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Doubt about the Reality

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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gheinz
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Doubt about the Reality

Post by gheinz » September 29th, 2018, 4:59 am

As a starting point for the following considerations, the term reality is understood here as in everyday life, as it is presupposed, for example, for a practical action. It corresponds approximately to the point of view of an epistemological empiricism, which means that our immediate conception of reality on the basis of our sensory perception has been proven practically for a long time and may therefore be regarded as correct. Speculation that reality might be different than it appears is rejected here as unreasonable.
 
With his allegory of the cave, the Greek philosopher Plato represents a contrasting position to empiricism. It is questioned by this parable whether reality actually behaves as it appears to us. Plato and all other idealist epistemologists, however, give no answer as to how the reality in their opinion could look different. To speak with Hamlet, it is like the land "from which no wanderer has ever returned" and therefore we have no knowledge of the circumstances in it. Below I try to give an answer to this puzzle. Such an attempt may be regarded as extremely ambitious and should it succeed, it must be seen as a turning point in the history of humanity, because now, for the first time, reality is seen as it is "real".
 
The method used for this is the logical conclusion. It eliminates the need to travel directly to the "undiscovered land". As a starting point, a term is brought into play, which has obviously received no attention from the most important Western epistemologists (from an epistemological point of view!), on closer inspection, however, it quickly raises doubts whether reality will be experienced as it really is. (Should I be right in my assertion, this contradiction must be considered highly astonishing!)
 
The term that is meant is selfishness. Selfishness has hitherto been considered almost exclusively from a moral-ethical point of view, but viewed from an epistemological point of view, it shows that through it man becomes a biased observer of reality. Doubts arise, the perception could have been falsified by subjectivism.

It would be desirable to the test it by temporarily switching to a state of selflessness to see if perception changes in that state. However, this path is obviously blocked. Fortunately, a way has now been found to switch to this state by means of a thought experiment. It is the crucial step that will enable humanity for the first time to recognize reality in a truly real way. This thought experiment is also quite easy to perform. Just as it was possible to present a cognitive problem by introducing one notion - selfishness - and adding a few sentences of commentary, in the same way - again, only one term is used - a very detailed answer to the question of the perception of the Reality in the state of selflessness can be given.
 
The term that is presented now is the limit. As a commentary, it is stated that there are factual limits that can occasionally also be experienced as (personally) significant. As a general rule, factual boundaries can also be experienced as meaningful when selfishness is involved.
 
If, in the state of complete selflessness, no limits are experienced as meaningful, boundlessness, infinity will instead be experienced. The experiences are experienced in this state as undoubted. Based on the following detailed description of the experiences in this state, it could be suspected that this could also be an illusion. But as long as no reasons for its formation can be given, such a doubt must be considered as such: as a unfounded doubt.
 
The result will be considered in more detail by means of 3 examples:

1. The limits of one's own body are experienced as meaningless. The special relationship with that part of the material universe that is my body has been lost. My own body has as much or little importance for me as any other object. The condition of my body I feel as meaningless. In principle, it would be possible to observe the transition from still functioning to the state of no longer functioning (and to perceive this as irrelevant).
2. The boundary between the subjective and the objective area is no longer experienced. The inner realm of my own thoughts and the outer reality are no longer distinguishable. Everything which exists, is created through my thoughts; my thoughts are all that which exists.
3. My ability to change the status quo is unlimited. I experience myself as infinitely powerful; my personal power is unlimited. However, since I have no doubt that it is so, I have no need to check it; also there are no more desires that will cause me to use my power.

I did not choose these examples arbitrarily. Many years ago I experienced this condition of infinity for a short time myself. It has happened to me like to the prisoner from the cave allegory: before that I suffered extremely. At that time I felt that I was within milliseconds about to die, I was in fear of that and had no time left for any rational considerations, so to save my life I decided spontaneously to renounce all wishes, more than that, I decided to care only for the wishes of other people. When I felt that I had no choice but to give up of my wishes, it was easy for me, yes, it was a lot of pleasure for me. For this reason I wished to make a perfect job and promised to give everything a human being can ever give to others. It was a promise to all eternity, no breaks, no reflections.

As a consequence of that I experienced the state of unboundedness and made the perceptions in the same order as I mentioned them above. At the end, what impressed me mostly was my unlimited power. I tended permanently to try it out, but in the next moment I withdrew my intention. So I did it very often. This made me observing a vibration like somewhat of the outer reality.

