are you? What were you conscious of a moment ago? There is no time. What is memory? Sitting on her mat day after day, Blackmore turned the 'challenge' of each koan over and over in her mind, in an intellectually curious way that most everyone might, but with the certain knowledge that if the koan were to "do" anything, it would not come about through discursive thought. Eventually her "analytic self" grew quiet and, in her words, each koan began working on her. She came away with numerous insights about the Self, that anxious, nervous worry-wart which we all have within - one of the aims of Zen - but more importantly from her viewpoint, she was gradually in a better place to understand just how far astray 'consciousness studies' have gone. To detail some of her conclusions would constitute a spoiler; let me grin and just say that her ideas are most congenial with those of Daniel Dennett.

[1] This story is told in detail at Blackmore's website:
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Chapters/Kurtz.htm

and is an excerpt from 'Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World’s Leading Paranormal Inquirers', Amherst, New York, Prometheus Books, P.Kurtz, ed. 2001
Madis
Fascinating account of personal exploration of consciousness. I am Blackmore's fan, and this book hasn't disappointed. It delves into eternal questions - what am I, when is now, when am I present and so on.
Beydar
This book was a delight. Simultaneously quirky and profound, whimsical and studious, charming and bewildering, Blackmore surprised me at every turn with her easily relatable writing style and novel take on some age-old questions. Her take on consciousness is alarming and exhilarating, and a wonderful addition to a chorus of provocative voices both ancient and modern on this important and fascinating subject.
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