Hey Nick_A, sorry in the delay on getting back to you, I forgot to mention I would be away for most of the weekend. So here is an epic post to make up for it.
In all fairness you don't understand Simone. But consider these two quotes:
Can you as an atheist accept this mutual attraction to idolatry that denies direct experience? Would you agree that the perceived differences are really forms of idolatry?
I don’t personally believe I haven’t understood Weil. You have quoted her saying she doesn’t blindly believe, however I have countered this offering many examples where she blindly believes, so, perhaps it is the other way around.
I think Weil is here arguing that her own idolatry is superior, as is her belief in something she wants to be true.
Whether she is correct would be impossible to determine – the hypocrisy here, in her condemnation of clinging to beliefs while she herself does exactly this, prevents her argument from being particularly meaningful, I think.
I personally think that this talk of idols and idolatry is overtly fundamentalist, and has no place in the speech of someone who considers themselves a mystic.
Given the choice of the lesser of two evils then, I choose not to cling to either.
What causes clinging?
The drive of the mind to seek something permanent.
Can a person come to a belief without clinging?
No, obviously not, by definition. Any sustained mental Object, such as a belief, must be clung to.
Do you think it is possible for a person to acquire and sustain a belief not based on clinging but because it is true and an expression of direct knowledge?
No. Believing and knowing are not the same two things.
Genuine knowledge only applies to truth (knowledge = justified, true belief), and truth only applies to that which one can know directly.
One can only know the knower directly, therefore, it is not simply that knowledge can only ever be of the Subject, knowledge actually is the Subject
in any meaningful sense, since any knowledge of
something is knowledge of an Object, and thus is not knowledge.
Therefore, for instance the hypothesis “reality is layered in pancakes” can only ever be a belief, even if true, and never known, in an epistemological sense.
This would not make such a belief necessarily false, but it would make it not “Truth”, capital “T”, that can be known in a meaningful sense.
Of course, so do I. I experience inner morality everyday.
I see I'm not making myself clear.
In what sense? Are you doubting my experience of inner morality? That would be rather hypocritical!
Can you accept that a person has qualities they are born with and over time acquires a personality that lives a person's life.
If this is true, there is a morality that we are capable of that would be an expression of a developed essence and also the morality that is conditioned and becomes a part of our personality.
That an “essence” exists of any kind does not follow from this argument, nor is it technically possible, if the laws of physics, thermodynamics, conservation of energy etc. are true.
We can have qualities we are born with (e.g. blue eyes, sexual preference, the capacity for cancer etc.) which sometimes develop over time, and/or shape our personality to some extent.
However, there is not necessarily any reason to assume that an “essence” exists, nor that this has anything to do with morality, at all. Blue eyes are expressions, physical manifestations of information encoded in genes, not of blue eye “essence”. It is like the way the images on your computer screen are expressions of units of information in the website’s code, but not “forum essence”.
Is it possible that most are not open to distinguishing between the real and unreal in our collective being?
Of course, but this has nothing to do with essences or objective god-given morality, necessarily.
It seems you are bringing the mass stupidity of the human race to justify your position. “Most people are ignorant or asleep, therefore, objective morality exists as do essences etc.” but this is not a valid or reasonable position.
I have encountered in the past some people who believe that the human race has been infiltrated by reptilian extraterrestrials from Zeta Reticulai, who might use the exact same argument. They would ask, “Is it true that most people are unaware of the difference between the real and their imagination? Therefore, George Bush is a shape-shifting alien.” This is not a meaningful argument, you see, but it is analogous to your reasoning here.
Must the atheist see a person's daily existence as the outer shell or including the development of a quality of being that is beyond the understanding of the personality?
It is a false dichotomy to believe that anything that is not the personality must be “relative being” etc.
I would say that what you are talking about is “becoming”. “Becoming” is not “being”. If you are busy becoming, you are not being. If something becomes, in any way, it is not being.
So, the notion that being develops or becomes is an oxymoron, it is an impossible contradiction, and not a deep esoteric paradox or anything.
In Esoteric Buddhism, they call “becoming” the wheel of Samsara. When there is no becoming, there is Nirvana. Accordingly, the Buddha only ever referred to himself as the “Tathagata” - which literally means “he who has not come or gone” i.e. “he who is not becoming”.
In Esoteric Hinduism, they call becoming Maya, or illusion. When there is no becoming, or no illusion of becoming, there is Moksha, or “liberation” – precisely liberation from becoming.
The god of the Old Testamnet of course refers to himself as “I am That I am” – which would be accurately interpreted as something that is not “becoming”, but “being”.
In “acornology”, the analogy shows that, in desperation to maintain the acorn, it eventually dies, rots, goes stagnant. When the scientist clings
to certain ideas, beliefs and concepts
about the acorn, it is being prevented from growing
, this is the whole point.
So, if we are inspired by this metaphor, then it is perhaps best to learn the moral and not resist development and growth, surely?
