Back to Infinity

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AlexW
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Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:52 am

We have many ways of naming the eternal and infinite — God, Source, Brahman and Absolute are all equal conceptions human kind uses for pointing to something larger and more powerful than ourselves. An omnipotent being, far removed from the daily routine of our lives, who seems to ignore our good deeds just as much as our sins. Where ever God is, one thing seems certain, he seems to be indifferent about the incidents happening in this world and so we keep on struggling to eek out an existence, all the while hoping God secretly notices our good qualities while gently overlooking the bad.
Parents, teachers, priests and professors have told us that we are limited beings — separate minds in self-contained bodies, moving through life on individual paths.

But there is a major fault in our equation of life, a mistake that led to an existential impasse that has been bothering us since the early years of our existence. Even now we feel that something is wrong, but when we turn around and look we find nothing substantial, there seems to be nothing there that would qualify as a reason for our painful uncertainty.
All we find are murky sensations of lack and incompleteness — and so we go through life like a dismembered puzzle, looking for the missing parts. Lost in conditioned belief we struggle, no idea where to look for reality but in the world of things. Unable to find truth in the objective the feeling of despair grows, disillusioned we leave the idea of completing the puzzle behind and soon we forget. Like a mindless horde of lemmings we follow the idea of separation, hoping that each single piece of the puzzle has a deeper meaning, a life on its own.

Socrates once said, we are what we think we are, and while he was correct in that belief shapes our mental picture of ourselves it will never define what we truly are — yes, it can blur our unity with infinity and eternity by covering it up with a blanket of thought, but it will never be able to change the eternal truth of being.
While thought is the tool of separation, thought, in the form of higher reasoning, can also be applied to take us back to the place we never left. Misdirected teachings put us into the prison of separation; a prison of our own making that can only be undone by reversing the process that led us there. Higher reasoning is the only weapon sharp enough to cut through the chains of introduced duality — it is the only way out.
Infinity cannot be found by applying new concepts aiming at defining it (as every definition is restrictive by design), not by inventing new chains of reasoning, but only by coming to the final conclusion that all relativistic thought, each and every conceptual structure, is in opposition to truth — always. Only the unbroken whole is true whereas all individual parts are illusions of thought. Truth has no levels — it cannot be partial — it’s all or nothing. Full stop.

It seems to be a paradox, reason pointing to its own end, but only by leaving infinity untouched by restrictive thinking, by refraining from all mental interventions of limiting its indefinable expanse, will infinity blossom and suddenly reveal itself.
Is it reasonable to believe in an eternal/infinite God (or the existence of the Absolute) while keeping up our conviction of being a limited being? Does it make any sense at all to believe the world, yes even the universe itself is made up of inherently existing, separate objects? Does it make sense to believe in us existing in physical and mental isolation? If there is something like eternity/infinity, how could even one atom of the universe be disconnected from the whole? Infinity leaves no room for parts, it contains, per definition, all and everything.

But… Maybe there is no such thing as infinity, eternity, God or Brahman… Maybe the universe is finite and as such limited. Still… this leaves us with the problem of what exists outside the universe? What is it that contains it? How many layers of the imaginary onion do we have to strip away before we eventually come to the conclusion that outside of the universe can only be one thing… nothing!

Unfortunately nothing and everything are both members of the non-dual family of infinity and thus again point back to eternal and infinite being.
Back at the start of our relativistic journey we feel exhausted and thus, eventually, we give in — but now we finally understand that infinity is more than just a very big number. It is what we are — it is, no doubt, what we have to be! God, who we thought to be infinitely far away, is actually infinitely close, yes, inseparable from ourselves. It is our essence just like we are each other’s essence. Being infinite, you and I are truly one.

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Greta
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Greta » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:45 am

There is much talk on philosophy forums about oneness and separation, always using intellectual means to discredit the "separating" intellect.

Where is this oneness? Sure, there seems to be connection between all parts, but one can also see that connection in galaxies and ecosystems. There are smaller things in larger things like Russian dolls, and presumably these are all within one largest thing consisting of fractal layers. Yet who is to say that this larger "oneness" is integrated? It might still be chaotic and in the process of connecting itself. Maybe the godlike thing we perceive is our galaxy? Or solar system? Or Earth? Or life or humanity en masse?

All would be plenty enough to bring us a profound sense of oneness.

