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  2. I've been in discussions on another thread with Thormas, but I wanted to highlight this particular one separately to avoid further diverting an already off topic discussion that we’ve been enjoying, as well as hopefully attracting some diverse viewpoints on the subject. I took a look at a number of short videos interviewing David Bentley Hart: including one where he discusses the question 'Is God a person?', and another in particular where he talks about 'the being of God'. I have transcribed relevant quotes here, and all the descriptors below are Hart’s own wording from the videos, but if you’re interested in the context, then the links are here: https://youtu.be/oSHoDqF0xaY https://youtu.be/A_v1JtrrI54 Hart applies a number of descriptors to his 'classical view of God', a this view he believes is the “most coherent”, but throws up a straw man at the suggestion that those same descriptors could apply to anything else: So I'm going to pull on the thread because it's there... The notion of ‘potentiality as God’ certainly seems like a stretch at first glance. But the more I have been looking into it, the more sense it seems to make. I don’t propose it as an alternative to God, but as a way of developing a better understanding of this apparent mystery we have named ‘God’, and how it relates to this all-important question of how we should live. Hart goes on to state: So let’s explore this (and I've included descriptors from the above quote as well as other descriptors offered throughout these two videos): I propose that potentiality (understood as a whole and in relation to quantum theory): is not temporal; is not composite or ‘dissoluble into parts on which it is dependent’; is not ‘a being among beings’ or ‘dependent upon some larger sphere of actuality’ (despite Aristotle’s argument); is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient; is logically necessary; 'knows, loves and relates’ to us all. The base definition I have used for potentiality is from the Cambridge English Dictionary (online): "An ability to develop, achieve or succeed that is natural or has not been used." As far as I can see, potentiality seems to fit all of Hart’s descriptors for God. So I’d be interested to hear from others on this particular convergence of thought between science and theology.
  3. Last week
  4. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Hi Thomas Oh no - I've written a novel again.... But have 'most of us' ever taken the time to look for this self? Descartes was reacting to what was being taught at the time: that "everything I know, I learned from the senses" - he took an important step forward: the recognition that I am not my body or my senses, that these are deduced as trustworthy or rejected as false by 'the thinking self'. However Descartes didn't feel the need to move beyond this (it was revolutionary enough for the 17th century), to further recognise that I am not my thoughts, either, but that these thoughts come and go as separate from my perception of 'self'. To declare "I think therefore I AM" is to believe that 'I am my thoughts'. Follow Descartes method of enquiry further: Have you ever experienced a thought that you just had to disown? One perhaps that you dismissed as 'evil', crazy, illogical or simply unkind, that you couldn't possibly bring yourself to entertain for more than a moment? And yet that thought appeared, even momentarily, before you rejected it? If 'I' can reject thoughts, then who or what am 'I' that rejects them? Certainly not 'the thinking self'...I suggest you keep looking... I think perhaps you are misunderstanding me in this instance, because this is not my assumption at all. I don’t believe that consciousness is a product of the brain, and I continue to hope that you take a look at Blackmore and Harris so you get a better idea of where I’m coming from on this question of self and consciousness. However, I don’t think that consciousness (or this particular mystery) is ultimately beyond the reach of science, either - although I agree that it's certainly beyond the reach of physicalism/materialism, and won't be accounted for in a purely physical study of the brain. I would hope that your view of science and the scope of scientific enquiry is not that narrow. As much respect as you may have for Hart's intellectual ability, his purpose is to attack physicalism/materialism in science, and so his awareness of the potentiality of science has narrowed to where his argument has the most impact. To a hammer, everything is a nail. In the interests of accepting what particular words mean, i thought I'd offer some widely accepted definitions (from the Cambridge English dictionary): Potential: someone's or something's ability to develop, achieve or succeed. Potentiality: an ability for development, achievement or success that is natural or has not been used. The difficulty you're experiencing with potentiality appears to come from your understanding of 'potential' as being necessarily attributed to something or someone - thereby assuming that 'potentiality' must also be attributed, rather than be in/for itself. But you're assuming a limitation where one doesn't exist. Forget the Absolute for a moment. When potentiality is considered as absolute, it is understood as the natural ability for development, achievement or success that is universally present, regardless of whether or not it has been used by someone or something. This is my current understanding of God. Potentiality is set only by the name we have given it. It's more than a seed when it's being a plant. 'Seed' is merely a descriptor, a label for the action of 'being that which fits the description of seed' - a subset of actualising potentiality that we define by our interaction (senses and thoughts that arise in consciousness) with this subset in spacetime. When it is labelled or defined as 'birdseed', we interact with it as if it is pet food, and readily forget that it ever had the potentiality to be 'a plant'. So it often comes as a surprise when this birdseed falls into a puddle of water and sprouts, and we're reminded that this potentiality has not been destroyed by our interaction with it as 'pet food'. Likewise the man in prison who becomes 'more than they were' (and your words here are telling) manages to pleasantly surprise us. We are reminded of the potentiality present within the 'him' we observe to at least be 'fully human' (whatever we determine that to be), and that in our past interaction with the label of 'criminal' or 'monster' - even with his name and all the expected continuity of self that implies - we have failed to see God in him. I don't believe we are ever justified in our judgement or condemnation of an actualising potentiality, regardless of what the structures of society tell you - and I think Jesus was pretty clear on this, too. To 'strip someone of their humanity', to say "they have not acted human and therefore are not human', is a destructive interaction that generates rather than prevents pain, humiliation and loss. A person should never be defined by their actions. How do we reconcile a heroic and an inhuman action from the one person? How many times have we heaped praise on someone for one heroic deed, revered them as 'the best of humanity', only to later discover that they're far from being a hero in other areas of their life? The fireman on 9/11 could simultaneously be a wife abuser or child rapist. Your supposed distinction between human and actualised or accomplished human, somehow define by what they do, does not hold water. Who are we to judge? In my opinion we are Adolph Hitler in very different circumstances, and any attempt to deny that possibility is false. Condemn the action, but love the person. To say "it is not we who have done it" is also false. There is no objectivity in judgement, no God-given distinction between good and evil. Personally I don't label Hitler as inhuman - I fully acknowledge his humanity in every action, and I think it's vital to do that in order to prevent history from repeating itself. Absolute potentiality is the ability to develop, achieve or succeed beyond a definition in spacetime (perceived actuality), regardless of whether or not it is used. To recognise that potential in any element of the universe is to recognise God. So a chunk of rock sitting idle for seventy years, declared 'riddled with faults' and rejected several times, could be recognised and nurtured with conscious interaction to become one of the most profound manmade expressions of absolute potentiality I have ever experienced: in Michelangelo's statue of David. What you've written is not the same as what I said. "The Absolute" are your words, and while I personally don't believe it adequately portrays what it is we're attempting to understand here, I've been referencing the name you've given because it connects your perspective of 'God' to mine. But now I realise that I'm not making myself clear. The word 'absolute' is an adjective, a descriptor for something that is 'true, right and the same in all situations, and not dependent on anything else'. As a noun it is a philosophical term: 'a value or principle which is regarded as universally valid, or which may be viewed without relation to other things'. Neither of these definitions is a complete or satisfying image of 'God' to me, and I've yet to find an accepted definition for 'absolute' or 'mystery' that portrays the