On consciousness

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.

Re: On consciousness

Postby Dennis Mahar » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:23 am

thinker with a thought.
what role do you think a mind might have in splitting it up and putting it back together.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:45 pm

cousinbasil wrote:I am talking about causality - I am having difficulty with your definition, since my observation is most things do not influence most other things in any way. It may be argued, but it is quite reasonable to assume that most things cannot influence most other things.


That is because you define influence in an extremely narrow way. You're trying to include specific influences within your scope of knowledge, instead of widening your scope of knowledge in order to see the big picture.

Besides, the idea that some things cannot influence other things is nonsensical in itself. If A doesn't influence B, then A would still have an influence on B by keeping B in a state of not being influenced by it, or by allowing other things to influence it in its place.

Look - I can imagine a star forming that is so far away, its light will never reach me. How do I cause this thing? How does it cause me?


You answered this question below:

If A is a tiny pebble, then this logic must also be saying the tiny pebble also causes everything besides itself.


I have mentioned light cones in other threads. You are implying what is called elsewhere, the region of space-time lying outside the light-cone of an event, must be a perfect void, entirely empty of forms, because it is precisely the definition of elsewhere that it consists of all things and events which cannot influence a given event.


The elsewhere causes that which is not the elsewhere, even if it is an "empty void". So its definition cannot be that it is comprised of things that cannot influence other things.

you seem to be ignoring the very nature of a causal relationship both between things and between events concerning things. So my point is just that I do not think your definition is very useful or descriptive of reality.


I'm describing the essence of *all* causal relationships, so I'm describing *all* of reality instead of fragments of it.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:11 pm

jupiviv wrote:That is because you define influence in an extremely narrow way. You're trying to include specific influences within your scope of knowledge, instead of widening your scope of knowledge in order to see the big picture.
Obviously my definition of influence is narrower than yours. There is a reason for that, which I have stated. Because it is not possible to know all the specific influences of an effect, all its causes, to me there is no reason to claim everything else its set of causes. Virtual particles come into and out of existence all the time, everywhere; simultaneity itself is relative; there is no definitive viewpoint which can even say if A or B came first for every A and B. I reject your "big picture" because it is scientifically, rationally, and even philosophically unsound: For A to be a cause of B, it must temporally precede B. This makes my definitions much more precise and useful.

Besides, the idea that some things cannot influence other things is nonsensical in itself. If A doesn't influence B, then A would still have an influence on B by keeping B in a state of not being influenced by it, or by allowing other things to influence it in its place.
I am hoping you can see the blatant contradiction in this. "If A doesn't have an influence on B, then A would still have an influence (on B)..."

Jup, thing A cannot be keeping thing B in any state whatsoever, because it cannot affect B in any way by definition. You are talking about the square circle and making it a postulate. Surely you must admit that if this is the big picture, it consists of a lot of hand-waving. I'll give you this, you do say "by my definition" a lot, as in "if one accepts my definitions, then I am correct." What would be a reason to accept them, if they do not correspond to observation?
The elsewhere causes that which is not the elsewhere, even if it is an "empty void". So its definition cannot be that it is comprised of things that cannot influence other things.
I think you are missing the point. If a region A is an elsewhere to region B, then B is one to A. There is no physical reason to assume either of them is a perfect void. The definition is not that things in region A cannot influence other things - it is that they cannot influence things in region B. Huge difference.

This is what I mean by failing to keep in mind there are levels of reality. To understand special relativity takes a little effort, but the theory itself has been overwhelmingly confirmed by experiment. It is not a large intellectual feat from there to constructing "light-cones." That one can think about these things requires the usual mental mechanisms. Such as a light cone is a light cone; there are things that are not light cones; and that a light cone is not one of the things that are not itself. In a logical sense, the concept of the interior of a light cone causes the concept of the elsewhere, since this is the very distinction one is making. But try to keep in mind the different levels of reality, jupiviv: It is not the concepts of light cones and the formation of those concepts we are discussing, but the "out there" physical reality they describe. Again, I am speaking of physical, spatial-temporal reality when I speak of causes, not mental appearance of forms. That we can both be making contradictory factual observations indicates we are not speaking about the same level: same topic, different page.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby movingalways » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:17 am

Dennis Mahar wrote:thinker with a thought.
what role do you think a mind might have in splitting it up and putting it back together.


