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thormas

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Everything posted by thormas

  1. Well, I waited about 24 hours to see if others would participate but didn't want to waste the potential of this new thread. You lost me on what the straw man is? Plus the interviewer talks of matter by referring to quantum theory and Hart responds that such laws or theories exist in that which is contingent. I'm just not seeing potentiality as God. Even referring to your definitions, potentiality speaks of developing and achieving. Hart would say in the absolute simplicity that is God, there is no development; God is all, in perfection, i.e. all is fully actualized. Development suggests from lesser to greater, development suggests dependence on something(s) else actualizing one's potential and potential seems to be different in degree and perhaps kind than actuality. Existence and essence are not one when there is potentiality that must actualize. Yet, for Hart, they are one in the Absolute that he calls God. Potentiality is (played out in time) temporal and the reality is that any development from A to B (rock, tree or man) is both dependent on and dissolvable into composite parts. Therefore, potentiality is not omnipotent: the achievement of what is potential is dependent on other (composite parts). Given this dependency and powerlessness, potentiality is not logically necessary but is dependent of that which is logically necessary: God (as explained by Hart).
  2. One's perception of the self is a thought along side of other thoughts. Further, I recognize all my thoughts are mine be they evil, crazy, illogical, unkind, or otherwise: We are capable of having such thoughts. If I have an unkind thought, I don't disown it, I try to overcome it and think, do and be better. It is I, the self, who thinks and acts; a particular thought is not the whole of the self but it is ‘mine.’ I believe that "God" (Absolute Reality or Mystery) is beyond the reach of science but it remains fun and important to try to understand 'everything' as that is who we are and what we do. My view of science is not narrow at all; I was just referring to two specifics that others mentioned on this site and/or discussed by Hart. Further, I disagree with your take on Hart as he appears to be highly respectful, even awed by science, seems very well read (in that and everything) but still recognizes its limitation. You see, in him, as a hammer, I see a laser or a scalpel. I recognize there is potential in the universe and man. However, this is the potentiality of a creation that is ‘initiated (created) and sustained’ by God: the (absolute) potentiality of the universe is not God. I believe that God is the ‘creator’ but this belief does not suggest that God is involved in the minutia of creation as it realizes its potential. God is not involved in the seed becoming a plant and God is not in the bedroom when humans are trying to have a child: this is part and parcel of the created order, of nature with its laws and processes. God is not the absolute potentiality of all, rather God is the ground, the very possibility that there is anything, that it has potential and that all is sustained in existence. A further question is whether absolute potentiality (success) really is universally present? Has science weighed in on the absolute success of the universe? The potentiality in humanity is always there but it is only actualized or man only 'becomes' (truly) human when he 'acts' human. Here, it should be obvious that I am using the word human to note more than species. As we discussed Spong’s idea that God is best understood as a verb, so too human is a verb: being human is doing human. Any failure in ‘being human’ is relative not (yet) absolute: the potential is still before us and ‘waits’to be actualized. Actually, the Catholic concept of venial and mortal sin speaks to this: there are some action that put our humanity in mortal danger unless we change (metanoia) and become a new man or a new woman (human). This is the recognition that we can be the ‘likeness’of God but to be like God, man must do what God is: this is incarnation, man embodying, doing and being (which is identical in God) what God is. Society is telling me nothing in what I have said and it is in agreement with Jesus. Who was the human one in the parable of the Good Samaritan? Was it the ones who passed by the stranger in need, ignoring him, wanting nothing to do with him? Hardly and they are judged! There was only one 'good' man, only one truly human being who put aside any self-centeredness (sin) and was for the other; only one man did and was what the Father is (love). That is the point of the story. It is a judgment for all who have ears to hear: to look to themselves, to become new men and women, to become truly human (divine) beings. And Jesus was not shy about telling others, judging others: while the 'prostitute' is judged and condemned by the crowd, Jesus says, 'sin no more.' And if she rids herself of selfishness, she is sinless; she becomes more than she was. However, his words are first a judgment on the others and in this story, they heard, dropped their stones and their potential was, as always, before them. There is chaos in all judgment, one is presented with both danger and opportunity: drop the stone or throw the stone, sin no more or continue as you have beed doing. In the latter options, chaos follows. Stripping some men and women of humanity by calling them monsters or animals, is the recognition of what they, themselves, have done and are (at that time). Plus, I am saying "they have not acted human and therefore are not human" in what I consider an academic like setting to present my take on this particular subject. However, the real time use of 'monster' or 'animal' or the decision to not use the name of a school shooter – is indeed a judgment (on both the actions and the person). I would expect that professionals 'counseling' or working with such individuals in a prison or hospital setting would withhold any judgment, as is there responsibility as professionals. A person is judged by their actions and, although we all make mistakes, or 'blow it' at times - there is the further reality that what we do reflects who we are. Does it completely define us? Hopefully not: a one time act of cheating or stealing just as a one time act of kindness or heroism (your comment on the 911 fireman who abuses his