At IAI News, Riccardo Manzotti, author of The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One (2018), notes that consciousness is the “Hard Problem of Consciousness,” then tells us,
Can we do better? Yes, but only if we challenge our main premise that we are separate from the world. This is what MOI does. The hypothesis is simple: there is a world of physical objects that take place relative to your body – the laptop, the mug, and all the rest. There is no inside and no outside. There is no here and no there. There is just your existence, you, as one would expect in a physical world. Your ‘conscious experience’ of the laptop and the mug is nothing other than the laptop and the mug as they take place relative to your body. So what is your experience? It is the subset of physical objects taking place relative to your body. The mind is identical with the (relative) object. Hence the name of Mind-Object Identity.
So your mind is the laptop, the mug, maybe the toaster you are looking at. There, that solves the problem!
You may also wish to read: Post-modern science: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself
42 Replies to “Whistling into the wind: There is no consciousness problem!”
[continuation from this thread.]
In my view, at the very basis of rationality, there is the free rational person as the one and only valid source for justified beliefs. Somehow worldviews are being erected without taking his status into consideration. This often runs into self-referential incoherence. Case in point metaphysical materialism: when you start with the claim that blind particles in the void are all that exist, you eventually run into the problem that you don’t have a source for justified beliefs.
I must say that your version of idealism also rises my concern about the condition of the free rational person.
For me, this concept is not at all easy to understand, but what is clear to me, is that if there is in fact just one consciousness, then I must be acutely hallucinating. So, if “you” are right, then “I” do not have a trustworthy lucid rational mind.
Particularly worrisome, from an epistemological perspective, is this part about the generation of “what appear to be individual avatars and experiences.” It seems to be further confirmation that, under “your” idealism, “I” am indeed hallucinating.
That’s why I wrote:
But you don’t say why, under the premise of internal idealism, it would rationally follow that you “must be acutely hallucinating.” You might start off by defining what “hallucinating” would mean under internal idealism.
But you don’t say why you would “not have a trustworthy lucid rational mind” under internal idealism.
Again, what is a “hallucination” under internal idealism? You keep using that word as if you know what it would mean in the paradigm you are attempting to criticize by using that word.
If internal idealism is true and there is but one consciousness, then I do not experience reality as it is. For instance, at this moment I am writing a post to someone other than me, namely you. This is necessarily confused if there is but one consciousness.
Origenes @3 said:
Do you experience reality “as it is” now, under your paradigm? How does that work, and how do you verify it?
Millions of people do not find it confusing at all. Perhaps you are mistaking something you personally find confusing for something that is “necessarily” confusing. What is “necessarily” confusing about it?
Is it similarly confusing to you if I say we are all breathing in, and living in, the same single atmosphere? Or do we also need separate atmosphere, perhaps separate ecospheres, so that our individuality is not confused?
Or, are you confused because it is under your paradigm that consciousness is the essence of individuality, and you are mistakenly transposing a concept from your worldview into a discussion about a completely different worldview?
SURELY you are aware of the many beliefs systems that consider EGO the essence of individuality, not “consciousness,” and that if we are freed of EGO we become “one with God,” or the mind of God? That it is ego that causes separation from God (or universal mind) in the first place? That we are all actually God (within, or universal mind) separated into the illusionary external world by individuating egos?
I’m not sure why this perspective, which is really a fairly common worldview (fundamentally speaking,) is so confusing to you. I mean, I don’t see any of this in any religious or spiritual sense, but it’s not like it’s all that hard to understand. Perhaps that’s because I spent so much time involved in Eastern spiritualities when I was younger.
I have to assume that I am a rational free person. Why do you ask?
I did not mean to say that there is anything necessarily confusing about it. What I meant to say is that the mental state that underlies writing a post to someone else, is necessarily a confused mental state, when there is only one consciousness. If there is one consciousness, and this consciousness is not confused, then he would not be writing a post to someone else (at least not from the belief that there is actually someone else).
Who feels freed due to the disappearance of EGO and the oneness with God?
With your EGO gone, when you are no longer separated from God, and actually are God, will you be happy about that? Or are you dissipated as a person? Are you gone, as in “dead”?
