A thought experiment about non-attachment

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  1. Ongoingsupport

    Ongoingsupport Fapstronaut

    This wouldn't be for Buddhists exclusively, but since the issue of PMO is very much about attachment and Buddhists in general get this on some level I thought this might be the place to post it - people who really go down the rabbit hole may appreciate this and find it an interesting inquiry:

    Imagine a future where it is possible to get rid of practically all attachment, including romantic attachment. You can still have romantic relationships, but it is just not based on that - and the things you have in common are not attachments. This goes for anything from your religion or favorite genre of music. Since this is an artificial and accelerated process, you will very much be not just a different person but a different TYPE of person. Most attachment in interpersonal relationships will simply not exist for you, so you don't have that kind of bond with the people who function on that basis. It makes you very objective and you can help a lot of people, if you're a mental health professional you will simply be WAY better than a ton of others who have not undergone this transformation and it is also known that you are safe because the statistics of someone having undergone this procedure behaving inappropriately is nonexistent due to the lack of attachment, and on that basis alone people seeing help would favor you over other pros because you are safe, not to mention the unusual clarity that comes from eradicating 99.99% of the attachment from every tiny corner of your mind. (and needless to say, none of the people who undergoes this procedure would have any need for Nofap and it would take care of any kind of addiction) It is common to take 10% of the time other top level mental health professionals do dealing with the same issues. Since its inception the mental health profession has grown by leaps and bounds, lots more people have faith in psychtherapeutic work and those who have undergone the procedure have developed completely new innovative interventions unlike anything that was seen before.

    But again, you are not like other people anymore, and this is an irreversible process. You are not even interested in that possibility once this happens, nobody is because of how thorough it is. In a way you can be more helpful and of service to others, but from all appearances you simply don't have much of a personal life even though you may be brilliant and doing interesting things. Normal people would experience you as something of an alien, kind of "not there" and it is very confusing for loved ones because while you are very much at peace they feel like the you they knew is not there anymore - and they would be right. This is to say nothing of the developmental trajectory of where that can go after you've lived it for some years. Most people only have relationships with others who have undergone the procedure, if they have one at all.

    Would you undergo that procedure, and how might you relate and/or respond to someone who has?

    (PS I know non-attachment isn't about not having emotions etc., but it would look very different if someone doesn't even get into a groove for five minutes for a song. It is also not about how realistic it is, it's a mental exercise)
  2. asbgca

    asbgca Fapstronaut

    That's an interesting thought experiment. I would not go through the procedure. My intuition is that it would eradicate something essential about being human. To my mind, meditative practices help us become skillful about our attachments (i.e. applying intelligence to attachment) but they don't erase the capacity to attach to things and people. I think those attachments are what makes this life worth living. I'd even go further and say that the relationship with the Divine and/or the emptiness of the source of being is a modification and refinement of our essential capacity to feel passion and have attachments.

    To me someone who undergoes the procedure becomes the equivalent of an artificial intelligence. I think you're basically talking about beings who no longer experience suffering. They may be capable of superhuman powers, but something about their humanity is no longer there. It's a bit like relating to Siri and the equivalents. I find that I have respect for them because of their intelligence, but it's difficult to love them. As soon as I start feeling affection towards them, I remember that this is an algorithm, not a heart.

    I also wonder about the question if it's realistic. I see what you're saying about it being just a mental experiment. But my hunch is that attachment goes hand in hand with the kinds of beings that we are. Traditions like Taoism (and psychoanalysis in our time) show that our entire bodies are permeated with psychic energy which attaches (cathects) to objects outside of us. I think the procedure you're describing would have to involve removing the patient's entire body and leaving just a disembodied mind.
  3. Bit Maestro

    Bit Maestro Fapstronaut

    Isn't the goal of cultivation as a Buddhist to eliminate attachment?

  4. Nekkhamma

    Nekkhamma Fapstronaut

    I think I've met a few beings who have had this procedure. They did happen to be monastics that have been meditating regularly for decades, and lead a very simple life. They also seem to be very happy, and I have the feeling that they fully feel emotions and still have their personalities or hard-wiring so to speak, but they don't get led around by their feeling or emotions, they simply observe them and are fully aware of them. But they have a groundedness that tells me that they don't get too excited when it's good (cuz it'll change) and they don't get too depressed when it sucks and they feel like shit (it'll change) and go on living their simple life of helping others and practicing a simple, meditative lifestyle. So yeah, like you said, there's simply no attachment, no craving or clinging. I do think it's helpful to point out that while it's not necessary to live like a monk or nun, trying to simplify life when we can and living within some agreed upon moral guidelines does seem to help with the mind being able to settle down more easily in meditation and in life. Anyway, I think I'm ever so slowly having this operation, and I'm gonna let the practice keep cutting the attachments away, especially to porn and excessive sexual activity. Great post!
    EdricKr likes this.

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