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August 08, 2014

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Yes very good peace as I see it.
Indeed we need concepts,we just have them.
Like we have our ego etc.
Meditation stays important to open up also in my vieuw.

A sort of thankfullness is often there that i knew maharaji who learned me so much about how to live and things.The santmat concepts has always worried me.

Have you read the kabbalist Brian ,it's a nice story.(Geert Kimpen)
Love to you,
s*

The Question of Perception/Conception

Can there be perception without conception?

Is conceptualisation the way in which our brains have evolved to perceive?

Is conceptualisation a mental habit that maintains and protects a ‘self’ structure?

The definition of a concept is a thought or an idea.
To think is to use the mind to reason and reflect.
The mind is thought to be the repository of experience and knowledge ‘stored’ in the brain as memory.
Thought can be a set of ideas and as such is associated with a particular time, place and people.
A concept then is a transitory convention used to understand the world and ourselves though totally dependent on the knowledge and understanding of the time – and of the place and people.
For some, concepts of reality are dependent on the religious beliefs (or truths) they have been taught. For others, concepts of reality are dependent on the scientific truths (or beliefs) they have been taught. Both concepts are continually changing and adapting to current ideas and beliefs (although some persist for generations) and cannot be relied upon to reflect reality.
As the mind and self are not ‘real’, but mental constructs, and are constantly subject to change and modification, concepts derived from these constructs are just as ephemeral and cannot be relied upon to describe reality.
The mind by definition is a concept creating device. The mind is a collection of user-friendly concepts (depending on the information that is downloaded). As with all beliefs concepts serve the purpose of protecting our sense of self, our identities – a huge incentive to making it imperative to live in a world of concepts.
Experiencing conceptually is viral, but are we only able to live through such mental constructs?

As the mind and self are not ‘real’, but mental constructs

Is software not real?

...are we only able to live through such mental constructs?

What alternative did you have in mind?

Turan, here's the true non-duality: the mind is the brain in action, and the mind/brain is us.

There isn't any entity distinct from the mind/brain able to separate itself from the mental goings-on. So, no, we aren't able to live without mental constructs.

There is no "we" aside from the mind/brain. There is no one in control. There is no one able to shut off the unconscious brain processing and leave only... what?

I realize how interesting and addictive it is to imagine that "I" am something other than a mind/brain, some entity capable of standing outside myself and fiddle around with the cognitive controls of what goes on inside my head.

But this isn't possible. So far as is known.

There is no "we" aside from the mind/brain. There is no one in control. There is no one able to shut off the unconscious brain processing and leave only... what?

Nice try, Brian, but evidence and reason don't mean much to those who believe consciousness exists independently of the brain. They believe in a super intelligence, a "higher consciousness" that the silent mind can contact, "commune" with, and be informed and enlightened by. It's difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge this tantalizing notion from a mind that wants desperately to be free of its inherent limitation.

Thanks, but, the comments to my ‘The Question of Perception/Conception’ do not reflect my points. They jump to the conclusion that in questioning our conceptualising habit I am positing a separate ‘I’, a ‘We’ a ‘super intelligence’, a ‘higher consciousness’ and such like.

I believe that the mind is synonymous with the ‘self’ in that it contains all the information that makes a ‘me’. All I am is this bundle or construct of (very useful and valuable) information. Somehow, processes within the brain maintain and organise these constructs and (we are informed by science) is what consciousness is. (No ‘we’ or ‘super intelligence’ here!)

So, my point was (quote) “As the mind and self are not ‘real’, but mental constructs, and are constantly subject to change and modification, concepts derived from these constructs are just as ephemeral and cannot be relied upon to describe reality”.

I query the concept that we can only experience the world through these constructs (thoughts, ideas, beliefs etc.) that comprise the contents of my mind or self. The brain/body is complex enough to experience in ways other than through thinking and conceptualising. I believe that thinking, conceptualising etc. is only part (a large part) of experience. Thinking is not always active but because we (the self) must be in control, non-thinking episodes are lost in a tirade of immediate mind activity.

Frequently, my set of concepts (thoughts, ideas, beliefs etc.) contradict someone else’s – someone must be right – are we not living in the same world and seeing the same things? No! Because each is reacting from their own peculiar set of concepts – perhaps the basic cause of all our conflicts and suffering arise here.

We humans have only been around for a couple of million years or so. Compared to the four and a half billion years the Earth has been evolving we are just a recent blip. So, as amazing and clever as we are it is somewhat egotistical (our primary trademark) to assume we know what is reality and what is not – due to our habit of seeing conceptually, we can only differ widely in our opinions.

to assume we know what is reality and what is not – due to our habit of seeing conceptually, we can only differ widely in our opinions.

We don't "assume we know what is reality and what is not" - we just do what we can with what we have to work with. People who make a more in-depth study of phenomena than I, have a better idea, a better concept than I, of what-is. So when someone continually speaks of a better way to perceive and observe without providing any proof or demonstration thereof, it's annoying.

Might you be among those who believe it is possible to "see things as they are" rather than as one sees things? If so, please explain how it is possible for perception to be anything but a conditioned response.

This is my understanding. There is no “better way to perceive and observe”, there is just perceiving – obviously via the senses and brain. We can all see the crow – ‘as it is’ – then a moment later the “conditioned response” (concepts, thought, beliefs etc.) kicks in and it becomes perhaps something frightening, ugly or beautiful, a pest a symbol of wisdom, death and so on – this is, ‘as we see things’.