fullness of 'God' in/for itself. So I have to assume that your use of "the Absolute" is a placeholder in the same way that "God" or "the Mystery" are placeholders for what you experience as both absolute and currently a mystery, and much more. Possibility: a chance that something may happen or be true. Potentiality: an ability for development, achievement or success that is natural or has not been used. The difference in these two words (in my opinion) speaks of substance, goodness and personal relation in the latter that seems to be absent from the former, and also absent from the terms you've been using. It is the capital letters that attempt to add back in what is missing in these terms, but for me the sense of inadequacy remains. A subset of interconnected energy in motion includes what is understood as body, brain, memories, thoughts and senses. It can be called 'self', but that is an illusion as such, not least because the subset is only ever definable in the past and changes from moment to moment. It can interact with another subset called 'apple', for instance, in such a way that it ceases to be definable as 'apple' and part of that energy in motion is absorbed into the original subset without altering the concept of 'self' that is perceived in consciousness, and a single thought can also interact without altering the self in any way. Yet other interactions with subsets, senses and thoughts can profoundly alter or distort perception of the self to the point where it is drastically inconsistent with the subset (eg. anorexia). So I think this concept of self is not what it seems (but neither is it necessarily more/less), and that an actual self does not exist, but is only perceived by consciousness at any one point. Reality: the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be. I don't know if I believe that such a thing as Absolute Reality exists, because I don't believe in an objective reality. My broadest awareness of 'reality', of things as they are, is more or less what I have described to you, but I am also aware that how I see the unfolding of the physical universe may have many similarities but is always going to be at least slightly different to how you see it. There is no reality (no state of things as they are) that is true, right and the same in all situations, or considered universally valid. Any gain in awareness, any sharing of experiences or knowledge, any actualisation at all is only achieved through interaction in spacetime. Potentiality is absolute - it is not dependent on anything else - and yet the actual development, achievement or success of anything lies in awareness of and interaction with other subsets of potentiality - from the rocks I walk on and the air I breathe to the frogs in my garden, to family, work colleagues and yourself. This means operating a complex interface of physical, biological, social, cultural, political and language constructs built by a long history of interactions to define, label, divide and control what is perceived, as well as recognising that awareness of the constructs and of the underlying 'reality' (such as I perceive it) will vary with each interaction. So I recognise you, for instance, as words on a screen that point to an individual human being (with subjective experiences and operating within a unique set of circumstances) that points to a subset of actualising potentiality (energy in motion, aware of unique thoughts and senses arising in consciousness) that points to the absolute potentiality in which you and I, Jesus and Hitler, the factory workers who put this iPad together and the mosquito that attacked me last night, are irretrievably interconnected. But it's just as easy to read the words on the screen and forget or ignore their connection to a human being at any one moment, let alone their (and my) connection to the infinite possibilities of the unfolding physical universe across time and space... Thanks again for the discussion, and for your patience. This has been so useful to me. I'd like to also open a particular topic on Hart's discussion (in two recent videos I saw) of 'the being of God', and 'God as Person' in relation to this, just as soon as I work out how to start one...
  5. Fair enough on religion, I was just establishing that it is not (merely) about 'naming' something. And well said on "God" and the Bible. I don't know if Hart suggests this or even how accurate it is, however I think it is fair to say this is true for some but it is also fair to say that others seek (the) meaning of life. One could add the well intentioned caps but this is not what Hart is doing. Rather, he is saying that there is a radical difference in god and "God." It is not an either/or for him, he is not shy is stating that to say that god is a supreme being is simply uninformed and, as such, wrong. However, I agree that the Mystery is unnameable and, further, that "God" is not a proper name (not sure whether Reality, in itself is formless, so I will pass on substance and form). You lost me with the leap to the Mystery as noun. In the history of religion (history of the world) there is evidence that men thought they knew, named and owned or were owned by the god and defended what was theirs to the death (both theirs and others). However, those who agree with Hart know this has been and continues to be a mistake and is simply wrong. I was simply responding to your comment about the atheist argument and that there is a flaw - as there is a flaw for theists, popes or otherwise, who conceive and speak of the Mystery as god and not "God. The doctrines should be understood as the insights, the efforts of a previous generation to say something about God but they have become 'truths of faith' and were to be accepted. So, for generations, much of what the Pope or the doctrines said, is what people believed. I think that has and continues to change for some, hopefully for all in the future. So, we agree. It seems some differentiate between belief statements and evidence. For some evidence is proof and with proof, we are no longer dealing with (mere) belief (their sentiments not mine). However, as the Mystery is no-thing or object and, therefore beyond the reach of science, so too, is the mystery that is man - especially that 'part' of the human being that we most liken to "God" - the conscious self. Obviously, much of the human being is the proper study of science and science is to our great benefit. The brain is the valid object of science, however consciousness is ultimately beyond its reach. The higher incident of shared experience is that for most of us, except 'for a handful of cognitive scientists and philosophers' (Hart again) consciousness is quite real. As is the self. I side with Descartes," I think therefore I AM." The assumption (not sure if it is also yours) that consciousness is produced by the brain and that the study of the brain will ultimately account for consciousness speaks of a physicalism/materialism that I simply don't buy (believe). Again, I might be misunderstanding you. If so, then how could science ever get a handle on consciousness which, by description, seems to be (part of the) Mystery? As long as this take on consciousness encompasses a participation in Consciousness (i.e. multiplicity of persons), it sounds intriguing. I don't think it's language structure, I think it is first, accepting what particular words mean (basic definitions/word usage). If someone says that Reality is Absolute and Unchanging, those words (even acknowledging the limitation of language) have meaning. Potential speaks to movement from what is not (it is 'only' potential) to what is actual (actuality); movement is change; change speaks to that which is not total, complete, perfect - i.e. Absolute. Just using these words, I have been saying if someone says Reality is Absolute and Unchanging, yet speaks of fiction, illusion, ignorance and enlightenment then we are left with either that what we believed is Absolute and Unchanging, is not - or, if we hold that Reality is the Absolute, then there is something else going on (so to speak). So, what is it? I am not sure of anything, this whole 'exercise' is my trying to get to the heart of what these words mean and, perhaps, surprisingly, what they suggest if examined closely. When I get to (already touched on) my take on things, it is always a statement of belief (never certainty because there is no object, no evidence, no surety). Leaving all that aside, if the Absolute is potentiality that alone is or has absoluteness, what do you mean? The potentiality cannot be in/for itself (again suggesting becoming and change, unless that's what you are saying) and I have already acknowledged that the potentiality of the Absolute is (eternally) actualized in itself - so for what is its potential? Potential is a could but the could be is set. A seed is a seed is a seed be it as plant, pet food or a lab franken-plant. It is not ever not a seed. However, man's potential is not set: it is yet to be but it could not be. On one hand,of course, we are all human beings and we cannot be other; we will never be a rock, tree or a dog. Yet, on the other hand, not all of us are (truly) 'human' beings. Human is not merely a noun, something you are; human is a verb, something you must do. We must do to be (or not do and not be). Just like one must dance to be a dancer; if one does not dance, he is not a dancer. The potential is there form the moment we awake to consciousness; it