Pattern and Nebulosity, with David Chapman
Scientist, programmer, and author David Chapman talks with Michael W. Taft about metarationality, emptiness and form, nihilism, tantrism, dzogchen, Kegan’s stages of development applied to meditation, vampire romance novels, and the importance of being able to switch reality tunnels.
David Chapman is a writer, computer scientist, engineer, and Buddhist practitioner. He’s been practicing Vajrayana Buddhism in the Aro Ter tradition for 20 years. David is a leading proponent of metarationality—a subject we’ll go into in some depth in this episode—and writes about it on his website Meaningness.com.
1:43 – What is metarationality?
2:45 – What happens when you run off the edge of the map?
4:44 – Pattern and nebulosity, emptiness and form
6:45 – Story of scientist Barbara McClintock, and epicycles
13:30 – Donald Schön & design creativity
14:37 – Ways to deal with system failure, Nihilism
17:28 – Timothy Leary & Robert Anton Wilson, switching between reality tunnels
20:22 – Is metarationality just a larger rationality?
22:15 – David’s vampire romance novel, Ken Wilber’s novel Boomeritis
23:38 – What does metarationality have to do with meditation and Buddhism?
24:27 – Seeing the relationship between thought and reality
27:57 – Metarationality as a signpost of deep awakening
30:31 – Dzogchen and Advaita – are practices of view simply indoctrination?
32:17 – Metarationality as a path beyond postmodernism
33:09 – Fundamentalism as a huge LARP, Eternalism vs. Nihilism
36:06 – Spiral dynamics & Robert Kegan’s stages of adult development Link to Wilber/Kegan dialog (Warning: behind a paywall)
41:20 – What a Kegan Stage 3 group looks like in American Buddhist sanghas
43:23 – Transitioning to Stage 4, examples in relation to Buddhist practice and sanghas
44:22 – The edge of the map and the lack of support for Stage 5 in Buddhist communities
46:22 – Kegan Stage 4.5, rejecting systems for their limitations, and how to get to Stage 5
47:25 – The importance of intersubjectivity
49:20 – Future echoes of David’s teaching of metarationality
50:21 – Engaging metarationality in ways that don’t involve meditation, Bongard problems, and the word “intuition”
54:33 – Vipassana techniques for generating intuition
57:43 – Do we need gurus/lamas to transmit deep understanding?
1:04:20 – Students covering up their teacher’s crimes
1:05:33 – The desire to be metarational and the dangers of self-diagnosing your Kegan stage
1:07:54 – David’s background in artificial intelligence and philosophy
1:10:19 – Is AI dangerous?
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