« Taoism wisdom: life is change, so flow with it | Main | Oregon jury finds faith-healers guilty of manslaughter »

September 28, 2011

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Science is what the observer finds out about the observed, but awakening, enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it, is the realization that the observer is the observed; that the separation is illusory.

cc, that makes sense. At least, as much as something that can't be described, but only experienced, makes sense.

The "illusory separation" viewpoint implies that spirituality can't be a science, because the goal isn't to learn about a separate reality, but rather to experience reality's lack of separation.

We know that that every "thing" is inseparably related to everything else, so the "idea" that the observer is the observed is indismissable. But at the same time, if the brain can't dismiss thought, the separator, we don't really "know" anything.

So very profound

Someone just posted a quote from Einstein
saying there is no evidence for a soul.

So, how can there be a Science of the Soul ?

p.s. thanks Tara

Mike,

Would the "pseudoscience" word, be a more proper useage?

"Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories."
-- from wikipedia

People for whom non-dualistic consciousness is real don't mind being dismissed as pseudoscientific crackpots by people for whom reality is duality.

So the non-dualist embraces philosophical idealism, i.e. rejects the realism of science that a mind-independent reality exists.

But if the seperation is illusory, what is the connection?

We cannot use our minds to move objects or alter reality or read other minds. In this sense, is the observer not separate from the observed?

We cannot observe most of reality, yet we know unobserved reality exists. The earth keeps spinning regardless of our observing it, so in this sense, is the observer not seperate from the observed? Is there a connection with unobserved reality?

Finally if there is no seperation between reality and the observation of reality, why are there illusions at all? On acid it might be observed that the walls dissolve, but they dont actually in reality, this means there must be an illusion. If there is an illusion, there must be also a distinction between the observer and observed (i.e. the observing mind and the mind-indepent reality).

Too many questions that non-duality and philosophical idealism cannot account for.

Your right George. Both Gurinder and Rajinder call sant mat science.

Yet, no one can tell me what Jot
Narinjan looks like.

Funny internet post I just read below;

It's a little known fact that smartest animal is a pig. Scientists say if pigs had thumbs and a language, they could be trained to do simple manual labor. They give you 20-30 years of loyal service and then at their retirement dinner you can eat them.

George,

Who told you a 'mind-independent' reality exists?

George,

Who told you a 'mind-independent' reality exists?

"So the non-dualist embraces philosophical idealism, i.e. rejects the realism of science that a mind-independent reality exists."

---The realism of science states that a mind-independent reality exists? What non-mind science is this?


"if there is no seperation between reality and the observation of reality, why are there illusions at all?"

Because of thought, the means by which the illusion of separation (duality) is induced for the purpose of problem solving.

The idea of dualism and non dualism
is quite funny.

What does the realization of no self,
enlightenment, have to do with either ?

Only psydo saints claim non dualism.

That's why they must always pretend to be humble.

The state of no self has no words and cannot
be described. The state of no self is
that of action, not philosophy.

"The state of no self has no words and cannot be described."

It can be described in terms of what it is not.

Does it take a 'non-dualist' titled person to engage in describing a 'reality' of non-dualistic consciousness?

Is there such a thing as a nondualistic 'dog and pony' show?

I need to know more about this. Please help me.

Mike,

I thought Sant Mat calls itself a science, because it supposedly has a method (path) for achieving a repeatable result (union/enlightenment) that is verifiable by experimental evidence (personal experience).

I don't believe its a science for the very simple reason that the evidence is subjective (mind-dependent), rather than objective (mind-independent).

Roger,

Type 'realism' into wiki. Science assumes a reality exists independent of our observation thereof (the earth has been spinning for millions of years even tho this spin has only been observed recently). 'Non-mind science' would be the claim to a phenomena existing, which cannot be observed by any mind other than your own. So just because you have experience astral travel or can walk on water, your own observations are seperate from reality itself.

In fairness, its a very interesting discussion since 20th century science does question this with the implications of relativity (locality and separability) and QM (observer effect and uncertainty) - the problem people have with mystical claims that everything is connected is so vague that it is meaningless.

When someone says everything is connected, what do they actually mean by that since somethings are not connected as have I point out in the examples above.


cc,

if everything is connected, why are there limits on what we or anyone else can do? why are there natural laws at all? If I am really connected to you, why can I not think your thoughts? Is there is no seperation between the oberver and observed, why can I not make my dog levitate or move the moon?

