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Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

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Just now, romansh said:

There is a handy dandy search function for you thormas. Type in the word "read" and hit the magnifying glass icon. 

You will find I have not used the word "read" in conjunction with Hart

Let the fingers do the walking

Apology accepted and can I choose the restaurant?¬†ūüėČ

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!

 

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Just now, thormas said:

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!

 

So you have no evidence. When presented with the evidence against your position, you accuse me of a dodge?

 

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OK thormas I tracked down the source of your confusion. 

I suggested we do a book review together. You suggested Hart amongst others. But you declined doing the review together and you suggested I read it by myself. 

I like my lamb medium rare.

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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. 

 

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21 minutes ago, romansh said:

I suggested we do a book review together. You suggested Hart amongst others. But you declined doing the review together and you suggested I read it by myself. 

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.

 

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On 6/26/2018 at 9:32 AM, romansh said:

There is a handy dandy search function for you thormas. Type in the word "read" and hit the magnifying glass icon. 

You will find I have not used the word "read" in conjunction with Hart

Let the fingers do the walking … evidence wins out all the time.

Apology accepted and can I choose the restaurant?¬†ūüėČ

 

Hello Romansh,

this is Mark from the Agnostics site.  I was just going to post that I'm now doing Pilates twice a week so I wonder whether that will add to or subtract from my narcissism.  But now I'd rather catch up with you.

I think I've evolved in my thinking about God and religion to the point where I am a believer in "something more", which I think is the basis for the prevalence of God belief.  But I don't think that something more had any role in the creation of either the cosmos or of life (so as far as external Gods are concerned who create the empirical world but dwell elsewhere, I'm still an atheist).  Rather, I think belief in God fits because consciousness is fully capable of manifesting as more than ones personal sense of identity.  In addition to the conscious mind with its concept of who we are, consciousness may well produce the something-more which is thought of as God as a byproduct.  That would put it on par with who we think we are and no less real.  But I certainly don't think it is just like conscious us.

I imagine this internal God as an earlier iteration of consciousness, still at work putting the world together as we experience it with our conscious minds.  Just as in the physical brain, the reptilian brain is overlaid by the limbic brain which itself is overlaid by the frontal lobes, so our waking consciousness is but one center of agency.  The manifestation of consciousness which gives rise to God belief is active in dreams, prayers, reflection, creativity, inspiration and intuition.  And, to the degree we are open to Its influence it informs our sense of what really matters and has meaning for us.  Our conscious minds are fairly rudderless or arbitrary but is and needs to be informed by the rest of consciousness. 

I think it is this part of consciousness which must be satisfied to find fulfillment in life.  So in a sense, we work for It as much as It works for us by doing so many things below the surface to free up our conscious minds to perform the abstract, rational weighing of hypotheticals for which we were created/evolved.  I think we have been created or evolved to serve the function of CEO for consciousness.  But we are answerable to the full board and can be over ruled if we don't heed its direction.

Any how good to find you again online.  By the way, I'm driving up to Vancouver in September with the dogs for a few days to meet the missus who will be finishing up at a conference.  We will spend three nights in Vancouver and then three nights in Washington on Bainbridge island and three nights in Oregon before getting back to home in Berkeley, California.  

Edited by MarkD

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Thomas,

I believe i referenced the site  so one can read more . I do not represent myself as a Buddhist though i find many similarities in my experiences. I was offering a read of the site to Rom because of some of his comments on Buddhists.

You ask who is deluded ....  in a previous post i said  basically that self is an illusion. Buddhism as i referenced speaks of it as a delusion from some of its oldest manuscripts. (Pali Canon) Man is phenomenon. In reality there is no one there as self. self to me is an illusion.  I can't help you understand no-self. Your questions are founded in duality and time and space and materiality . Absolute reality / God / The unconditioned seems to me  can only be radically subjectively experienced from that view rather than conceptualized..

Allow life to happen. 

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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. 