Would you say that your “I” is your EGO or your consciousness?
I’m not sure how this answer is related to, much less answers, my question.
Because you said:
… from which I inferred that you have some way determining/validating that you experience reality “the way it is.” Otherwise, how would you know whether or not what you are currently experiencing is reality “the way that it is?”
It sounds like you take it on faith that you are experiencing reality “the way that it is” and that doing so is a necessary prerequisite, in your view, for being a rational person. Is that correct?
I’m not confused about it at all. Just because you and I share the same consciousness doesn’t mean we are the same person any more than you and I sharing the same atmosphere means we are the same person.
I didn’t say anyone “feels” freed. I said “Is” freed. The one consciousness is freed from the egoic filter it was experiencing through. According to the religious/spiritual perspective that I’m using as an example in order to get the idea/model across. The one consciousness is doing this (experiencing through various egoic filters) simultaneously in countless numbers from a higher-dimensional perspective. From that perspective it is possible to do it simultaneously and one at a time at the same time because spcetime is offset per each conscious perspective location described by the individual egoic filter.
That results in one consciousness, countless individuals (with full individual consciousness) interacting with each other in “real time,” at least the “real time” that is experienced at the individual level, egoic level.
I have no intention of finding out. That doesn’t sound like anything I would enjoy. It doesn’t sound like anything I would recognize as me. I enjoy being me far too much to risk it on some endeavor like that.
I would say there’s two ways to answer that, and they’re both good answers.
The more I have explored my mind, the more I realize my personality, thoughts, emotions and psychological states are like clothes I can change pretty much at will. I think of consciousness as an ineffable root source from which all of our individual experiences are empowered. I don’t think there are several billion individual consciousnesses out there, I think there are several billion unique egoic filters that the root, universal consciousness is expressing and experiencing through.
And all of it is within me, because I am that consciousness, as is everyone else.
In the fullness of all of that, am I now talking to myself? Yes, in a sense, I am. I talk to myself all the time, even in the traditional sense. Is there something irrational about it? Not at all. It’s how God keeps itself company 🙂
My experience of reality is such that there are multiple persons. If internal idealism is true, then there is, in fact, but one consciousness, which I understand to be one person. So, if internal idealism is true, I do not experience reality as it is. If in reality there is but one person, then my experience of multiple persons is not in accord with reality.
About certain core issues my experience must be right in order to be a rational person, that is correct. My own existence and that of others are among them.
Our bodies share the same atmosphere, but we most definitely do not share the same consciousness.
The “one consciousness” was temporarily dumbed down by a certain egoic filter? He was temporarily under the impression that he was e.g. Bill Nye ‘the science guy’?
This scenario is extremely worrisome. Is there a rational free person in this role-play dream world?
Excuse me, but the thing is that I experience myself. And no one else but me experiences me. My conscious self-aware state is predicated on self-relationship. No one can impede, and no one can assist me in my act of self-observance; not by looking at me and not by dreaming me.
Moreover, I am not the outcome of some random egoic filter, thank you very much.
As I said before: “In my view, at the very basis of rationality, there is the free rational person as the one and only valid source for justified beliefs. Somehow worldviews are being erected without taking his status into consideration.”
I do not think that your internal idealism satisfies my demand.
– – – –
Your mental adventures, are extremely interesting and, frankly, I envy you for them, but I do not believe that your metaphysics is correct.
Well, fortunately, I judge the “correctness” of my metaphysics by how much it fulfills the reasons for which I choose a metaphysical model. I don’t employ my metaphysical model for its truth value. I don’t choose them based on evidence of their correctness. I chose and employ a metaphysical model for how well it aids me in enjoying my life, or in how much I think it will aid me in that pursuit. Of course, MRT is pretty much the best model for that because under its tenets I can guide my reality experience anywhere I can imagine.
As I told JVL, for me it’s not a matter of being right, it’ a matter of enjoying life. That’s something I absolutely know, and can know – how much I am enjoying my life. By this measure, my model is working far better, far beyond anything I ever imagined possible.
