Do You UNDER-stand?

The Omnicentric Mind

A short, 8-minute case for recognizing your own assumptions & paradigms, how your logic-truth is formed by them, and how that creates conflicts with those of different assumptions, paradigms and consequent logic.

I’ve watched this perhaps a dozen times over the months. It’s like church to me.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. John on February 25, 2013 at 14:34

    I am getting notices to update my RSS subscription. Unfortunately Thunderbird complains that the Feedblitz RSS is invalid. Does anyone else have it working with Thunderbird?

  2. Skyler Tanner on February 26, 2013 at 04:57

    Ken Wilber speaks of this in a function of transcendence. In order to trancend you must include, which means you can meet anyone where they are at because you’ve been there…it’s still part of you.

    A great phrase, which this guy touches on immensely, is something like this: “The subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the next stage.” Stepping outside of paradigms, anyone?

  3. Corey on February 26, 2013 at 05:45

    Hi Richard,

    I have been reading your blog for a few months now. I tend to avoid commenting as a general rule. I wanted to thank you though for posting this video. What an extraordinary man.

    Thanks for all you do and for keeping things so honest.


  4. Gordon Shannon on February 26, 2013 at 08:28

    If you’re interested, what he’s deploying here is the first principle of traditional Taoism, that the Tao is in everything, and everything is in the Tao. The Tao is much akin to what we call ‘nature’, though Chinese Taoism – and its various other Asian offshoots, including Chan and Zen Buddhism – did not recognize the dichotomy of object/subject, nature/convention in the manner we have done since the Greeks (i.e. it was not for them a valid metaphysical dichotomy). The reason for rejecting this metaphysical dichotomy is simple: our activities are themselves a function of Tao/nature, and are thus included within it. This permits the Chinese Taoist to adopt a mode of naturalism not fully grasped by the Greeks, and which only began to enter Western thought with the advent of psychological theory. The Greeks always allowed that the soul (whether the full psuche for the earlier Greeks, or the nous for the later, philosophical Greeks, or even the logos for the later, more religiously minded Greeks) was divine, higher than our natural body and functions.

    The aim of Taoist practice is to accord the mind with Tao. Though Taoism recognizes the essential oneness of object/subject, nature/convention, it also recognizes that causal changes, such as human practices, can ‘go wrong’. Of course, the basic reason they can go wrong for us, but not for the rest of nature, is that we are free – we have a mode of causation distinct to us, centered in the rational use of our consciousness. The development and deployment of this free causation, including the manner in which we perceive and conceive the world, can function in ways not suited to our broader nature. For instance, the rational mind can deliberate in cases where deliberation is not causally suited; we can conceive of actions without regard for the circumstances in which those actions took place; we can forget our essential animality, elevating the rational/discursive/logical to a central place *at the expense of* other aspects of our causal structure. All such errors must be met, fundamentally, by correcting our mode of consciousness.

    Ultimately, the Taoists argue that the mind, to be corrected, must move towards embracing the Tao, i.e. embrace a perspective grounded in the Tao. We might call this objectivity, i.e. seeing everything as an element of and participant in nature. Thus, removing improper influence by emotions or reason or instinct, wherever appropriate. In this way, one can move beyond, say, the perspective that one has had as an individual, or the perspective of a people, or a nationality. One can overcome the influence that conceptual structures have had, such as a religion framework, or a “right/left” framework – a *paradigm*.

    So in a very real sense, the mind does become, according to Taoism, “omnicentric” – centered on everything. Why? Because such a mind embraces the Tao, which is everything.

    Now, it’s fundamentally about a manner of practice, about ones epistemic perspective. So it’s not, as some have held, that we become ‘metaphysically’ one with the Tao, or that we come, in a moment of ‘enlightenment’, to know everything. The Taoists were very clear in their writings that they were developing what we would call a psychological/ethical theory – an account of the ‘health’ of the mind and it’s ‘proper’ functioning.

    Thanks for posting the video again. Always a pleasure to watch.

  5. Ulfric on February 26, 2013 at 11:27

    The last minute matches what I’ve always said, in a puffy way.
    The rest of it?
    Everyone who uses the word “paradigm” needs a slap.

    I’ll get me coat …

    • Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2013 at 11:51

      “Everyone who uses the word “paradigm” needs a slap.”

      I’ve always said essentially the same thing. It’s not the word, per se, but its overuse and downright incorrect use by so many, particularly in circles of busop, MLM, etc. There’s always some new “paradigm” people need to buy information about so they don’t miss the paradigm.

      In this case, I think Kimura is using it correctly.

  6. Joshua on February 26, 2013 at 21:01

    It’s a little woo woo for me, and I even love the word paradigm. 🙂

    Ran across this link. Seems tangentially related to me & might be of interest to you Richard from several perspectives, including economic.

  7. Greg on February 27, 2013 at 07:10

    Two fish in the ocean, one turns to the other and says, “What’s all this talk about water?”

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2013 at 07:24

      Indeed. Only a fish out of water really understands.

    • Bill Strahan on March 11, 2013 at 14:07

      The other fish turns back and exclaims “Oh my god! A talking fish!”


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