Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

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AlexW
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Wed May 13, 2020 2:01 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:26 am
More than one?

How can there be more than one color or more than one shape if they have no attributes? How can you tell them apart, if every color is the same as every other color, or if every shape is the same as every other shape? If there were no boundaries or separation they would all be in the same place with no way to observe there is more than one color or shape.
Yes, good point!

When investigating experience, color is as close as you can get to reality when conceptually describing the direct experience of seeing.
Color actually IS seeing and seeing is nothing but color - thus stating that one shape of red can separate two shapes of green is like saying that seeing separates more seeing - or light separates light... Sure, splitting light into colours creates a diverse visual field, but this field - seeing itself - is one unbroken whole.
Also: Diversity of appearance is not the same as separation! Separation would mean that we can remove one color from the visual field and be left with an area of "no color" - which is of course impossible - all we can do is shift colours around within our visual field, but this does not fracture the field.
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:26 am
You said, "If you look at the room, the scenery around you, you essentially see colours, they seem to be arranged in certain shapes," but if what you say about there being no attributes, relationships, or boundaries, etc. were true, you could not see colors or shapes. You would see nothing or only an undifferentiated grey, perhaps.
Just because there are no labels and attributes attached to seeing this doesn't result in a different visual field. Its the same, minus the conceptual overlay.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm

AlexW wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:01 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:26 am
More than one?

How can there be more than one color or more than one shape if they have no attributes? How can you tell them apart, if every color is the same as every other color, or if every shape is the same as every other shape? If there were no boundaries or separation they would all be in the same place with no way to observe there is more than one color or shape.
Yes, good point!

When investigating experience, color is as close as you can get to reality when conceptually describing the direct experience of seeing.
Color actually IS seeing and seeing is nothing but color - thus stating that one shape of red can separate two shapes of green is like saying that seeing separates more seeing - or light separates light... Sure, splitting light into colours creates a diverse visual field, but this field - seeing itself - is one unbroken whole.
Also: Diversity of appearance is not the same as separation! Separation would mean that we can remove one color from the visual field and be left with an area of "no color" - which is of course impossible - all we can do is shift colours around within our visual field, but this does not fracture the field.
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:26 am
You said, "If you look at the room, the scenery around you, you essentially see colours, they seem to be arranged in certain shapes," but if what you say about there being no attributes, relationships, or boundaries, etc. were true, you could not see colors or shapes. You would see nothing or only an undifferentiated grey, perhaps.
Just because there are no labels and attributes attached to seeing this doesn't result in a different visual field. Its the same, minus the conceptual overlay.
I'm not certain whether the difference here is semantic or substantive. I think a bit of both.

I agree there is only one visual field. I do not agree that color is all of seeing. There is also intensity and I believe those animals (and some humans) who cannot see color still see, and of course there is the matter of the stereoscopic aspects of vision. Let's set those aside and just consider the visual field, or better, the whole field of consciousness. It is not just the field of vision but the whole field of consciousness that is, "one." We are conscious of everything in the visual field as well as everything we are hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting simultaneously as one continuous field of consciousness. So I would agree that consciousness is one single thing, if that is near your point. [I also think this disproves the physicalist view of consciousness.]

Now this is where I think we either disagree or misunderstand each other. I not only see, but can also simultaneously feel, things and see my fingers feeling them. I do not have to conceptually identify any of those things to have that conscious experience. It is not some, "conceptual overlay," that separates those experiences. An infant that has not learned any concepts can see its fingers touching its toys and simultaneously feel the toys.

What you have said so far raises a question that needs to be answered. If there are different conscious experiences in the field of consciousness, such as different colors, shapes, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes, what makes them different. Why should there be any differences? Are they causeless phantoms without explanation?

The explanation of why there are different perceptual experiences is that consciousness is consciousness of something, and that something is existence, and all our different conscious experiences are our consciousness of the differences in the existents that are that existence. It is either that or one is reduced to solipsism.