It could certainly all be coincidence and self-delusion, but my enjoyment – my sense of love, joy, enthusiasm, wonder and happiness, satisfaction, the sense of being whole is so overwhelming, a lot of the time I’m absolutely giddy.
I appreciate the conversation! Very enjoyable 😉
I fully agree with everything you said here.
“The “one consciousness” was temporarily dumbed down by a certain egoic filter?”
This is indeed a very good question that plagues all these “universal consciousness” sort of frameworks (such as advaita vedanta, buddhism, panpsychism, pantheism, etc…). There’s never any explanation offered as to why there should be this “error”, “illusion”, “alienation”, “confusion” or “egoic filter” separating the one fundamental consciousness from the individual consciousness that then need to liberate or free themselves from this error/illusion/confusion…
Moreover, as it emerged from your conversation with WJM, this views fail to recognize that consciousness IS first person experience by definition. Therefore, there can not be consciousness without there being a person/self to experience something. Consciousness implies a subject. So if there are different persons, there are different consciousness by definition. Utlimately, the whole thing is incoherent.
“at the very basis of rationality, there is the free rational person as the one and only valid source for justified beliefs.”
I couldn’t agree more !
I ask you to suppose the following scenario:
~ You are a mental unity ontologically distinct from other persons, and the same goes for God and everyone else. Life on earth is a temporal stay in the physical realm designed to be a learning process for conscious self-aware mental unities, like us, aimed at acquiring more self-knowledge and wisdom. Reincarnation is real. Each one is on his/her own path toward self-knowledge and enlightenment. There are spiritual realms that are our true destination and homes. ~
Is this scenario inconsistent with your experiences?
That coming from you makes my day. Thank you.
I’m sure you’ve read or come across many such explanations, but they didn’t count as explanations in your perspective. So, here’s mine, whether or not it counts as such from your perspective.
You lumped “egoic filter” in with other things that are not similar, but which serve to characterize the concept unfairly by association. The egoic filter is not ““error”, “illusion”, “alienation”, “confusion”.” The egoic filter is a tool by which individualized experiences can occur. It is the logic of how individual experience can occur at all, even at the level of thought. It all necessarily begins with the principle of identity.
The egoic filter is just an extension of that basic mental reality. In the case of each individual, there are of course a lot of unique qualities that are all aspects or additional arrangements of this principle of identity. Also, I didn’t say there was any “need” to liberate oneself from this situation; I provided a description that comes from people who share that same general perspective.
Definitional fiat isn’t an argument, it’s just an assertion. It should be obvious that the paradigm of inner idealism requires that the definition of certain fundamental terms have to be changed and understood on their own terms in order to understand the metaphysical theory.
You might as well claim that “reality” is by definition that which exists and has certain qualities regardless of the presence or involvement of any conscious observers. That would just make my proposition “not real” by definition.
That’s not the way I arrange/interpret my experiences. I’m not a spiritual person, and I don’t think in terms of “learning lessons” towards enlightenment. But, nothing you wrote there contradicts any of my experiences. Lots of people have very similar experiences to me and have interpreted them to mean pretty much exactly what you wrote. I can definitely see how someone else who has had these same kinds of experiences would see them in those terms.
“The egoic filter is a tool by which individualized experiences can occur.”
Why does this tool exist ?
A tool used by whom ?
For what ?
“the paradigm of inner idealism requires that the definition of certain fundamental terms have to be changed”
You can change the definitions all you like, but the concepts you use need to make sense and be intelligible. Being couscious implies to be a subject having experiences. Claiming that you can have consciousness without a subject is incoherent and unintelligible to me.
I expect a lot of what I talk about will be incoherent and unintelligible to you, because it appears you – like most others – want for things to be explained to you in terms, often precise terms, of your current ontology and epistemology. That’s not going to happen. To understand another person’s perspective, especially when it radically divergent from your own, at the bare minimum it takes a good faith effort to understand it on their terms. Even then, it can be extremely difficult to overcome those challenges.
So, what I say will likely not make sense to you because you are in an entirely different epistemological and and ontological framework. It’s like speaking two different languages that reference entirely different kinds of concepts.
