Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:02 am
Dimebag wrote: ↑Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:01 pm
I can see language is very important to you,
Well, only here, because it's the only way you and I can share ideas at the moment. It's really all we have.
...but you seem to think that the logic of language defines the reality of the brain and human existence.
No, I don't think that.
But I do think people need to say precisely what they mean; and if the words they use do not make sense, then chances are that either they've misspoken and need to reword, or they are trying to express an idea that just doesn't make sense.
So being careful with language avoids misunderstanding each other. And since my goal is to understand what you want to say, either I must ask you to clarify your words when they are less than precise, or when they contain what seems a contradiction, or I have no hope of fairly understanding you at all.
And I assume that's a goal you and I share in this conversation...mutual understanding...no?
You could say the shared goal is understanding, but, due to the subjective nature of the conversation, analogies are necessary, which, are not the thing in itself, but like a finger pointing to the thing. They merely help you to see what is already here in your experience. It is more direct that trying to explain such an esoteric thing, which defies explanation. Easier to just see it in yourself, after all, it’s all you.
Why do we presume the mind is completely transparent and logically consistent? Would it not want to hide secrets, such as it’s inner workings which keep you motivated and ensure the mind itself continues to persist? Imagine if an organism had no motivation to survive, it just wouldn’t do. So, the mind creates reasons for us, for instance reproduction. It doesn’t tell you to go have a baby, it tells you to go procreate with a suitable member of the opposite sex. It gives you the motivations not the reasons. If you knew all the pain that would follow from a few moments of pleasure, you would never engage in the act, so it keeps it secret.
Now imagine an organism wasn’t afraid of fear, didn’t react to its own anger, and was in a state of contentment which meant it did not seek riches or horde things for survival purposes. It’s not the best survival plan. Thus, the mind has imbued us with these survival drives to ensure we keep our organism functioning. But when the organism realises that it’s probably not in any immediate danger, it has to ask itself why it still feels such a drive to seek material things, and live in perpetual stress or anxiety, or with a general layer of malaise hanging over it. The lower survival functions are in such a state that they don’t know they are mostly safe, the environment doesn’t feel safe. You have to run just to stop yourself from going backwards in this world it seems, and the body and lower mind knows this intuitively.
So what is one to do? Live with it? Or step outside the illusion?
When you are in pain, you suffer it twice. First is the initial physical sensation of pain, but the second is the reaction to the feeling of pain. It’s like getting shot with two arrows, but, only the first arrow is actually necessary, you create the second one with your reaction. If instead of suffering the pain, you observe it for what it is, physical sensation, you avoid the second arrow.
This is how the higher function of the organism learns to overcome or step outside the program of its lower programming. All physical sensation is like this. It is all appearing in you. You take it all to be the thing which it proclaims to be, that pain is real, that anger is real, that light and objects are real. They are all inside you, created by your perception. They do symbolise something “out there” but out there is not anything you have ever had any direct contact with, or ever could. It’s like a veil between you and whatever is out there. This is of course plato’s Cave, and the senses are the veil of ignorance. They are ignorance because we take them to be real, but they are an illusion of the mind.
So the mind deals in illusions. The world it seems are illusion. The senses are illusion. That just leaves you, the self, in the middle of this illusion. Is one more illusion such a strange thing to imagine in this illusory domain of the mind?
You are probably aware of theseus’ ship. I shouldn’t have to explain it, but for others not sure, imagine a ship which has had all the parts slowly replaced over time. The mast, the deck, the hull, the sails, even the wheel, all the ropes. It’s all been replaced. So is it still the same ship? Is theseus’ ship just the pattern, the structure? It’s not the same identical ship, it’s all been replaced. So it must be. Well, the same could be said of you. Over time, all your parts have been replaced, all the cells have died and been replaced. The pattern of cells is what the identity is, an empty structure, full of beliefs, preferences, habits, thoughts, memories etc. This is you. There is no inner essence. But, you feel like you have persisted over time.