This is what we are doing in every moment we are thinking, this reconciling of our division of [thought of] reality. If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that once we've said "this", "this" no longer exists. We try to retrieve it, to reconstruct its "gestault" [to use your word] in our effort to 'see' its hidden truth, but to no avail. Thought comes, thought goes, what it is, no one knows. This is why to have compassion for all sentient beings, including oneself, is, at the end of the day, the only sane and ultimately, wholesome world view.

The mind chases the carrot, the heart eats the carrot. Infinite carrots, one taste.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby Cathy Preston » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:09 am

movingalways wrote:
Dennis Mahar wrote:thinker with a thought.
what role do you think a mind might have in splitting it up and putting it back together.


This is what we are doing in every moment we are thinking, this reconciling of our division of [thought of] reality. If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that once we've said "this", "this" no longer exists. We try to retrieve it, to reconstruct its "gestault" [to use your word] in our effort to 'see' its hidden truth, but to no avail. Thought comes, thought goes, what it is, no one knows. This is why to have compassion for all sentient beings, including oneself, is, at the end of the day, the only sane and ultimately, wholesome world view.

The mind chases the carrot, the heart eats the carrot. Infinite carrots, one taste.


You've just declared your belief that compassion is the correct world view for this moment and every moment to come. It just seems like you're defending an unnecessary belief. Can we even know what compassion looks like in any given moment? If compassion arises within the context of the moment, there is absolutely no way to predetermine what it looks like.

No carrots, no heart, no taste, just this.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:34 am

cousinbasil wrote:Because it is not possible to know all the specific influences of an effect, all its causes, to me there is no reason to claim everything else its set of causes.


You are confusing two separate ideas. The fact that we do not know the specific causes of a thing does not mean that we can't know that it is caused by everything else. "Everything else" is a category into which we put all the specific causes of a thing. As I said, there is no reason to exclude any single thing from this category, apart from the thing which is said to be caused by it of course.

For A to be a cause of B, it must temporally precede B.


Not necessarily. As I said, temporal causation is only a subset of the web of causation. The parts of a car cause the car - this is a specific example of atemporal causation.

Also, were it true that a thing has to precede another in time to be its cause, then there would be a first cause from which all things are descended. You don't believe in the creationist first cause idea, do you?

I am hoping you can see the blatant contradiction in this. "If A doesn't have an influence on B, then A would still have an influence (on B)..."


Read my post again. I was pointing out the contradiction in your statement that it is possible for a thing to have no influence on another.

Jup, thing A cannot be keeping thing B in any state whatsoever, because it cannot affect B in any way by definition.


I already stated how A can affect B. Why do you bother responding to me if you don't read what I say?

What would be a reason to accept them, if they do not correspond to observation?


You can apply my definition to anything that you observe.

The definition is not that things in region A cannot influence other things - it is that they cannot influence things in region B. Huge difference.


As I said, that is impossible. It may be that region A doesn't exert a *specific* kind of influence on region B, but it still influences it, as I've amply demonstrated.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby movingalways » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:40 am

Cathy Preston wrote:
movingalways wrote:
Dennis Mahar wrote:thinker with a thought.
what role do you think a mind might have in splitting it up and putting it back together.


This is what we are doing in every moment we are thinking, this reconciling of our division of [thought of] reality. If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that once we've said "this", "this" no longer exists. We try to retrieve it, to reconstruct its "gestault" [to use your word] in our effort to 'see' its hidden truth, but to no avail. Thought comes, thought goes, what it is, no one knows. This is why to have compassion for all sentient beings, including oneself, is, at the end of the day, the only sane and ultimately, wholesome world view.

The mind chases the carrot, the heart eats the carrot. Infinite carrots, one taste.