How can consciousness be without a subject? We call this state the “unconscious,” which is a state of consciousness. There is no “subject” in the state of the unconscious. By “unconscious,” I don’t mean asleep and still having some form of conscious experience such as a dream, even if you forget that experience. The “unconscious” might be said to house infinite information in the form of potential, which translates into “all possible subject/context experiences.”
I’m sure you’ve heard of people that report spiritual experiences where they lose their subjective state and become “one with everything,” where there is no distinction between being “themselves” and being someone else, or a tree or a rock or an animal.
So, it’s not like nobody has ever heard of these things, altered or different states of consciousness. There is also DID, dissociated identity disorder, where there appears to be distinctly separate conscious beings housed within one person’s mind. The are often aware of what is going on in the world of their “main” identity, but also simultaneously are aware of an “inner” world they inhabit.
But, if you want to stick to your strict black and white conceptualization of what consciousness is and is not, the we don’t really have any room for meaningful discussion on the matter.
“So, what I say will not make sense to you”
“We call this state the “unconscious,” which is a state of consciousness.”
This is simply a contradiction, thus it is incoherent. Unconscious means not-conscious. Unconscious is the negation (absence) of consciousness.
All of the alleged experiences you mention (sense of “oneness”, dissociative disorders) all imply a subject having had these experiences, which of course were not unconsciouss because otherwise they could not have been reported since no one would have been aware of them…
“we don’t really have any room for meaningful discussion on the matter.”
I’m afraid you’re right.
:))) Thank you for telling us to ignore all your messages.
Way to be a discussion killer Sandy. You come in here every once in a while and handwave like it’s Facebook. Guess what, it’s not. Do better.
Facebook or not , any discussion that doesn’t involve truth is a nonsense and when somebody is telling you openly that truth is not the highest goal of his discussion then any disscussion with that person is just to kill some time, to consume some energy in an useless way. Our energy and time in this life are limited and not to be wasted.
I think pleasant, interesting conversation is its own good thing, especially if you can connect in a way that makes you and the other person feel happy and appreciated. I mean, a good tale, or a good, funny joke, or just some compliments to others – nothing heady like “pursuit of truth,” but still, IMO, good things in and of themselves.
If I understand you correctly, then the “one consciousness” does not observe itself, and is therefore not in a self-aware state, unless it acquires an identity by means of an egoic filter. Put differently, self-awareness only exists when an egoic filter is in operation. Is that correct?
Who is the “I” in the sentences above? And what is the relationship between the “I” and your personality which “you” can change “pretty much” at will?
Can you choose to hold belief A next Monday, and on Tuesday choose to hold belief B which is in contradiction with belief A?
I couldn’t agree more.
It is with great hesitation that I am edging to the conclusion that many people talk about the world, while unwittingly arrogating to themselves a position completely independent of it.
Those people can say for instance: “there are just particles in the void”, without even blinking an eye. In their rational experience what they are saying has NOTHING to do with themselves. Somehow, they experience themselves in a realm completely independent of what is being discussed. When one does not share this tendency, then one can only observe in amazement.
That amazement only intensifies when people show that they can also speak about themselves while apparently not being aware that it is about themselves …. I suggest that claims like “I do not exist”, “I lost all sense of subjectivity and was one with everything”, and “I am multiple persons” fall into that category. For some psychological reason, many people have great trouble giving themselves the proper place in their stories.
An important element of your metaphysics is that things aren’t going anywhere. There is no goal. In essence, nothing will ever change.
But when we look at the world, and ourselves, we have a definite perception of things that can be improved. So, how is it ‘enjoyable’ to think that there will be no improvement ever, that things have no direction?
And how can you interpret the following quote NOT in the context of “learning lessons” toward an improved state of self-knowledge?
You are correct of course.
However, [WJM correct me if I am wrong here], it seems to me that in his view he had a choice to make between multiple coherent worldviews. Given that, his choice to go with the most ‘enjoyable’ one makes sense. Indeed why not?
Perhaps, there is a question for us in there:
If there are multiple coherent worldviews, and each could be true, on what basis did we choose?
you should accompany Murray on his Astro Travel trips to other universes.
