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This 10 minute TED video by Alex Wissner talks about a new theory of intelligence, which defines intelligence as

intelligence is a force ... that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action

How is this related to goal of Buddhism? By this definition is Buddhist practice very intelligent?

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"something that takes control of the present to enable greater control of future possibilities". This is Mindfulness. By being Mindful of the present moment.One has greater control of the action that follows.

How is this related to goal of Buddhism?

The goal of Buddhism is Nibbanna.You realise it through practicing the Eight Noble Path in which Right Mindfulness is a component.Have you heard of the karma that ends all karma. Basically by following the Eight Noble Path we are creating the right conditions,the right karma,to stop suffering.By being mindful we can takes control of the present to enable greater control of future possibilities (Happiness,Nibbanna) Being mindful stops you from acting subconsciously (in ignorance) or out of deeply ingrained habits and tendencies that keep you in samsara.

By this definition is Buddhist practice very intelligent?

Yes.

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Well no, maybe not: maybe the new equation is just more samsara.

The phrase "acting so as to maximize future freedom of action" could be interpreted to mean things like:

  • Become rich
  • Become politically powerful
  • Minimize your prior obligations which impede your freedom of action

That third sounds like it might be Buddhist, if it means, "people without attachments can do more" (e.g. if they don't have family obligations to hold them back) ... but then again consider the Vinaya rules, which dictate limits on what people are able (allowed) to do.

Buddhism isn't entirely about becoming powerful ("future freedom of action") ... it's more to do with "self-control" and freedom (liberation) from suffering.

The descriptions of "Entropica" show I think that it's not intended as a description of mainstream Buddhism:

By the same token, Entropica is broadly applicable to problems in autonomous defense, logistics and transportation.

Finally, here we see Entropica spontaneously discovering and executing a buy-low, sell-high strategy on a simulated range traded stock, successfully growing assets under management exponentially.

On the other hand, the "Entropica" model could be interpreted to mean "don't have a limited view of self, form new connections" ... so I suppose it depends on how you interpret the metaphor

  • Yeah you're right that I think the Entropica model is designed to explain worldly things but it wouldn't be the first time that a worldly thing can be hijacked to improve spiritual practice... The fact that money and power can help but also hold back is actually already a part of the interpretive Buddhist machine as the Eight Vicissitudes or the Anussati.. Thus a person who realizes the benefits of Nirvana and Buddahood, looking to a point in time Very Very Far, far beyond the body that can hold wealth, power, and pleasure would cultive them only to ensure more time.. to Practice. – Ahmed Feb 4 '15 at 15:42
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The Buddhist goal is to escape self-imposed suffering and ultimately to escape forced birth-and-death through the process of the Three Trainings. This is related to Alex Wissner's theory of intelligence in the same manner: restrict/choose present actions in order to maximize future options.

When one attains bodhi one is able to be free from forced rebirth. Thus, once Awakened, the bodhisattva/Buddha then exercises their compassionate power and constantly uses their nirmanakaya (aspect of Trikaya) to help beings throughout the infinite galaxies as described by Buddha (and Taoists).

Thus, by Alex Wissner's definition of intelligence, Buddhist training is the most intelligent behavior any being can possibly take, especially those of us that are trapped in self-imposed suffering (dukkha) and the process of forced birth-and-death.

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intelligence is a force ... that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action

It sounds like "intelligence" craves for an image called "freedom of action in the future". Buddhism is very different: meditation is a practice to free people from suffering.

He also says that intelligence is goal-seeking and control-grabbing. I think that Buddhism doesn't mean to control someone's own life, it's more about "behaving in a way that suffering is not produced". Control is subjectively pervaded with attachment and aversion. It's subtle. How can someone change his/her own behavior without being attached to some mind states and not being averse to others?

And also, someone can think that enlightenment is a goal, but seeing it like this is a pitfall. A goal implies expectation, or anticipation of the future, only more samkara. How someone can seek nirvana without imagining it in the future?

But there is a lot of intelligent people clinging on samsara.

By this definition is Buddhist practice very intelligent?

No, because in this definition intelligence implies suffering.

By the way, in Buddhism, intelligence could be understood differently.

  • Good point that intelligence is goal-seeking and control-grabbing.. In the case of Buddhism though it is still control-grabbing... taking control of your own life so that you do not remain the hell of samsara... by controlling one's own mind, efforts, and life to align with the Eightfold path. Of course the same quality (seeking control) is used by most people to create more suffering and trying to control things that aren't even theirs to control, etc. – Ahmed Feb 13 '15 at 2:30
  • I think that Buddhism doesn't mean to control someone's own life, it's more about changing behaviors that produce suffering. Control is subjectively pervaded with attachment and aversion. It's subtle. And also, someone can think that enlightenment is a goal, but seeing it like this is a pitfall. Because a goal implies expectation, or anticipation of the future, only more samkara. I'm adding this to the answer. – eric Feb 13 '15 at 14:23
  • True. The buddha did say that one has to have a strong desire for enlightenment and then get rid of even that desire (eventually). If one does that last part too soon though it is a grave mistake. – Ahmed Feb 13 '15 at 18:42

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