You've just declared your belief that compassion is the correct world view for this moment and every moment to come. It just seems like you're defending an unnecessary belief. Can we even know what compassion looks like in any given moment? If compassion arises within the context of the moment, there is absolutely no way to predetermine what it looks like.

No carrots, no heart, no taste, just this.


Cathy, I am declaring compassion to be the sane and beneficial view for sentient man and woman. What is 'beyond' or 'after' sentience, I declare no human concept to be the sane and beneficial view.

What if 'this' you speak of is hate or greed or lust? Are these things sane and beneficial to the world? What is so all-encompassing about compassion is that it is married to wisdom, which means the compassionate one knows why these things of ignorance exist, and knowing why, can offer the way and means to help the one bound to hate and greed and lust also to understand why, and in understanding why, to end the suffering of being bound. Assuming, of course, the one in ignorance is ready to understand.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:56 am

jupiviv wrote:You are confusing two separate ideas. The fact that we do not know the specific causes of a thing does not mean that we can't know that it is caused by everything else. "Everything else" is a category into which we put all the specific causes of a thing. As I said, there is no reason to exclude any single thing from this category, apart from the thing which is said to be caused by it of course.

Except that you are not putting the specific causes of a thing into the category "everything else"! You are putting literally and utterly EVERYTHING ELSE into that category, and claiming they are not only causes but specific causes! Obviously the causes of a thing A belong to a category that is all those things which are not A, or "everything else." But most things in that category not only fail to meet any kind of criteria for being "specific causes" of A; most things in "everything else" cannot have caused A in any fashion.

You have not demonstrated a thing, jupi. You have defined things just so. And believe me, there is no confusion on my part about what you are claiming.

Because you go on:
cousinbasil: For A to be a cause of B, it must temporally precede B.
jupiviv: Not necessarily. As I said, temporal causation is only a subset of the web of causation. The parts of a car cause the car - this is a specific example of atemporal causation.

That is not in the slightest atemporal. Sometimes I thing you are yanking my chain. Suppose the car were blown to smithereens by a car bomber. Atemporal would be saying the smithereens caused the car. Yet the car, its parts, and the smithereens are all causally connected - they lie within each other's light cones - they always have, they always will. Not everything does.
cousinbasil: Jup, thing A cannot be keeping thing B in any state whatsoever, because it cannot affect B in any way by definition.
jupiviv: I already stated how A can affect B. Why do you bother responding to me if you don't read what I say?
Again, I read what you say. What you really mean here is why do you bother to respond to me if you aren't going to agree with me?
Also, were it true that a thing has to precede another in time to be its cause, then there would be a first cause from which all things are descended. You don't believe in the creationist first cause idea, do you?

I have no idea what the "creationist" first cause actually is. I noticed you preceded "first cause idea" with "creationist" - as if you are holding it at arm's length from your face like a stinky gym sock. I don't claim to know how or when things got started, let alone why. I am just trying to agree with you on what causality is. You are hiding behind A=A, whether you have been explicit about it or not.

Let me ask you this: is an uncaused cause possible? A notion once regarded as unthinkable, physicists have been forced to consider such a thing. In cloud chamber, it is routine to observe particles seemingly coming into existence out of nowhere and disappearing. This has led to the idea of quantum fluctuations in an underlying field which cannot be directly observed, as it is a theoretical structure developed to explain phenomena, which field theories do very well. The general idea is that it takes a large amount of energy to be the mass-equivalent of even the tiniest finite-mass particle. But energy and time are QM conjugate pairs logically fully equivalent to position and momentum. Therefore, for extremely short periods of time, a given region of space permeated by an EM field, say can actually physically contain a spontaneously enormous amount of energy, which can for the briefest of moments manifest as a particle, which may then collide with another and release this energy back into the underlying field, much like ocean spray above the sea. This dance of existence/nonexistence of physical matter is ceaseless, and it is everywhere.