They leave from south central Texas where he lives. Right near the Walmart where he buys his food.
The proper place according to what? Your diagram of how to write a story?
You’ll have to show me where I said that and in what context. Are you mixing up the idea of a universal goal with personal goals? Because I have personal goals I work towards every day. I don’t think of my doing that in terms of any universal progression towards some universal spiritual ascension or enlightenment. I think of it in terms of hunting for and finding the best psychological landscape in terms of my personal enjoyment.
I keep multiple worldviews on deck. The external physical world worldiew is usually the best one for normal conversations and interactions with most people. It’s the one the language was built to serve and protect. I use the MRT for doing mind exploration, reality direction, psychology shifting, and some conversations.
There’s no reason to have only one worldview I can use. Like I said before, it’s not something I invest in as “true.” The MRT worldview is what provides all the really deep and rich enjoyment, though.
WJM @26, Jblais
My ‘diagram’ to avoid self-referential incoherence. Perhaps I wasn’t clear:
Self-referential incoherence comes in several forms:
1. A claim can be directly self-defeating because it can be applied to itself. (e.g. “a true statement does not exist”)
2. A claim about metaphysics can be such that it doesn’t allow for a rational person with justified beliefs. (e.g. “only particles in the void exist”)
3. A claim about oneself can be such that it is in contradiction with oneself as a self-aware rational person. (e..g. “I do not exist”)
You didn’t seem to spot that your examples fall under the third category when you wrote:
As Jblais explained:
Nice to see WJM is back.
There is the ‘one consciousness’, who has self-aware experiences through several billion unique egoic filters. I took this as a permanent state without a transcendent (universal) goal — “It’s how God keeps itself company.”
Personal enjoyment can be a goal in itself. How would you describe this goal in terms of your theory? Does the “one consciousness” improve his personal enjoyment by getting better at “switching” between egoic filters? Or is there, in fact, no switching?
Or, is the improvement towards more personal enjoyment in the egoic filters? Are they becoming more suitable for personal enjoyment somehow?
Or is there no overall increase in personal enjoyment, and are you simply reporting from a relatively enjoyable egoic filter among many less enjoyable egoic filters?
This may be where we’re going to have a language and/or conceptual issue. Perhaps I can use an analogy; “universal consciousness” is like saying H2O, but there are different forms of H2O, and everything in reality is made of some form of H2O. At different times I will be talking about different states of the universal consciousness, but in the end all there is to talk about is universal consciousness. It's the actual monism that everything is constructed in and out of, so to speak. There is no “other” substance, and it isn’t even a substance in our classical understanding of that term.
Ultimately, all one can do is describe one's experience. That is literally all we have, and it is entirely self-referential and what you experience is dependent on how you describe it. So, I can describe what is going on any number of ways, but there is no "true" way to describe it because all descriptions depend entirely upon one's personal perspective and experience. Also, language – anY language – is more of a barrier to understanding than it is a help, because some of this can only be understood in a different way, a kind of psychological sensation that is similar to intuition or clairsentience. Heinlein used the term "grok."
So: universal mind as universal mind is not an aware consciousness. It is better understood as the infinite unconsciousness that is within all of us. You might think of each individual as a dot on the surface of a sphere. Each dot represents the surface appearance of a unique pattern of thoughts that go down into the layer of the subconscious beneath, and further down into the deep unconscious. This “pattern of thoughts” is the full egoic filter that is connected to information at the subconscious and unconscious levels.
So, it depends on what you mean by “the one consciousness.” Universal mind in it’s fullness is all possible experiences at once. But the wholeness, the collection of all possible experiences is itself not an experience. Any experience logically requires an experiencer and that which is experienced, and the two must be identifiable in some way from each other. Even if it is a thought, there is the thinker and the thought the thinker is experiencing. If the thinker and the thought are “the same thing,” then there is no experience to be had.