The universe is energy. Everything that exists is energy of differing densities and intensities. There is energy in the quantum foam that is posited to precede the universe - what we consider to be "nothingness" is apparently replete with energy. Everything else is made from energy too, just more condensed. We are very condensed, very concentrated energy. The Earth is even more so, neutron stars much more so again, and black holes seemingly the most dense zones of energy in our reality as far as we know. Maybe energy has always been, but just keeps changing form?

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:19 am

Hi Greta, thank you for your post!
Greta wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:45 am
there seems to be connection between all parts
As I see it there are no parts - all partition is mind made and purely relies on an agreed upon definitions/interpretations. An interpretation is not truth.
The idea of oneness is only a mental antidote to the story of separation. A conceptual step required before giving up also this foothold.
I don't see much difference between matter and energy - they are different ways of describing *this* that defies all description.

I don't aim at discrediting the "separating" intellect - it is a great tool, but when used to define reality it is a very harmful thing indeed.

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Greta
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Greta » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:16 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:19 am
Hi Greta, thank you for your post!
Greta wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:45 am
there seems to be connection between all parts
As I see it there are no parts - all partition is mind made and purely relies on an agreed upon definitions/interpretations. An interpretation is not truth.
The idea of oneness is only a mental antidote to the story of separation. A conceptual step required before giving up also this foothold.
I don't see much difference between matter and energy - they are different ways of describing *this* that defies all description.

I don't aim at discrediting the "separating" intellect - it is a great tool, but when used to define reality it is a very harmful thing indeed.
Alex, what about "parts" like galaxies, stars, planets, moons, black holes? What of hearts, lungs, livers, brains and kidneys? I see them as having fundamentally real qualities rather than subjective ones.

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:30 am

How do you know a part has fundamentally real qualities? Lets say a star or, to make it as simple as possible, really any object close to you - a car, a tree, the tea cup on the desk in front of you... What turns it into a real, separate object with specific properties?
Seeing itself doesn't do it. Seeing only delivers a range of colours in a procession of shifting shapes. What tells you that the white something with blue dots on it is a cup? It can only be thought, right?
Have you always known that this combination of colours/shapes is a cup? No! You have learned it - you have been told this is a cup and suddenly you recognise a certain pattern as a cup! Voila! You have created an object. You have made no-thing into some-thing.
Does the cup, now that you have named it and attached certain qualities, suddenly have more reality than previously? Has your internal pattern matching algorithm created reality?
Yes and no... yes, in the acquired, mental abstraction we employ to describe the things of the world - no, in reality.
Your mind creating an object has not cut up reality - it has created a map of reality - but the underlying truth has not been touched.
Parts can thus never have "fundamentally real qualities" - all they will ever have are conceptually accepted qualities that are based on our mental programming.

Atla
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Atla » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:35 am

I completely agree (personally I just call it the Absolute, or reality). I especially liked how you described the idea of oneness as mental antidote, gonna steal that one. :)

My experience is that no one on this forum sees through dualistic thinking properly, and the vast majority don't see through it at all, so their philosophies are dead ends. But maybe you'll have more luck.

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Greta
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Greta » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:38 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:30 am
How do you know a part has fundamentally real qualities? Lets say a star or, to make it as simple as possible, really any object close to you - a car, a tree, the tea cup on the desk in front of you... What turns it into a real, separate object with specific properties?
Seeing itself doesn't do it. Seeing only delivers a range of colours in a procession of shifting shapes. What tells you that the white something with blue dots on it is a cup? It can only be thought, right?
Have you always known that this combination of colours/shapes is a cup? No! You have learned it - you have been told this is a cup and suddenly you recognise a certain pattern as a cup! Voila! You have created an object. You have made no-thing into some-thing.
Does the cup, now that you have named it and attached certain qualities, suddenly have more reality than previously? Has your internal pattern matching algorithm created reality?
Yes and no... yes, in the acquired, mental abstraction we employ to describe the things of the world - no, in reality.
Your mind creating an object has not cut up reality - it has created a map of reality - but the underlying truth has not been touched.
Parts can thus never have "fundamentally real qualities" - all they will ever have are conceptually accepted qualities that are based on our mental programming.
I'd like to parse stars and cups here. How do I know the star is real? My impression is that the Sun, and the Earth and Moon for that matter, are more real than us. To some extent I am trusting people far more experienced and learned than myself - call it faith if you like; in a way it is, even if a rather hedged, critical and provisional kind of faith.