is always our potential but it must be actualized (we must do) by us; if it is not, then, one has not become the only 'thing' they can be: human. And again, we recognize this truth in our everyday life and language. The child rapist, the wife abuser, the serial killer, the Hitler, the lone gunman attacking the school are called, inhuman, monsters, evil, the devil, we simply refuse to use their name (how telling is that?), animal, etc. We, strip them of humanity in recognition of what they have do. They look human, they are still not the rock, tree or dog, but they have not acted human, and therefore are not (human). Whereas, the fireman on 911, the swimmer who dies while trying to save the stranger, the teacher who stands in front of the shooter to protect her kids: on them we heap humanity, and we run out of words to express the reality of 'what' they are: the best of us, hero, great, what a special woman, what we should all try to be, the best we have to offer, a true man, etc. At what point does one become a monster or an animal (and are so labeled)? See above but I didn't say they destroyed their potential, only that it was not (yet) realized. It is still there, still before them. How many times have we heard of one who turns themselves around when in prison and becomes 'more' than they were? Who are we? We are their fellows, we are the ones who live in community with them, we are the ones who suffer loss because of them, we are the one who clean up and repair lives after them, we are the one who build community, have families, and try to be human and 'humanize' our world. Plus, if not us, who? Plus, it is not we who have done it, it is a recognition of what the other has done and is. And who would have us not take their measure and condemn their action? Our 'judgement' or justice is fixed to particular actions in time and space but, as mentioned, anyone can define or redefine him/herself. Hitler was a human being, in one sense, but he, and all, are becoming human, in the sense explained above. Human is a fixed state in that we, including Hitler and the rest, are human. However, it is not fixed in that it is not yet actualized or accomplished: to be human one must do (verb) Human. Dancing is one yet many. There are many ways to dance (look at John Travolta movies, look at different cultures, times and ages) but dancing is always dancing from the old lady dancing at her great granddaughter's wedding, as she sits in her chair surrounded by family to Fred Astaire dancing, to Cagney, to ancient fertility dances, to native American dancing, to a little girl dancing for joy when she sees her mother. Dancing is dancing is dancing .........is one. There are many ways in the one but it is one. So too human: we look different, we sound different, we live in different times, cultures and lands - but human is human is human...........is one. Like dancing, human looks different, there are many ways but the Way (to be truly human) is one and it is recognized. There is no frustration (this is fun), the exclamation marks are just that: exclaiming and emphasizing something and the caps (IT IS) because I refer to the Mystery. Also, others seem to switch back and forth between lower and upper case, so at times I have followed their lead but I also use capitals to emphasize that which is, pardon the caps, Absolute Reality or "God" (also, caps don't make it a who or a what) - as I take Hart's point that there is a difference between "God"and god, as there is between Mystery and mystery (after all, what I might get for my birthday is also a mystery) :+} Further, the use of the word 'who' is a convenient figure of speech and I, too, see the Absolute as the possibility of all. If you see the Absolute as "the possibility of all that is" does that mean there is an all? And if there is (an) all then isn't there not only the Absolute? I'm not sure I follow or, therefore, agree when you say the Absolute is the potentiality of all. Possibility , yes. Potentiality, ?? So, first thanks for your answer. Do I read this correctly, that a 'subset' (by the way, interesting description), you, is and can interact with other subsets? So, is the me properly called self? And, is this me (self?) real or illusion? And, if illusion: fiction/make believe or more than it seems? And , why is it? It's 'why' can't be the need of the Absolute. And, finally, is Absolute Reality merely the unfolding of the physical universe? Thanks.
  6. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Sorry...Aristotle - not Aquinas....
  7. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Thanks again Thormas. I apologise for another exceedingly long post in reply, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this... I never said this was religion at its core - only that it was something we tend to do in religion. It's something we tend to do in any search for knowledge - and again I'm not saying this is religion at its core, either. You and I (and clearly Hart) recognise that when we talk about 'God', we aren't talking about a being, supreme or otherwise. I assume we recognise that the words of the bible refer to human experiences of 'God', and we strive to understand how these experiences and those of others relate to our own and contribute to a greater understanding of the mystery. We also recognise that it is this understanding that determines our beliefs and how we think we (and everyone else) should live. But as Hart suggests, many theists and atheists and most who talk about God are actually searching for something to name, to know. One can present an unknowable, unnameable mystery, and we invariably add a (well-intentioned) capital letter to give it importance, to distinguish it from all other mysteries. We at least recognise this as a futile attempt to name the unnameable, to give substance or form to the formless. But suddenly this Mystery can now be interpreted as a noun in its own right - named and therefore something to know, to define, to worship or destroy, to gather evidence for or against, to build a relationship with, to defend with one's life or to use against others. The 'flaw' here doesn't lie with atheism. 'Religions' can't be said to believe anything. Theologists argue such beliefs, and religious doctrine may even state it - the Pope may even say something to that effect - but none of these determine (let alone resemble) what each individual who adheres to that religion believes, thinks or says about 'God', or for that matter how they think they (and everyone else) should live. And that disconnect has only grown wider over the last couple of centuries. All evidence claims are a belief statement. As I understand it, 'evidence' is simply a high incident of shared experience (including first, second and third hand), and a 'thing' is an experienced point in spacetime. So when I talk about evidence here, I'm referring to documented, shared experience that demonstrates sufficiently reduced probability of a recognisable 'self' existing at any point in spacetime. Don't take my word for it, but don't dismiss the statement without exploring supporting documentation and/or conducting your own experiments. What about the idea that consciousness is simply the interaction of this energy in motion? This is where our language structures break down. Are you saying that absolute potentiality is not the same as 'the very possibility of all that is'? How can you be so sure that the Absolute is? I may have mentioned Actus Purus in passing, but I don't agree with Aquinas' argument, because it's built on an unprovable assumption that the Absolute is. I'm not saying that which is absolute has potentiality. I'm saying that it is potentiality - that potentiality alone has absoluteness. This is an interesting point. Are you assuming the Law of Excluded Middle applies here? That a seed becomes a plant that becomes a flower, and that all other eventualities would constitute a failure to achieve this predetermined, limited potential that it cannot become other than? I don't believe this is how nature works. If I take the seed and give it to my pet bird, it could become nourishment for that bird, and it could be overlooked. If I then take the overlooked seed and give it water but keep it in a cupboard, primary school experiments prove that it could still become a plant (albeit a thin, sickly looking one). If I then take that poor plant and give it sunlight and care, it could become a flower that eventually fades, and it could also become food. Potential is not what should be, but what could be. It is the possibility of all that is. Interaction with everything else is what eliminates those possibilities. At what point would you say that 'a human' is fully actualised? And considering that (until this point of said actualisation) one retains the potential to become human, at what point to do we label them an "animal", a "monster", and effectively destroy that potential? Who are we to label them or measure them as such - to fix them to that point in spacetime and declare it as definitive of who or what they are? Maybe we're looking at this all wrong. After all, Hitler was a human being, not a human becoming. In recognising him as such, we acknowledge our own potential to be other than whatever we determine 'human' to be. Perhaps 'human' is not necessarily a fixed state that one achieves, therefore, but a rather more diverse area of the dance than we imagined. And perhaps this potential that we attribute to 'becoming human' is not as limited or definitive as we might think. Perhaps no potential is initially as limited as we think.... I'm sensing some frustration here (could be the exclamation marks?). And we keep coming back to this question of 'who'? You've clarified that you don't believe 'the Absolute' is a 'who' or a 'what' (despite your use of capitals), and I hope I've made clear that what you name 'the Absolute' I see as potentiality - the possibility of all that is. So, I present my confusing attempt to answer your question of 'who is the illusory one who writes in these posts to whom I respond?': There is a subset of the unfolding universe, of interconnecting energy in motion or actualising potentiality in spacetime, experiencing 'sensations' and 'thoughts' as interaction of first, second and third hand experiences gained through interaction and interconnection in spacetime with recognised subsets of interconnecting energy in motion. This particular subset (me) is driven by awareness of potentiality to interact with other recognised subsets of actualising potentiality in order to share experiences and interconnect throughout this unfolding universe, with a view to maximising awareness, and subsequently actualisation, of its absolute potentiality... ...I think
