Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Friday, August 01, 2008

Buddhist monks and post-modernists on a rollercoaster

So, a while ago I go on my first rollercoaster, and as it sends us hurtling to a certain (p < 0.001) death, I spent some time reflecting on physics equations. Followed by that, I paid homage to the sciences of metallurgy, geometry, friction; before moving on to philosophy and theology. I cannot believe I lived through that. Or that I went on a couple others. And somewhere behind the adrenaline and who-knows-what-other chemicals clouding it, I sat in a corner of my mindbrain reflecting on the reality of what we perceive of as the real world. More specifically, the role of science in all that, as describing a true reality.
Thing is, you cannot help wanting the physics to be a true and very very accurate description of reality. It's all that keeps us in the little metal seats while we twirl and twist at speeds we were not exactly supposed to undergo. So naturally, i wondered what would someone who might object to this version of reality think about going on rollercoasters. 
So, I wondered what (a) a Buddhist monk and (b) a Post-modernist would feel about rollercoasters. I don't know the answer for the post-modernist (Derrida springs to mind), but for the monk, the answer is clear, as Frank Howard pointed out - the Madhyamika style is to analyze the perceived reality as being clear and real as the reality where one lives multiple lifetimes and 'sees' an Avalokitesvara as a tangible presence. For the monk, the distinction itself is not entirely meaningful except as one possible method in attaining enlightenment. 
In short, going on a rollercoaster presents no philosophical contradiction to (certain?) Buddhist monks. I'm not sure what the answer is for the post-modernist.