So, based on my senses, logic and those of others, we humans appear to be far less dense and firmly embedded in reality than large cosmic bodies, which are basically local areas of extreme concentration in the fabric of the cosmos that last for billions of years (we are most ephemeral by comparison). Those cosmic bodies are all parts of one system, almost like a cosmic atom - a part and yet apart.

Does any of that resonate or jar?

Dubious
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Dubious » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:24 pm

AlexW wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:30 am
Parts can thus never have "fundamentally real qualities" - all they will ever have are conceptually accepted qualities that are based on our mental programming.
Maybe that's because we think in parts and not in wholes. The parts don't care how we think about them; the only thing that would concern a part is the whole it's a part of which WE can only theorize and provisionally accept.

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:06 am

Greta,
Greta wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:38 am
based on my senses, logic and those of others, we humans appear to be far less dense...
This observation is not based on your senses - seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling & touch - but only on thought. It is an interpretation you have acquired and now believe, but if you try to verify this observation using your senses only - putting aside what thought tells you about the observation - you will find that "less dense" or "firmly embedded in reality" are qualities no direct experience can deliver.
This is true for all sorts of interpretations which will always be a translation of your direct experience (which of course has its benefits as otherwise we wouldn't be able to communicate using language).
When you look at an abstract painting you might, at first, have trouble making sense of it, all you see are shapes and color, but as soon as you read the description you might suddenly see a landscape, a flower, a body etc etc...
color = seeing = direct experience = reality
flower = thought = interpretation = map of reality

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:12 am

Dubious,
Dubious wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:24 pm
Maybe that's because we think in parts and not in wholes
Yes, we think in parts - thought creates/is duality - but our direct experience itself is actually always whole. We never experience parts - we always experience the whole (=reality) - but then thought comes along and cuts it into mental pieces... This of course doesn't affect reality but only your interpretation of it (likes, dislikes etc etc)

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Greta
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Greta » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:27 am

AlexW wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:06 am
Greta,
Greta wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:38 am
based on my senses, logic and those of others, we humans appear to be far less dense...
This observation is not based on your senses - seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling & touch - but only on thought.
That's why I added "logic and those of others". You focused on the first word "senses", which is obviously not the case as regards a neutron star, but didn't take the other means of knowing mentioned into account.

However, other people have detected neutron stars, with their senses enhanced by technology. Thus, as humans have always done, I learn from my fellow humans about things that I personally cannot access. So the point made in my previous post has not yet been validly challenged.

You may not trust your fellow humans with their trickiness and various agendas, but I do up to a point. I get that - "can only trust our own eyes" etc, but it is trust that allowed humans to dominate everything at our scale on the Earth's surface. Without trust we cannot share information and if we cannot share information then we don't survive.

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:46 am

Greta wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:27 am
didn't take the other means of knowing mentioned into account
Knowing is always direct, unbiased and not interpreted - direct knowing/experiencing doesn't require conceptual thought.
As soon as we attach attributes to knowing it turns into conceptual understanding - it is always based on relativistic thought and comes from learning - logic and logic of others communicated to you.
Yes, people have detected neutron stars and this conceptual understanding has been communicated to you in a logical way and thus you believe it. I am not saying that neutron stars are not real - they are just as real as the tree outside my window. They are real in the relativistic world that we have learned to accept since early childhood - but this relativistic world is a world of thought - it is not reality. It is an interpretation of reality.
There are no neutron stars or trees in reality - there are no separate parts at all - none. Separation is only visible in the relativistic view of the world that we use to describe things - using only this view we have forgotten that reality still exists under the map of separation. We now see only the map and believe that the separate things we identify are inherently real. They are not. They only appear once you attach certain attributes to parts you have learned to extract from the whole.
Greta wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:27 am
You may not trust your fellow humans with their trickiness and various agendas, but I do up to a point. I get that - "can only trust our own eyes" etc, but it is trust that allowed humans to dominate everything at our scale on the Earth's surface. Without trust we cannot share information and if we cannot share information then we don't survive.
I don't think anything can be truthfully communicated using a system that is flawed at its foundation. We have built our logical/scientific understanding & way of communication on the premise that this is a universe of inherently existing objects.
Our communication is thus based on separation - not on truth - it can as such only communicate relative truth.
Still, even our understanding of the world being a world made up of things is ultimately untrue, we can accept the fact and use our relativistic way of communication, knowing that all referenced objects are only a mental projection, a pattern extracted from the unbroken whole. This will also lead us to the understanding that we are not here to dominate but to share (as who are you trying to dominate? you attack yourself if you are trying to dominate "everything on the Earth's surface")

