The observer cannot be observed

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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AlexW
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by AlexW »

Dontaskme wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:52 pm Your counter offer was that the observer can be observed.

My argument is that it can’t.
I don't think there can be any agreement as Henry is looking at this from the "I am a body/mind" perspective whereas you look at it from/as awareness itself.

As long as one believes to be a body/mind one will of course think that the observer - in this case the body/mind - can be observed.
I see the body thus I see myself (=the observer) seems to be a very valid argument (and every other idea is seen as crazy mumbo jumbo).

That the body is actually being observed/experienced (and that it is not an observer in itself) can be found out via investigation into ones own direct experience (and of course via interpreting this experience conceptually) ... I guess it depends if one is inclined to perform this investigation or not... anyway... nothing lost, nothing gained either way (besides a few beliefs).

It is quite obvious to me that the body/mind is being observed - that all that is experienced is only arising in awareness and that this awareness is the only (no)thing that ultimately can be the "Self" (even this Self is not a personal self). I find it quite strange that people actually believe they are a constantly changing set of beliefs (or even a decaying body) instead of the only (no)thing that is actually constantly here/now.

Why believe in ones self being a thought up character with all its made up problems, when in reality there is only awareness?
Why identify with the transient if the permanent is always present here/now?

It doesn't make any sense to me... but hey... it seems to make sense to 99.99% of humanity... and they must be right ;-)
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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I don't think there can be any agreement as Henry is looking at this from the "I am a body/mind" perspective

not exactly, but close enough


people (like Henry) actually believe they are a constantly changing set of beliefs (or even a decaying body)

well, my carcass is a little worse for wear, but that first part -- a constantly changing set of beliefs -- ain't got nuthin' to do with me, bubba: my mind/soul is like a principle, solid (perhaps even stony)


it is beyond me why people believe in their self being a thought up character

again: that ain't got nuthin' to do with me...I'm real, babee, not a fiction
AlexW
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by AlexW »

henry quirk wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:11 am well, my carcass is a little worse for wear, but that first part -- a constantly changing set of beliefs -- ain't got nuthin' to do with me, bubba: my mind/soul is like a principle, solid (perhaps even stony)
Well... so you think you are too old to adopt any new ideas and beliefs..?
While I do get it – the older we become the less new stuff we are willing to learn, I am pretty sure that even the most principled, solidified mind is still in a process of constant change... if yours isn't then its the first one I have met that is perfectly static (you sure you're still alive?)
henry quirk wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:11 am that ain't got nuthin' to do with me...I'm real, babee, not a fiction
What would happen if you lost all your memories?
Would you still be the same old Henry?
See, to me, if something is only real if I can remember it, then its not as real as I might have actually thought...

Happened to my dad (passed away last year) – dementia eroded most of his personality - and even he was 93 years old he definitely did change (a lot)
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

Here is a simple procedure of how anyone can realise that there is an internal eye of sorts. This procedure will get you at least in the right direction of realising this observer.

It’s very simple.

Just sit down and stare straight ahead.

Now, without moving your eyes, become aware of your peripheral vision. You might feel some slight discomfort, or a mild tension.

This is essentially awareness, decoupling from the main visual focus, the central foveal vision area, and beginning to wander about the rest of the visual field.

Notice nothing physically moved, your eyes didn’t move obviously, but something did. This is probably more accurate to call this directed attention. But, it gets you a lot closer to the thing which this attention feeds into, which is awareness.

The problem is like this. Imagine you are looking out a window, and I tell you, look for yourself. But as much as you look out the window, you will not see it. Only once you unfocus or relax your vision, will you catch your reflection, sitting on the window surface. This is like being lost in the movie of life vs knowing you are awareness. Most of the time, our attention is directed outward, but never looking at the very source of experience itself.

What also needs to be noted is, this should not be an effortful process, any effort will have you looking “out and through” rather than “at” the screen of awareness.

All that is being done here is getting acquainted with what is already here, but overlooked.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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Well... so you think you are too old to adopt any new ideas and beliefs..?

I think I'm old enough to reject most of what passes as novel as merely shiny


perfectly static

no, not static: self-directed


What would happen if you lost all your memories? Would you still be the same old Henry?

well, I'll posit (with the understanding that real amnesia ain't nuthin' like movie amnesia...there's never been a verified case of absolute, comprehensive memory loss): if I lost all my memories I'd be what I was at birth...good lord: a 58 year old newborn)

fortunately, memory is more durable than some fiction portrays it


See, to me, if something is only real if I can remember it, then its not as real as I might have actually thought...