My experience did not last very long. When I realized that I had seen everything that was to be seen there, I transitioned seamlessly into the usual state of mind.

Gert Heinz
Austria

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Hereandnow » September 30th, 2018, 11:06 am

gheinz
I did not choose these examples arbitrarily. Many years ago I experienced this condition of infinity for a short time myself. It has happened to me like to the prisoner from the cave allegory: before that I suffered extremely. At that time I felt that I was within milliseconds about to die, I was in fear of that and had no time left for any rational considerations, so to save my life I decided spontaneously to renounce all wishes, more than that, I decided to care only for the wishes of other people. When I felt that I had no choice but to give up of my wishes, it was easy for me, yes, it was a lot of pleasure for me. For this reason I wished to make a perfect job and promised to give everything a human being can ever give to others. It was a promise to all eternity, no breaks, no reflections.
I am probably one of the few here who takes this kind of thing seriously, and this is due to there being a dominance in philosophical thinking of the resolve not to be duped. This is the hallmark of serious discussion: no subjective testimonials! Just what can be put on the table for all to see. And this kind of thinking is right...and wrong. It's right because often subjectivism is mixed with bad interpretation; and it's wrong because it serves to justify the dismissal of existential philosophy.

So, I say: amazing! What you experienced is deeply important in my eyes and I don't think you should let consensus diminish its value. Such bad reasoning has a name: argumentum ad populum. Interesting that some of what you report is similar to near death experiences reported by many others. I take these seriously, too, but one has to keep in mind that these are laced with interpretation, images and things that are not helpful, like having a meeting with a deceased uncle or the like. But the undeniable and powerful "sense" of the presence of divinity, this is not undone by the
"dying brain" argument that doctors encourage, which says all these images are just the vestigial ravings of a panicking brain "aware" of its impending expiration.

Anyway, it sounds to me like what you really need is more objective confirmation, objective in the sense that argument can be brought to bear of the issue that offers grounds for, as the epistemologist would put it, favoring the presumption of the significance of the experience. I think you would benefit greatly by reading Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences.

Then read Kant for a Copernican Revolution. Once you start thinking phenomenologically, the constraints of empirical science on what is reasonable yield to a new standard.

If you have read something in philosophy that encourages taking your experience seriously, let me know. I, for one, think the Hindus and the Buddhists were far, far ahead of their time.

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Burning ghost » September 30th, 2018, 11:55 am

gheinz -

You’re not alone, yet you are. Do with it what you can.
AKA badgerjelly

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Fooloso4 » September 30th, 2018, 4:05 pm

Gheinz:
My ability to change the status quo is unlimited. I experience myself as infinitely powerful; my personal power is unlimited.
And how does this manifest itself in reality? What have you accomplished with your unlimited personal power? Have you tested it?

It is one thing to say that you had a life altering experience. It is quite another to boast that it is:
a turning point in the history of humanity.
You say:
At the end, what impressed me mostly was my unlimited power. I tended permanently to try it out, but in the next moment I withdrew my intention.
It appears that you had the impression of unlimited power, but like those who have the impression they can fly, reality is indifferent to our unbounded imagination. In my opinion, it is best not to mistake one for the other.

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by gheinz » September 30th, 2018, 7:36 pm

I am probably one of the few here who takes this kind of thing seriously, and this is due to there being a dominance in philosophical thinking of the resolve not to be duped. This is the hallmark of serious discussion: no subjective testimonials! Just what can be put on the table for all to see.
Originally, I only wanted to introduce the thought experiment and its results. Later, I decided to add my personal experience as well. My intention is to address those who are primarily interested in rational reasoning or logical deduction, as well as those who have taken these considerations but still can not believe them because the result is too far away from the conventional experiences. I also hope to convince them with the additional report of my personal experiences.

It must be considered quite astonishing that it took 2300 years after Plato introduced his cave allegory until someone came to the thought experiment. For example, Immanuel Kant was pretty close to his "thing in itself". Just next to it you could say. Why did he not choose selfishness as the starting point for his epistemological considerations? This is very puzzling indeed. It seems that you have to be extremely disrespectfully if you want to approach selfishness. I believe I have earned this disrespect through my experience.
If you have read something in philosophy that takes your experience seriously, let me know. I think the Hindus and Buddhists were way ahead of their time.
Kant introduced the "thing-in-itself". I would like to introduce the "person-in-itself" here (sounds funny in comparison to thing-in-itself - but is rather seriously meant).