  8. Earlier
  9. Again, possibility, thanks for the dialogue. Religion, at its core, is not about searching for something to name, to know. The OT 'name' of God could not be pronounced and when the rabbi came upon it in the scroll, there was silence. D.B. Hart, in his book, 'The Experience of God' points out that many (most?) theists and atheists and most who talk about god are actually talking about another being, albeit a supreme being, who is simply sort of 'super' human. He refers to this as god, whereas the term, "God" (quotes are Hart's), refers to the Mystery at the heart of existence: it is unknowable and unnameable and the most we can do, to which most theologians agree, including Spong, is talk about the human 'experience' of "God" - not "God" or what is sometimes called the Godhead. Even, in his gospel, John saying God is Love speaks of the human experience or insight 'into' God; so too, to refer to God as Abba or Father is not to define God but to attempt to say something of how humanity, the Jews, experience and what they believe about "God." Even 'Absolute Unchanging Reality' is, for me, a description and belief, not a name and the term itself has its limits. For me, the point (or the struggle) is not to understand "God' or Absolute Reality but, based on one's belief, to say something about the meaning of existence and what we are to do with it (this is the point of religion: mythos, what is it that you believe and, and ethos, how should you live - flip side of the same coin). I take your point about the either/or but I do not accept an absolute duality or a division in consciousness; rather, there is One, there is Consciousness and there is a 'participation' in Consciousness and a multiplicity - and thus an apparent paradox, which I fully acknowledge. I also acknowledge the limitation of language. Spong did say that probably both in one of his books and on his site (I will see if I can check) but I get what he is saying, and I agree and although we seem to be 'naming' the Absolute, I acknowledge that the idea of verb is more powerful. What I'm saying is this is a contradiction in terms: that which is Absolute has no potentiality: its essence and its existence are one and the same. The Absolute does not have potentiality because it already is (i.e. Actuality) therefore if there is potentiality, it is not on the part, so to speak, of the Absolute, it is creation Second things, first. It is apparent duality, in that there is still and always only One, only Being (IS) and all that is, is .......so 'all' has (can only have) its being in Being (simply is is IS). I have never thought of it as a boundary (but I get your point), and, even more so, there is no boundary, because as we think of "God" as verb, so too all being is verb. The idea of verb is helpful in trying to get at the idea of the many and the One: if we consider the Dance or better Dancing, it is one and yet the dancers are many but in the act of dancing (verb), they are Dancing (the One, many, One). So too, if Being is X (unknown for now) or X-ing (verb) and if the many start X-ing, are they not X? Not sure what you mean by 'not self' unless you mean all other being(s) in the created order that are not person (or self). The point of convergence, 'is' present in the beginning (i.e. the creation of the many) in some real way, but I agree there seems to be a 'movement' (therefore action suggesting verb) whereby the many become (actualize?) what they already are. Some persons, to a greater degree than others, move to this Oneness now, i.e. in spacetime but I suspect (i.e. believe) it is not complete or completed in space and time but 'in' Being, the very possibility of spacetime. I'll answer the first part of the question later as it gets involved. I agree that no thing can exist outside of time and space. The 'flaw' is, again, that atheism defines god as a being, even a supreme being. Religion, actually all theistic religions believe "God" or Being is not a thing (among other things) but the 'Unnameable Mystery' that is the very possibility of all things: it is ontologically prior to, it is the very possibility of all that 'is.' The 'evidence standpoint' also misses this point: evidence is of things, there is no evidence of that which is no-thing. I might have missed something here, but where is the evidence that the 'self' is nothing but an act of consciousness? This seems to be a belief statement. However the idea of self or person as consciousness in matter which is energy in motion doesn't sound particularly alarming. Well, I guess I agree that action suggests movement if we are referring to, for example, a lioness, moving from sun to grass (position), or rest to a sprint (position and state) in order to catch a zebra. However, doesn't evolution suggest more that such action as you have defined it? Or even an embryo? Isn't there movement (a new potentiality for this particular being), when egg and meet and isn't there a becoming, a movement from potential to actual? So too nature, if I don't water my plant, if I do not allow it to get sun, if I do not care for it - will the seed become a flower, will the seed achieve its potential? So too and perhaps especially us: some people commit (verb) such heinous crimes that we lock them aways for the remainder of their lives and we say of the child rapist, or the Hitler, "what an animal, what a monster." We recognize that they have not become the only thing it is possible for us to become: truly human - and we recognize this in our everyday language. The have not done (verb) that which is necessary to be (come) Human; they had potential but never actualized it (Maslow). The subject is the lion, the embryo, the flower, the person and on and on. It is the universe that begins with a Bang, it is our Sun that is formed, it is the life form that crawls on to ground: these are subjects, these are beginnings and endings (of course this also recognizes that what Bangs is part of each of these subjects but they remain the ones who do the action (subject) or are the subject (as object) on which an action has an effect. All action is in time and space, it is seemingly not eternal for that suggests beyond time and space. However, I agree 'it isn't happening' outside of time and space because there is no happening 'outside of time and space' - there is (simply) IS (Being, Reality), the very possibility of time, space and being. Not sure what you are calling pure potentiality? Inside, and only inside, time and space there is potentiality to actuality; the universe is unfolding; it is becoming. 'Outside' time and space there is the "the Absolute" which has no potential as it is always what it is; it is Complete. I have no real problem with illusion as it has been defined in these posts as 'something is not as it seems' which to me suggest (not that something or all things are fiction or simply not) all might be more than it seems. However, it seems you are saying that nothing is, there is no self, that the many are not at all, that there is only one (who is) eternal (action) that refracts through time and space. Yet, we have come full circle and the questions remain: why is there "separateness, movement, change and substantiality' (if it is illusion) at all if there is only one and that One is Absolute and Unchanging and Complete? Why is there illusion at all? Why is there refraction through time and space, why is there time and space? If Reality Is (Unchanging and Absolute), there is no need for one eternal action in time and space: IT (already) IS! And who is the illusory one(s) who sees movement and change, who is the illusory one who writes in these posts to whom I respond? Can't be the Absolute! This is contradictory: potentiality in time and space is the Absolute? Again, why is the potentiality is time and space necessary, especially if it is illusion and is not? Yet the physical science or social sciences, whether their object of study is quantum physics or consciousness, are our tools and if, as you have said, all is illusion, then so too are the sciences. So how can that which is illusion point to illusion to justify .......illusion? It is fun, isn't it? And, again, thanks.
