The Cosmic Joke – with Kenneth Folk
Pragmatic dharma teacher Kenneth Folk and host Michael W. Taft look at suffering machines, ways to suspend the necessary conditions for suffering, The Terminator, state chasing, and getting the cosmic joke.
Kenneth Folk is an instructor of meditation who has received worldwide acknowledgement for his innovative approach to secular Buddhist meditation. Learn more about him and his work at Kenneth Folk Dharma.
Listen to a DY podcast with Thomas Metzinger here.
The actual paper we discuss can be found at: Suffering.
0:25 – Introduction and overview
1:52 – Thomas Metzinger, machines and suffering. Can machines think? What if they could suffer? Consciousness, ownership, negative valence (bad feelings), and realness—“CONR”—as necessary conditions for suffering
11:19 – Suspending one CONR condition at a time to prevent suffering
13:37 – Suspending Consciousness, and nirvana as a state of unconsciousness
22:57 – Suspending Ownership through “who am I?” inquiry and other anattā practices that target the sense of ownership
26:32 – Suspending Negative valence through jhāna (and the fragility of this possibility), and going into sensations deeply enough to lose the sense of pleasant and unpleasant
32:25 – Suspending Realness through paying attention to characteristics in continuous flux
34:40 – Is there one right way to be enlightened?
39:07 – The show Westworld (major spoiler alert until 42:57)
44:20 – Affecting multiple CONR categories at once, how this kind of cross-training is helpful
47:27 – Getting the cosmic joke
59:20 – If it’s all a cosmic joke where do CONR interventions come in? What about equanimity?
1:03:35 – Kenneth’s own story about stream entry and equating the cosmic joke with attainment
1:11:21 – The difficulty of engaging with the Zen version of getting the cosmic joke
1:13:09 – Reviewing CONR
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