That is the logical, fundamental root of all experiential perspectives. Nothing can be experienced as “the fullness of the one consciousness” because there would be no distinction between the experiencer and what is experienced – they are ultimately the same thing. So the fullness of the one consciousness is not experiencing anything nor is it trying to accomplish anything. It exists (in it’s full state) as something that can be described as “unconscious” or “infinite potential.”
So, every possible arrangement of this consciousness fullness already exists in it. I am one of those arrangements. You are another arrangement. These arrangements provide for individuality, a distinction between experiencer and the experienced.
The egoic filter, which is a very complex thought structure, – you might call it a crystalline pattern of ice freezing and unfreezing in a vast pool of water – is a constantly fluctuating thing as we change in our spacetime experience. Spacetime is a necessary aspect of individuality for logical reasons. Logic, math and geometry are the fundamental physics of mind and dictate how we can experience. I would say there is another member of the fundamental physics of the mind party – enjoyment – but I think that would be a little controversial, whereas I don’t think those others would be.
So yes, I personally have all sorts of goals and desires, but the fullness of universal consciousness can’t because it doesn’t have a perspective or experience of any sort. It’s the ground of existence for beings that are beings of perspective and experience. It can also be said that it is through individuals that universal mind has ever possible experience. The two statements may seem to contradict each other, but they are both good descriptions that look at the same thing two different ways, from two different perspectives.
Origenes quoted Jblais:
This is related to the questions Origenes asks @21:
…and to the description I gave @31.
The root of all individual experience are the fundamental, logical principles of identity. IOW, there must be an identifiable distinction between the experiencer and what is experienced. A “being” that is all of everything simultaneously cannot have, in that fullness of itself, an experience. You and I are having experiences, and we are parts of “everything,” and we are not aware of “everything.” We do not simultaneously experience everything as ourselves. So within universal consciousness, aspects of universal consciousness can have aware experiences as individuals. This is why the distinction of self is often called an “illusion” in certain spiritual communities.
Origenes and Jblais are right to say that if you truly lost all sense of self by eliminating the egoic filter entirely, there would be no self to make a report and no experience to report even if the same self “re-emerged” later. This is what true “unconsciousness” is, and why there is a lack of experience or even self to report, no dreams, no sensations.
So, what is the sense of being “one with everything” for example? IMO, this is a reported experience when one succeeds in stripping away, through various practices or techniques, all but the very basic, fundamental aspects of the egoic filter, at least to the point where they see those aspects as intrinsic aspects of their “self.”
For example, I don’t hold beliefs as “true.” My concept of a belief is “to act as if true, but not hold as true.” Also, I see my personality and behaviors as things I can move around and change, like wearing different clothes for different tasks, or using different tools depending on the job at hand. IMO, this is the result of reducing size or complexity, and the intensity, of my egoic filter. I don’t see myself as “one person,” but more like a swiss army knife of a person.
If I were to reduce that egoic filter all the way down to the nub, down to the bare necessary components of identity, spacetime, and whatever bare motivation is necessary to qualify as an individual agency – down to the fundamental self-other equation without any frills, so to speak – I would experience what would feel like a “loss of self” in comparison. I would exist at the core level required for any and all “selfness,” or the root of all individual “selves.” I think that is the “oneness with everything” that is being reported.
IMO there’s a limit to how much you can reduce the egoic filter and have any conscious experience at all, but you can reduce it to the point where your experience is very different from what we normally consider to be the subjective individual self. This is the area of descriptions offered by mystics and poets because it’s just not amenable to reduction into normal language, but rather only in sensations that some forms of language might induce in people. There are experiences that cannot be conveyed by the meaning of the words. I cannot use words to describe what love or an orgasm feels like, not in any meaningful sense. There are sensations and experiences that one can write whole books about, trying to describe, but for those who have not had those experiences, no amount of words will make them understand. It will probably all sound like nonsense.
Thanks for what?
Also, I’m not interested in stripping away all of the egoic filter, just enough where I have better personal capacity and opportunity to enjoy my existence. It’s a balancing act; strip away too much and you basically lose almost all motivation and you’re unable to enjoy just about anything even if almost nothing really bothers you. I got to experience that for about 24 hours and I decided I had gone too far.