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Greta
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Greta » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:57 am

AlexW wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:46 am
Greta wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:27 am
didn't take the other means of knowing mentioned into account
Knowing is always direct, unbiased and not interpreted - direct knowing/experiencing doesn't require conceptual thought.
As soon as we attach attributes to knowing it turns into conceptual understanding - it is always based on relativistic thought and comes from learning - logic and logic of others communicated to you.
Yes, people have detected neutron stars and this conceptual understanding has been communicated to you in a logical way and thus you believe it. I am not saying that neutron stars are not real - they are just as real as the tree outside my window. They are real in the relativistic world that we have learned to accept since early childhood - but this relativistic world is a world of thought - it is not reality. It is an interpretation of reality.
Yup. Kant.
AlexW wrote:There are no neutron stars or trees in reality - there are no separate parts at all - none. Separation is only visible in the relativistic view of the world that we use to describe things - using only this view we have forgotten that reality still exists under the map of separation. We now see only the map and believe that the separate things we identify are inherently real. They are not. They only appear once you attach certain attributes to parts you have learned to extract from the whole.
Not quite. Yes, there is no actual separation in this web or causality, but there are some significant differences that need to be noted. If we forget labels there is no neutron star, rather there is this 20km radius object of astonishing density in space - sure, it's connected to its surrounding space and dust, but for all practical intents and purposes, it's a genuine, separate entity to be dealt with on its own terms. Likewise, if we forget labels there is not tree but there are these tall, hard, green growing entities in my garden, sticking out of the ground and must be dealt with on their terms; that is, their definition is moot if we are seeking shade or dodging falling branch.

It's the practicality angle, and that is the case with science, which is an inherently practical pursuit.
AlexW wrote:
Greta wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:27 am
You may not trust your fellow humans with their trickiness and various agendas, but I do up to a point. I get that - "can only trust our own eyes" etc, but it is trust that allowed humans to dominate everything at our scale on the Earth's surface. Without trust we cannot share information and if we cannot share information then we don't survive.
I don't think anything can be truthfully communicated using a system that is flawed at its foundation. We have built our logical/scientific understanding & way of communication on the premise that this is a universe of inherently existing objects.
Our communication is thus based on separation - not on truth - it can as such only communicate relative truth.
Still, even our understanding of the world being a world made up of things is ultimately untrue, we can accept the fact and use our relativistic way of communication, knowing that all referenced objects are only a mental projection, a pattern extracted from the unbroken whole. This will also lead us to the understanding that we are not here to dominate but to share (as who are you trying to dominate? you attack yourself if you are trying to dominate "everything on the Earth's surface")
A society based on such broadly empathetic values would not compete to survive the modern world. History is replete with the domination and decimation of indigenous populations holding holistic attitudes towards nature - by cultures with a more competitive and adversarial attitude towards nature. The Europeans and easterners saw nature as something to be conquered rather than symbiotically related. Unfortunately, the colonisers lacked respect for the indigenous people they displaced, seeing them as lesser, animalistic, and the unfortunate result is that the tribes' deep accumulated knowledge of ecosystems was lost.

But ... if there is no separation between things then humans are not way separate from the Earth, in which case they are not inflicting anything wrongful on the planet but doing its bidding. Few employees enjoy corporate restructures and few species enjoy restructuring of the biosphere.

Serendipper
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by Serendipper » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:04 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:52 am
We have many ways of naming the eternal and infinite 
Is "eternal" and "infinite" the same thing? Is absence of time and infinite time the same?

AlexW
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Re: Back to Infinity

Post by AlexW » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:23 am

Serendipper wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:04 am
Is "eternal" and "infinite" the same thing? Is absence of time and infinite time the same?
Yes, but its not a thing... We can't objectify infinity/eternity - or... rather we actually try to do just that, but the outcome can only be illusory.

Well, yes you could say that absence of time is eternity, but time is really never present anyway. It is just an idea and as such never real.
Eternity or infinity can never be not present - whereas time or distance seem to be present but are so only in/as thought.
They appear as soon as we identify with something limited - e.g. the body - and as such we seem to be bound by the bodies (apparent) limitations.

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