Jungian Personality Archetypes, Cognitive Synergy, and the Concept of Evil Refracted Through the Prism of Open-Ended Intelligence
Hey thanks Ben! I’ve learned a great deal from listening and reading your stuff, you got me into AI AGI and super intelligent AI -and crypto too😃 (Agix bag holder and spin-offs) and now open ended intelligence theory!
Much obliged to you, you’re a legend man!!👊👍☺️
Recently I found a really great book at the used bookstore by Sri Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga, which is basically a commentary on Sri Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. I think you would like it; it brought a great deal of clarity to me. In this work he discusses the kundalini:
"The concept of kundalini is confused by many imprecise definitions and even a text such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika contains contradictory descriptions of it. The definition that follows is derived from what in my opinion is the best, the clearest, and the most coherent text on this subject, the Yoga Yajnavalkya. There kundalini is defined unambiguously as an obstacle. What is to enter the susumna at some stage or other through your yoga practice is, according to this text, not the kundalini itself, but simply prana. Many books say that it is the kundalini itself that rises up through the susumna, but this does not make sense if we follow the Yoga Yajnavalkya, one of the oldest texts that deals with this aspect of yoga. One of its central concepts is that prana and the various forms it takes in the body are linked to the practice of yoga, and it says that if we are successful in our practice, the kundalini is burned up, making the way clear for prana.
A snake killed while lying in a curled position unfolds and streatches out, the muscles no longer able to keep it coiled. It is said that when the fire in the body, agni, has killed the snake, the kundalini unrolls and the passage is open to the flow of prana."
This relates to "evil", why I mention it.
The agni is a tiny flame which naturally resides in the lower abdomen between the prana-vaya and the apana-vaya; it is used to cleanse the subtle body and destroy the kundalini. Sri Desikachar goes on to suggest that kundalini is metaphorically equivalent to avidya, which is essentially the various forms of fundamental ignorance; Sri Desikachar translates avidya as “incorrect comprehension,” and it is avidya in its various forms which creates duhkha, the restrictive structure in the mind which obscures one’s true nature. The key points of clarity here are, the kundalini, metaphorically represented as a serpent in the tree, is an obstacle to be destroyed and the method for destroying it is cultivation of the agni.
If we read the Jewish Rabbi, David Cooper, who writes about the Jewish Kabballah, then in that tradition the serpent in the tree is Satan, a force of fragmentation which takes the one into the many. It becomes rather straightforward to interpret the entire Garden of Eden story as a metaphorical representation of the yogic path. The serpent in the tree is the kundalini. Adam and Eve represent the subtle energy channels - the nadis, pingala and ida, respectively. The gate to the Garden represents the heart cakra, which separates the lower, profane cakras from the upper, divine cakras. The guardians at the gate represent the branches of avidya, asmita and raga on the one side, dvesa and abhinivesa on the other. The flaming sword is the agni. Both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life are metaphors for us humans. We are all in the Garden but, due to the force of fragmentation and avidya active in the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Knowledge does not recognize the Garden for what it is.
The Mahabharatha tells us that the human community or, more generally, the sentient community, is divided; there is the group which actively seeks the serpent’s destruction and there is the group which actively seeks the serpent’s preservation. This is just how things are, although I think it has something to do with self-organized criticality. At any rate, "evil" is relative. If anyone knows this, I do.
The problem is, most propellerheads are afraid to engage with human behavior. They can only stomach the process of ingestion of large faceless datasets that reduce human behavior to unexplained neural weights. It's like the theory of evolution, we know the process but we wash our hands of any value judgement on the outcome.