The below is not a criticism of Tolle or Oprah; rather, it's an attempt to get to the next step.
During the 4/21/08 webcast that Oprah is doing with Tolle, a young fellow in LA brought up some questions that had a critical thinking flavor. In doing so, he demonstrated one benefit that the western heritage has brought to the table and has used to drive progress.
In the same webcast, Oprah mentioned left-right brain issues which will be discussed in a follow-on Monday right after the end of the Tolle series. This may be another way to look at this thing where we see the left being more analytic versus the wholeness flavor of the right.
Many have scoffed at the left-right idea, just as the whole idea of spirituality grates on several viewpoints. It would be interesting to see what insights a scientist might obtain from Tolle's approach. More on that below.
Others might couch these issues as east versus west (one could say holistic vis-a-vis reductionistic) or as spirituality versus materiality.
As an aside, technically, the webcast method is right on as it allows interaction at the time, plus review after the fact. Let's hope that Oprah continues these. They could grow to help found a better way of thinking.
So, what is the issue here? Tolle's message has resonated (AHA! moments) with a whole lot of folk all over the place. We have to ask why this is so.
That humans ought to use their mind and not escape from it (which is what Tolle seems to desire) is one concern to bring up. No amount of being present is going to solve a problem or to resolve a mathematical proof. It may help the intuitive grasp of the problem or the theorem; yet, we know from advanced mathematics that one does not necessary understand, one just gets used to it (von Neumann).
Which, of course, brings up how being present might help in mathematics and science, in that order because of the quasi-empirical issues related to modern views as they evolve through science.
So, what I see Nick asking is that no amount of being present is going to help a young person know anything. Okay, to use the parlance of the 60s, it'll help one groove; but, that's not sufficient (though, one may argue that what Tolle and Oprah are offering is necessary - hence the appeal).
I would rephrase Nick's question thusly: When Tolle drops role (but takes function as necessary) and gets us out of mind (into Being), how do we collect the necessary framework to succeed in any advanced system of knowledge that requires that we play roles and use extreme mental efforts?
Now, for Oprah, she ought to ask Dr Oz's opinion on this. Why? Neither Oprah or Tolle have the technical attainments (if that needs further clarification, I'll be happy to explain though this blog and 7-oops-7 have dealt with the issues) to know what some of the questions mean. There is an interest on the part of Oprah to hear from the under-30 crowd which ought to keeps these issues on the forefront.
For Tolle, I would challenge him to offer to work with a staunch materialist who has adopted the atheistic ontology and see what benefits could be drawn from the exercises.
There is another dimensional aspect, too. I half expect Tolle at some point to talk along the lines of Zukav who was earlier on Oprah. Why? It's not due to passivity, yet an enlightened and present state can lead toward reception beyond our space/time limits; as well, that we have the left-brained language and LOGOS is a much deeper phenomenon that I think than Tolle allows for.
Then, the whole set of computational phenomena which is behind the webcast (and more) is based on us using the Present in a manner that has been non-intuitive (ever wonder why kids seem to intuit more than adults?) and perhaps erroneous. Think what a 'spiritual' overlay on the web would do in terms of constraining all the rush to the negative.
Oh, by the way, look at the purpose for this blog. It is namely to work with 'truth' issues and to get the human element more fully involved so that evolution can accelerate as it will.
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