  10. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Hi Thormas The questions you continue to bring up here have challenged my thinking and led me to this question of 'what if there is no subject?' In religion we have always searched for something to name, to know. In naming the Absolute Unchanging Reality and then struggling to grasp the concept within our current understanding of the universe, I think we do have to acknowledge, as you point out, that either there is a deficiency to its absoluteness, its changelessness, or that there exists some form of duality... OR perhaps there is an error in our thinking, in our use of language. What I'm suggesting is that this error may be in the naming. Elsewhere on this site it was mentioned that Spong has described God as a verb and not a noun (although I've yet to ascertain where he wrote that). If what we think of as 'the Absolute' is considered absolute but denied a proper name - enabling it to be regarded as a verb and not a noun - would this change anything? why is there anything, why is there (continuity of) self or even the consideration of no-self, why is there complexity and diversity, why is there anything, if the Absolute is truly Absolute?  Short, big word answer: because absolute potentiality can only be when observed in its refraction through the lens of spacetime. I'm going to attempt some explanation of this in reference to what you've written, thormas, because it has helped me to make sense of it all. Just as a side note there is a named subject: it is creation, the universe (and the processes of that universe) that acts: only that (those things/beings) which is not absolute has potential; only beings suffer (certainly the Absolute doesn't suffer) and it is beings who have consciousness (whereas the Absolute is Conscious in Itself). It could be said the Absolute doesn't act because it IS. Perhaps it's not just a side note. Creation implies a creator. The universe must in some way refer to the Absolute. If, as you say, the Absolute doesn't act because it IS, then how would you describe the nature of the relationship between the Absolute and the universe? You said in a statement of belief earlier: "...that the many 'are,' that all, including the human self, have their being in God until the 'Kingdom is established' or simply the many are One in Absolute Being." This duality suggests that there not only exists a boundary where 'the human self' is distinguished from what is not self, but also that there exists a point of convergence where (or when) we cease to be 'many' and become one. Can you explain at what points in spacetime you believe these to exist? What atheist arguments continue to bring up (perhaps with good reason) is that no thing can theoretically exist outside of time and space, let alone act - no God, no Being, not even Absolute Unchanging Reality. I can't deny that this makes sense, particularly from the standpoint of reason based on evidence. But if reason based on evidence also demonstrates that the 'self' is nothing but an act of consciousness and matter is nothing but energy in motion, could there be nothing but action? And can this action then exist beyond time and space? The problem is that if I name this action ('God', consciousness, energy, oneness, etc) it's often mistaken for a thing, a substance or a person. With a name, it readily becomes a noun instead of a verb, and I then lose the ability to reasonably argue the existence of 'God' as understood from my experience. Action suggests movement, the movement from potentiality to actuality; action suggests becoming (the Absolute IS , it doesn't become or it is not Absolute). As far as I understand it, 'action' only suggests movement (ie. from one state or position to another) within time and space. Outside of such constraints, that same action has no beginning or end, and needs no subject - it's eternal. The action is - but outside of space time it isn't happening. Perhaps, then, it's better described as pure potentiality (not to be mistaken for 'pure act'). Inside time and space, this is actuality: the universe unfolding, being - the dance in action. I get the impression that this pure potentiality refracts through time and space (like waves do - ie. light through a prism), enabling observation or interaction (ie. awareness) between these refracted waves of potentiality (a human and a rock, for instance) without initially recognising them as part of the one action (creation, the universe, etc). All of this apparent separateness, movement, change and substantiality is illusion, however, because it is one eternal action, which IS potentiality (its non-subjective existence outside spacetime, prior to observation): absolute, changeless and without substance as such. It's difficult to accept a theory in which insubstantiality is reality and substance is illusion. And yet this is where thinking appears to be right now in studies of consciousness and in quantum physics. So I'm starting to think the existence of God may be arguable after all - at least potentially...
  11. Absolute Reality doesn't have these questions (how could it?) and none of us have the point of view of Absolute Reality, therefore we ask questions. Subjective experience, even the experience of the mystics, is the (POV) subjective experience and the perception, of men and women. And the above answer for why, still begs for more. It is a non answer: it does not try to say anything of the Absolute. And, it doesn't raise an infinite number of questions, just a few or perhaps just one. The why is dependent on the nature of Absolute Reality so the simple question is, what is God, what is the nature of the Absolute and, given that, why is there anything and, therefore, how ought we to live? Three questions, yet only one. Even the mystic, out of their subjective 'experiences' of the Absolute (God), attempts to say something: to embody (body forth) the experience, to speak from the experience, if only for others. If not, isn't it wasted? No one has the POV of Absolute Reality, ours is still and always through a glass darkly - perhaps with glimpses, even rays, of light - and we attempt both to live and speak the Reality as best we are able. Logic and reason are never alone but joined to experience, intuition, belief, symbol, story, poetry, song, myth, etc. Most of us use everything at our disposal. The questions are not circular or regressive: they are attempts to see and speak (and to know/live more deeply) our experience of the Absolute - for others. Reality 'echoes'' through the words of man (creation).. This same possibility, this same risk, is possible in all of life be it love, friendship, parenting, in working, learning, living. And it is worth it, if 'it' can be heard and taken up (and experienced) in the life of another. If we know anything is the 21st C, it is that people learn in different ways - so we use those ways, including words - if we consider it important. Even with the possibility of being misunderstood (as some parables are), even with the possibility of wrong assumptions, we cannot be afraid of using words to convey some answers/insights for others to consider. There you go: this is an answer (that there is an unfolding and you are part of it, if only for a while) which contains words. Although does this mean we are not what we eat or is that the wrong assumption? :+}
  12. It seems to me it is helpful to realize that there is no i identity that is seeing, seeking or doing anything but rather an impersonal aspect of consciousness doing the exploring. I see the mind and its contents as a product of the world.Thoughts come in streams and are to me not personal and for that matter neither is the body. Both are a product of the temporal world. If the mind is closely observed for some length of time it is my experience that one will realize that one is the witness and experiencer of the mind and its thoughts and body senses only rather than being the body or mind itself. It breaks the identification of self with mind as i. This seems to move the point of observation from what is being witnessed to that of witnessing. This leads to a realization that the experiencing is not being done by a who or a what or someone ( self) but rather that something is functioning as an impersonal observer/experiencer which is unchanged by the content of that which is experienced. The contents of the mind is form but to be visible it has to occur against a background of non-form just as sound must be against a background of silence. to be perceived. The background seems to me to be a field of consciousness and is formless. It is illuminated by light which we might call pure awareness or God.
