Consciousness/experiences cannot be transfered

In Zen, it is well-known that the masters insist that they have nothing to teach. They insist that their words cannot become the students’. The students have to experience for themselves.

Yes, the consciousness/experiences cannot be transfered from one person to another. You have to experience it yourself.

What I realized after coming to US is that the consciousness/experiences also cannot be transfered from one culture to another culture. Even it is within the same person, for what you have experienced in your native culture you will have to experience them all over again in the new culture. Otherwise, the old experience will just fade away and become not accessible anymore. So you have to rebuild the whole new experience on the new substrate.

I always tell my oversea Chinese friends that it is a battle of life and death living in US, which they cannot totally comprehend. But for our brains, it is certainly a battle of life and death. Although many oversea Chinese try to get by by associating with the oversea Chinese communities, it is certainly very different from living in your native culture. Their consciousness was locked up and cannot keep growing anymore.

I was talking to a friend the other day. He asked me about some of his impression of Chinese. I told him that Chinese coming to US in different time are very different. When they came to US, they were pretty much stuck in the time they came. So the Chinese coming to US 50 years ago were trapped as Chinese 50 years ago. Even China itself has changed over the past 50 years, these Chinese don’t change much. The new generation of Chinese coming here certainly realize those Chinese are very different. So each generation of Chinese immigrants become a museum of that generation. They cannot “melt” (a common word used, but I don’t feel that is an accurate expression) into the western culture. They cannot grow together with their original Chinese society anymore. So they got locked up. For China, it had gone through countless of wars and turmoils in the past 150 years. The trauma and humiliation these wars had caused in the people’s minds are very deep. And it takes many years of peaceful time to rebuild the order of peace, and people can start rebuilding the manners of their society. So people in a society grow together. But the Chinese coming to US a long time ago cannot grow anymore and was locked in that historical period forever. It took their second generation to start making a little change.

In Buddhism, we say there is no time. What happened in the past is not in the past. It is in the present. It is in your memory. So the past is just the space in our memory. We access that space by living the present. So if you are more able to interact with the present, you have more access to the past (the space in your memory).  We are constantly reshaping and restructuring our memory so that our past experience and our knowledge can be more readily available with no thinking. When you are crossing the street, how do you know you need to pay attention to the cars? How is that memory recalled? During an emergence, for example, how to put out a fire on oil? How do you recall your knowledge and reconnect things on the spot? It is reasoning. You have the subject and object. You take the experience of the object as the object. The subject and object are not separated. But when you are trapped in thoughts, the subject and object are separated. Then you are thinking.

Learning, is to constantly restructure our memory so it can be more readily available. When you can connect things at the bottom level, it is much easier for you to hold things together. When you are able to hold all your experience together in your hand, you will feel very good. When you bravely engage with the present space, the emptiness of the present will recall the emptiness stored as patterns in your memory (according to the current brain science, the revoking of memory is based on pattern mapping). Such pattern mapping doesn’t have to be visual to visual mapping. Visual might be mapped to audio and so on.

As in the previous post, our memory is also stored externally in the material culture. By interacting with that external material culture every day, we have access to our memory. Thus living in a community has essential meaning to human being. Being extracted out of that material culture and transported to another material culture means you lose part of your memory. Thus you need to familiarize yourself with the new material culture and have that as your new external storage of memory. By interacting with it day to day, you are accessing your memory stored in it. The ability to interact with this new material culture certainly determines how fast you can build up your new experiences and be able to access that experience from time to time.

Some stuff above is more hypothetic in nature.


1 Comment

Filed under Chan/Zen, Foreign Experience, Random Thoughts, What is Learning

One response to “Consciousness/experiences cannot be transfered

  1. Pingback: Review of 2008 posts « A hacker of the Internet for the purpose of growth, fun, and creation

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