Spatial thinking

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Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 8th, 2020, 3:18 am 

Text books, media, movies, all talk of thinking being lateral but is thinking lateral... or only lateral? My thinking these days is that thinking can be spatial.
Spatial thinking is more than lateral thinking. When we think, we use available data and progress it laterally to a logical conclusion. Spatial thinking is delimiting the direction of our thinking. Like a 3D hologram, spatial thinking is seeing the problem in its 3D form. Examples I can think of are those times when we can see problems seemingly from above, see every deviation without having separate knowledge of each possibility.
Does any of this make sense? Have I been watching too much science fiction? What are the chances that my thinking is somewhat correct?
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby edy420 on September 8th, 2020, 4:46 am 

Theres no point. Its only useful in a reactive state. Movie scenes play important roles. Without "lateral thinking" you'd just have a big bunch of pointless scenes unrelated to anything.

Fighters like John Jones will study an opponent and formulate a plan, thinking "laterally". But some UFC fighters use whats called, the flow state. Basically they try to shut off their consciousness, and let all their study, training, muscle memory and reflexes do all the work. This allows their sub conscious to do all the planning, counter attacks and decide the best attacks or defenses in real time.

But with critical thinking, it needs to have a direction. Otherwise your just visualizing a lot of stuff at once.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 8th, 2020, 4:53 am 

What you're suggesting is what they used to call lateral thinking :-)

Text books, media, movies, all talk of thinking being lateral


Not really. Thinking was considered 'vertical' before Edward De Bono wrote a book about his new idea of 'lateral' thinking. It just meant having a novel or 'creative' way of looking at problems and involved various techniques.

I was around when it came out. I just thought oh dear, another noodle, and that was that. It's been largely debunked anyway, as far as I know.

So here you are now with your new thing called 'spacial' thinking... well, you work it out :-)
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 8th, 2020, 4:54 am 

(I'm trying to avoid getting all serious and explaining things... Life can be fun if you don't weaken :-))
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 10th, 2020, 9:54 pm 

Hey, it's OK. Don't get serious. It was a thought I had at the time that I wanted to explore. However, I don't know about it being groundless. I've been watching a documentary about Tesla and now it doesn't seem so extraordinary. Tesla apparently had numerous episodes where he shut everything out and was deep in thought. It is said he knew what would happen with his inventions without having tested them. It is also said that he expanded his thoughts well beyond his inventions and that what we find as acceptable was only a starting point for him.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 11th, 2020, 4:09 am 

Serious, moi?

I like Tesla a lot. Not all of his ideas were sound but many of them were, largely around engineering and invention. But he was a clever cove with eight languages including Latin. And he could play chess, which I can't :-)
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby BadgerJelly on September 11th, 2020, 4:47 am 

I like to think ‘directionally’ rather than ‘spatially’. As in everything is ‘located’ in the same ‘area,’ but everything also possesses its own ‘facing’ - which we call ‘space’.

Such thinking can easily lead to ‘ideas’ based purely on ‘opinion’ that see to have solidity, so caution is required when playing with analogous abstractions of abstractions. A good guide is when you ‘like’ an idea ... that is usually a sign of cognitive bias at work.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 13th, 2020, 2:59 am 

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it did it make a sound? In quantum mechanics there are different opinions that hold opposing statements as true. The idea is to think beyond opinion. In meditation a person removes oneself from objective existence so all that is left is self and self is without opinion. Of course it has to be practiced.
To be centered doesn't mean to be located. To think spatially is to look outward from oneself in all directions and to be centered within your environment. To think spatially is to think of all biases before forming an opinion.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby bangstrom on September 13th, 2020, 6:02 pm 

I think of lateral thinking as considering a problem from a single point of view and spatial thinking as considering a problem from multiple points of view looking for an explanation that satisfies all perspectives.

I have discovered what I consider to be errors in popular ways of thinking about physical phenomenon that result from considering a problem from a single point of view as correct and dismissing all others out of hand as incorrect.

You mentioned Nicoli Tesla. Until recently, I dismissed his views as ‘crank” because he never accepted Einstein’s relativity and he made nonsensical statements such as claiming that radio waves traveled better through the ground than air. I have been looking into some of his theories and found them to be plausible and supported by evidence, even today, but generally dismissed or misinterpreted by his critics so I have a newfound appreciation for Tesla.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby BadgerJelly on September 13th, 2020, 11:13 pm 

JohnD » September 13th, 2020, 2:59 pm wrote:If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it did it make a sound? In quantum mechanics there are different opinions that hold opposing statements as true. The idea is to think beyond opinion. In meditation a person removes oneself from objective existence so all that is left is self and self is without opinion. Of course it has to be practiced.
To be centered doesn't mean to be located. To think spatially is to look outward from oneself in all directions and to be centered within your environment. To think spatially is to think of all biases before forming an opinion.