Do you believe it to be true that you don’t hold beliefs as “true”?
Do you believe it to be true that your concept of a belief is “to act as if true, but not hold as true”?
Who/what is the “I” in this story? Can you also change/switch your “I”? Or is the same “I” present in all scenarios?
I’m not talking about fundamental things like “I exist” or “I experience.” I’m sure there are some other things I could come up with, but that’s not the point. Let’s just say that there is a very large number of things that other people believe in as true that I don’t believe in that way. As I said before, I don’t really care if it’s true or not as long as it appears to deliver enjoyment.
This is what happens when you’re trying to convince someone else of something or win an argument. You look for ways of demonstrating some perceived error of thought instead of trying to actually understand what the other guy is trying to describe.
I’ve described that about as well as I care to attempt.
It depends on how you look at it.
BTW, I thought of an example of when you experience something that is not just from your subjective perspective. It’s when you recognize a self-evident truth, something that is necessarily true for every conscious entity, like the principle of identity or 1 + 2 = 3 or triangles have 3 sides. Those things exist at that fundamental level I described previously. There is a sensation there that is you at the same root level of individuality that everyone shares. That’s a tiny piece of that “oneness with everyone” I was talking about.
WJM @36 ,Jblais
I do not understand you here. Can you give an example of a belief that you hold because it gives you enjoyment, but that is likely, not true?
As far as I can see, if there is no “I” in all scenarios, then there is no one who can report the scenarios. This is essentially the same reasoning offered by Jblais, which you quoted at the beginning of #32.
That is a truly interesting thought. I have to think about that.
Allow me to describe an internal experience of my own that may have some connection with the things under discussion:
Several years ago I noticed that “the other” played a prominent role in my mode of thinking. In my case, “the other” could be anyone; a friend, my mother, my girlfriend, ‘the people’, and so on. At one point I noticed that by default, I looked at things from the perspective of the other. It was something that I at some point became aware of, most likely this had been the case most of my life. Their (assumed) values and their (assumed) perspective shaped my thoughts to a point that it seriously started to bother me.
I realized that something was off, that something did not make sense. Surely, it should be different, I should think from my perspective by default and on occasion reflect on how things are for others and not the other way around.
The prominent position of the other in one’s mind can be described as an almost constant monitoring of one’s social status. It leads to a continual awareness of one’s social position relative to others. Could it be that others call this the “EGO” I wonder? Note that this here is supposed to be my question, this is my somewhat desperate attempt to understand some of the things you are talking about.
BTW things have much improved since then. My ‘deprogramming’ sprang from my new awareness of the “problem of the prominent other”. With my newfound awareness as a detection tool, I started to correct my thinking again, again, and again. Also, I started with an occasional meditation of some kind, which helped me restore/purify my relationship with myself. No more “incorporated other”, just me and myself. It sure is a good thing. And BTW, no “oneness with everything”, no sir, quite the opposite. In hindsight, the position with the prominent other may have come somewhat closer to something like that.
Do you mean that others would consider likely not true? I’ll assume you mean that, since that’s the only way that question makes sense to me wrt what I wrote.
Remember, by “beliefs” I mean that I acted as if true. Many, many other people told me that it is impossible to overcome the grief I was experiencing, that the best I could hope for was in time I would get used to it and be able to “move on.” I was told it was impossible to continue my relationship with her, or that such a relationship could ever be as fulfilling and enjoyable. Other people did not believe it was true that she still existed, that I actually visit with her.
But I acted as if those things were possible. Every single day I acted in that manner. I will admit that even I didn’t think that outcome was possible, but I acted like it was possible nonetheless. I acted like it was happening “right now” – pretending, imagining, visualizing, talking out loud to her, pouring a cup of coffee for her every morning, etc.
I have been in a state of enjoying this “transdimensional” relationship for years now. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve experienced so many things I did not even know were things that could be experienced. Someone suggested we start a support group for people whose romantic partner died and the remaining partner wanted to stay in a committed relationship with their dead person. I thought that such a group would surely fail – in fact that’s the only reason I agreed to co-found the group. I thought maybe at most it would have a dozen people.