You remember events which happened in your childhood. Yet you are no longer that child. You are now (presumably) a man, you probably don’t even have the same likes as when you were a child, your personality has probably changed quite a bit. The way you think has no doubt changed.
But because every day, your mind was recording the events happening to you, there exists an autobiographical memory bank to which your self model accesses and writes to. This is little like your “world line” the series of events which define your path through time, and essentially tie all those selves which you have been together, because there were in fact many different ones. Yet you feel like you have been the same one. Every night you go to sleep and your self ceases to exist for a time. But, due to these clever tricks the brain pulls, you feel like the same one as yesterday. Changes are so slow that you don’t feel different to yesterday, yet your mood was different, and likely many other things.
Now you are getting very small inside your brain. You used to be your emotions, your thoughts, your preferences, but they all change. Like Theseus’ ship, they are replaced, yet, unlike that ship they get replaced with slightly different parts. Definitely not the same ship, even though it still has the same sign saying “Immanuel Can” (I know that’s probably not your real name), this is who you refer to as yourself, but you could easily have been named something completely different.
All these are changing characteristics and appearances. “You” is not a fixed thing.
“You” or the conceptual structure which comprises the idea of you, of course does not want to be found out as a fraud, so it protects itself at all costs, distracting you with worldly things, pleasures, goals, etc. anything to avoid being discovered. It will keep you in a constant state of motion, seeking, consuming. This is the western way, look where it has got us, but that’s another discussion. The ego defends itself, protects itself.
But you feel like the one who has all these characteristics. “I am” witty, or “I am” logical, etc. All you can really say is, “I am”.
Now we are getting somewhere. What is this I? This is the core of the sense of being a “who”. Can we interrogate this “I” further?
What is it made of? What are it’s characteristics?
Well. It feels like a point of view. When there are no emotions, no thoughts playing in the background, no intentions to do anything. That is what it feels like. It is a locus of all the senses and all these human aspects. The body appears in this as sensation. What is it’s location? The world appears within it, and thus it’s location lies outside the world which it perceives, all that could be said is it’s always here. Does it have a shape? No, shapes appear within it, any shape would be an appearance in it, therefore anything which appears in the senses is not it. The senses appear IN it. Is it a person? Personal characteristics appear in it, so it can’t be personal. Does it feel time? The past is a memory, appearing in the now, the future is a thought. All there is to it is this infinite unfolding moment. It’s always now.
Is it the ghost in the machine or a soul? Maybe it has soul like characteristics, formlessness, timelessness. Yet, as it has no qualities, there can be no difference between this “I” or any other “I”. Any difference would be an appearance. It seems there must be many “I”’s but they are all the same. Within them, the world is reflected differently, due to their different perspectives and physical “wrappers” so to speak. They all think they are unique due to their unique autobiography, but underneath all the layers they are the same.
To call this a self seems wrong, it’s s very nondescript self if so. More like a not self. Usually when we think of a self we think of persistent personality characteristics, or inherent qualities. But this is not like that.
It (not who, it’s not a person, it has no gender) is awareness. There is no male awareness or female awareness, there is just awareness. Maybe there is also animal awareness. It certainly seems like it for many animals.
But this awareness is special, because it can learn to know itself. Not through any qualities, no observable characteristics. But only as a sense of presence, and by interrogating that which appears within it, it assumes itself to exist.
Attention can look out at the world, but it can also look back in. Somehow, it can look in upon awareness, and the only thing it sees is formlessness, but not nothing. When it looks in at itself like this, it has the sense “I am”. But when it looks for itself and finds nothing, this idea of what it is, the structure of identity has nothing to attach to. Like two mirrors facing each other, nothing is reflected. Yet, all these forms appear within nothing. All that can be found of it, is whatever plays upon its surface.
The distinction between subject and object collapses.
The whole world “you” perceive is actually all that there is of you. That makes you both everything, and nothing.
Sorry for the long winded response. Thankfully it seems here that is almost accepted.