"if everything is connected, why are there limits on what we or anyone else can do?"

This question makes no sense. Life is conditional. Why would there not be limits?

Hi cc,
As I have stated I have been initiated
by almost all the known Radhasoami groups.

I have never met an enlightened Master,
or disciple from these groups.

Sant mat does not produce enlightenment.
It literally goes in the opposite direction.
Sant Mat is a 'self'ish yoga.

That an experiment can be reproduced does
not mean it is a science. (as you noted)

I believe sant mat is self induced insanity
via supression of the sexual energies.

So, a non crazy person can reproduce the
insanity of their Master via manipulation
of these physical energies.

So, it may be termed The Science of Self
Induced Insanity.

P.S. Nice posts Roger

To be honest, I do believe in an alternate
reality which can be contacted. But, few
people know of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5711hI04mw&feature=related

After having spent the last 40 years
studying Masters and watching disciples,
I have come to a strange conclusion.

That a true seeker is incredibly rare.

They have a driving urge to merge into
Reality and won't stop until it 'happens'.

It is as if they have been 'there' before
and absolutely must return at all costs.

Even when everyone else around them fails,
they just keep going.

Even when they loose God and religion,
they never give up.

And, what 'happens', is not to be found
in the greatest religious books. It cannot
be spoken of.

Only a simple childlike fellow like Ramana
can know the Ultimate Simplicity.

That Power that simply 'is'.

If there are limits, then not everything is connected.

If everything was connected, I would be able to read your thoughts and you mine, but that is not the case. So not everything is connected.

If thought or mind is held to be distinct from the physical universe, then there is a seperation. If thought or mind is however held to be connected to everything in the universe then our thoughts should be able to move things other than our own body.

You cannot read my thoughts, nor I yours, so how can everything be connected?

If I stub my toe, why do you not feel it if everything is connected?

If everything really were connected these limits should not exist, yet they do, so the only thing one can deduce is that everything is NOT connected.

Your argument for non-connection is crude. To be a "thing", it must differ from other things, and that difference is a matter of limitation. For everything to be connected is not to say that everything is everything else in the literal sense, but that the connection is palpable when the separator (thought) is inactive.

The vast majority of people already agree that a human being is separate and isolated from everything else, so I don't see why you feel you need to argue for what's taken for granted. If someone experiences life differently than you and you feel you need to talk them out of that feeling, ask yourself why.

"the separator (thought) is inactive"
quote cc

Does thought seperate, or the BELIEF
in a seperate self ?

cc, I don't understand this notion that thought separates us from reality. If thought is inactive, then we can't be aware of everything that exists outside of our very limited sphere of awareness. So we can't know about the subatomic world, or the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, or so much else.

How then, is it possible to feel connected to the cosmos if we're not aware of the full extent of reality? The way I see it, thought is another natural human capability, along with emotions, perceptions, and such. Why would shutting off a capability make us more in tune with reality, rather than less?

Regarding people experiencing life in different ways, sure, this is the way things are. But sometimes people do need to be talked out of an erroneous belief system. That was the job of my wife, when she worked at a state mental hospital, and then also (to a different degree) as a private psychotherapist.

Just because someone feels like they are one with the cosmos doesn't mean this feeling has any basis in reality. People also feel they are God, or they are being abducted by space aliens, or that their minds are being read. Every weird feeling doesn't point to mental illness, but sometimes it does.

"But sometimes people do need to be talked out of an erroneous belief system."

Perhaps then, you should talk yourself out of your belief in separation, because the immediate (unmediated) experience of inseparability is beyond belief.

"Why would shutting off a capability make us more in tune with reality, rather than less?"

You misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not advocating shutting anything off. Thought has its place, but no more so than direct perception. The two modes of consciousness are complementary, cooperative, but we're conditioned to be left-brain dominant.

cc, a dream also is an immediate unmediated experience. As is a mirage. Or some other illusion. So experience isn't the touchstone of reality, that's for sure. Whenever someone claims that an experience is "beyond belief," as you just stated, I wonder how they know this.

Dreams are a form of belief, as are mirages. Yet at the time they seem absolutely real to the dreamer, or the mirage perceiver. It's only after we wake up, or come close to the mirage and see its unreality, that the truth of the situation becomes apparent.

Neuroscience has learned about the "hidden brain." This is where unconscious beliefs/assumptions arise. So someone can consider that they are having an immediate unmediated experience and not be aware of how that experience is being mediated by the workings of the hidden brain.

