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April 27, 2010


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I love the subjective/objective dichotomy. Here's a subjective "spiritual" (for want of a better word) experience I once had...staring into the mirror one day, having that feeling of "me-ness", of identity, of plain existence that everyone seems to have when objectively comparing notes, I had a strong realisation that this very special, very singular feeling was exactly the same for everyone. I realised we are all the same thing. I suppose I wasn't conscious of it, but I had assumed that it was a very different thing for each individual. Later, having read some stuff, talked to people etc., I found out that this is often labeled "same consciousness, different content" amongst other things. As it happens, it was a useful "spiritual" experience since it tends to make others seem less apart, and less to be feared; we tend to treat each other with compassion and civility when we don't fear them. Even later, I realised that whatever conclusions I make or experiences, "spiritual" or otherwise, that I have, while they may be fascinating, intense, and full of wonder, aren't necessarily objective truth, and it doesn't matter if they are or not.

Waylon Jennings says it all!


One more verse?

Subjective/Objective? Still Gonna Die
Perception/Deception? Still Gonna Die

Hmmm. The Brian Way? I think the Church of Wow has a very nice ring to it.
Though I agree we cannot presume our individual subjective experience equals universal truth (nor should we presume to form a religion based on it), objective=real, subjective=not real oversimplifies.
Love is a subjective experience. Few doubt its reality. So far, the laboratory work falls way short of surefire reproducible results.
Radical objectivity is sometimes a variety of subjectivity.

Trish, what I said was "individual awareness equals subjective reality." So we agree that subjectivity is real. It just isn't a shared reality like the external physical world is.

As Christina notes, my wife and I can stand together and watch a sunset. We each see almost exactly the same thing (taking into account minor differences in eyesight, color awareness, and such).

This is marvelous. Beautiful. Lovely. Imagine how lonely it would be if we each inhabited our own utterly subjective world, with nothing in common with other people. Objective reality is what makes shared experiences possible.

I certainly embrace and honor subjective experience also. As you said, all of our appreciation of objectivity -- the world and other people -- comes through our subjectivity. My basic point, which is Christina's also, just is that we need to humbly recognize that what is true for us as individuals isn't also true for others.

Vive la difference. Our individuality is a big part of what makes life so interesting.

I've been married for 38 of my 61 years. Yet I continue to be amazed at how my wife and I are so similar and also so different (no matter how many times she tries to explain to me the importance of wiping down a stainless steel kitchen sink after I use it, I just can't grasp this; isn't a sink supposed to have water splashed on it?)

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