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May 19, 2012


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Blogger Brian - if in fact the "spiritual" experiences of others mean nothing to you, why does it seem that you are so enthusiastic about communicating your own lack of same?

You seem to differentiate between what might be called ordinary awareness of being alive and subjectivity. I strenuously object to such an arbitrary bifurcation: all awareness whatsoever is subjective. The very notion that there is actually a "you" in Oregon and a "me" in New Jersey is completely subjective. It's a handy notion but there is no significance to it. There is a bedrock, undeniable component associated with the spatial and temporal realities which give rise to subjectivity, but it is beyond experience.

All experience is exactly the same: temporary and bereft of meaning.

Willie, I agree with your last statement, insofar as the meaning experience has is objective. That is, somehow rooted in the cosmos, rather than in human brains. I just found my "Nihilism" wristband in a drawer and decided to order two more as backups -- to remind me that meaning comes from me, not anywhere outside.

I think we're more or less on the same page. Leaving aside the minor problem that I have no idea what "page" means in this context. If there's a "less," maybe it has to do with my assumption that an objective reality exists, but all we humans can do is know it subjectively, using our decidedly limited human perceptions, brain, and such.

This is why I argued in this post (perhaps not all that coherently) for the primacy of experience rooted in the observable world, as contrasted with experience rooted inside our heads. Yes, all experience is subjective. However, the content of that experience can be objective.

My wife and I can both see a bird enjoying our bird feeder and ask each other, "Do you know what species it is?" I don't know that my wife is experiencing the bird exactly as I see it (her eyesight is different from mine), but it's apparent that we both see something we agree is a "bird."

With a dream, or a supposedly supernatural spiritual experience, there's no "there" for two people to jointly experience. I accept that I won't ever experience many things other people have, like standing on the top of Mt. Everest, but at least the possibility exists for me to do this. I also can see photos or videos of the summit.

So I agree with you that all awareness is subjective. But I'd argue that the contents of subjective awareness can either be rooted in the objective outside world, or emanations of our own brain.

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