Hii cc,
I see you are distinguishing between
thought and direct perception (senses).
That's good, because they are only
indirectly related.

When we are born and open our eyes
for the first time, we are everything
we see and feel.

Thought comes in and makes distinctions
later on.

"a dream also is an immediate unmediated experience. As is a mirage. Or some other illusion."

Dreaming is all thought, imagination. Unmediated experience can only occur in the waking state. As for a mirage, it can be seen for what it is.

My argument is purposefully crude, or rather concrete rather than vague and abstract. I want to understand the real world. I am questioning the extent of the validity of the mystical or nondual claim that 'everything is connected'.

You say that people generally agree that a human being is seperate or isolated. It may be argued that humans are connected by gravity, but not connected to the thoughts or feelings of others.

The fact that humans experience life differently seems to me to be thrilling, variety is the spice of life and all that. I am not trying to talk them out of anything, rather to see to what extent your perspective is valid. Is there a mind-independent reality, a ground or absolute reality that is independent of your or my perception thereof?

I do not understand when you say "the connection is palpable when the separator (thought) is inactive". You seem to be saying that everything is connected, but these deep fundamental connections are veiled by thought, and that it is only be stilling or supressing thought that such connections are unveiled. However, this does not appear to answer my crude toe-stubbing example.

"So experience isn't the touchstone of reality, that's for sure."

I think this statement from Brian is key. Not so much in necessarily being right (though I would agree with it), but in the context of this discussion in trying to distinguish between pure awareness (whatever that is) and cognitive or sensory awareness.

George,

Thanks for your reply.

"Science assumes a reality exists independent of our observation thereof (the earth has been spinning for millions of years even tho this spin has only been observed recently)."

--Yes, there are unknowns that one day will become knowns, according to the workings of science. Are you saying, Realism is the unknownables, that would be currently unknown to science? Once these unknowns, become the knowns to science, what -ism to they fall into?

Roger,

It does require a more subtle explanation, but realism is basically the philosophical outlook that the universe exists independently of our minds perception thereof. In other words, the objects and phenomena comprising our universe do exist (i.e. are real), regardless of whether we are able to observe them or not.

Idealism is the philosophical view that there is no mind-independent reality. In other words, the objects we percieve are illusory manifestations of consciousness. If you remove the mind (or thinking person), there is supposedly no physical world of objects. Thus, it seems non-dualism is basically idealism.

In reply to your specific questions, yes there are some things (objects and phenomena) we can know (or observe) and others we cannot as yet. I should imagine this is likely to remain however far science progresses such is the complexity of the universe. But the deeper point is that science operates on the foundation that there are actually objects and phenomena to be discovered (known or observed), whereas idealism operates on the foundation that such objects are illusory (not real).

Pure awareness is a funny idea.

To be aware at all of anything,
would imply impure awareness.

Pure awareness could not be aware
of itself, or anything else.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn0JyBdUH2g&feature=related

Between Realism and Idealism

It is always interesting how we are given
choices between two view points on most issues.

In my many years of search, it is striking
how many times I have found out neither
of any two viewpoints were correct.

We are always given A or B as a choice.

Problem for me was, I kept finding
C as the solution.

The truth kept turning out to be something
I never even considered possible and had
never even considered.

Real experience is quite different from
philosophy.

Few people have the time and effort
necessary to investigate first hand.

Between realism and idealism,
I pick neither.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3rhGctGl2Q&feature=related

Hi George

It's true that idealism is a form of nondualism, but nondualism does not equate with idealism.

Even physicalism can be thought of as a form of nondualism - minus any spiritual associations. Every supposedly independent, inherently existing life form on this planet (in the universe!) is a product of causes and conditions that were set into motion at the big bang (or before?!!)

Buddhism supports this to some extent. Everything is empty of inherent existence and is dependently arising (hence, no separate, independent selves.) Same goes for Taoism. Pantheism is another (mainly) naturalistic outlook - it supports evolution, neuroscience, physics etc. And yet everything is of one 'substance', God.

Here's a guy who presents the non-idealistic perspective of nonduality very well:

http://darrylbailey.net/

George,

Thanks again for your reply.

If one converts non-duality(dualistic wordage) into non-dualism(more dualistic wordage) then, yes I can see the idealism. This wordage stuff is good blogging fun. Nothing more.


Mike,

As usual good post.