I may have misunderstood some of what you are saying, so feel free to correct my understanding.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
It is not just the field of vision but the whole field of consciousness that is, "one." We are conscious of everything in the visual field as well as everything we are hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting simultaneously as one continuous field of consciousness. So I would agree that consciousness is one single thing, if that is near your point. [I also think this disproves the physicalist view of consciousness.]
Yes, I agree with what you said (the only prerequisite being that consciousness is not a thing)
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
I not only see, but can also simultaneously feel, things and see my fingers feeling them. I do not have to conceptually identify any of those things to have that conscious experience. It is not some, "conceptual overlay," that separates those experiences.
This is a bit more tricky... ok... let me try to explain what I have found:

We have learned to connect sensations (e.g. visual patterns combined with certain sensations of touch) in a way that it seems to be the case that "My fingers feel XYZ" - while in reality, there is only a non-localised sensation that really has nothing to do with the concept "my fingers".

If you close your eyes and focus your attention on your hands, you will - after only a few seconds, maybe half a minute - lose all sense of this sensation coming from a specific location. This happens because the brain/thought normally constructs "locality" by switching between impressions (this happens very fast, but, if you remain highly alert, you can observe it).

Example: You look at your hand and then you feel a sensation - this switch between visual and touch creates relative distance.
Or you feel a sensation in your hand and then you feel a sensation in your head (a common location is exactly between the eyes) and this switch between two physical sensations again creates the impression of relative distance.

The sensation itself cannot, ever, inform about location - it simply doesn't contain the information. It's just like in geometry, it requires a certain "fixed" reference point to tell the distance to something else (and, in our case, in direct experience, this reference point is actually never directly experienced, it is always fabricated by a extremely efficient, mental process - e.g. location "between the eyes" as fixed point of reference)

Have you ever heard about the rubber hand illusion? Its quite interesting (and funny) - shows how interconnected our senses are and how easily information is constructed (just like location/distance is constructed):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxwn1w7MJvk
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
What you have said so far raises a question that needs to be answered. If there are different conscious experiences in the field of consciousness, such as different colors, shapes, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes, what makes them different. Why should there be any differences? Are they causeless phantoms without explanation?
I have no idea...
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
The explanation of why there are different perceptual experiences is that consciousness is consciousness of something, and that something is existence, and all our different conscious experiences are our consciousness of the differences in the existents that are that existence.
Yes, that is an explanation - one that most people subscribe to - unfortunately it doesn't match with direct experience... and this is "slightly annoying" :-)
What actually matches is that there is no "consciousness of existence", but only consciousness - or only existence/reality - as much as it sounds logical to the mind, but an honest, proper investigation of direct experience simply doesn't support the idea of a separate, conscious me versus a physically existent universe out there...

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm

AlexW wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
It is not just the field of vision but the whole field of consciousness that is, "one." We are conscious of everything in the visual field as well as everything we are hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting simultaneously as one continuous field of consciousness. So I would agree that consciousness is one single thing, if that is near your point. [I also think this disproves the physicalist view of consciousness.]
Yes, I agree with what you said (the only prerequisite being that consciousness is not a thing)
By, "thing," I do not mean an entity. I only mean it is, that it is not nothing. If it were nothing we wouldn't be talking about it.
AlexW wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am
If you close your eyes and focus your attention on your hands, you will - after only a few seconds, maybe half a minute - lose all sense of this sensation coming from a specific location. ...