There are plenty of philosophical ‘schools’ that deal with this. Sounds very much like postmodernist thinking wrapped primarily in epistemic problems and a purposeful shift against logical positivism - perhaps you’re leaning more toward a relativistic approach or something more directed at the differences between utility, function and the language involved in navigating these?

You might find looking into post modernism of interest? I mean this in light of how some thought in this are aims to explore ‘opinion’ in order to better understand where and when to draw lines between different ideas and paradigms in human history (something very much part of historicism)?

Anyway, could be worth a look. You remind me of something I read several month ago, but cannot for the life of me remember the name of the guy ...
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 17th, 2020, 10:49 pm 

Bangstrom I have to agree. I never had a thought about Tesla, like most others I heard about the car and watched an episode of Dr Who where it was mentioned that Tesla was a person of great importance. Then when I saw the documentary I became interested.
Badger you are most certainly a person who requires direction. Your words note this over and over. Bangstrom said it succinctly, spacial thinking is a way of looking beyond the singular, a way of looking at all the options that a problem presents without being judgemental.
The world is full of the mistakes of men who are prone to thinking in a singular direction. It becomes so we praise and sometimes fear those who are capable of more.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby BadgerJelly on September 17th, 2020, 11:05 pm 

JohnD -

To think spatially is to think of all biases before forming an opinion.


I don’t see why you need to redefine a term to suit your personal view? That is probably part and parcel of what you’re getting at though :)

Items like ‘Literary Theory,’ ‘Critical Theory’ and ‘Hermeneutics’ are areas that deal with this. If you wish to delve deeper then it may help to have a look at these schools of thought and specify what aspects intrigue you and which you find to be a stretch too far. Just a suggestion.

Here is an extract from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/critical-theory/#3 :
3. Critical Theory, Pragmatic Epistemology and the Social Sciences

Such a practical account of social inquiry has much in common with pragmatism, old and new (Bohman 1999a, 1999b). As with pragmatism, Critical Theory came gradually to reject the demand for a scientific or objective basis of criticism grounded in a grand theory. This demand proved hard to square with the demands of social criticism directed to particular audiences at particular times with their own distinct demands and needs for liberation or emancipation. The first step was to move the critical social scientist away from seeking a single unifying theory to employing many theories in diverse historical situations. Rather, it is better to start with agents' own pretheoretical knowledge and self-understandings. The issue for critical social inquiry is not only how to relate pretheoretical and theoretical knowledge of the social world, but also how to move among different irreducible perspectives. The second step is to show that such a practical alternative not only provides the basis for robust social criticism, but also that it better accounts for and makes use of the pluralism inherent in various methods and theories of social inquiry. While it is far from clear that all critical theorists understand themselves in this way, most agree that only a practical form of critical inquiry can meet the epistemic and normative challenges of social criticism and thus provide an adequate philosophical basis fulfilling the goals of a critical theory.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 18th, 2020, 7:00 am 

Badger I have no qualms with scientific or objective enquiry. I practice it on a daily basis and am very happy with my abilities. I do get bored with it sometimes but that's not an objection. In fact I propose more extensive investigation. Investigation that doesn't stop with a singular direction rather one that expands in all directions.
Presently, an investigation is about finding answers that verify a path already chosen while carrying all our bias with us throughout our quest. I say we can place ourselves in the middle without bias.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby BadgerJelly on September 18th, 2020, 7:09 am 

JohnD » September 18th, 2020, 7:00 pm wrote:Badger I have no qualms with scientific or objective enquiry. I practice it on a daily basis and am very happy with my abilities. I do get bored with it sometimes but that's not an objection. In fact I propose more extensive investigation. Investigation that doesn't stop with a singular direction rather one that expands in all directions.
Presently, an investigation is about finding answers that verify a path already chosen while carrying all our bias with us throughout our quest. I say we can place ourselves in the middle without bias.