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

snip

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. 

snip

Perhaps it can't be accomplished in duality, time and space. Perhaps one must must let go of all concepts to get beyond them. In my view understanding is not a requirement even though i would agree it sometimes may make it easier. One can only go so far with reason and logic.   Enlightenment seems to me more a letting go rather than an accumulation of knowledge. As i mentioned in another thread, one of the things i see as obscuring ones realization is the axiom/positionality or belief that  'The mind is capable of recognizing and comprehending truth from falsehood' . I do not believe it is capable. Truth , which is always there is not learned. Rather it is seen or one could say illuminated when enough of that which is false is discarded. In my view, self-enlightenment is the dissolution of self not the self becoming enlightened. 

Quote

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.

I didn't see that contradiction you mention as it said itself (absolute changeless Reality) alone is . All else is make believe fiction... meaning the self is not. The self sustaining itself is fiction. It does not exist except as a manifestation of creation conceptualized in time and space. You want to know what or who is doing the fabrication. . Its creation. Its a manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. When you ask me if there is a self or no self i  say no self but it is best to avoid the question as inferences will be drawn that only lead to stress and a Buddhist might say to suffering.

It might help to picture life as a movie and you are attached  to a character in it so that you believe you are both that character and separate from the others. The reality being you are neither separate nor that character. Though It appears real enough with the drama of people dying , starving, and  smitten by countless struggles and suffering, no one really dies and the many are in reality One and shines as Absolute Being.

Quote

So, our wondering, our questioning, is overcoming ignorance and is (part of the way of) enlightenment. Life is happening, we are happening. 

Perhaps part of the story.

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2 hours ago, JosephM said:

Perhaps it can't be accomplished in duality, time and space. Perhaps one must must let go of all concepts to get beyond them. In my view understanding is not a requirement even though i would agree it sometimes may make it easier. One can only go so far with reason and logic.   Enlightenment seems to me more a letting go rather than an accumulation of knowledge. As i mentioned in another thread, one of the things i see as obscuring ones realization is the axiom/positionality or belief that  'The mind is capable of recognizing and comprehending truth from falsehood' . I do not believe it is capable. Truth , which is always there is not learned. Rather it is seen or one could say illuminated when enough of that which is false is discarded. In my view, self-enlightenment is the dissolution of self not the self becoming enlightened. 

Quote

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). 

3 hours ago, JosephM said:

I didn't see that contradiction you mention as it said itself (absolute changeless Reality) alone is . All else is make believe fiction... meaning the self is not. The self sustaining itself is fiction. It does not exist except as a manifestation of creation conceptualized in time and space. You want to know what or who is doing the fabrication. . Its creation. Its a manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. When you ask me if there is a self or no self i  say no self but it is best to avoid the question as inferences will be drawn that only lead to stress and a Buddhist might say to suffering.

It might help to picture life as a movie and you are attached  to a character in it so that you believe you are both that character and separate from the others. The reality being you are neither separate nor that character. Though It appears real enough with the drama of people dying , starving, and  smitten by countless struggles and suffering, no one really dies and the many are in reality One and shines as Absolute Being.

Quote

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.

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13 hours ago, thormas said:

 

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.

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.

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

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.

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. 

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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¬†ūüė䬆Artificial intelligence can raise questions, perhaps you are a computer subroutine?

 

Edited by JosephM
PS

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

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.

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 :+}

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On 26 June 2018 at 8:43 PM, thormas said:

A coupleÔĽŅÔĽŅ of questions based on your recent writings and I understand the answers might be elusive at this point - which is fine.ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

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 theÔĽŅ¬†self searches for self but it actually doesn't exist ("beyond the fear of its non-existence¬†ÔĽŅand¬†coming to terms with 'not self'") what or who is doing the search?

ÔĽŅ¬†if self is illusion, what is the reality (at least in your present understanding)?ÔĽŅ

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.

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5 hours ago, possibility said:

First, thanks 'possibility' for the thought and the response. And, having finished it and looking back, it is longer than intended but I will let it stand as I wanted to respect and respond to what you have written.

I, agree that language is limited as evidenced by the examples you have given. And I have always like O'Henry's words: "tis what I feel but can't define, tis what I know but can't express."

There is another saying that goes to your belief: "God is the Dance, we are the dancers." I wonder though (and am still pondering this), do we contribute to the dance or do we simply dance? I always thought when reading this that 'in the end' there is only Dancing or perhaps as you said, "only the Dance is."