I don't see why you not remembering sumthin' makes that sumthin' less real

everyday, as we live, we see and hear and taste and smell and touch stuff that we make no memory of (for a variety of reasons)...I don't think these various non-memorable things are less real cuz we didn't make a record of them

even in the comprehensive amnesia example, where I'm reduced to a 58 year old newborn, my history, and the world in general, remains...my accreted experience and perspective are gone (a terrible thing, in a sense)


Happened to my dad (passed away last year) – dementia eroded most of his personality - and even he was 93 years old he definitely did change (a lot)

sorry to hear that...rough road that...hope you had a hand to hold in that time

as I say: I believe man is a composite, flesh and spirit irrevocably intertwined...an imperfect analogy: hardware & software: without software, the hardware can't function; without hardware, the software is just static patterns...two very different things (flesh & spirit) each utterly dependent on the other (does that make me a dual substance guy?)

damage to either damages the other
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by henry quirk »

Dimebag wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:06 pm Here is a simple procedure of how anyone can realise that there is an internal eye of sorts. This procedure will get you at least in the right direction of realising this observer.

It’s very simple.

Just sit down and stare straight ahead.

Now, without moving your eyes, become aware of your peripheral vision. You might feel some slight discomfort, or a mild tension.

This is essentially awareness, decoupling from the main visual focus, the central foveal vision area, and beginning to wander about the rest of the visual field.

Notice nothing physically moved, your eyes didn’t move obviously, but something did. This is probably more accurate to call this directed attention. But, it gets you a lot closer to the thing which this attention feeds into, which is awareness.

The problem is like this. Imagine you are looking out a window, and I tell you, look for yourself. But as much as you look out the window, you will not see it. Only once you unfocus or relax your vision, will you catch your reflection, sitting on the window surface. This is like being lost in the movie of life vs knowing you are awareness. Most of the time, our attention is directed outward, but never looking at the very source of experience itself.

What also needs to be noted is, this should not be an effortful process, any effort will have you looking “out and through” rather than “at” the screen of awareness.

All that is being done here is getting acquainted with what is already here, but overlooked.
when I try stuff like that: I fall asleep

I'll stick with choppin' wood
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:08 pm
Dimebag wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:06 pm Here is a simple procedure of how anyone can realise that there is an internal eye of sorts. This procedure will get you at least in the right direction of realising this observer.

It’s very simple.

Just sit down and stare straight ahead.

Now, without moving your eyes, become aware of your peripheral vision. You might feel some slight discomfort, or a mild tension.

This is essentially awareness, decoupling from the main visual focus, the central foveal vision area, and beginning to wander about the rest of the visual field.

Notice nothing physically moved, your eyes didn’t move obviously, but something did. This is probably more accurate to call this directed attention. But, it gets you a lot closer to the thing which this attention feeds into, which is awareness.

The problem is like this. Imagine you are looking out a window, and I tell you, look for yourself. But as much as you look out the window, you will not see it. Only once you unfocus or relax your vision, will you catch your reflection, sitting on the window surface. This is like being lost in the movie of life vs knowing you are awareness. Most of the time, our attention is directed outward, but never looking at the very source of experience itself.

What also needs to be noted is, this should not be an effortful process, any effort will have you looking “out and through” rather than “at” the screen of awareness.

All that is being done here is getting acquainted with what is already here, but overlooked.
when I try stuff like that: I fall asleep

I'll stick with choppin' wood
Sounds to me life you are completely happy in your skin, so I am happy for you. I am not trying to change you, just show you what the hell I’m talking about.

I separate these practices from any metaphysical truth. I don’t draw any conclusions about the nature of reality. But, they have a kind of experiential truth.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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Sounds to me life you are completely happy in your skin

yeah, I am...can't understand why so many aren't equally at peace/at ease/content with themselves...subject for another thread, I guess
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:05 pm Sounds to me life you are completely happy in your skin

yeah, I am...can't understand why so many aren't equally at peace/at ease/content with themselves...subject for another thread, I guess
I think it comes from the general western malaise of chasing material things/attainment of goals to distract from the anxiety of emptiness, which is perceived as negative from the western mind. Whereas these traditions embrace this nature and use it as a means of connecting with the world rather than angsting over some existential dread/loss of meaning.

Westerners are more likely to fall down the existential hole of loss, and thus start looking for something, which, it seems has always been here. It’s like coming home and realising you never left. Like you were knocking on a door, only to realise that when it opens you were already inside.

Based on your age, you will have likely attained all you wish to attain, or achieved all you wish to achieve, or given up trying. So I am guessing this is why you are content, by definition if you are content you are not striving for anything, which means you are not suffering from any lack. Maybe you have seen through the chase for material things already and so aren’t caught in that loop.

