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August 11, 2005

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Brian wrote:

"Descartes frequently is criticized as a dualist who splits apart the unity of mind and body. I don’t understand why, from a spiritual standpoint, that is seen as a bad thing. Doesn’t almost every religion say that soul or consciousness exists apart from the body?"


Response:

It is true that the generally prevailing view is that consciousness is not the body, and that it is merely like a 'spirit' inhabiting the body. But that notion is incomplete and fundamentally false. It is not that consciousness and the body are two separate things. The criticism of Descartes' dualistic view is quite valid. I will explain why.

Consider looking at it this way: The body is an object of human perception. Perception is a function of consciousness. The body is an object perceived in consciousness, and without consciousness or awareness, there is no perception of body. The body is therefore only a form within consciousness. It does not exist apart from consciousness. It exists only as an artifact of perception, and because of the process of consciousness identifying with the form of the body, it only appears that consciousness is separate from the body-form, but somehow resides within it.

In reality, Consciousness is the sole existence, and the body is simply form and phenomena arising within Consciousness itself. Consciousness is never within or "inside" the body. The body is an object of sense perception occuring within Consciousness itself. Consciousness is not within the body. It is the body which is within Consciousness. Consciousness is the supreme cognitive principle. Nothing exists outside, separate, or apart from Consciousness itself.

All thoughts, perceptions, forms, bodies, objects, matter, space, time, worlds, and universes exist only within Consciousness-Awareness itself. This pure Consciousness is by nature unborn, non-dual, and formless. Within it arises the appearance of all phenomena, duality, birth, form, and decay. But all these appearances and phenomena are not intrinsically separate from Consciousness itself. Consciousness alone exists. Consciousness is not "I am". "I am" is merely a thought within Consciousness itself. "I am" has no more existence than a wave on the surface of a body of water. The wave is not separate from the water. The wave is not other than water. The water is what is. The wave is merely a temporary form on the water. In the same way, "I am" is merely a thought or wave on the ocean of pure Consciousness.


It is irrelevant that "almost every religion say that soul or consciousness exists apart from the body". Consciousness is the sub-stratum which is the context for all perception, knowledge, and existence. If anyone has doubt of this, then I encourage them to prove otherwise.

Re. the previous comment about consciousness being the "sole existence," this is an interesting hypothesis that has a lot of appeal and is the basis for many mystical paths.

However, there's no outward, public, verifiable, scientific proof that such is the case. If anyone, such as Who am I?, does have such proof, a Nobel Prize awaits them, for sure.

The final line, "If anyone has doubt of this, then I encourage them to prove otherwise," flips the scientific method on its head. It reminds me of a discussion about intelligent design/creationism on Nightline I watched recently.

Creationists argue that because evolutionary theory has some gaps, then intelligent design (which is thinly disguised creationism) must be true. That sort of non-rational thinking doesn't hold water.

The moderator, Ted Koppel, said that a Nighline staffer had written to the chairs of the top ten university biology departments. None of them said that intelligent design had any sort of scientific merit.

The Chair of Biology at the California Institute of Technology said this:

"Saying we don't know how a biochemical pathway evolved, therefore it did not evolve, is no different from saying we don't know that the moon is not made of green cheese, therefore it is made of green cheese. Illogical."

This is the case with consciousness also. Personally, I like the idea that somehow consciousness is at the root of existence. And it's true that science can't explain the nature of consciousness.

But to argue that because we don't know whether or not consciousness is the sub-stratum of everything, then it must be, is an unscientific, fundamentalist sort of statement. Similarly, it isn't up to science to prove creationism wrong, it is up to the creationists to prove that they are right.

Same goes for those who claim that consciousness is the sole reality. Show me the proof, and I'll consider accepting the claim. Otherwise, it's just another idea about the nature of ultimate reality, among many.

Brian,

I am surprised and appaled at the way you (Brian) have distorted the meaning and substance of my previous comment. You have given a ridiculous arguement in response, which was not based on what I actually stated or implied. You have crossed the line and distorted my clear statements, and even this entire issue.

Brian wrote: "... Personally, I like the idea that somehow consciousness is at the root of existence. .... science can't explain the nature of consciousness....
But to argue that because we don't know whether or not consciousness is the sub-stratum of everything, then it must be, is an unscientific, fundamentalist sort of statement."

Response: I did not say: " WHETHER OR NOT consciousness is the sub-stratum of everything". What I attempted to say and did say, was that all perception and knowledge depends soley upon Consciousness. Consciousness is therefore the all imporant and necessary factor, and is the root or sub-stratum of all perception, experience, understanding, and knowledge.

Brian wrote: "Same goes for those who claim that consciousness is the sole reality. Show me the proof, and I'll consider accepting the claim. Otherwise, it's just another idea about the nature of ultimate reality, among many."

Response: I did not "claim" anything. For all intent and purposes, pure Consciousness is the sole Reality, by dint of the reason which I have just indicated. It is not a provable issue, nor does it need to be. It can be known through direct experience, ie: Self-realization. Nor is consciousness just "another idea". Consciousness itself is not a thought or an "idea". Consciousness is the space or context where all thoughts, ideas, and perceptions arise. All views and arguements depend soley upon Consciousness. Without Consciousness, there is no knowledge either way.

To imply that I have postulated a relative truth and belief similiar to fuundamentalism, is simply a gross distortion and a load of rubbish. Brian obviously has some intellectual bias due to ignorance, or absence of Self-knowledge.

When one has awakened into, and realized true Self-knowledge, then this point of contention will be completely resolved. Your science and intellect will not give you the answer, nor will philosophical belief, nor will dualistic rational. Only in the awakening and tacit realization of direct Self-knowledge will the Truth be known.

Until then you will remain in the arena of endless unresolved debate, that all the un-enlightened intellectual theorists and pundits inhabit.

The body is an object of sense perception. Perception is a function of, and within Consciousness. The body is an object perceived in Consciousness, and without Consciousness/Awareness, there is no perception of body. The body is therefore only a form of Consciousness and within Consciousness. The body does not exist apart from Consciousness. The body exists as an artifact of sense perception. Because of the process in which Consciousness becomes identified with the form of the body, it only appears that Consciousness is separate from the body-form, and that somehow it resides within the body. Consciousness is not within the body, it is not "inside" anything.

In reality, Consciousness is the sole existence, and the body is simply form and phenomena arising within Consciousness itself. Consciousness is never within or "inside" the body. The body is an object of sense perception occuring within Consciousness itself. Consciousness is not within the body. It is the body which is within Consciousness. Consciousness is the supreme cognitive principle. Nothing exists outside, separate, or apart from Consciousness itself.

All thoughts, perceptions, forms, bodies, objects, matter, space, time, worlds, and universes exist only within Consciousness/Awareness itself. This pure Consciousness is by nature unborn, non-dual, and formless. Within it arises the appearance of all phenomena, duality, birth, form, and decay. But all these appearances and phenomena are not intrinsically separate from Consciousness itself. Consciousness alone exists. Consciousness is not "I am". "I am" is merely a thought within Consciousness itself. "I am" has no more existence than a wave on the surface of a body of water. The wave is not separate from the water. The wave is not other than water. The water is what is. The wave is merely a temporary form on the water. In the same way, "I am" is merely a thought or wave on the ocean of pure Consciousness.

Consciousness is the sub-stratum which is the context for all thoughts, perception, knowledge, imtellect, and and experience.

Consciousness cannot be proven, either for or against. Consciousness itself is its own proof.

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