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Response to Redwave: Can Mental Reality Theory Reduce Human Suffering?


Redwave posted a question in another thread about whether or not MRT would or could cause less suffering than ERT models, most significantly materialist philosophy.

To respond, let’s first identify what exactly we’re talking about recognizes the distinction between MRT actually being true, and those who believe it to be true. Obviously, if MRT is actually true, one can still believe in External Reality Theory (ERT) and materialism. There may be ERTs that cause less or more suffering, depending on their specific qualities, so the specific question is: would belief in the specific MRT I am making the case for likely generate less suffering than a belief in materialism?

We must also define “suffering” for this conversation. There are many definitions of “suffer” which we would not be able to draw a well-reasoned distinction between MRT vs ERT in terms of quantity or quality. There is, however, one aspect of suffering where there is a clear, arguable difference: mental suffering, such as grief and despair. I think we can agree that grief and despair account for a significant amount of human suffering.

A deeply-rooted MRT belief system would virtually eradicate grief and despair in those that have achieved a thorough acceptance of it by contextualizing their existence and available options in a much different way.

Under materialism, when a loved on dies, they are gone forever. When that love is deep enough, this excruciating grief can last the rest of one’s life. Under my particular MRT, that loved one still exists and is immediately available to continue interaction with and the relationship continues. There would be no grief (of this sort) whatsoever.

One of the main components of despair under materialism is when one considers their situation (or some situation they care deeply about) to be inescapable, not capable of being improved or irreparable in their lifetime. Having a terminal disease, a loved one having a terminal disease, living in abject poverty or hunger with no reasonable path out, the state of the world or the environment, etc, would be examples. Also, there would be the existential despair of facing the end of your existence at death.

Under my MRT, virtually all situations are recognized as locations of experience one can leave and move deliberately towards whatever experiential location we desire. “Getting there” is just a matter of time and applied attention.

I think it is fairly obvious that at least in these cases of suffering, my MRT would very likely eliminate these forms of suffering. Also, I have myself employed my MRT successfully in this manner, and have trained others, similarly suffering and with various belief systems, in the use of MRT techniques to greatly reduce their suffering. So, I’ve personally experimented with it and have had good success.

EDTA, One is free to experience whatever one wishes under MRT. William J Murray
Under MRT, why would we want to avoid suffering anyway? Does it matter whether we suffer or not? If there are no points deducted for suffering (because no one is keeping score), then why does suffering versus not suffering matter? EDTA
Redwave, If you're asking me if the cause of all suffering under MRT is mental, well, of course it is. I'm not committing to the Buddhist list of things that should be considered "suffering," but at least some or perhaps most if it seems fair. If you include enough stuff in the term "suffering," like any pain or some very minor stress, some slight discomfort, a bad mood, etc, it gets a little hard to credit. I currently have an itchy insect bite on my arm; is that "suffering?" If I decide to watch a sad movie and tears well up in my eyes, is that suffering? If you make the definition of a word broad enough it loses value. I don't know what the ultimate remedy to suffering is under Buddhism, or even if there supposedly is one. Under MRT, is there a place we can go that has no discernible suffering? Unless that is logically impossible (and it may be given the sheer breadth of the Buddhist definition,) of course we can. Would we want to? If we got there, would we want to stay? That's another question. Contrasting experiences is what gives any particular experience value. If you're eternally in a state of complete non-suffering, what would that look like? If you felt a level 10 state of happiness an joy one day, and the next you felt a level 9, would that count as "suffering?" If you feel a level 10 state of happiness and joy forever, doesn't that really just become your baseline, ubiquitous experience without any value? My MRT gives us they keys to go anywhere that is logically possible (can't go to a place where 4-sided triangles exist.) I don't think there's anything this perspective does not "subsume" other than the actual existence of an external world. I mean, it subsumes the belief in materialism, but not the "actuality" of world external to mind. William J Murray
William J. Murray. Your summary of suffering and MRT's response to suffering represents a good start, that grief and despair can be effectively addressed and eliminated through MRT techniques. Initially I used the term suffering to represent the first noble truth of Buddhism when there are other English terms that also translate the original Pali term called dukkha. Yet no one English term completely covers the original "sense" of dukkha. While suffering is generally adequate for understanding other concepts refine what dukkha meant for Siddhartha Gautama; for example, that which is stressful, that which does not satisfy, that which is painful, that which binds one, and so on. And postulating the truth of dukkha was only the beginning for Siddhartha, as he continued to teach the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of cessation of suffering and the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering. The interpretation of Siddhartha's original teachings by Nagarjuna, known as the Middle way or Madhyamaka school, carried Buddhist philosophy and logic to what one could consider its inevitable conclusion (consequence): that all things are empty (sunyata) of substance. This is a mental reality theory, an explanation of reality wholey founded in an existential truth of the mind. Please excuse my verbosity, yet I am a religionist rather than a logician, a theologian rather than a philosopher, a scientist rather than a materialist, and MRT, especially the first postulate: All experience is mental, regardless of whether or not anything extra-mental causes or informs it, does not present unquestionable conflicts with religion, theology, or science; and questionable conflicts are capable of reliable answers. Central for my concern, as a religionist, a theologian, a scientist, is the ubiquitous existential occurrences of human suffering. Here suffering is from grief and despair, anger and disgust, fear and anguish, obsession and craving, disease and aging, clinging and stress. Or all suffering is from all experience is mental. And contained within all experience is mental is residing the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering, or by MRT postulate four: "What we actually experience as “reality” is thus necessarily, entirely mental (again, whether or not anything extra-mental causes or informs it.)". If mental reality theory cannot subsume all suffering, it remains a "closed" logical system. Valid - Yes. Remedial - With limitations. Or, extra-mental causes or informs are not eliminated from view. Am I expecting "too much" from MRT by using dukkha as a fundamental argument? redwave
EDTA: I responded to you in that other thread. Let's leave solipsism out of this thread, please, unless it is about the topic in some way. William J Murray
Ah yes, thank you for reminding me. There you say, "...solipsism is not an entailment of MRT, and it is resisted in exactly the same way it is in any coherent theory: faith." While not an entailment, it does seem to place that one additional burden on the person searching for explanations: faith. So solipsism would be the simpler belief to hold to explain everything. EDTA
EDTA, I created a post recently on solipsism, answered your question there. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-boy-who-cried-solipsism-the-mrt-delusion-objection-is-unfounded/ William J Murray
WJM, You may have commented on this before, but what would keep one who accepts MRT from going all the way to solipsism? Doesn't solipsism explain everything MRT does, but with even fewer assumptions still? Who needs all those other algorithms out there messing with data? What if it's just my algorithm, and all the other ones are figments? EDTA
[Redacted - WJM] Sandy
[redacted - WJM] Latemarch
Under my particular MRT, that loved one still exists and is immediately available to continue interaction with and the relationship continues. There would be no grief (of this sort) whatsoever.
Christianity say the same without changing ERT reality. ;) Sandy

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