In addition to the demarcation in the material area, selfishness also serves to differentiate from other individuals. This demarcation is realized by the individual characteristics. Of course, in the state of selflessness, these qualities become meaningless, and thus they no longer exist. What is left could be called the essence of the personality. In Christian-occidental thinking this is not possible because the (immortal) soul has characteristics. Even in the state of perfect purification, the good qualities are still preserved (that's how I understood it anyway).

In Indian philosophy, however, there is the concept of Atman. Atman is the intrinsic core of the personality. The central element of Advaita Vedanta philosophy (advaita = non-duality) is described in "example / experience 2": there is no duality of subject and object. Besides atman, there is also the concept of Brahman. Brahman is the counterpart to atman, it is the universal Self, the creator of the universe, the Absolute, God, Jehovah, Allah, etc., whatever you want to call it. The goal of the individual is to achieve unity with Brahman. In my opinion, this is achieved when selfishness no longer exists. Then there is no longer any delimitation to brahman.

In how far Mahayana Buddhism is in agreement with the presented logical derivations, I can not judge, because I do not know it well. In Theravada Buddism there is the doctrine of "anatta" (= no atman), that is, there is no fixed personality kernel. Therefore there is a total extinction of the person (or whatever else is meant) after the perfect purification. Obviously, this doctrine is not in accordance with the thought experiment (of course also not with materialism as philosophy).

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Hereandnow » September 30th, 2018, 10:16 pm

gheinz
Originally, I only wanted to introduce the thought experiment and its results. Later, I decided to add my personal experience as well. My intention is to address those who are primarily interested in rational reasoning or logical deduction, as well as those who have taken these considerations but still can not believe them because the result is too far away from the conventional experiences. I also hope to convince them with the additional report of my personal experiences.

It must be considered quite astonishing that it took 2300 years after Plato introduced his cave allegory until someone came to the thought experiment. For example, Immanuel Kant was pretty close to his "thing in itself". Just next to it you could say. Why did he not choose selfishness as the starting point for his epistemological considerations? This is very puzzling indeed. It seems that you have to be extremely disrespectfully if you want to approach selfishness. I believe I have earned this disrespect through my experience.
Not clear on what you're saying. Selfishness? He did not choose this as a starting point? True, but he did choose human subjectivity as the "starting point" if you want to put it like that. Not clear what is puzzling, nor where the disrespect comes in. If you're interested in logical thinking, excellent. What logical thinking do you have in mind, Kant's arguments about noumena? I don't think he is going to agree with subjective experiences which might confirm this because for him, noumena is just a term conceived by reason and there is no way to experientially realize what is beyond observation.
In addition to the demarcation in the material area, selfishness also serves to differentiate from other individuals. This demarcation is realized by the individual characteristics. Of course, in the state of selflessness, these qualities become meaningless, and thus they no longer exist. What is left could be called the essence of the personality. In Christian-occidental thinking this is not possible because the (immortal) soul has characteristics. Even in the state of perfect purification, the good qualities are still preserved (that's how I understood it anyway).
I don't think selfishness is the term that applies. I would describe it as the particularizing and assimilating self. The former are what Kant has in mind, the way concepts make thinking in singularities possible. The latter is sort of up Foucault's alley, or Levinas (whom no one has even heard of; a shame): the imposition on others of our own interests and meanings. But now, what is left over being being pure and perfect in selflessness? Do tell.
In Indian philosophy, however, there is the concept of Atman. Atman is the intrinsic core of the personality. The central element of Advaita Vedanta philosophy (advaita = non-duality) is described in "example / experience 2": there is no duality of subject and object. Besides atman, there is also the concept of Brahman. Brahman is the counterpart to atman, it is the universal Self, the creator of the universe, the Absolute, God, Jehovah, Allah, etc., whatever you want to call it. The goal of the individual is to achieve unity with Brahman. In my opinion, this is achieved when selfishness no longer exists. Then there is no longer any delimitation to brahman.