Those who “make a more in-depth study of phenomena…..have a better idea, a better concept”. Yes, experts of various phenomena (whether science or religion) provide much ‘food for thought’ but ultimately this is my existence, my life, my self resposibility and if I am (hopefully) honest with myself I can see a lot about who I am, my relationship with myself and the world.

I don’t mean to annoy – sorry. I also am a fan of science and read the latest findings with wonder and interest. As a naturalist and ecologist I have always observed the interconnectedness of life. I find it sad that we have taken all the amazing intelligence available to us and have allowed the concepts, beliefs, thoughts, ideas etc. derived from it to become tools of division and conflict.

A concept can be used in a useful way to improve our lot but they are also used (as various beliefs) to bolster and maintain a sense of self that effectively separates us from ourselves, (perhaps our true natures’) other people and the world. Perhaps if we could see these potentially dividing processes we may find life enlightening – who knows?

We can all see the crow – ‘as it is’ – then a moment later the “conditioned response” (concepts, thought, beliefs etc.) kicks in and it becomes perhaps something frightening, ugly or beautiful, a pest a symbol of wisdom, death and so on – this is, ‘as we see things'.

Yes, this is how perception works, but gurus - primarily Krishnamurti - have fostered the notion that the conditioned response of memory that identifies and gives meaning to sensation can be "bypassed", or in some magical way, avoided so that perception can be "direct". A seductive notion, to be sure, but there's neither evidence nor plausible explanation for how it's possible.

A camera can "see" things as they are, and a recording device can accurately reproduce sound, but these devices can only identify and attribute meaning to what they record if they have memory, software. So-called direct perception is supposedly informed by "intelligence" outside of and beyond the brain. That is, it isn't my perception, but Perception. The whole idea hinges on the belief that the mind can transcend its limitation and commune with cosmic consciousness, or whatever one's guru calls it.

A concept can be used in a useful way to improve our lot but they are also used (as various beliefs) to bolster and maintain a sense of self that effectively separates us from ourselves, (perhaps our true natures’) other people and the world.

This is why religion is so awful; not the fault of conceptuality. If we were scrupulous about the way we use language and were careful not to mistake subjective experience for objective reality, we wouldn't abuse words and create false teadchings like "direct perception".

Perhaps if we could see these potentially dividing processes we may find life enlightening – who knows?

The potential is due to our tendency to believe what pleases instead of testing for veracity, and religion exploits this tendency. Enlightenment, if it is anything, is the ability to discern the difference between idea and fact.

Hi Brian: you are still young enough to have a REAL Out of Body experience, if you are willing to take an extreme Leap of Faith. After meditation for 30 plus years and still coming up short, even rejecting Charan's Bull Dozer, you still have time to have your own Out of Body Experince. Faqir Mukta is the Real Deal who shows you The Way in these Video Clips. Watch them from the top down. Assistant's name is Jim. Since I am also named Jim, I will be happy to assist you as Jim did Faquir in his Sun Dance Ceremony, that is sure to deliver an Out of Body experience to you, and your Skeptics here n your blog! Maybe New Reader might like this Short Cut to save more wasted time, to have his/her Out of Body experience. Maybe even CC still has time? http://www.fakir.org/store/dvds.html#sundance

Anyone can have an out-of-body experience, or any number of other extraordinary supernatural seeming experiences if they want to...and even if they don't want to, as often happens with life threatening injury or sickness. It's a survival mechanism, something the disconsolate brain does to relieve the pain of mortality and the inherent limitation of animal existence.

Religious experience is a very real phenomenon, and those who have undergone it are usually certain that they've transcended, gone beyond, been liberated, enlightened, and that they shall survive death. Most people need to feel this way, so the brain makes it happen. But the mind that doesn't seek this kind of certainty remains open, unconvinced of anything but its susceptibility to suggestion and the tendency to take refuge in comforting delusion.

“yes, this is how perception works…etc” - Good to see that our notions of perception concur cc (more of less). Though I still find people like Norman Farb have an interesting take on mindfulness and perception – see an article in Psychology Today by David Rock - “The neuroscience of mindfulness: Simply put, with no religious overtones”.

Re the comments on OBE’s, Susan Blackmore's work and Thomas Metzinger (The Ego Tunnel) both show this phenomenon to be a product of the brain and nothing supernatural – Metzinger devotes a whole chapter to it.

I once wrote to Metzinger and he sent a paper entitled “Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty” –a noteworthy read. Interestingly he briefly speaks of Krishnamurti referring to him as “perhaps one of the most important non-academic philosophers of the past century.”

I mention the above articles because although not entirely convincing to me, they both have reasonably objective views and worthy of consideration.

he briefly speaks of Krishnamurti referring to him as “perhaps one of the most important non-academic philosophers of the past century.”

Yes, too briefly to explain why he had this opinion.

Krishnamurti has done more to propagate the notion of higher consciousness through non-brain intelligence than any other guru. I've tried to get Krishnamurti devotees and sycophants to explain why they hold him in such high regard, but all they can do is parrot his words and go on about the urgent need to change radically from what one is to being what (one believes) Krishnamurti was.

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