If the acorn is to grow, it must forget everything it knows about being an acorn – all this is useless. It thinks it is a mere, isolated acorn, yet it has the potential for the whole forest. It must abandon what it thinks it is
, and jump into the unknown. Only then can it blossom into a tree.
Moreover, it not only thinks it knows everything about being an acorn, it doesn’t realise that once it is a tree, all of that becomes irrelevant anyway.
If this kernel of life does exist, wouldn't it be indicative of relative being society is unconcerned with?
Literally, nothing can be indicative of being that becomes, because being that becomes is not being, but becoming.
Also, the connections between these things is not clear at all. If we say that “quality is objective, therefore, humanity is ignorant” or “growth happens, therefore, being is relative”, we are not making coherent statements, even if these things were true.
I am inferior to Kasparov in chess. This is an intellectual observation. Why must I wallow in "feelings" of inferiority. If the joy of the game influences me to better my game, then that is the fun of it.
I really don’t know why you must wallow in feeling of inferiority, nor wallow in feelings of superiority. I am asking you this question.
Inferiority doesn't have to generate a negative emotion. In fact a genuine relationship between student and teacher often inspires the opposite.
Acceptance of the ways in which one is lacking is not a negative emotion.
Preventing one’s independent development, because they are unable to relieve attachment to their ideas regarding their teacher, is certainly negative.
Believing oneself to be superior, intellectually and spiritually, to all fellow men, to the point that it completely inhibits the ability to process and integrate new information, is certainly negative also, in my opinion.
Chess contains a rating hierarchism based on wins and loses. Are you against hierarchism as a rule or is it possible that a society could function with a legitimate hierarchism?
I think society already does function according to certain hierarchies – one being Capitalism, the other being Meritocracy.
The problems with these is that certain skills are rewarded, while others not, and that “wins” are defined in terms of the individuals ability to meet pre-determined criteria.
In this sense, development has become meaningless, since it is simply a reaching for an arbitrary goal or “point”, rather than self-sustained or self-perpetuated in anyway. There is more joy to be had in playing chess for the sake of chess, than playing to win.
Within a “spiritual” context, the irony is that the more one develops spiritually, i.e. the more one “wins”, the less oneself sees themselves as actually gaining or winning at all. If someone still thinks in terms of winning and losing, they are stuck in dualism, and simply losing.
That is to say that, as spiritual growth develops, one increasingly sees themselves as equal and less different to others as the process continues.
So, any notion a practitioner has that they have won more spiritual brownie points than another, or that a teacher has even more than them, is only indicative, to them a well as others, that they are at an early stage of their inner development.
Hence, it is said in the Zen koan, “Should you see the Buddha in the road, kill him”. This is because he is an imposter - anyone who claims to be the Buddha is not the real Buddha, since we are all Buddha’s already, we just think otherwise. If you see the Buddha on the road, and not your own mind, you know it cannot be the Buddha.
This is why, for example, the traditions place such emphasis on compassion, love and peace, since as the practitioner grows, the “other” becomes indiscernible from the “self”.
So, in this regard, hierarchies are always superficial, and their existence often causes people to forget this, which is not a positive outcome.
I ask because the only basis I can see for such a legitimate hierarchy would be knowledge of man's evolutionary potential and society's dedication to helping it. Could atheism accept a possible legitimate hierarchy based on something more than secular advantage?
I’m intrigued, what’s “secular advantage”? I’m not sure what you mean exactly.
I think that the potential for growth doesn’t really have anything to do with a hierarchy. The problems with hierarchies is that they are decided – one may ask another: “What is the ideal hierarchy?” “Why, mine, of course.” “Where would you place yourself?” “Near the top, of course.” There are obvious problems with this, for more information see: Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Spanish Inquisition etc.
I think the potential for growth and its actualisation is uniquely directed within each individual – the Universe grows, by its very nature, and thus, so do we. My own growth is independent of the society I live in, in fact, in many ways it is a response to it. Stress is what spurs growth in all things.
Self awareness is one thing. I am referring to the awareness that we are aware
So am I. Why would you think otherwise? Perhaps you are trying to dismiss my practice and experience, which is not very constructive.
I am also referring to awareness of being aware. I do not mean bodily awareness, or awareness of ego etc. I am equating self-awareness with awareness of being aware because they are not two separate things…
You have an idea of it, an idea which is an Object. I am asking you non-conceptually, non-dualistically. Can you answer without invoking any dualities?
Then try harder!
All we can do is create a contradiction that contains what is beyond our comprehension.
can do, so far. Why is what you have done, and what you think, the measure for all others? This is not practical, or true, I think.
I think if you were to investigate the traditions, and practice what they suggest, you might find very quickly that they have gone much further than dualistic conceptions.
For example I can say that the source of "being" outside of time and space is simultaneously infinitely small and infinitely large. It doesn't make sense to us but without dimensions it has to be the case since creation we are a part of is structured on dimensions.