wife) might not define one but a consistent pattern might indeed tell us who and what that person is. Certainly this view holds water if carefully considered and judged for what it actually says. It is a civilized society’s right and responsibility to judge Hitler and, as they did, stop him! And, we would not all be Hitler in very different circumstances. Certainly many had similar experiences but not all turned murderers on a small scale or maniacs on a global scale. We, in society, condemn the actions and therefore make judgments that include condemning the man/woman who is the actor of the actions. However, I agree that ultimately, only God can know (emotional, mental, societal, psychological and other factors) and judge the sinner. There is more to judgment but that too is another conversation. There is a human distinction between good and evil: some, not all, believe this distinction is based on the human 'insight' or 'experience' of God - and this includes, the aforementioned Jesus. However that there is such a distinction is so obvious, it does not require elaboration. I acknowledge Hitler’s inhumanity, or, better, lack of humanity in his (every) action and it is this recognition of human evil that is vital for history. To "recognize and nurture with conscious interaction to become" is exactly what I have been saying. Michelangelo took (rock, clay, paints) what was given and created more; so too, we are given the clay of our humanity and we can (must) make it more. On one had, of course, we are human, but on the other hand, we are not (yet): we have yet to shape, to create our Humanity. Too often, it remains riddled with faults, too often we are too busy to do the work, too often we excuse ourselves or are comforted by the excuses of others. If the rock is not seen for what it can be, if the work is not started, if what is possible is not shaped, then there is nothing: no creation, no beauty, no realization or actualization. This is us. I actually belief that our humanity, our potential to be human, remains before us, even 'after death' and that from the Hitlers and Stalins down to any (and all) of us who have not yet finished shaping (creating) beauty out of our rock, will have 'time' to finish until all humanity realizes its potential and Beauty (how or where or whatever happens, I have no earthly idea). Thanks. Fair enough on religion, I was just to be clear
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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? :+}
  6. 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 :+}
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 :+}
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Yet, seemingly, this is the (our) way to approach it - even this discussion and the previous quote about Buddhism deal in concepts, duality, time and space. I too agree that understanding is not a requirement, in Christianity (and other beliefs) there can be the simple man or woman who simply is Good or Loving, never having read a book or having no interest in sites such as these, yet they 'know' God because they do what God is (at least in the understanding of Christianity). I agree too that reason and logic can only go so far but these are (some of) our tools. I see Enlightenment as the movement from letting go to letting be. Further, for many, the end is not to accumulate knowledge, it is to understand (insight, illumination, the light but goes on) so one can be (true knowing is doing is being). Not sure what we mean by mind but I think man can 'know' truth but again such knowing is not accumulation of knowledge, it is born of doing Truth and in the doing, it is known (but never proven). Perhaps not learned ( will have to give more thought to this) but as it is always 'there', it is presented and one can 'take it up' and know/be Truth. Also, perhaps not only seen when the false is discarded but also when the truth is presented in/through another - even by one long dead in her writings, for example. Here we disagree in that, for me, enlightenment is the letting go of self (understood a self-centeredness) but this is not the dissolution of self, rather it is the fulfillment (of self) in Truth; this is Oneness. For if there is self-enlightenment then this suggest there is a self to be enlightened, an illusion to be cast off, but to what end? Is it a letting go of the Absolute into the Absolute? But how and why would this even be? The Absolute is already All. Rather, the self is 'real' (and not only what it appears to be) and enlightenment is the illumination of Reality in the self and the fulfillment of self in Reality (in Christianity, Abundant Life, deification of humanity, Beatific Vision, One with God). Again, here we probably disagree: to say the self is illusion (not what it appears to be) is not to be forced to conclude that the self and all else is fiction; the other option is that the self is more that it seems and is (real). The very notion that all is fiction (meaning the self is not) begs the question: why then is anything necessary; what is the purpose of this fiction? Why is there this fiction? Why does that which is Absolute, Unchanging Truth, need or allow such a fiction. And it the answer is that it is illusion, that is circular. Why then does that which is Absolute, Unchanging Truth, need or allow such illusion? What do you mean by creation and why, in this view, does creation (Absolute Reality?) manifest anything (especially if all that is manifest is fiction), why is there, even the illusion of, time and space if the Absolute is All? Why, if the self is a manifestation of the evolution of consciousness, is there such a manifestation? Joseph, to ask such questions is not stressful, there is no suffering? And why is it possible to ask any questions if the self is not and Reality alone is? Doesn't Reality already know all? The actor knows he is playing a character, but he also knows he is 'other' but not 'separate' as the actors, in that particular play, live, move and act in the same company.The analogy doesn't hold up for me. The movie is someone's production and there are reasons for such productions. Who is the producer of reality and what is the reason for the production? Why is any production necessary or desirable if Reality alone is - and all else is fiction? Why is there such a fiction. why is there even the fiction of a self that sustains itself? This is a question(s) that have never been addressed even though it has been asked on a number of occasions. Finally, if you are saying no one really dies in life, one (among others) admirable thing about Christianity is that it does not make excuses for or ignore suffering. Christianity acknowledges that suffering is real, that we are or can be 'for' those who suffer, and although suffering might not always be overcome, we can do something real with and for those who suffer. It also acknowledges 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. My question remains: why is there fiction in (Absolute) Truth? And, if creation is doing the fabrication, if creation is responsible for the fiction - is creation just another name for The Absolute? If so, then back to my question.