  13. Thomas, What i am trying to say is that those questions are in my experience non questions from an absolute reality point of view.. The why can be answered simply as because that is the nature of absolute reality. That of course is to most a non-answer or unsuitable or just raises more un-answerable questions and answers ad infin . Logic and reason cannot answer the why either. It either becomes circular, or regressive. It seems to me too many assumptions will be made by the hearer with any word answer to get even a close picture. Perhaps that is why parables are used and words like " the kingdom is likened to " because only pointing can occur in such words. PS Yes, you could say i still eat, sleep, etc but that is my role in this unfolding and more like a dream as one can see it is temporary, impermanent like a vapor that appears for a short while. I know i am not that and that neither are you..
  14. I have never asked for a 'provable answer.' I have no idea what that even means given these questions. I am asking, based on one's belief, what do they say, what do they think? Your experience of reality is just that, yours - but even some of the mystics speak from (of) their experience when they are 'back in the world.' My experience and my reading of the mystics also involves an attempt to say something about one's experience and it doesn't violate the experience, as it is recognized as an attempt. Actually, many mystics seems obligated to speak from their experience. Even Jesus, who we could probably speculate had such experiences of the Absolute, came back into ordinary, everyday life on behalf of others so they could hear and enter the life of the Father. He had no real need to answer my particular questions - because he lived among people, the Jews, who 'knew' that God created them, that they were His people and they knew why they were created. You also live in the world (thus you eat, sleep and are on this site) and you have provided some answers: that there is no self, that the Absolute alone is and on and on. So, all is not silent, all answers and questions do not disappear. I'm just asking you to continue what you began. However and again, I accept you have answers for some questions but not for others. Join the party - neither do we. I am not disappointed in the lack of suitable answers, I am merely disappointed in the decision to not attempt answers in other areas :+}
  15. You ask why repeatedly as have many before you . But the question you ask has been in my view, unanswerable from the standpoint of a provable answer. There is neither questions nor answers in my radical subjective experience of reality. All is silent, known and all questions disappear. All is formless and experienced as perfect and complete. There are no answers or questions to construct. Everything is as it is. Of course as humans we seem to be disappointed in the lack of suitable answers to these type of questions. 😊
  16. Good points all. If one says there is self and another says there is no-self, do they agree there is the 'continuity of self' in different 'moments' or from different 'vantage points' in time and space, that is part of the 'complexity and diversity of life?' And if illusion, do we mean that the 'self is not' or that that the self is 'not as - but more than it seems' to be? I know you wrote more, but the entire question of self is tied to another (unaddressed) question: why is there anything, why is there (continuity of) self or even the consideration of no-self, why is there complexity and diversity, why is there anything, if the Absolute is truly Absolute? Also, if you think it should be moved to another or a new thread, feel free. Thanks.
  17. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Thormas I have enjoyed this discussion, although it's a little off-topic for this thread. I have written far too much in reply, so I'm not going to dump it all here, but I welcome the chance to continue it elsewhere... For now, I'll provide the example you requested, if only because the rest of the threads have gone quiet (on account of it being summer up there, I would imagine)... I guess here, I need an example, because we are still using language to connect and share. In my experience the limitations of language make this communication breakdown more common than not. It happens every time we think to ourselves "that's wrong" or "I disagree". As a specific example, I'll use a quote from Romansch in this thread... Now, we know that Rom's preferred 'philosophy' is "reason based on evidence", so when reading this I wondered: what reliably 'objective' evidence and subsequent reasoning can Rom present to support his claim that 'the self does exist'? I'll admit here that I haven't yet gone back to find the previous discussions he refers to and re-read his arguments at this stage. Regardless, using this as my example, I understand that what Rom has deduced through an interaction of limited first, second and third hand subjective experience is that the self does exist, even though I can also say that my similarly limited subjective experience suggests the opposite. We can trade and discuss definitions, but that's really just surface stuff, because what lies behind this apparent difference of opinion, belief, intelligence, command of the English language or logical reasoning (without attributing any values either way) - is actually a difference of limited subjective experiences. On the surface I think "he's wrong" or at least "I disagree", but I also understand that beyond the layers of illusion - beyond limitations of language, thought and awareness - our divisions of consciousness are approaching each other at this point in space and time (namely this statement "the self does exist") from very different directions. This is part of the 'complexity and diversity of life' that I referred to, thormas - and yes the self is also part of it - but frankly it's still illusion. Because we can perceive the 'self' and 'other' in this diversity and fail to acknowledge our interconnection, believing our separateness is reality, or we can strive to approach this diversity with a sense of oneness that enables us to embrace our interconnection with courage and catch a 'glimpse' of the beauty of the dance. So I'm going to entertain the possibility that Rom and I could both be right about the experience behind the words - that the self can both exist and not exist, depending, in particular, on how one approaches the words 'self' and 'exist'. I understand that, from Rom's point of view, everything that is observable or measurable in space and time is said to exist, and that nothing exists outside of that. But I also understand that what is observed or measured at a point in space and time will not be identical in its existence when observed or measured at a different point in space or time. This is my understanding of the evidence presented in studies related to quantum theory. So I can agree that, for...this specific point in space and time, what Rom understands to be the 'self' does exist by his reasoning. But I know that it's not the same 'self' that then exists in...this specific point in space and time, even though there is a sense of continuity between the two selves. If I say at this point that I disagree with Rom that the self exists, I am saying that what he understands to be the self at any one point in space and time has already ceased to exist by the time he's typed the words. If I then notice the rest of Rom's statement, that this self he believes to exist "is not what it seems", I get the sense that he may already recognise this problem - and that we are perhaps communicating the same experience, only in different ways. We're just approaching it from two different 'directions' (in all four dimensions), and I realise that I need to investigate further... So for me to have said "I disagree", would be an inaccurate communication, because I now have to consider the possibility that Rom and I might actually 'agree' beyond the constraints of awareness, thought and language. Who knew?
