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Daniel P Brown, Mahamudra and me, a typewriter and Tipp-Ex

Around 1980 or so, I began to type my Master´s thesis in sociology. Theme: "The influence of their organisational structure on the politics of US labor unions towards wage policy". It was more interesting than what one might think: eventually, I had to also write about Jimmy Hoffa, the Mafia, Kennedies and Marylin Monroe, as all of them were involved in the trucker union in some complicated way.

I had collected lots of documentation (all on paper) during a stay in the US, where a nice professor at the University of Maryland allowed me to attend his seminars - without being an inscribed student. Thank you Richard Brown.

Back in Germany, I typed it on the university´s mechanical typewriters, in their library. Eventually, it became a 250 page document with ca 400 footnotes.

It also became the university´s best sociological Master´s thesis ever - a straight "1". I was advised to add just a little work on it to make it into a Doctor´s degree. I didn´t take the offer - thanks to god! Instead, I rebooted myself in the just emerging Information Technology. It had a huge need for programmers.

That was courageous because my only exposure to IT in university in the 1970s had been a course in Fortran, using punch cards. They had been invented 1890, some 60+ years before my birth.

It looked like the card below. 50 years after this, I now conduct "convos" with AI about whether the concept of "bliss" in Buddhism and related idea and practice systems is a property of rigpa / Brahman , or is generated by the brain.

I have no firm conclusion yet on this topic although I know experientially that this type of bliss is of the undescribable type - even if enabled by psychedelics. I digress.

I never got a grade for the simple statistics program I was supposed to do. That´s because eventually, I accidentally dropped the stack of punch cards (in German Lochkarten or hole-cards) which I had "programmed", and I could not re-assemble them in the original sequence as a stack in time to hand them in.

But, apart from this self-praise, my point is: I know what typing 250 pages and 400 footnotes means when you do it on a typewriter.

It requires from you that you have an exact pre-planned structure of the entire work before you begin. There is no copy/paste. There is no drag and drop. There is no automatic error correction. There is no AI helping you out. There is no automatic pagination. There is no automatic table of contents generator. There is just the type-writer, Tipp-Ex, and your brain. And paper of course.

Daniel Brown and "The Stages of Mahamudra Meditation" on 700 pages with 1000 footnotes on typewriter (and Tipp-Ex)

Therefore, I didn´t even have to read it to deeply admire Daniel P Brown´s 1981 dissertation. It had nearly 700 pages and over 1000 footnotes.

Here it is for free:

Brown, D. P. (1981). Mahamudra Meditation-Stages and Contemporary Cognitive Psychology (Dissertation).

It is a massive, highly technical volume that nevertheless gives an unparalleled insight into the education of a yogi.

It draws on the knowledge of cognitive science as of the late 1970s, so it is not the newest in this regard. As compensation, Daniel P Brown gives some insight into the experiments with tachistoscopy, to which he still referred in his 2021 retreat when talking about the speed of processing of thought, attention, awareness, and particularisation.

It also pre-thinks highly modern concepts, such as "meditation is pattern-recognition in reverse". If you are interested in this idea, watch Shamil Chandaria for a start.

The University of Chicago library entry, just as record:

And here some pages (toc, content, references)

Enjoy reading Take 2 weeks off for that. I did, but then I am a pensioner.

Resources on predictive processing and the brain

Chandaria, S. (2022, October 30). The Bayesian Brain and Meditation: A predictive processing account of radical changes in the character of phenomenal experiences [Video]. YouTube.

Taft, M. W. (2022, April 1). Meditation, Insight, and Predictive Processing with Ruben Laukkonen. Deconstructing Yourself.


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