Today that group has over 1600 members. Many have reached out to say that my books or the group saved their lives because there was absolutely no support for their desire to remain in their relationship with their dead partner. Like me, they had no idea that any of this was possible – that we could actually redevelop a happy, enjoyable, fulfilling relationship with them.
If you had asked about any of this happening after my wife died, I would have thought you were absolutely crazy. Nobody that I had ever met or encountered in those early days believed it was true that someone could do this, that it was even a possible thing, including me, but I kept acting, every day, as best I could, that it was true. I kept programming myself every day that it was true, even though my heart breaking every day and the despair I felt insisted that it was not.
I hope that answers your question.
I’m not here to tell others what their experiences mean to them. From what I’ve read, the “oneness with everything” is not a worry about what others are thinking of them, or really a worry about anything at all. It’s reportedly a very peaceful and serene experience where that somehow helps you realize that everything is fine, but there aren’t any words that can describe it adequately. These experiences are things that cannot be reconstructed into language because they cannot really be described in terms of anything else.
It’s like trying to get someone to “see” a self-evident truth for what it is – self-evident. Here’s a question for you: you and I know the first principle of logic is a universal, inviolable truth. You might call it an objective fact of mind. How do we know this? I mean, if were are just subjective, first-person entities, how can we possibly know this? What are we accessing beyond first-person, subjective experience that is giving us this other kind of experience, this mental sensation of universal, inviolable truth?
I appreciate that you have gone through a journey of changing the structure of your mind for your benefit. However, you have demonstrated that “you” are not these structures; “you” are something behind these structures.
Perhaps this is similar, but after I did that kind of thing for the first time, I realized that the “I” was not a particular personality, nor was it a physical body in a certain location in spacetime. The real “I” was the observer/experiencer of those things, but was not what any particular arrangement of those things was at any particular time or location. IOW, “I” am not defined by the 10 yr old me with certain thoughts, personality, in a particular time and location, any more than my “I” was any other spacetime/personality structure. Those are just things the real “I” experiences and can, to one degree or another, move around and change.
So, my “I” value is not defined by me looking and acting or thinking and feeling any particular way. The “I” Is something beyond and behind ALL of that. IT’s really not that much of a stretch from understanding this to understanding how that same “I” can be behind every sentient experience for all sentient beings. At least not for me.
WJM @ 39, 40
A very impressive and touching story. Your love for her truly knows no bounds. I would not have been among those who have told you that contact is impossible, because I witnessed contact with a deceased person once, which was extremely convincing.
In my view, the law of identity, A=A, is exactly and directly derivative from subjective experience, namely A=A is an abstraction from “I” = “I”. And of course closely related: “I” is not “not-I”. In my view, the concept of identity is only intelligible for an “I”, that is a subjective, first-person entity. Every time we see a ‘whole’ and identify a single coherent thing in what often consists of many distinct parts, we project from our own unitary subjective existence, the “I”.
I agree. However, the self-awareness of “I” can differ, it can be underdeveloped and it can be improved.
In #38 I forgot to report the following: self-awareness, the degree of contact one has with oneself, often correlates with who one talks to. To state the obvious: an imaginary (or real) conversation with God triggers a deeper contact with oneself, than a casual conversation with the grocery salesman. My point is that, in order to improve contact with oneself and diminish the role of the ‘prominent other’ (which I discussed earlier), a step in the right direction is to have conversations (imaginary or real) with someone who intimately knows you; God is a likely candidate for many.
The “I” is the ‘form’ encapsulating it’s ‘content.’
// On self-aware consciousness. //
Self-awareness presupposes a consciousness that observes itself because awareness comes from observing.
It cannot be multiple things:
If A observes B, then A is not aware of A. So, it must be that A observes A.
However, one is conscious of being conscious. Put differently, one is consciously aware of being consciously aware.
It cannot start with a non-self-aware thing:
Suppose a video camera observes itself aided by a mirror. There is no self-awareness here precisely because it starts from a non-self-aware thing.
So, here is the enigma: somehow, it is self-aware consciousness that observes itself. Somehow, self-awareness starts with self-awareness.