It makes sense to me.
However, a source of being infinitely small and infinitely large is relative to a (non)source of (non)being that is not infinitely large and not infinitely small. So, again, this conception is dependent, dualistic and not possibly god, if god is dependent and not subject to duality.
This is why conceptions cause problems. I think there is value in going beyond conceptions.
Take a rose. Looking at the rose, we can conceive of it, describe it, categorise it and so on. However, these categories will never be truly faithful to the experience
of the rose itself. The actual momentary awareness of that simple rose is something that can never be contained within any category we can conceive of.
Therefore, might this not suggest that experience
is more valuable, with regards to the inconceivable, than our conceptions?
Perhaps then, when our imagination can only go so far, it is better to seek out these things directly, rather than indirectly via an idea, conception etc.
Presence requires consciousness and consciousness is the beginning of awakening. I am not nor is Christianity concerned with mysticism as much as allowing for "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," It is not a denial of the body but rather allowing the physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects to function consciously as a connected whole that realistically furthers the connection of the higher with the lower. An awakened Man would be capable of such a connection within his being as well as in his contact with the external world.
Right, so you are talking about being consciously present, almost Eckhart Tolle style.
Again, I do not think this is the same as the “awakening” referred to in the various traditions. It is very valuable though, of course.
Also, I do not think that this gives one the power to turn their interpretations into truth, since there are many people who practice this constantly with conflicting views, including myself.
To assume that your awakening makes you impervious to critical thought or intellectual development is a very negative and destructive path to tread.
All this means to me that the cave people will attack without appreciation.
To me it means you are potentially impervious to critical thought or intellectual development.
It also means to me that whenever somebody questions you, you can just shrug them off as un-awakened, call them cave men, and feel self-righteous. This is not a healthy attitude, to me.
They cannot distinguish fantasy from revelation so anything that threatens their ego must be destroyed. I suggest that these attacks destroy truth and fantasy equally.
If consciousness evolves, then what he said 3000 years ago may be different.
What makes you think consciousness has evolved?
This involution/evolution theory that you have (presumably unknowingly) borrowed from Sri Auribindo – well, in his original idea it is consciousness doing the evolving, which is the same as Jewish mysticism and various other forms of mysticism, like Advaita.
That is to say that the forms of consciousness - which is constant throughout - evolves, but all these evolving forms are reducible to the original unchanging consciousness, in these traditions.
Just because we have advanced technology and developed more advanced methods for BS doesn't indicate any advanced consciousness.
I think that, globally, there is a current transition among a minority that indicates a shift in awareness – more and more now have access to mysticism and inner technologies and are becoming increasingly aware as a result that we are all part of the same whole. I think (and hope) we are on the verge of a transition from isolated, closed and contracted existence to a collective, open and expanded one. In other words, metaphor or not, we are going from a lower, denser vibration, to a higher, extended vibration, in my view.
Remember though that your criteria for advanced consciousness depends on the extent that someone agrees with you. So certainly, in this regard I can certainly see where you are coming from that the rest of the world looks incredibly unconscious to you.
Consciousness requires developed attention.
Consciousness is both the attention and the thing developing itself!
So obviously it is not dependent on these things, and cannot “require” them. Self-consciousness, consciousness of being consciousness, definitely.
If you had no consciousness, you would not function – consciousness itself requires nothing, yet everything we do requires it. So, consciousness does not require anything itself.
It is obvious that the speed of technology has lessened attention span. So if anything, consciousness as a whole within society has decreased.
Again, attention, something consciousness does, does not equal consciousness itself. Just like kicking a ball does not equal a footballer. The kick may lessen, but there is not less footballer.
How can we define increased consciousness? If consciousness is what consciousness is of, then it has certainly increased. However, consciousness has no location, no space, no time; one might even say it was infinitely large and simultaneously infinitely small, if one were so inclined. So how can it technically increase?
I think that, looking at a relative timeline, it is hard to see to what extent we have developed, consciously or otherwise, as a people. However, going back a few hundred, or thousand years, we have surely come a long way. For instance, 500 years ago, both you and I would have been justifiably executed just for having this conversation. So, surely, there is progress, it may simply be on a larger scale than our lifetimes.
I still believe that in expressions of quantity two plus three equals five. Do I cling to it? Yes, but if you show why it isn't the case I'm not afraid to let go. My feeling of self worth doesn't depend on it.
However, this metaphor fails, because your beliefs about the nature of reality and the mind have already been shown to be false, in any possible way that they could be, yet you continue to cling to them.
Also, your ideas are in no way comparable to mathematics, in fact this is ironic, because mathematics also shows many of your ideas to be false, and mathematics is falsifiable/testable/objective/non-interpretive etc.
There is no possible way that I could show you that they are false, that I have not already done. So this attitude is inconsistent; quite clearly, when you are shown why it isn’t the case, you are afraid to let go, for whatever reason.