  18. This is fascinating and deserves more consideration. However, there are many human beings who do not fear and are aware - yet still say, I am. There may be illusion, in that all is not as it seems, yet the conclusion that the 'self is not' is not the only possibility; another is that the self is more than s/he seems to be. I believe there is something to "losing awareness of the 'other'." I mentioned in a previous post that a professor of mine use to say that the baby wakes to Being and this awareness is slowly put to the side or forgotten as she is immersed in the naming and knowing the things of the world, including herself. And that our sense of wonder, of being caught off guard in unexpected moments is when we 'see through' to Being; it is such revelation (not understood theistically) that illuminates life/creation and 'empowers' us to Be (the Dance is 'seen' in the dancing and for brief moments, there is (only) the dancing (Dance and dancer are one). From the Christian perspective, this is the way of man, the way of the self: if God were fully present to man, he would be overwhelmed but without such Overwhelming Presence, dancing is man's to do and to be. In the gospel passage of the man who is told, "you clothed me, you fed me, you comforted me" and his reply is "when Lord?" If he knew it was God from the get go, that's one thing - but to have done it, without such 'awareness and fear' makes it all the more Real; it makes it 'his.' He has done what Reality IS; it is his doing (so to speak) and, to borrow from Maslow, it is a higher actualization than if it were not. This makes perfect sense and I agree: some believe that the Way is one yet many so that is can reach men and women where they are. I have done some study of other religions (and no religions) but, for now, Christianity (properly understood) speaks most powerfully to me. I believe there is, as Joseph, has said, Absolute Unchanging Reality or what I refer to as Being or "God" (the quotes used by the philosopher Hart are meant to distinguish "God" from a simplistic notion of god as a supreme being). However, I find no reason for Being to 'create' unless creation truly is (i.e. 'real'). Absolute Reality already IS and has no need to manifest itself or know itself - or it is not Absolute Reality. Even talk of enlightenment or overcoming ignorance or illusion or fiction or make believe begs the question, that Absolute Reality has no ignorance, no need for enlightenment, no need for illusion or fiction; It is ALL. Even if we consider, as you mention, quantum theory, consciousness and not-self and we are left with actions (being, suffering, consciousness, wave, potentiality) without a named subject and found no-one, no-thing, that acts - the question remains: why is there suffering and potentiality in that which is Changeless and Absolute? Actually why is there actions like being and consciousness? And, although I accept it as another's view, even to say 'it just is" is still not to answer, why is there anything if the Absolute alone is, especially if what 'just is' 'contains' illusion and fiction? Why is there illusion in the Absolute? Just as a side note there is a named subject: it is creation, the universe (and the processes of that universe) that acts: only that (those things/beings) which is not absolute has potential; only beings suffer (certainly the Absolute doesn't suffer) and it is beings who have consciousness (whereas the Absolute is Conscious in Itself). It could be said the Absolute doesn't act because it IS. Action suggests movement, the movement from potentiality to actuality; action suggests becoming (the Absolute IS , it doesn't become or it is not Absolute). I actually have no problem with the idea of illusion, that all is not as it seems. But the Absolute has no need to be other (or perceive itself as other) than it is; there is no illusion in Reality (itself) - if it is Absolute and Unchanging. Therefore, If there is fiction, if there is illusion, if there is action, potential, becoming, consciousness, ignorance, enlightenment, etc. - it is not the Absolute - it is 'other.' There is no illusion, no fiction, no questions, no what we are all engaged in - unless......... there is 'other' (the many in the One). Otherwise we are saying that the Absolute is not (absolute). You may be right that the very word self is an issue but, given the extensive dialogue around it, I'm not sure that is the crux of the matter. Some, seem to be saying there is only the Absolute but their words speak of a Reality that simply doesn't seem Absolute or Unchanging; this Absolute is deficient. Furthermore, even with the limitation of language, their words seem to be saying there is 'something else' or 'other' that the Absolute that is or has illusions, that is fiction, that is a no-self. Christian philosophy/theology, on the other hand, (and all theistic religions) names the other as man; 'man is' and has being in the Absolute. Aside from this, the different beliefs seem to share much: forgetting Being, illusion (things are really not just what they seem), the need for enlightenment, true knowing as subjective experience not mere conceptualization, the forgetting of 'self,' enlightenment, illumination, 'seeing' what IS and doing (i.e. knowing) what IS, incarnation or simply the embodiment of the Absolute in the conditional (the unnecessary) and the unfinished actualizing or 'becoming' until the many become and are One (when the dancers become the Dance - there IS dancing. Actually I do think it is possible to prescribe to both and more: I include Taoism, Jewish wisdom literature, the best of the Islamic philosophers, etc. Not sure what you mean by applying the structure of language to 'the search for self.' I recognize the limitation of language, the limitation of concepts, I accept and value myth, symbol, poetry and I see (and utilize) the need to stretch language beyond its limits to say what we know, what we feel. I am simply using our common language to ask questions of others that I ask of myself; actually, since others are more versed in Buddhism or its offshoots (and other positions/beliefs), I am seeking to 'prescribe' from these traditions by asking questions. And I have used new learnings, others views, to modify and enhance my understanding. I think even if the language begins to box us into either/or we can still move to both/and. I agree that language is imperfect........but it is our tool to use and knowing it is imperfect is half the battle. What do you mean by single divided consciousness or what does this say about the Absolute and the self? Again, recognizing the language limitation, can consciousness be divided and if it is, it there still Absolute Reality/Consciousness? If the Absolute can be divided, is it absolute? Or, as some say, we have our being in Being, can it be said we have consciousness in Consciousness? Not a division but a participation? I guess here, I need an example, because we are still using language to connect and share. But even with this language (oneness that beings beauty to the complexity and diversity of life) what I 'hear' is that you are saying there is diversity in oneness. So is the self part of the complexity and diversity of life? And, what is non-self? You have made sense, it has been helpful and fun. Thanks.