"Between realism and idealism,
I pick neither."

Hi Jon,

Had a look at that website but could not really find anything on the link between idealism and non-duality, but i think basically both have the idea that there everything is an undivided changing whole from which objects and forms are manifested temporarily and illusorily. This seems to be echo'd in all the pantheist, nondual or mystical traditions.

I am open to this possibility, and yet our senses reveal a world of objects and forms, of different people and animals and planets and laws and phenomenon and possibly even universes. While there appears to be a good case for cause and effect, what was the first cause and why are something unconnected, such as your mind and body as opposed to mine?

What is this undivided entity from which all springs? Why can we not sense it or measure it? How do we know it actually exists rather than having to take other people's word for it?

How can I believe in a reality that I cannot sense, cannot describe, and which has never been properly described to me?

where is the evidence for any of this?

Roger,

sure thing.

Hi George

Yes, the website makes no link between nonduality and idealism. That was the point I was making. Idealism is just one interpretation of nondualism or monism (one that I feel is severely lacking.)

I've got no idea about the source of the source of the universe. No one has. If they have, it will be superseded in good time. It really is a mystery and I suspect it will remain so.

I've also got no real evidence that nonduality is the truth of things. But there is a problem with duality or the plurality of the universe. No one believes that trees are independent first causes. If we look hard enough we can see that it's same for all life. A tree arises in dependence with certain conditions, is sustained by certain conditions and will eventually perish according to conditions. In other words the tree IS a collection of ever-changing complex conditions.

As far as I can see that's all there is, a sea of ever-shifting conditions. I have seen no evidence of things magically self-originating out of thin air or of a miraculous creator manifesting things at will.

"5 Weird Things People Are Stealing While the Economy’s in Bad Shape":

Hogs

Swine swindling! The fact that pork prices have soared to all-time highs must have helped enticed thieves to steal about 1,000 pigs from farms in Minnesota and Iowa. In one of the heists, 594 hogs, worth more than $100,000 disappeared. Apparently, the hog rustlers knew exactly which pigs to take: The stolen pigs were just the right size to sell at market, and the scale and planning involved show that this was a carefully planned operation. “You couldn’t just walk into a barn and take 150 pigs out in 10 minutes,” one farmer said. “It would take 30 to 45 minutes, at least, if you had a few people working the hogs.”

Human Hair

In a series of incidents in Atlanta, Chicago, and other cities, teams of thieves have broken into salons and beauty supply stores specifically to steal human hair, which is often imported from Malaysia and India, and is used for trendy weaves, wigs, and extensions. The criminals have resorted to smash-and-grab thefts, and even ramming trucks into storefronts in order to complete their hair heists. How much could the hair really be worth? In one instance, thieves made off with $70K to $90K worth of hair—which explains why they didn’t bother touching the cash register at all.

(off the internet)
BBC Does It Again: "In The Absence Of A Credible Plan We Will Have A Global Financial Meltdown In Two To Three Weeks" - IMF Advisor
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/06/2011 - A week after the BBC exploded Alessio Rastani to the stage, it has just done it all over again. In an interview with IMF advisor Robert Shapiro, the bailout expert has pretty much said what, once again, is on everyone's mind: "If they can not address [the financial crisis] in a credible way I believe within perhaps 2 to 3 weeks we will have a meltdown in sovereign debt which will produce a meltdown across the European banking system. We are not just talking about a relatively small Belgian bank, we are talking about the largest banks in the world, the largest banks in Germany, the largest banks in France, that will spread to the United Kingdom, it will spread everywhere because the global financial system is so interconnected. All those banks are counterparties to every significant bank in the United States, and in Britain, and in Japan, and around the world. This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serrious than the crisis in 2008.... What we don't know the state of credit default swaps held by banks against sovereign debt and against European banks, nor do we know the state of CDS held by British banks, nor are we certain of how certain the exposure of British banks is to the Ireland sovereign debt problems."

http://www.zerohedge.com/

Jon,

"As far as I can see that's all there is, a sea of ever-shifting conditions."

---What 'exactly' is the origin of a condition? I agree, that you are seeing far. So, tell me exactly what a 'condition' is. Oh, and how did these conditions find their way into a sea? Assuming, that 'mystery' is present, and shall remain.

Hi Roger

"Oh, and how did these conditions find their way into a sea? Assuming, that 'mystery' is present, and shall remain."