But you’ve no wish to discuss further regarding any of the above?
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby edy420 on September 18th, 2020, 9:29 am 

JohnD » 13 Sep 2020, 19:59 wrote:In meditation a person removes oneself from objective existence so all that is left is self and self is without opinion. Of course it has to be practiced.
To be centered doesn't mean to be located. To think spatially is to look outward from oneself in all directions and to be centered within your environment.


oh thats what you meant, hmmm

Thats a romanticists poetic explanation of what Tesla was able to do. I have a similar ability, which I now take medication for. Basically, I see solutions to problems that frustrate me. While they will solve the current problem, they often create others. I talk a bit about my ability to lucid day dream in a Lucid Dreaming thread a few years ago. Back then, I thought it was something I could teach, but it turns out its a mental disability. I literally see solutions with my own two eyes in such great detail, that I can not tell if its real or not. I have to look a few seconds later to double check.

One example is when my wife was having a mental breakdown, I didn't know what to do. I put my fist through the door(resolving my frustration).. Only when I looked at the door a second time, it wasn't broken. If I didn't look a second time, I would swear it really happened, it was that real. I literally have hundreds of these examples (unfortunately).

When I think of meditation, I think of sitting with your legs crossed and humming for hours... which wouldn't work. The easiest way to describe it, is one step before sleep. Maybe humming could get you there, but that never worked for me. The brain is just too busy, even when you think of nothing, you are actually thinking of something.

One of the easiest steps for me, is paying attention to my eyelids while I relax in bed. I don't see pitch black. I see a compressed mat of red and blue stars that form to make the colour black. Id relax enough to start mentally drawing dot to dot shapes with my imagination. Start out simple with circles and blobs, and at some point they start taking on various shapes. From here, they can quickly take on any object. At any point you can wake up and lose all visuals, or fall asleep and just dream. The trick is staying in between the wake and sleep transition.

I think Tesla had a similar ability, but with much more control. Its not some form of meditation, but more like an autistic disability. In the Lucid Dreaming thread, I talk about the extreme conditions I needed to get closer to controlling this ability.

The closest I got to control while wide awake, was being able to see streaks of plasma at will. I used them to show me the movements I needed to perform a perfect kata. eg. the third stike was a pivot left and step forward, while striking out with the right hand. Too much to remember for a beginner. Or, I could just follow a streak of plasma with my right hand, and my foot placement and positioning would naturally fall into place perfectly. Allowing me to perform the perfect strike while fully relaxed.

Even as a white belt, I was better than the blackbelts, but I was cheating. It would take about 5 or 6 dry runs of heavy imagination, before id finally get to see the plasma for real. I couldn't do it every day, at most 3 times in a day, about 2 days a week. But that was enough, because even the intense imagination on its own was a powerful learning tool. If I couldn't do it within 10 attempts then I knew I probably couldn't do it that day.

I stumbled on the plasma projections, because it was the easiest material object to manifest. Its opaque, so its not too hard to trick the brain that its there. But in the lucid day dreams I experienced under intense conditions, I could rotate literal 3d objects that were in HD quality. The only things more realistic, were my mini hallucinations when frustrated.

To think spatially is to think of all biases before forming an opinion.


Not an important component in my experience. Think of 3d modelling for a computer game. If you put a Ferrari on a race track, you don't need to test it in outer space, or on the lower gravity of the moon, unless those will be in your game. You don't need to consider fuel combustion or the cogs rotating in the engine etc. You only need to see it drive on a track, to understand all the necessary mechanics involved. The less you have to think about, the clearer the picture.

Thats a 3 sec test max. But if you start thinking outside the box in terms of thinking spatially, it becomes impossibly complicated. I would rephrase, to think spatially, is to consider the important controlling factors.

If Tesla had a similar ability and mastered it, then, he would have the ability to build a machine in the blink of an eye and test it faster than in real time. I wonder if he could do it at will, how often and for how long he could maintain the visuals. Being able to see how things work, without actually building them is not a genius talent. He was most likely a fraud and a cheat.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 23rd, 2020, 4:59 am 

What I imagine it to be is like in meditation, whereby a person is sitting in the middle of the universe cognisant of all. Cognisance is an understanding of thinking, an awareness of all that is. A thought is but a single spark, thinking however is an ongoing process of analysis. The difference between thought and knowledge is that knowledge sits on the floor like a pillar of books gathering dust until they are read. On the other hand, thought can travel in all directions. Mostly, we choose a direction for our thoughts, it’s easier for us. The strength of thought next to knowledge is that for every page of every book there are consequences. Though it takes thought to write a book; to explore an idea; consequences require much more thought and a far greater inquisition. It’s not unusual to find consequences that were either dismissed or not known were later found to be vital. Thought without restriction can appear haphazard however can lead to greater exploration. A gathering of knowledge from a far wider viewing can lead to more understanding of consequences before action is taken.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 23rd, 2020, 10:20 am 

Why is everything based on thought? Mediation isn't thought, meditation is the ending of thought!
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby bangstrom on September 23rd, 2020, 1:53 pm 

charon » September 23rd, 2020, 9:20 am wrote:Why is everything based on thought?