  13. Apologies Joseph, I assumed it was a selection of what you believed and supported. Life does and is happening, for the Christian and others: this is simply an attempt to understand another's position or belief - even if the (Buddhist) statements and the follow up questions are, of necessity, 'founded in duality and time and space and materiality.' I just had a discussion yesterday with a friend who recommended an author who repeatedly referred to mystery (of sin, of incarnation, of trinity, of eucharist, etc.) and I pointed out that there are ways to discuss these beliefs and that they are not as mysterious as some Christians believe. So too, the 'no-self' seems to be a mystery yet I suspect there are some who can approach it by analogy and present others with some understanding. I have no problem with believing (and I actually do believe) that the Godhead or Absolute Reality can only be experienced subjectively - and have talked about this 'truth' when defining faith as relationship in/with Reality - yet still, we are self-conscious beings and our way of knowing, be it illusory or not, is to see, in and through, the world of being and 'see/know' Being and, with such wisdom be able to let others also 'see' (and live) the Reality that IS. Yet, it can only be done as we are able and 'in this life' our way is in duality, time and space. After all, even the term 'no-self' is dualism. If one become enlightened and does not strive to present that enlightenment (as it must be in words, dualistically, as concepts to be considered (and moved through), in time and space) - their enlightenment is useless (and not what it seems) as it does not reflect, or is not, the Reality of the Absolute. I see (apparent) contradictions in the (Buddhist) statement, intimations of true selves that must overcome ignorance and achieve enlightenment. I wonder why Absolute Reality, if it is absolute, is ignorant and needs enlightenment as such movement suggests change in changelessness. I wonder how others explain 'multiple fabricated viewpoints' in absolute changeless reality that alone is.' I wonder who or what is doing the fabricating. I wonder if there is only the Changeless One, why does God fabricate or create - in this view? And I wonder still who is deluded? Can't be the Changeless Reality. And I wonder why is there delusion in Absolute Changeless Reality. I think there is a way to speak of this Truth and ultimately to live/be it. If one does not have an answer, I respect that and, I accept, it is part and parcel of the Christian who says that the Incarnation or Trinity of God is a mystery, that we cannot know. However, man finds himself in wonder and wondering and seeks to know, which also means to do and to be. So, our wondering, our questioning, is overcoming ignorance and is (part of the way of) enlightenment. Life is happening, we are happening.
  14. The Sparrow and Children of God, both novels by Mary Doria Russell
  15. Welcome Mark and I am about to look up your book recommendation. tom
  16. Let me quote you: "....please choose a book that you think represents that our perceptions are not an illusory reflection of reality. Preferably on your bookshelf. And I will go through it on this forum." I wait with bated breath! And so I did present two, even directed you to Hart on several occasions; I enjoyed his chapter on 'Illusion and Reality' that you would have discovered had you kept your commitment.
  17. This was touched on in additional posts and you never cried misunderstanding before. Now a change of tune: sounds like I'm dealing with a Trumpian view of reality.
  18. Also, as expected, the classic dodge. I'll choose the restaurant ..............if you had done the reading you might have been invited as we would have had the review to discuss. But no apology necessary as you fulfilled my expectations; it was a sure thing!
  19. Joseph, if absolute reality alone is, what is 'each-self' that is in a state of self-ignorance and needs self-enlightment? To me to seems like this suggest, in spite of the first line, that there is more to absolute reality. If only the absolute alone is, why is there any delusion in that which is? For lack of a better way to say it, who is or what is deluded? Why or how is there multiple fabricated viewpoints in absolute changeless reality that alone is (suggesting that nothing else is)? This seems contradictory and I am trying to get a handle on it - especially is there is no-self. If reality is absolute, changeless and permanent - an evolutionary process suggests incomplete, change and impermanence??
  20. Exactly what I expected and I just won $50 bucks, so dinner in on you :+} I'll let you pour back over the posts but................again, as expected!!! This too is as expected. This is your opinion and what we have gone over is your belief and, from your own words, not Joseph's. I was asking 'possibility' about her present opinion/belief and ....elaboration. So, my questions stand...........for 'possibility.'
  21. Of course you do - but since we have been over this, I will wait on 'possibility' to whom I directed my inquiry. And also wait while you read Hart as you said you would.
  22. possibility, A couple of questions based on your recent writings and I understand the answers might be elusive at this point - which is fine. 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? And, how do you see yourself, which 'philosophy' speaks most powerfully to you: Christian, Buddhist, a combination or other? Just some questions over morning tea.
  23. thormas

    Heathens! 2

    This is a really good one Burl!
  24. thormas

    I versus i

    what's the difference, for you? they are indeed and he continues - a great read. enjoy
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