  19. possibility

    Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

    Hi Thormas, Sorry, it's been a busy week, and I wanted to give some due consideration to your questions. It's not easy to put into words, but I'll try to give you a sense of where I'm coming from at this point in my understanding, even as it changes and evolves and departs from logic... if the self searches for self but it actually doesn't exist ("beyond the fear of its non-existence and coming to terms with 'not self'") what or who is doing the search?  if self is illusion, what is the reality (at least in your present understanding)? why is there the illusion of self in the first place? why (in your understanding at present) is there anything? If whatever is beyond the illusion, manifests (or creates) in or through illusion, why? In discussing the search for self, it seems logical within the structure of language to name what or who is doing the search - there must be a subject to go with the verb, otherwise the structure of language fails and we are unable to communicate in clear, logical sentences. Because I work in communications, words are an essential tool of my trade (not that I'm particularly skilled, mind you). My day job requires me to communicate to specific audiences, reducing the possibility of confusion, misunderstanding, ambiguity or raising more questions than answers. So I understand the reluctance to discuss a 'search', without a searcher, for an object - the self - that doesn't even exist. But I think it's also challenges like this that draw me to these types of discussions in the first place... Because what if there really isn't a subject? What if there really is just the search? Lately I've been intrigued by what appears to be a convergence of thought around quantum theory, consciousness and this idea of not-self. What we are left with in each of these areas of thinking is an action without a named subject: being, suffering, consciousness, wave, potentiality...in these spaces we have looked closer and found no-one, no-thing, that acts. We like to think there are no limitations to language as a tool to communicate awareness and experience - yet there's a reason why myths, stories, literature and poetry are enhanced with music, art, theatre and film. And lately I've been getting the feeling that we're using an ineffective tool here - that it's not just my own limitations, but something in the structure of language that gives the impression of trying to enclose smoke in a cage... In my present understanding, God, the universe, consciousness, energy, oneness, etc all seem to be alternative, limited descriptions of the same universal action or process, for want of a better term. From the limited experiences of this element of the process that is 'me', I can develop awareness and get a sense of the enormity and pervasiveness of the action, but I struggle to grasp it fully as a concept and be confident that I have all of it contained, because the more I develop awareness, the more I become aware of the gaps and limitations of that awareness. When I get conceptually beyond all boundaries as illusion and the idea of God as a being, I imagine this action or process as a 'dance', where consciousness may simply be the overwhelmingly complex interaction of potentiality waves. I think the more we become aware of and understand this process of interaction that underlies our 'reality', the more we can contribute to the dance. And in those incredible moments when we are most aware of the complexity and beauty of this process in which the All is eternally intertwining, interacting...then the 'self' and all of the apparently separate elements, including their supposed reality or illusion, fade to insignificance - because only the dance is. why is there the illusion of self in the first place? I'm not entirely clear on this, but I have a strong sense that it has a lot to do with fear and lack of awareness, but that's a much longer discussion. I'll just mention the studies with split brain patients, which show that when consciousness divides it loses awareness of the 'other', and must discover it anew, including any recognition that the two parts were initially one. How this can be applied to the idea that 'all is consciousness' I think is an interesting area to explore in terms of the illusion of self. And, how do you see yourself, which 'philosophy' speaks most powerfully to you: Christian, Buddhist, a combination or other? I try not to attribute a value or hierarchy to terms such as Christian, Buddhist, etc. - it collapses too many potentiality waves. That sounds really kooky, but it makes sense to me at this point in my understanding. So my answer would be a combination, because I find most philosophies 'speak' to me in different ways, although I am most familiar with Christian, and most recently drawn to Buddhist. I may be wrong, but it seems you have a strong belief in the existence and importance of the self, which is tied very much to your understanding of Christian philosophy. I don't disagree as such - I can see how that makes sense. But from my understanding, I no longer see the existence of the self to be as essential to Christian philosophy as it has made out, and I sense that this difference might have something to do with the word 'self', and how we each understand it from different perspectives. But I'm not suggesting that settling on a succinct definition of the term will help, either - all that does is confine our awareness even further. I'm guessing you don't see the possibility of someone prescribing to both Christian and Buddhist philosophy on this topic, and you apply the structure of language to 'the search for self' in order to challenge the Buddhist perspective. It's a logical approach. But in my view it's the structure of language that collapses this potentiality into either/or, preventing awareness of the both/and possibilities. In this sense I think language is far from the perfect tool for the job, but it's the one we're using, so I'm acknowledging its limitations here in communicating the experience of not-self. The ultimate aim of communication, in my current understanding, is to share and interconnect subjective experiences - to interact and recognise in the 'other' a single, divided consciousness, an element of the dance... So when the words fail and communication appears to break down, we can try to connect to the subjective experiences that give rise to the words, to recognise the possibilities of both/and when freed from the constraints of language, and to strive for that sense of oneness that brings beauty to the complexity and diversity of life... ...and then try to work our way back from this experience to find some way of communicating it without losing too much in the process - recognising that this will be far from perfectly achieved. I hope I'm making some sense here.
  20. I accept that is the best you can do but my subjective experience of the Divine and meditation on that experience, results in a different perception (which is still properly called belief or better, faith - since neither can be proved but can be known in the experience - and then experienced/known again and again and again). Thus our 'answers' differ. What you point to though is a subject who experiences the Divine. I agree time to move on (unless Mark or others join in with fresh perspectives or insights into their perspectives). We are not computer subroutines, but, indeed, we are :+}
  21. Thomas, Everything is complete in reality and the Absolute doesn't change . Change is the illusion of time and space. God is the same yesterday , today and tomorrow. You won't understand it through conceptualizing from the view of an individual self , space and time. That's all i can say. It is not a belief . It is perceived from a radical subjective experience of the Divine and i can only point . I know that is not the answer you are looking for but that is the best i can do in this moment. PS That's probably enough of this deep stuff 😊 Artificial intelligence can raise questions, perhaps you are a computer subroutine?
  22. The interest is there Mark (although I too wish more were actively involved). Review some of the recent posts under Debate & Dialogue and join; give your opinion.
  23. I get that it's an analogy but we both are saying the analogy fails; it illuminates nothing. Joseph, I agree the 'producer' is the One or Absolute Reality but, the questions remain: why does Truth produce (and sustain) that which is fiction, why does the Changeless produce change, why does Reality produce all, if all (including the self) is not? And if the self is not, then how does that which is not, raise the question (because it does) of its existence? If it is not, then how is there illusion for a self that isn't? If it (the illusion, the fiction, the make believe) is the Absolute then the Absolute is not what this belief posits: it is not Absolute; it is not God. If it is not the Absolute, then we have change in changelessness, the conditional in the Absolute, many in the One; we have unfinished self in Self/God. And we have duality: if God is the producer, creation is the produced; we have God/the Absolute and that which is (in and of God but) not God, not Absolute. Even dance is expression: what is expressed? I ask this to try to get a full sense of this belief in relation to, for example, Rom's physicalism and the Christian belief.
  24. You'd think people would have more interest in the big questions even without a Jerry Springer circus going on.
  25. It was just an analogy but perhaps the self is so caught up in the illusion of self that it doesn't realize it is just a movie nor that it is not reality. Kind of like lost in a dream. The producer is the One and it need not have a purpose. It is part of the dance of creation. Also i am certainly not saying there is not suffering. As long as the illusion of self remains, there will be suffering. Without the self there is pain as long as the body remains but there is an end to suffering. Same as in New Jerusalem spoken of in Christianity. The kingdom of God is here now even though few may see it or not enter in. There is no fiction in Absolute. That is the problem with words. When we answer one question that is best put aside, inferences are taken and there is confusion. Everything is already perfect as it is and in reality it is complete but don't try and mix reality with time and space and duality for answers because you will not find them.
  26. I guess we forgot we were suppose to to sell something. 😊 About 9 active members last month some months as high as 14-21 . Mostly people use our database for research purposes. I think people outgrow us and others seem to flock to Facebook and other social media or religious forums where members are allowed to get more heated in debate and nasty to each other in their posts. .Guest visits average between 5 and 10 at any time with as high as 90 or more in a 15 min period
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