I wouldn’t worry about any of this if I were you. :D
AlexW
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by AlexW »

henry quirk wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:06 pm I don't see why you not remembering sumthin' makes that sumthin' less real

everyday, as we live, we see and hear and taste and smell and touch stuff that we make no memory of (for a variety of reasons)...I don't think these various non-memorable things are less real cuz we didn't make a record of them
When I said "if something is only real if I can remember it, then its not as real as I might have actually thought", I wasn't referring to direct experience, I was talking about thought up stuff/things that live only in thought. To me, the personal/individual self is such a thing that lives only in thought.
Thus ... if I can't remember "myself" then this self is obviously lost (yes, there might be memories of you present in other peoples' minds, but they are not you, they are their own image of the person "Henry") ...
If I cant remember ever having seen an aeroplane, then I wont be able to recognise it as such when I actually see one... the visual percept is not affected by this loss of memory (unsuccessful pattern matching) - the field of colors is the same, the direct experience is the same, its simply not conceptualised.

To me, whatever is purely conceptual is "less real" than what can be directly experienced - the conceptual world is a world of separate things, direct experience is a "unified flow" without solid borders. The conceptual world is a world of time and space, direct experience is not part of these (thought up / conceptual) dimensions.
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

Could this confusion we face here come down to a subject object distinction?

When Henry refers to himself, he is referring to the body, which is an object.

When we refer to the observer, we are not referring to an object, but a subject. And yet, after realisation of this subject which we identify as, when looking for this subject, it cannot be found. All that can be “found” are objects of perception.

Henry identifies the object of perception which is the body, which he then identifies AS himself, the subject, thus he conceptually places the subject inside the perceptual object.

Yet, this object of the body which you identify AS, appears within the subject, I.e. perception. You then have to infer the existence of the object of you as the body, existing APART from your perception of your body.

So you have your idea of what you are, the body, then you have the subject, which is your consciousness awareness, which observed the body, which you identify as.

When we look for us as subject, awareness, we do not find ourselves. This is because “what we are looking for is where we are looking from”. Now the idea we have of ourselves as something to find, which is there as an idea, must be continually confronted based on this misidentification of the subject within the object.

But once the subject realises its error, it looks for itself. This might lead to the creation of an idea of a subject as an object, I.e. the observer. But it is not a thing, not an object. If this objectification of the subject occurs, it then creates a problem of there being the observer and the observed.

Why is this a problem? Because the observer is an idea of what the subject is, not the subject itself. So it creates a separation between the observer and the observed, both now two things, one an idea of oneself, not as the body, but as a disembodied entity existing inside the body. And the other, the objects which the observer observes. This creates a detachment from observations. In a way this is good, because it means the observer is shielded from all effects, it is just the screen upon which all the objects appear. But in another way it’s not good, because any identification with this observer means it will prefer to remain still and silent, not engaging with the play on the screen.

But if the observer continually looks for itself, by staying as itself, there is just observing. No idea of an observer is present, there is just observing. So no distinction between observer as a subject (through an imagined object being the observer as a thing) and the objects that appear within it will take place, and no separation therefore there is engagement with life AS life.

This has been my understanding of it. Probably filled with holes and flaws, but it’s my attempt.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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I wouldn’t worry about any of this if I were you.

no worry: just curious
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:02 am I wouldn’t worry about any of this if I were you.

no worry: just curious
That’s good, and exactly what you want to lead you.
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Dontaskme
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dontaskme »

AlexW wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:00 am
Dontaskme wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:52 pm Your counter offer was that the observer can be observed.

My argument is that it can’t.
I don't think there can be any agreement as Henry is looking at this from the "I am a body/mind" perspective whereas you look at it from/as awareness itself.
Yes that's correct, although I too used to see myself as a separate being in a world of other separate beings. I too identified as being my body. But then I really do believe that we all instinctively know how painful it is to experience the feeling of being a separate being. I think it's an innate attribute of the human experience to feel this separation anxiety, and is what drives an energy to then want to seek itself out of these unnatural feelings, enough to investigate them via self inquiry. Upon doing this, it can suddenly dawn upon oneself that who I really am can NEVER experience itself as an object/mind body mechanism.

And so for me personally, it was the unsatisfied feeling of separation, that then drove me to seeking an answer to the ''who'' is unsatisfied? And so when the answer came, it came in a realisation that I wasn't who I thought I was, and that I was in fact the entire totally of existence itself as this infinite boundless empty awareness of the body, and not the actual body.

And I can tell you now Alex, that when that realisation came for me, it literally blew me away, like I'd just drunk the entire ocean in just one gulp. 8)

Image

We are literally ETERNITY, experiencing itself in infinte ways, shapes and forms. It's totally mind blowing.
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Sculptor
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Sculptor »

Dontaskme wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:13 am You are what observes, not what is being observed.

What is observing cannot be observed because nothing is observing appearing as something.

No some thing has ever been observed, all things are empty concepts.

.
It's no end of amusement to me how many times poster will start with something that is clearly bollocks.
What is observing can be and often is observed.
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