The sensation itself cannot, ever, inform about location - it simply doesn't contain the information.
All discussions of individual conscious experience depend entirely on testimony for which there is no evidence. It is the primary thing wrong with all that is called psychology. The experience you describe only persists so long as one does not move and does not attend to what you are calling location. In fact, however, no one has any problem locating an itch and scratching it, (without seeing anything), and of course blind people have very keen awareness of location.
AlexW wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am
It's just like in geometry, it requires a certain "fixed" reference point ...
How is that a problem? If you are implying there are no metaphysical locations, where did the idea come from?
AlexW wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
What you have said so far raises a question that needs to be answered. If there are different conscious experiences in the field of consciousness, such as different colors, shapes, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes, what makes them different. Why should there be any differences? Are they causeless phantoms without explanation?
I have no idea...
Well that is refreshingly honest. It would bother me, but if you are comfortable with it, I certainly cannot argue with it.
AlexW wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:24 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:24 pm
The explanation of why there are different perceptual experiences is that consciousness is consciousness of something, and that something is existence, and all our different conscious experiences are our consciousness of the differences in the existents that are that existence.
Yes, that is an explanation - one that most people subscribe to - unfortunately it doesn't match with direct experience... and this is "slightly annoying" :-)
What actually matches is that there is no "consciousness of existence", but only consciousness - or only existence/reality - as much as it sounds logical to the mind, but an honest, proper investigation of direct experience simply doesn't support the idea of a separate, conscious me versus a physically existent universe out there...
You also have the question of a separate conscious you and other separate conscious individuals that you have conversations with that your consciousness only originates half of.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
In fact, however, no one has any problem locating an itch and scratching it, (without seeing anything), and of course blind people have very keen awareness of location.
Sure - I am not saying that we don't have the power to award certain extracts of experience a specific location - I am only saying that this "location" is not an information contained in the "primary" stream of experiential data, but an attribute constructed from this very stream.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
How is that a problem? If you are implying there are no metaphysical locations, where did the idea come from?
As explained above, any location is constructed from "location-less" raw data - it also makes sense, especially if we consider that consciousness is not a thing (but also not nothing - as you stated before... and I agree), which means that it is, within itself, without limits or borders - we could call it infinite.
Defining a location within the infinite is only of relative value, it has no meaning in undivided consciousness itself - it is only meaningful as long as we move and play in the constructed world of limited, separate entities.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
Well that is refreshingly honest. It would bother me, but if you are comfortable with it, I certainly cannot argue with it.
I think it is important to know what to know and where to simply stop and relax - not every question is a sensible question, some are just here to drive you mad :-)
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
You also have the question of a separate conscious you and other separate conscious individuals that you have conversations with that your consciousness only originates half of.
Not really - there is no conscious "you" in direct experience - there is also no conscious "other".
Sure, we now talk to each other - if only in writing - but this is ultimately no proof that consciousness is divided up into individual portions.
It is actually quite obvious, especially in the direct experience of "no mind", that consciousness is an undivided whole - but once we return back to the "surface" - a bit like a wave manifesting from the ocean - then we suddenly again see separation, we see our own wave as well as all the others and completely forget that there is only water...

Belinda
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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda » Fri May 15, 2020 9:00 am

AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
In fact, however, no one has any problem locating an itch and scratching it, (without seeing anything), and of course blind people have very keen awareness of location.
Sure - I am not saying that we don't have the power to award certain extracts of experience a specific location - I am only saying that this "location" is not an information contained in the "primary" stream of experiential data, but an attribute constructed from this very stream.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
How is that a problem? If you are implying there are no metaphysical locations, where did the idea come from?
As explained above, any location is constructed from "location-less" raw data - it also makes sense, especially if we consider that consciousness is not a thing (but also not nothing - as you stated before... and I agree), which means that it is, within itself, without limits or borders - we could call it infinite.
Defining a location within the infinite is only of relative value, it has no meaning in undivided consciousness itself - it is only meaningful as long as we move and play in the constructed world of limited, separate entities.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
Well that is refreshingly honest. It would bother me, but if you are comfortable with it, I certainly cannot argue with it.
I think it is important to know what to know and where to simply stop and relax - not every question is a sensible question, some are just here to drive you mad :-)
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
You also have the question of a separate conscious you and other separate conscious individuals that you have conversations with that your consciousness only originates half of.
Not really - there is no conscious "you" in direct experience - there is also no conscious "other".
Sure, we now talk to each other - if only in writing - but this is ultimately no proof that consciousness is divided up into individual portions.
It is actually quite obvious, especially in the direct experience of "no mind", that consciousness is an undivided whole - but once we return back to the "surface" - a bit like a wave manifesting from the ocean - then we suddenly again see separation, we see our own wave as well as all the others and completely forget that there is only water...

