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Intelligence, Consciousness and Slack
Robert Schmidt, PhD., Stuart Goodnick, Tayu meditation teachers
Original Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
We have the habit of thinking we know what intelligence is. After all, didn't I get higher grades in school than my neighbor (or the other way around)? Yet deep inquiry into its nature reveals that intelligence resists unambiguous definition. Is intelligence defined by the capacity to comprehend and manipulate symbols, or must we also consider so-called "emotional intelligence" and even body awareness as attributes of intelligence? So too with consciousness. Surely dogs and dolphins are conscious, yet is their consciousness undifferentiated from that of humans? Can we speak meaningfully about intelligence and consciousness in systems or processes larger than individual biological organisms like individual human beings? Even recent materialist writers like Yuval Harari (Sapiens and Homo Deus) acknowledge that consciousness too resists unambiguous definition. In this talk, we ask how the concept of the "third force," or to use another formulation, "slack" can help us recast how we think about, and how we embody intelligence and consciousness. Slack is the "X factor" or space that enables us to move past our own mental and emotional habits so that we move around obstacles like water moving around a boulder in a stream.
Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., and Stuart Goodnick direct Tayu Meditation Center, which owns and operates Many RiversBooks & Tea. They spent decades being tutored in the living laboratory created by Tayu Meditation Center founder Robert Daniel Ennis, himself a master of living, breathing Slack.