7 hours ago, possibility said:

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.

 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.

7 hours ago, possibility said:

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.

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.

7 hours ago, possibility said:

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.

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.

9 hours ago, possibility said:

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. 

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. 

9 hours ago, possibility said:

it's the structure of language that collapses this potentiality¬†into either/or,¬†preventing¬†awareness of the both/and possibilitiesÔĽŅ. 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.

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. 

9 hours ago, possibility said:

The ultimate aim of communication is to share and interconnect subjective experiences - to interact and recognise in the 'other' a single, divided consciousness, an element of the dance...

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?

9 hours ago, possibility said:

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 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.

 

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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)...

On 1 July 2018 at 2:46 AM, thormas said:
On 30 June 2018 at 3:33 PM, possibility said:

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 guessÔĽŅÔĽŅ here, I need an example, because we are still using language to connect ÔĽŅaÔĽŅnd shareÔĽŅÔĽŅ.ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ¬†

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...

Quote

TheÔĽŅ¬†self does exist but it is not what it seems ‚Ķ and we have been over this many timeÔĽŅs. This is why I disagreed with Joseph when he said "no self".

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?

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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.

 

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

Snip

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.

 

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. ūüėä

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8 minutes ago, JosephM said:

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. ūüėä

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 :+}

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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..

Edited by JosephM
added PS

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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)..

8 hours ago, JosephM said:

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.

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.

8 hours ago, JosephM said:

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..

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? :+}

Edited by thormas

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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?

whyÔĽŅ¬†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?¬†¬†¬†ÔĽŅ

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.ÔĽŅ"¬†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...

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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. 

18 hours ago, possibility said:

.... absolute potentiality can only be when observed in its refraction through the lens of spacetime.

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

18 hours ago, possibility said:

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.ÔĽŅ"¬†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?

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.

 

19 hours ago, possibility said:

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.

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. 

19 hours ago, possibility said:

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. 

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. 

20 hours ago, possibility said:

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. 

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!

20 hours ago, possibility said:

which IS potentiality (its non-subjective existence outside spacetime, prior to observation): absolute, changeless and without substance as such. 

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?

20 hours ago, possibility said:

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...ÔĽŅ

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.

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Thanks again Thormas.
I apologise for another exceedingly long post in reply, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this...
 
On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

ReligionÔĽŅ, at its core,¬†is not about¬†searching for something to name, to know

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.

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

TheÔĽŅ 'flaw' is, again, that atheism defines¬†god as a being, even a supreme being. ReligioÔĽŅn, actually all theistic religions believe¬†"God" or Being is not a thing (among other things) bÔĽŅut the 'Unnameable Mystery' that is the¬†very possibility of all things: it is onÔĽŅtologically¬†prior to, it is¬†the very possibility of all that 'is.' ÔĽŅ

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.

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

TÔĽŅhÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅe 'evidence standpoint' also misses this point: evidence is of¬†things, there is no evidÔĽŅence 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?ÔĽŅ

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.

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

HoweverÔĽŅ the idea of self or person as consciousness in matter which is energy in motion doesn't sound particularly alarming.¬†ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ

What about the idea that consciousness is simply the interaction of this energy in motion?

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

WhatÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ I'm saying is this is a contradiction in terms: that which¬†is Absolute¬†has no potentiality: its essence aÔĽŅnd its existence are¬†one and the same. ÔĽŅTheÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ AÔĽŅbsolutÔĽŅe does not have potentiality because it alÔĽŅready is (i.ÔĽŅe.¬†ActuÔĽŅÔĽŅality) therefore if there is potentiality, it is not on the part, so to speak, of the AbsoluteÔĽŅ, it is cÔĽŅreÔĽŅationÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ

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.

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

WellÔĽŅ, 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 orderÔĽŅ¬†to catch a zebra. However, doesn't evolution suggest more that such action as you have definÔĽŅed 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 (MaÔĽŅslow).

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....

On 9 July 2018 at 6:59 AM, thormas said:

If RealityÔĽŅ 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 aÔĽŅnd change, who is the illusory one who writes in these posts to whom I respond? Can't be the Absolute!ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

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

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