Yes, and the water is in a state of change which is how we can detect the water or any superficial manifestation of it. Not only is my subjective experience of the water changeful, but also I can tell the difference between the water itself and my awareness of what waves feel like .Change goes all the way down.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm

AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
In fact, however, no one has any problem locating an itch and scratching it, (without seeing anything), and of course blind people have very keen awareness of location.
Sure - I am not saying that we don't have the power to award certain extracts of experience a specific location - I am only saying that this "location" is not an information contained in the "primary" stream of experiential data, but an attribute constructed from this very stream.
Does my cat know where to scratch by, "awarding certain extracts of experience a specific location?" What is, "a stream of experiential data," and how do you know there is such a thing?
AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
How is that a problem? If you are implying there are no metaphysical locations, where did the idea come from?
As explained above, any location is constructed from "location-less" raw data - it also makes sense, especially if we consider that consciousness is not a thing (but also not nothing - as you stated before... and I agree), which means that it is, within itself, without limits or borders - we could call it infinite.
It's not an explanation at all. All the words amount to, "it just is."
AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
Defining a location within the infinite is only of relative value, it has no meaning in undivided consciousness itself - it is only meaningful as long as we move and play in the constructed world of limited, separate entities.
Nothing is infinite. Anything that exists is finite (or dimensionless, like concepts).
AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
Well that is refreshingly honest. It would bother me, but if you are comfortable with it, I certainly cannot argue with it.
I think it is important to know what to know and where to simply stop and relax - not every question is a sensible question, some are just here to drive you mad :-)
That is a very dangerous attitude. At best it is an excuse to evade one's responsibility to know all they can and to use that knowledge to make their choices. "I didn't know," is not an excuse when the reason one didn't know was because they decided the process of learning was just too difficult and would, "drive them mad." The evasion of knowledge is a kind of madness.
AlexW wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:38 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:24 pm
You also have the question of a separate conscious you and other separate conscious individuals that you have conversations with that your consciousness only originates half of.
Not really - there is no conscious "you" in direct experience ...
Speak for yourself. If you claim to have no conscious self, perhaps you don't, but even if you don't, it is hubris to claim no one else does.

It is nothing to me, and I have no intention of attempting to change your views on anything, but at least some of what you believe is very dangerous. If you are using any of those beliefs as a guide in making any life choices the consequences are going to be very bad, both practically and psychologically. I don't enjoy seeing others make mistakes of that magnitude, but other's lives are not my business. I wish you well; unfortunately, as my Grandmother used to say, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sat May 16, 2020 2:46 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
Does my cat know where to scratch by, "awarding certain extracts of experience a specific location?"
No, the cat is completely oblivious of the idea of "location" - it simply scratches "where" it itches, but not because this itch has a "location".
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
What is, "a stream of experiential data," and how do you know there is such a thing?
Its only a description. I thought you might understand what I am referring to...
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
It's not an explanation at all. All the words amount to, "it just is."
Well... it would be more "precise" to say that it neither is nor is it not - infinity/reality is before/beyond all conceptual limitations (and that includes existence as well as non existence)
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
Nothing is infinite. Anything that exists is finite (or dimensionless, like concepts).
In a way, yes... but this existence that you are referring to is only conceptual existence - it only applies to limited things (which are ultimately not real)- reality neither exists nor does it not exist.
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
That is a very dangerous attitude. At best it is an excuse to evade one's responsibility to know all they can and to use that knowledge to make their choices.
Is, it? I would say the opposite is true - it is hubris to believe that you can or should know everything.
I also don't agree that it is "one's responsibility to know all they can and to use that knowledge to make their choices" - its simply wrong, because right action does not come from a mental process of decision making. It happens intuitively, not via long winded thinking.

You put your mind on a throne and bow down in front of them like a servant to the king - this is dangerous - you should see and understand that you are not a slave to your thoughts.
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
The evasion of knowledge is a kind of madness.
I am not against acquiring knowledge - but you should first test if this knowledge is actually helpful or if it will destroy you.
You don't eat every mushroom people offer - do you? Its better to first check if its poisonous and only eat if its actually healthy.
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
Speak for yourself. If you claim to have no conscious self, perhaps you don't, but even if you don't, it is hubris to claim no one else does.
I think its hubris to claim that you can have your own limited personal consciousness - it is what the bible calls the original sin.
It cuts you off from "God" and turns you into a "sinner".
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:26 pm
It is nothing to me, and I have no intention of attempting to change your views on anything
Same here - I have no problem if you prefer to go on living as you do, but at least try to be open and attempt to see more than just your personal limited view.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda » Sat May 16, 2020 8:50 am

AlexW wrote:
I think its hubris to claim that you can have your own limited personal consciousness - it is what the bible calls the original sin.
It cuts you off from "God" and turns you into a "sinner".
Then long live this variety of hubris ! it is a sad sort of God who is defined as nothing but Authority.