René Descartes explained it when he said, " I think... therefore I exist." This was also his undoing.

Descartes was in a bar one day when the bartender asked,
"Would you like another round?"
Descartes replied, "I think not." and he vanished, never to be seen again.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 23rd, 2020, 2:48 pm 

Precisely :-)
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 25th, 2020, 7:02 am 

The one thing that binds all beings is thought, it is the essence of existence, of sentience. Meditation doesn't end thought, it concentrates thought on the essentials of life, breathing, heartbeat, and muscle control.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 25th, 2020, 7:23 am 

The one thing that binds all beings is thought, it is the essence of existence, of sentience.


But thought is only a part of our being, surely? It's a limited process of memory and, being limited, its activities are inevitably divisive. We can see this throughout the world now and in the history of man.

Meditation doesn't end thought, it concentrates thought on the essentials of life, breathing, heartbeat, and muscle control.


Then what is the purpose of meditation? If meditation merely strengthens thought then it's not a liberating process.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby JohnD on September 26th, 2020, 3:14 am 

Memory is a part of thinking not the other way around. Thinking relies on memory as a directional bias and thus is limited by it.
In concentrating on life essentials meditation is a way of permitting the brain to reset resulting in clarity of thought unhindered by memory.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 26th, 2020, 8:32 am 

Memory is a part of thinking not the other way around. Thinking relies on memory as a directional bias and thus is limited by it.


Yes, all right, but can you think of something that is not in memory? Obviously the instant you think of something it's come from your memory. It really isn't possible not to do this. That's something that can be tested over and over again.

Occasionally we do 'pick up' on things that haven't come from memory, like feeling someone's mood, but that's the receptivity of the brain, it being a sensitive instrument. But in that case we haven't thought about it, one simply becomes aware of it. Mind you, that sensation must be recognised for what it is, and that does come from memory.

In concentrating on life essentials meditation is a way of permitting the brain to reset resulting in clarity of thought unhindered by memory.


One could also say the same about a good night's sleep or any quiet period; the brain is refreshed, it can renew itself. But when you say thought unhindered by memory, I'd suggest that without memory there wouldn't be any thought at all.

Also, is there such a thing as clarity of thought or is that an oxymoron? Isn't it thinking that hinders perception? To see clearly there can't be anything in the way, whether it's the preoccupation with some problem, or just general chatter. If there's a lot of external noise it's hard to think clearly about something. Similarly, if there's a lot of internal noise, one also can't be clear. Isn't clarity to do with seeing rather than actual thinking? Don't answers appear in silence rather than when one is incessantly active?

But is that all there is to meditation, just to produce clarity or refreshment, or even answers to problems?
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby neuro on September 26th, 2020, 10:38 am 

It might be of interest to split brain activity into two domains: reactive activity (elicited by senses and any kind of external stimulus) and endogenous activity (imagination, memory recall, meditation...).

In this perspective, it strikes you that there is no conscious interpretation of reality and events without endogenous activity: you cannot realize what is the meaning of what you sense or experience unless you are able to compare it with something you saw, heard, felt, experienced in the past, i.e. without comparing the current experience with the imagination of something that is meaningful.

"Clarity" of thought would then be a process of definition and specification, from a confuse and ambiguous perception of what recalls many possible meaningful associations (reactive imagination) to a clear-cut, unambiguous, unique attribution of meaning - note that this is exactly what happens when we switch from a vague and free imagination to express in words what we are wondering about (where our thought is wandering).

The annoying thing about this is that either we are "endogenously" imagining (thought wandering) or we are reactively imagining (interpreting experience) but never resting: in this perspective, meditation might be an attempt at imagining nothing, possibly with the purpose to try and STOP imagining, which is kind of impossible...
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby neuro on September 26th, 2020, 10:42 am 

So, Charon, if what I just said makes any sense, you are right: thought is made of memory, it is made of a continuous active imagination aimed at trying and make sense out of what is happening outside as well as inside our brain, making use, to that purpose, of what we can recall from previous experiences.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 26th, 2020, 9:41 pm 

neuro -

in this perspective, meditation might be an attempt at imagining nothing, possibly with the purpose to try and STOP imagining, which is kind of impossible...