Really?! :-)

Read my paragraphs to George over a couple of times. The sense of what I was trying to convey may come across. If not, don't worry about it.

My initial response to George was merely to indicate that although idealism is a form of nonduality, it is not synonymous with it.

I'm not here to try to persuade anyone of any particular take on reality.


Jon,

Those are interestng points especially the problem you raise with duality. I also like that you have given some concrete examples in support of your view, rather than dealing in vague and abstract language.

The budhist notion of dependent arising does make alot of sense. Things do not appear to originate purely independently and yet I am not sure things originate purely dependently either.

In other words there appear to be limits (or degrees) to this dependence and independence. One of these is the origination of your thoughts, which might have nothing (or a limited effect) on those of others or those yet to be born.

The universe seems to be almost paradoxical in nature. There appears to be aspects of both order and disorder, determinacy and indeterminacy, dependence and independence.

For example, the creation of a tree or a human life appears to have an ordered dependent causal aspect (genetic DNA) as well as a disordered independent aspect (random mutations).

The creation of the universe itself is a huge question. If the big bang is correct then it suggests independent or self-origination. The Big Bang as well as the theory of quantum fluctuations with virtual particles popping into and out of existence, would also appear to support an argument for self-originating things.

One also has to ask what has caused the universe's laws to be as they are, or in budhist terms, why is the universe changing (in flux) at all? And why is this change so finely tuned or specific that on some levels our universe exhibits causal deterministic behaviour, while on other's acausual indeterministic behaviour?

Hi George

You say:

"For example, the creation of a tree or a human life appears to have an ordered dependent causal aspect (genetic DNA) as well as a disordered independent aspect (random mutations)."

Yes, but this just widens the context of what we think of as conditions. For instance, in this example there is still no evidence of a human organism self-originating or being the SOURCE of any mutation. The human matrix is now a collective of causal and random forces/conditions.

But I do agree with the wider implications of this, the cosmos is paradoxical (and dare I say, mysterious), there seems to be order and (for want of a word) creativity at play.


Hi Jon,

Thanks for your advice.

You said,

"The human matrix is now a collective of causal and random forces/conditions."

--What would be the origin of these casual and random forces/conditions?

Hi Roger

I haven't any ideas about the origins of the universe.

Jon,

Perhaps the human being is not self-originating, but what about the universe?

The human being is created from atoms, created by stars, created by the natural evolution of the early universe according to the Big Bang - according to which everything appears to have been created from nothing, i.e. self-originating.

If the universe is self-originating and we are made from its stuff, are we not also self-originating albeit indirectly though a sequence of events?

Moving to a biological development perspective, while a human being may not be self-originating, its own evolution does appear to pass through varying stages of connectivity or dependence. Initially human being are directly connected to their mothers (total dependence), after birth the umbilcal is cut (more independence), the child grows and learns to look after itself and be self-suficient (more independence).

Technologically, human beings have also invented technology that makes the less dependent on their environment and perhaps in the process more independent or alien from nature as some suggest.

Hi George

Yes, I would agree that the 'creativity' that gave rise to the universe (whatever that is) is at play in the evolution of the human.

I would suggest that the stages that you describe are not in any way true increases in agency. They are increases in complexity.

A human has infinitely more possibilities (apparent choices) than a tree or a fetus, but is still not a true agent of those choices.

Every apparent choice that we make depends on an astonishingly complex network of antecedent conditions.

Jon,

Well put, but if the 'creativity' that gave rise to the universe is within the universe itself - i.e. self-orignating, then there is some sort of random unpredictable spontenaity aspect to the universe. This would mean the universe is not purely deterministic, not purely cause-and-effect, but has an indeterministic or random aspect to it. If this is true of the universe, then it is probably also true for us, since we form part of the universe.

You may be correct that the universe is purely causally deterministic and predestined, but as hawking said: “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” If the universe does have an indeterminate aspect, perhaps it is this which gives rise to free will, independent agency and human creativity?

Stephen Hawking On The Afterlife in 40 seconds, shocking

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=YJ60bBMesFo

George

I completely agree that the universe must have a creative unpredictable aspect to it (after all, we have no evidence that it is finite.)

I don't think that a universe that is not purely deterministic suggests free will.

To have free will we must be responsible for the way we are - i.e. for all the conditions of nature and nurture. That's just not possible.

But the universe could unpredictably give rise to novel conditions that affect us.

In other words, we could say that we are complex expressions of a creative cosmos.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.