Regarding sense of self. Babies who are helpless in other ways too lack sense of self until they are more than a year old. Therefore sense of self is absent from some humans. Some demented people and some people with personality disorders loose sense of self partially but enough to cause distress.
A milder form of loss of sense of self is culture shock like when a bereavement or other big life change happens.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by RCSaunders » Sat May 16, 2020 1:55 pm

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 2:46 am
No, the cat is completely oblivious of the idea of "location" - it simply scratches "where" it itches, but not because this itch has a "location".
What do you think, "where it itches," means? A, "location," is, "where something is." Nothing less, nothing more.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 17, 2020 1:18 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 1:55 pm
What do you think, "where it itches," means? A, "location," is, "where something is." Nothing less, nothing more.
Something is only somewhere relative to something else - location describes this relationship, but not an absolute position.
Now, if you have no concept of relativity, no idea of things, then asking “where” it is itching will return no answer - this doesn’t mean that there can be no natural response to scratch.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 17, 2020 1:20 am

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 8:50 am
it is a sad sort of God who is defined as nothing but Authority.
I’m not sure how you came up with the idea that god is defined as authority...
Can you explain?

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda » Sun May 17, 2020 8:49 am

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 8:50 am
AlexW wrote:
I think its hubris to claim that you can have your own limited personal consciousness - it is what the bible calls the original sin.
It cuts you off from "God" and turns you into a "sinner".
Then long live this variety of hubris ! it is a sad sort of God who is defined as nothing but Authority.

Regarding sense of self. Babies who are helpless in other ways too lack sense of self until they are more than a year old. Therefore sense of self is absent from some humans. Some demented people and some people with personality disorders loose sense of self partially but enough to cause distress.
A milder form of loss of sense of self is culture shock like when a bereavement or other big life change happens.
You implied God as Authority in your "I think its hubris to claim that you can have your own limited personal consciousness - it is what the bible calls the original sin.
It cuts you off from "God" and turns you into a "sinner".
"

God -as -Authority turned Adam out of Eden because Adam, having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was thinking for himself. Adam was therefore disobedient. I applaud Adam for his disobedience, and I also applaud the serpent who tempts men to take responsibility for their own ideas.

You call such disobedience hubris. I call it hubris when any man claims to know what God is.

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 17, 2020 1:03 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:49 am
God -as -Authority turned Adam out of Eden because Adam, having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was thinking for himself. Adam was therefore disobedient. I applaud Adam for his disobedience, and I also applaud the serpent who tempts men to take responsibility for their own ideas.

You call such disobedience hubris.
No, thats not what I was trying to say.
I never said that God turned Adam out of Eden... What I was implying was that dualistic knowledge and the identification with an objective/conceptual part of reality made it impossible for him to see the whole (Which is nothing else but God) and thus, by identifying with a fragment, he expelled himself (the fragment) from Eden (as in Eden one can only be when one is whole)

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Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Belinda » Tue May 19, 2020 9:18 am

AlexW wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 1:03 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:49 am
God -as -Authority turned Adam out of Eden because Adam, having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was thinking for himself. Adam was therefore disobedient. I applaud Adam for his disobedience, and I also applaud the serpent who tempts men to take responsibility for their own ideas.

You call such disobedience hubris.
No, thats not what I was trying to say.
I never said that God turned Adam out of Eden... What I was implying was that dualistic knowledge and the identification with an objective/conceptual part of reality made it impossible for him to see the whole (Which is nothing else but God) and thus, by identifying with a fragment, he expelled himself (the fragment) from Eden (as in Eden one can only be when one is whole)
I agree. Language often does analyse, but it also synthesises novel stuff too. If you read the poets and view the artists you see various and intriguing portrayals of mankind.

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