You seem to have a very elevated opinion of yourself and your spiritual progression, which certainly seems to have decided your sense of self-worth in this matter. Your inability to accept certain facts, question or develop your belief system, does indeed suggest to me you have too much personal investment in them, specifically because you seem like an otherwise reasonable and intelligent person.
On the level of no level, we are both and neither; no more looking
What is the difference between no level and being dead?
I don’t know, I’m not dead yet.
As far as I know, the only difference is that one is possible while still alive, the other, not.
It is one thing to want peace, truth, compassion, non-attachment and nonduality but quite another as I've experienced to be open to the inner truth that we are the wretched man, in opposition to ourselves, so can only create the illusion of this through escapism.
Not at all. I seek truth, which means that I must be open to these things. Once the information has been assimilated, I can then move on.
From my perspective, I used to think similar things to what you think now, then I developed my views and have a different understanding.
Though obviously you don’t, I personally consider my current views not to be simply an alternative to your own, but a more developed and refined version of what you currently think. I may be wrong; nevertheless, it seems unlikely that I will develop further by regressing into a previous conception, since that doesn’t make any sense.
I've found that my position is extremely offensive and in the past having provoked the most vile replies. I don't include you in this of course. But still what you wrote has a sort of good guy, bad guy connotation about it.
Although I am not one of these people, and direct no anger or negativity towards you, see it from the other side: your position is that you practice being consciously present, which makes you an awakened being, and makes your experiences infallible and impervious to science, reason, doubt or logic.
The inference is that, irrelevant of the experiences of the other person, irrelevant of what they know or don’t, irrelevant of anything they have to say whatsoever, if what they say is not what you believe, then they are ignorant, un-awakened, persecuting you and so on.
Now, I just want you to imagine what you would think how you would react if someone had this attitude towards a different belief to your own.
And no matter what came up, what evidence, arguments and so on you presented, they would maintain that they were awakened, had subjective experiences that were more valid than anyone else’s and that their interpretations were not interpretations, but truth.
I think, were you a weaker, more impatient person, you would certainly become frustrated, possibly even offended and finally, if you lacked the degree of self-control and maturity that you have, maybe even respond with violent words and vile replies.
It would not be because you were ignorant, asleep or in a cave, nor “fulfilling the prophecies” with your denial of this awakened being’s truth, but simply that you were upset that somebody had completely closed themselves off to any form of reason at all.
At the heart of it, it would be your desire to do this guy a favour, to help each other, that was being prevented and causing the disruption. Your anger/negativity would be because you were watching a reasonable person become totally lost, and you were seemingly helpless to stop it, not because you were offended by their beliefs.
This is what I don't understand. Somehow the aspiration to leave Plato's Cave is seen as arrogant, narcissistic, and expressions of false humility to secularism including atheism and secular Interfaith.
It is not the aspiration to leave the Cave that evokes this response. It is the persistence that you, and only you, know the way out, and the denial of any other possibility.
The member of the cave who is in the biggest trouble, and causes the biggest difficulty for themselves, is that one who does wake up, only to mistake the shadows on the wall for the light itself. There becomes no difference between him and a man who dreams himself waking up.
If there is pattern reoccurring when you express your beliefs, then you should isolated the constant
as the cause, which, unfortunately, is your ideas.
But you are doing the opposite; you are blaming the variable – everyone else.
Imagine a scientist who set lots of different things alight, then decided it was the things generating heat, not simply the fire, the constant each time. This wouldn’t be very good science, nor very sensible, but it is equivalent to your methodology.
The intent of these groups is to be satisfied with meaning derived from the world and share meaning on that basis. But then we have this minority, the black sheep, who are somehow aware that human meaning and purpose is not a societal quality normal for cave life but something we are called to that requires freedom from preconceptions of peace, truth, compassion and the whole nine yards. They believe in paths that lead to it. This is intolerable, and elitist. but the black sheep will seek the pearl of great price that exists beyond cave limitations and their needs will be considered insulting. Who do they think they are to nor be one of us? They must think we are ignorant.
Seeking meaning, seeking purpose, seeking pearls, seeking a way out of ignorance (the cave)– I think these are virtuous things. Believing that you know the identity of purpose, meaning and the pearl, before you have acquired them, and believing everyone else to be ignorant cave men, is not virtuous in my opinion, but dangerous and thoughtless.
Your journey for truth so far, was likely not without struggle, not without plenty of difficulties that, without a doubt, weaker men would not have got through.
And you are a stronger person for it, many of these strengths even shine through in your words and can be seen by people like me, despite not knowing you at all, which is a commendable achievement (and that, to me, is “real” art, btw).
However, I am sure that you learned very quickly that each new problem was not only harder to overcome, but harder to actually see, to recognise, at all.