In how far Mahayana Buddhism is in agreement with the presented logical derivations, I can not judge, because I do not know it well. In Theravada Buddism there is the doctrine of "anatta" (= no atman), that is, there is no fixed personality kernel. Therefore there is a total extinction of the person (or whatever else is meant) after the perfect purification. Obviously, this doctrine is not in accordance with the thought experiment (of course also not with materialism as philosophy).
Right, I am familiar with all of this. In fact, I just got a copy of Sir John Woodroffe's Tantra Sastra. Can't wait to read it. Also, I am a big fan of the prajnaparamita. There is in this too many words that obfuscate, but there is the heart of it all that has value ONLY if one takes it as a pointing to what one must realize in the concrete. Eastern philosophies are all of them ways of liberation only. The talk has utility only. No point to any of it if one is not taking it up as yoga. Philosophy is jnana yoga if one puts the text aside and beholds the world. Deconstruction is the fruit of this, though it is not recognized as such and is only taken as an end of days to philosophy. People don't realize that philosophy's final purpose is to annihilate experience's basic assumptions and thereby reveal what is behind these. Kriya yoga (a yoga is a yoke that joins one with ......well, best not to mention it) can be an extraordinary journey to the here and now, which lies at the tail end of a long exhale.

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Papus79 » October 2nd, 2018, 12:07 am

gheinz wrote:
September 29th, 2018, 4:59 am
3. My ability to change the status quo is unlimited. I experience myself as infinitely powerful; my personal power is unlimited. However, since I have no doubt that it is so, I have no need to check it; also there are no more desires that will cause me to use my power.
I found this the most interesting part of your post, particularly in the parallels between what you're describing and what I've had to gather of manifestation claims from people I knew.

My best guess at this point is that the universe has a way of stretching and bending consciousness in ways that we hardly understand, stretching and bending causality (sometimes life's really monotonous and then all of a sudden all of the usual rules go out in congruent ways), and its fascinating how people can have radically different experiences of the same world without breaking what we'd think of as natural laws. It's all really trickster-ish in flavor and outcome. That aside it sounds like your conscious mind is or at least was resting at an incredibly unusual and interesting juncture in the web of causality.

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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by Eduk » October 5th, 2018, 9:30 am

I'm sorry I had to stop reading when you opined you might be a turning point in the history humanity. Just some small feedback for you.
Unknown means unknown.

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gheinz
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Re: Doubt about the Reality

Post by gheinz » October 8th, 2018, 5:13 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
September 30th, 2018, 4:05 pm
Gheinz:
My ability to change the status quo is unlimited. I experience myself as infinitely powerful; my personal power is unlimited.
And how does this manifest itself in reality? What have you accomplished with your unlimited personal power? Have you tested it?

It is one thing to say that you had a life altering experience. It is quite another to boast that it is:
a turning point in the history of humanity.
You say:
At the end, what impressed me mostly was my unlimited power. I tended permanently to try it out, but in the next moment I withdrew my intention.
It appears that you had the impression of unlimited power, but like those who have the impression they can fly, reality is indifferent to our unbounded imagination. In my opinion, it is best not to mistake one for the other.
Regarding Unlimited Power:
However, since I have no doubt that it is so, I have no need to check it; also there are no more desires that wants to cause me to use my power.
Crucial is the incomparably good feeling that this power is available. The convincement that there might be subjectively meaningful boundaries is a consequence of selfishness. In the state of selfishness, we are not objective observers, but rather are biased and partial observers and do not see reality as it really is.
a turning point in the history of humanity.
That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind “ Neil Armstrong in 1969 when he entered the lunar surface.

I would like to join this. When I felt that I was about to die, I only did a small step. It is a fortunate coincidence that my individual experiences are also logically deducible and therefore have generally valid meaning. I do not know, but I am very confident that if this knowledge is generally known, it will radiate a positive effect. Therefore, I will continue to try to spread it.

Hereandnow wrote:
gheinz wrote:
It must be considered quite astonishing that it took 2300 years after Plato introduced his cave allegory until someone came to the thought experiment. For example, Immanuel Kant was pretty close to his "thing in itself". Just next to it you could say. Why did he not choose selfishness as the starting point for his epistemological considerations? This is very puzzling indeed. It seems that you have to be extremely disrespectfully if you want to approach selfishness. I believe I have earned this disrespect through my experience.
Not clear on what you're saying. Selfishness? He did not choose this as a starting point? True, but he did choose human subjectivity as the "starting point" if you want to put it like that. Not clear what is puzzling, nor where the disrespect comes in. If you're interested in logical thinking, excellent. What logical thinking do you have in mind, Kant's arguments about noumena? I don't think he is going to agree with subjective experiences which might confirm this because for him, noumena is just a term conceived by reason and there is no way to experientially realize what is beyond observation.
Yes, that was incomprehensible. I resign to give an answer. In Indian philosophy, however, there is the term Maya, which means both illusion and magic.
I don't think selfishness is the term that applies.
Self-referentiality, self-reference may be better because they do not have the connotation of moralizing.

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