Which is impossible, quite!

But imagination, again, is still thinking, obviously, therefore there's nothing new in it. As you said, thinking is from memory, which is knowledge gained from experience.

So meditation must be something entirely different. Would we agree to that? Unfortunately it's become a racket. People make money out of it and it's used as some kind of relaxant, which is absurd.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby neuro on September 27th, 2020, 6:04 am 

charon » September 27th, 2020, 2:41 am wrote:So meditation must be something entirely different. Would we agree to that? Unfortunately it's become a racket. People make money out of it and it's used as some kind of relaxant, which is absurd.

Actually, several mental (or practical) activities have been shown to be able to modify the thickness and performance of specific areas of the cerebral cortex, and although it may sound strange, deep meditation is the only psychotherapeutic or psycho-educational approach for which reasonably reliable scientific reports have been published claiming that a period of training produces measurable changes in the cortex of healthy volunteers.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 27th, 2020, 6:37 am 

I know, but, as I said, what is the purpose of meditation? And is what they're doing actually meditation at all?

I don't think it is. I've met people who do these things and they're usually very superficial, sensate. Their characters aren't refined by these practices although they swear by them.

Obviously these things have been invented by clever minds, the purpose being to reduce stress, increase efficiency, and so on. It may have practical usage in business or other activities, but is that the real point behind life? I mean, I've heard of soldiers benefiting by these things so, presumably, they can become better killers!

So, fundamentally, I think they're just tricks, like hypnosis or a kind of benign brainwashing, not that the purposes to which they are put are necessarily benign at all. I'm also not sure, for various reasons, that they don't bring on mental disturbance in the long run. In fact, I think they do.

Actually, in any dictionary, the word meditation simply means to think over, consider, ponder on, weigh, and so on, the point being, not to become more efficient, but to further understand life. It's a deep inquiry, not as a trick to produce a certain result, but to open the heart and mind to the beauties of life. It should really be a natural part of life, not something that one takes up, as it were.

I don't know what you think about that.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby neuro on September 28th, 2020, 6:16 am 

charon,
It seems that you are raising a question of value, on which I honestly agree with you, but I do not like to take a judging perspectiv: judgments intrinsically cannot be discussed and argued about: each one of us holds their own, based on their own value system.

However, it seems that in distinguishing meditation as an attempt at evading reality (or "getting in touch with the Universe") or rather at understanding and appreciating life, its challenges and its beauties, you are not only judging differently the values of these two forms of meditation, but actually suggesting that they are two distinct activities.

And I would totally agree, because if the search for path to identify with the WHOLE or the NOTHING through "deep meditation" can be seen as an attempt at stopping imagination (and thought), the other kind of meditation is an effort at boosting imagination and exploiting it to understand and appreciate life.
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Re: Spatial thinking

Postby charon on September 28th, 2020, 9:00 pm 

It seems that you are raising a question of value


Quite, do these things have any value?

I do not like to take a judging perspectiv: judgments intrinsically cannot be discussed and argued about: each one of us holds their own, based on their own value system.


Absolutely, If a person likes to do it then that's up to them. But I don't think it''s solely a judgement issue. I wasn't judging them, I'm just aware of what they are, the dubious uses to which they can be put, and the fact that it can lead to disturbance. This is a factual approach, not a judgemental one.

However, it seems that in distinguishing meditation as an attempt at evading reality (or "getting in touch with the Universe") or rather at understanding and appreciating life, its challenges and its beauties, you are not only judging differently the values of these two forms of meditation, but actually suggesting that they are two distinct activities.


Yes, that's what I'm definitely saying - two completely different activities. One is a concerted attempt to produce what the practice promises - reduced stress, relief from pain, and so on - and the other has no motive. It's done for its own sake, not for what it may bring.

And I would totally agree, because if the search for path to identify with the WHOLE or the NOTHING through "deep meditation" can be seen as an attempt at stopping imagination (and thought), the other kind of meditation is an effort at boosting imagination and exploiting it to understand and appreciate life.


Well, to me, the attempt to stop imagination is the same as wanting to boost it, both are efforts directed at getting certain rewards for oneself. It may bring those rewards (I doubt it) but that's not the understanding of life.
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