I would simply ask: just remember – if
you are taking to be the truth, that which is not the truth, everything you have struggled for, fought for, everything that you have sacrificed has been wasted.
Because, in the cave, there is no difference between the men sleeping at the bottom, and those who take a nap half way up the slope.
William Blake said (to paraphrase): “When the truth can be told so to be understood, it will be believed”.
Following Blake, you are convinced that the lack of other’s belief is a lack of understanding on their part.
This may be so – however, if we are honest, this is not a humble claim, nor a selfless one, nor, in cold facts, a statistically viable one, nor appropriated by any evidence whatsoever.
I think it would be of value to consider, without ego, self, or investment, the possibility that the reason for believe is not for want of understanding, but of truth
. Conversely, this claim would
be humble, selfless, statistically viable and corroborated by lots and lots of evidence.
Perhaps it would help if you explain how you value religious aspiration. Does it have any meaning for an atheist?
For the majority of atheists, absolutely not, it is nothing short of delusion etc. So that would be the quick answer for the majority, I think.
However, I am not in the majority myself. And I like long answers.
I think there is two different kinds of religion.
The first is much like what I interpret as your idea of “Christendom”; the manufactured, bastardised version of religion that proliferates for the purpose of pacifying, rather than liberating men from their “wretchedness”. It is the structural organisation of certain beliefs that were originally intended to be discerned independently
– until we decided to kill those who didn’t arbitrarily believe, or have “faith”, which meant that the independent realisation of certain truths became obsolete, and religion degenerated into the exoteric nonsensical fantasy of talking snakes and literal water-walking that it has become.
Then there is the original notion of religion, which is something else altogether, something I call “choiceless”. I will capitalise the “R” just to differentiate.
The word “Religion” comes from the latin “re-“ which means “return” and the verb “ligare” which means “to bind”.
Cynical people would claim this means that Religion means “a return to bondage”, literally.
I don’t think so – the word bind can also mean union, harmony even peace, as an extension. In this sense, the word Religion means “return to union”, or I guess in your idea, a “return to the source”.
So, I think that religion, small “r”, is just a return to bondage. Aspiration is to be more controlled, more pacified, and more oppressed.
Then there is Religion, big “R”, which is aimed at allowing the individual to return to the original union prior to perceived separation. This is yoga, this is meditation, this is mysticism, this is the art and practice of liberating oneself from separation, to know the underlying balance and unity of all things.
In this sense, aspiration in Religion is the drive and desire to free oneself from the illusion of separation, the feeling that we are missing something, that something is lost, forgotten, absent. This feeling is choiceless, as is the aspiration to relieve it, which is why I refer to it in this way.
For all intensive purposes, this kind of Religion is totally nonexistent today in its organised form – however, mysticism, yoga (i.e. independent “spiritual” practice in general) have fortunately taken its place.
That would be my take on it.
To be or not to be is the question. I am referring to the human calling "to be." Yet somehow it is seen as being a form of elitism in opposition to truth, compassion, and everything else. But yet "to be" is really the striving to actualize what we normally seek through imagination which can have no other result then turning in circles. How do you appreciate "aspiration?"
Well, I disagree here that you are talking about “being” at all.
I think your idea is valid, about the human calling to “be” – however, I think you are mistakenly trying to be by becoming. Becoming is never, ever being.
Therefore, one cannot, literally, strive to “be”, or seek to “be”, or do anything that involves becoming at all – since this is not being.
Hence, in the traditions that emphasise “being”, when noting this paradox, aim instead to strive to remove the various delusions and ignorance, our “wretchedness”, that prevent us from seeing our constant being clearly, and being content with it.
To escape the wheel of karma, samsara, hell, maya etc. is to stop “becoming” at all. The truth, it seems, is that there never is or was any becoming at all, we are always ”being” - the trick is to remind ourselves of this fact.
So, in this sense, I appreciate aspiration in the sense that I strive to remove my delusion, my ignorance and my wrong views, that prevent me from “being” and keep me “becoming”. I cannot strive or aspire to “be”, because then I cancel out “being” in that I try to become what I already am, which is impossible.
The intellectual experience of vertical levels of reality is far from being awakened. If Mount. Meru has levels of reality, why would Buddha object?
Because the notion is not literal, this is the key difference.
Reality is fundamentally whole, complete, unitary which is something the Buddha advocated. Levels are within it, but they are not levels “of” reality, literally. They are the minds way of dissecting reality in such a way that it can make sense of it.
Just like the mathematicians numbers are a way of representing something non-numerical out there, a description, so too are you using levels to represent something non-levelled, also a description, not the thing described.
But Reality is not really made of numbers, nor is it really made of levels.
Weil and Triunism is incompatible with scientific findings, Buddhism, Yogic philosophy, Hindu mysticism, Jewish mysticism, Sufism and so on. This is totally beyond question.
Not just “sez me”. I have shown this to be the case pretty clearly. There is no credible evidence that says otherwise. Your justification that Weil united science and religion is literally just because she said so.
I do know that the Law of the Included Middle expresses the triune reality which scientists work with. I may be wrong but I do believe that in fifty years if our species survives, it will be just common knowledge. So we shall see.
Again, the “Law of the Excluded Middle” was an invention by someone ignorant that these things are already being employed and have been known about for thousands of years. It is already common knowledge. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “Triunsim”.
This is what I mean when I say it is possible that people are just getting frustrated with you sometimes, and not simply “persecuting” you because they are all ignorant zombies.
For instance, I have shown, very carefully, lots and lots of evidence, from all the traditions, from all over science, that categorically proves these ideas wrong, without doubt.
Over pages and pages I have done this, with as much patience and sensitivity as I can, only to hear you say at the end, after ignoring all of it, “sez you”, then act like it never happened and just repeat yourself.
So, if people are giving you negativity, perhaps consider that it may be because you invite it, not because they are jealous of your awakening or whatever.
"Emptiness, the wish- fulfilling jewel, is unattached generosity. It is uncorrupted discipline. It is angerless patience. It is undeluded exertion. It is undistracted meditation. It is the essence of prajna. It is the meaning in the three yanas.
Emptiness is the natural state of mind. "
*snip seemingly unrelated quote*
So there is intelligent conscious life beyond the contents of our associative mind and science. If so, what does that mean and what is its source
I assume you are still talking within the context of Buddhism. Emptiness, in Buddhism, is
the source of everything, nor different from that sourced. So, if you interpret Emptiness to be intelligent, conscious and alive, then it doesn’t get this from anywhere; it is the thing that underlies everything else, but nothing contains it. Intelligence, consciousness and life are empty (“shunya”) of independent existence.
What that means is that, at the root of your mind, lies something that is also the source of all being, all possible being, and is effectively what you are.
My interest isn't in proving you false but rather in appreciating the logic of the universe and objective human meaning and purpose within it. If I discover something that makes sense to me, why should it be offensive? Why shouldn't I pursue what has made sense to me even though increasingly annoying for increasing secularism?
I am not offended or annoyed by your ideas in any way. I think you really should drop this idea that I am this furious atheist, offended by your noble desire to seek truth and blah blah blah. It isn’t actually true at all. I find this all humorous and fun, I’m far from annoyed. Challenges bring drama, and without drama, life is no fun. As I say above, stress precedes growth.
Anyway; if somebody in your cave is happy with their cavedom, because being asleep in a cave is something that makes sense to them, and they say “I would like to pursue these shadows, which by the way are absolute truth because I say so” what would you say? Probably you would feel a bit bad if you didn’t at least try to snap them out of it, right? If someone puts their hand in a waste disposal, you don’t think, “Well, they have a right to pursue that if they want, I should be more tolerant”. You don’t want them to get hurt, so you do your best to persuade them otherwise. But you don’t necessarily force them to stop, nor force them to listen. It’s like a game of chess, there are no wrong players, just wrong moves. In the end, it was all just a game anyway. So let’s just enjoy it, but make it as interesting, and challenging, as we can too.
My purpose isn't to prove you wrong
I know, but if you can, that is a good thing. I welcome it whenever I am proved wrong. Growth is always positive.
…but rather to see if their is common ground that atheist's and believers can agree on. Simone Weil having been an atheist and dying as a Christian mystic offers inights into the means IMO for greater mutual understanding.
I think there often are, perhaps we are just a less usual case, Weil and your own version of Gnosticism is unusual to what I am used to.
I believe she is right and the atheist serves a very necessary purpose but it is impossible to explore with either believers or atheists with their heels dug in.
I really hope you are not implying I am one such atheist, since that would be totally asinine.
I have already said that I think Weil’s comments are patronising by their very nature. I have also said that Weil’s mysticism is quite obviously a basic and underdeveloped form, and have offered lots of evidence as to why this is so.
I have offered valid reasons as to why I take the position that she was a novice in these areas, so it is incredibly belligerent to suggest that I am being obtuse, if you indeed are, simply because I have a differing position to yours, despite the various arguments and evidence I have presented – particularly as you have offered exactly none, other than quotes from her own book. Which sounds more like the attitude of someone with “their heels dug in”?
So I ask you sincerely; what is so wrong about trying to understand at the expense of disagreeing with another? Must disagreement be offensive by definition?
Please, it is unfair and not constructive to imply I have said things I have not and create straw men. If you truly do want to communicate, you must cease misrepresenting me, purposefully. Saying you ask sincerely does not make it sincere.
I am not offended by your and your beliefs; I am not offended by anything. On the contrary, you amuse me, as most things on this strange planet do. I also think there is absolutely nothing wrong with disagreement, which I have said many, many times. I encourage it.
To insist and infer otherwise, in spite of the truth, is, honestly, a bit infantile. If I am not your idealist version of an ignorant atheist, that is not my problem, you’ll have to just deal with that and stop projecting this stuff onto me.
No, I just have come to the conclusion that it is through levels of reality that everything begins to make sense and that there are a great many people of science and the humanities that have agreed.
Not that ontological separation exists. No credible scientist, nor someone who studies humanities, would ever deny things like thermodynamics, entanglement, conservation of energy, quantum mechanics etc. This is nothing short of a mistruth, perhaps unintentional, due to your misunderstanding of the difference between a description and the described. Present one single example of one, and I will retract everything I have said in this thread. I will save you time: you can’t, because none such exist, and you are confusing a description with what is described.
The difficulty is that levels of reality assumes a source which is becoming increasingly out of fashion in an increasingly secular society so it must be rejected. That doesn't mean that I have to reject it.
I think the difficulty is that you have misunderstood the difference between perception and reality.
Within reality, there are patterns, repeated types of encoding, repeating information.
The way a galaxy is formed, for instance, is in many ways analogous to the way an atom interacts with another, even how a foetus grows. In this sense, there are patterns that repeat on different “levels” of description, however, these levels are not actually present in reality itself, only in how it appears to us. Reality is, by definition, complete and whole.
If these “levels” were ontologically separate, then no energy, nor information, which composes everything including thoughts, could not transfer from one level to another.
In other words, if separation inherently existed, causation could not occur across levels; for instance, one could not “consciously connect” with a source on the highest level, because there would be no way for one to do this.
To believe that this source would make it so miraculously is peculiar, since this source, if real, created absolutely everything else according to causation and specific rules (physics) thus it would be strange if the source were to magically make information transfer across levels, without medium and contradict all the other rules in an instant it so carefully laid out.
What is more likely is that, the last few hundred years of modern science is correct, and that there are no literally “closed-systems”, and that separation, whether between two things or between “levels” cannot actually be inherent in reality, since the Universe could not function, at all, literally,
if this were the case.
The alternative is to disregard all of this evidence in favour of one person’s perception that reality really is subdivided into distinguished levels.
This is not very likely nor reasonable, therefore, it is assumed that causation, physics and all the sciences are in fact representative in some sense of reality.
Hence, reality is considered to not be literally split into parts, but is in fact the whole. This is not the same as “digging our heels in”, I hope you realise.
So, because it is considered, by all of science, false that reality is literally divided, there is subsequently no inference of a source necessarily, because it has been proven, empirically, impossible that this would be the case anyway.
In either case, the inference for a source would be equal. If one were to accept what has been established by science, that there are no “levels” of reality literally, and couple it with the understanding that their notion of levels is just an attempt by their mind to grasp and make sense of a very complex reality
, then one could still make a good case for a source.
I would have thought that this is and has been in fashion for a very long time – the majority of this planet has always been a believer in a conscious source of some description. You are very much in the majority.
Your interpretations are as subjective as everyone else’s, including mine. You must acknowledge this.
If I did it would only mean that the search for "meaning" is meaningless for me. Since it isn't, it would be foolish for me to deny relative quality.
I think you are not grasping the point. When you interpret an event, you cognise it, and infer based on various things what you think that event is. This is called “interpretation”; it is subjective, and can never be objective.
So, no-one could ever reasonably claim that their subjective interpretations were objective, this is an impossible situation. What they might do
is argue, with evidence and reason, that their subjective interpretations correspond accurately with an objective truth. This is much more reasonable.
However, it must be understood that admitting that our subjectivity is not objective does not necessarily affect meaning or “relative quality” in any way.
Whenever we encounter information of any kind, we must process it through the senses, or the mind, mediated by consciousness.
So all experiences, whether it be of scientific data, levels of reality, conscious connections or anything else are effectively subjective. We cannot know to what extent these things correspond to reality at all.
This is why I would place considerable emphasis on getting to know the Subject, since it is the only thing to which “truth” can apply.
Cosmology is a hypothesis so is naturally subjective. However it is asserted that it is a skeleton of universal structure. As a potential microcosm I'm invited to verify it, fill in the skeleton through inner empiricism. It is a means of pursuing esoteric thinking. The results are subjective but it is the process of contemplation that leads to inner understanding.
Okay, but as I have pointed out, if my hypothesis were that reality consists of levels of invisible pancakes, I could verify it exactly the same way as yourself, I would get exactly the same results as yourself, and I would be equally justified in claiming these results lead to inner understanding that reality is made of pancakes.
I would disagree that it is a means of pursuing esoteric thinking myself, because this has no derivative in any esoteric tradition, including the majority of esoteric Christianity.
I also think, personally, that you have misunderstood the various forms of gnosis in the traditions, and are misusing it to persuade yourself that whatever you think you interpret you are perceiving is true, and that it is beyond question, because you say it is.
I believe that if you are interested in what you are calling “inner empiricism”, it would be beneficial to you to actually research what Gnosis (Christianity), Jnana yoga (Hinduism), meditation (Buddhism etc.) and so on actually are and what they consist of.
You will find very quickly that what you are calling Gnosis, self-enquiry and esoteric contemplation are in fact none of these things at all.
In all cases, one does not start with a hypothesis at all, which reality is then explained in terms of, as in your case. What all these traditions actually do is abandon views in general, and seek internally, which then results into insights regarding reality.
You are taking a hypothesis, seeing if you can make sense of it subjectively without any kind of scientific method, and then calling it truth, empiricism and objective if you can. According to science and the traditions, this is a flawed methodology. What the traditions suggest is that you don’t start with any assumptions at all, engage in the suggested practices, and come to your own conclusions instead.
This way is a better form of verification, because it means you can come to understand certain “truths” completely independently – because these truths are subjective and cannot be verified objectively, it provides a method of verification, simply because the various insights you gain correspond with exactly those performed by the experimenters before you both within and outside your tradition.
This is a much stronger system of verification than believing it because you reckon it is true and makes sense to you personally, which is actually not a methodology at all.
Perhaps this is the reason why your mysticism conflicts with all the other traditions, including much of esoteric Christianity. Or it may just be that all those other people are ignorant and asleep, of course.
Well, I don’t think I try to do anything, because I don’t believe a “try-er” exists
Does "will" exist for you? Without a try-er what is the source of will?
The word “will” is closely related to the word “wild”, which I think corresponds to my view.
In the same way wild things simply grow, of their own nature, human beings do exactly the same, and take their wildness to be will. Everything that happens is simply part of the way of the world, the “Tao”, which is beyond human expression or comprehension. The answers from both physics and mysticism tell us that simply because there is the potential
for something, there is its actualisation
– 0 = ∞. It is
simply because It can
Everything in Reality, absolutely everything, depends on another thing for its existence.
True, all evolution does is change primary connections. But everything is still connected.
That’s a good way to put it, “change primary connections”. I don’t understand why you need to say “but everything is still connected”. Obviously, that is and has always been my point. Also, the notion that all things are connected is not compatible with the notion all things are ontologically separate; they are literally completely incompatible.
Think this through though. If all things depend on another for their existence, then nothing exists unto itself. Therefore, from this premise, which you agree, it follows necessarily that no thing exists in isolation from another i.e. is separate. It also follows that what you take to be “yourself” is not meaningfully different from everything else.
When we couple this with the self-evident fact that all things decay and are transient, that nothing persists, what we have is something like a “net of being”, which is constantly changing and shifting. Thus, the conclusions that we logically arrive at from following the premise are completely different from your conclusions.
I get the impression from what you've written that we don't have anything other than subjective man made meaning or any objective universal purpose. Is this true?
Almost. I don’t believe anything in reality, nor reality itself, is exclusively objective, or exclusively subjective. So, there is no meaning that is subjective, nor any meaning that is objective.
I believe that the Universe operates according to repeating patterns, that repeat on all (non-literal) levels, such that the human being can simply look at what the Universe is doing, and follow suit. It seems to me, that the Universe is expanding in all possible directions, emerging new forms and increasing in complexity. Hence, I consider it the “point” to expand, emerge and complexify in one’s own life.
Also, as mentioned before, human beings are the only part of this process capable of true self-awareness, such that they have an ability to find the source of their own being, which, considering that all things are non-separate, is necessarily the source of all being itself. So, while it may not literally be a “purpose” to search within, I think there are certainly a lot of hints in that direction, one might say.
So, here, I derive meaning from both the subjective and the objective, such that meaning is not really either. I overlay my interpretations onto objective events, from which I then extract meaning and purpose.
At the same time, the notions of meaning are arbitrary conceptions, in a lot of ways. They are more attempts by the mind to grasp something permanent. What does a mountain mean? This question doesn’t even make any sense. Why should the meaning of the Universe or I be any different?
If it is, are most atheists the same in their denial of anything beyond imagined subjective human meaning and purpose?
This is probably why people react negatively towards you, because you accuse everyone who doesn’t agree with you of denial. I must have pointed out this out to you perhaps 6 or 7 times, yet you choose to endure. I wonder if you would consider the possibility that you purposely, either consciously or subconsciously, condescend everybody else, so that they react negatively towards you, just so you can then accuse them of “negative emotion”, and justify your own self-righteousness. Of course, I am amused and not angered, so I don’t fit into this self-fulfilling prophecy very well.
Moving on, I think that most atheists are nihilists, in that they don’t believe in any kind of meaning. It is rare that they will fully plunge into nihilism, which takes immense courage in a way, to believe everything is totally worthless, so most will settle for a subjective “life is what you make of it” kind of position.
In any case, the question “what does it mean?” regresses infinitely, such that it could also be asked of any answer given over and over. So, it would likely be argued by many atheists, though not necessarily myself, that the question itself is, ironically, meaningless.