But is this postulated - extrapolated - underlying energy field as real as the ocean? Or does it take a bit more faith? Jupiviv, you were baiting me with the "creationist first cause idea." But I'll have you know, I bait back. In fact, I am quite good at - I am even known as as a master baiter in some circles. All seriousness aside, what is your take on the idea of an uncaused cause? Let's leave God out the discussion. That should be easy. But I think I can demonstrate you operate every bit as much upon faith as the closet creationist you suspect in my views.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby David Quinn » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:14 am

cousinbasil wrote: It may be argued, but it is quite reasonable to assume that most things cannot influence most other things. Since that is true at every second, it must have always been true. Look - I can imagine a star forming that is so far away, its light will never reach me. How do I cause this thing? How does it cause me?

I don't know if you have read it, but I addressed this issue in my ebook, Wisdom of the Infinite:

The Furtherest Galaxy

If boundaries are fundamentally non-existent and all things are causally connected, it may be asked, then isn't it the case that we are connected to all things in the Universe, even to the furtherest galaxy in the universe? Yet how can this be when we clearly have no influence over the galaxy's behaviour? Surely, for all intents and purposes, we are utterly disconnected from it.

Apart from anything else, the main problem with this point of view is that it lacks imagination. In truth, we are constantly having a say over the behaviour of the furtherest galaxy, even at this very moment. For example, we are not, at this very moment, suddenly transforming ourselves into giant space-goats and dashing off faster than the speed of light in order to gobble the galaxy up. The very fact that we are not doing this allows the galaxy to continue existing. That is a pretty large influence in anyone's book!

Although this example might seem bizarre on the surface, it does illustrate a serious point - namely, that things are always in a state of causal connection with every other thing in the Universe. A distant galaxy is only able to continue existing to the degree that other objects in the Universe, including myself, are prevented from transforming into a force capable of destroying it. It does not really matter that I will probably never change into such a force. All this means is that the causal circumstances will probably never be ripe for me to undergo such a transformation - which, in turn, only supports my case that the causal conditions underpinning the existence of the galaxy are dependent, to some degree at least, on the causal conditions underpinning my own existence.

The sheer fact that an object may be too powerless to influence the behaviour of another object is not sufficient grounds to conclude that the two objects are causally disconnected. Consider a large tree, for example, which has two small leaves on either side of its massive canopy. Under normal circumstances, each leaf seems to have no influence upon the other, and yet it is obviously the case that the leaves are connected to each other via the rest of the tree. And indeed, it is precisely because of this connection that the leaves do have the potential to influence one another. For example, a bacterial disease contracted by one of the leaves can spread throughout the tree and kill the other leaf.

In the end, we are always physically connected to all things, even if it is just purely through the medium of space. People often make the assumption that the interface between the surface of their skins and the surrounding space signals an abrupt boundary of separation. They think that some sort of unbridgeable chasm exists there. Yet it is just as easy, and just as valid, to conceive of the body being joined to space. It is only habit of thought which pictures it the other way. Thankfully, such habits are easy to break.

A lot of people have trouble with this kind of thinking, but I find it infinitely compelling.

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Re: On consciousness

Postby Bobo » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:15 am

A is all causes of B
B is all causes of A

A causes B
A causes all causes of A

Either
A causes itself
or
A is not itself
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:10 pm

cousinbasil wrote:Obviously the causes of a thing A belong to a category that is all those things which are not A, or "everything else." But most things in that category not only fail to meet any kind of criteria for being "specific causes" of A; most things in "everything else" cannot have caused A in any fashion.


You're outright ignoring what I say now. Neither have you given your definition of a "cause" and why it is different from mine. I can't see a way in which this discussion can continue.

That is not in the slightest atemporal. Sometimes I thing you are yanking my chain. Suppose the car were blown to smithereens by a car bomber. Atemporal would be saying the smithereens caused the car. Yet the car, its parts, and the smithereens are all causally connected - they lie within each other's light cones - they always have, they always will. Not everything does.


You're whirling off course here. What does all this have to do with the simple idea that a thing is caused by its parts?

I'll give you another example of atemporal causation - the boundaries of a thing are created by the mind, and the mind can't create those boundaries if the thing doesn't exist. This happens simultaneously, not serially.

Jupiviv, you were baiting me with the "creationist first cause idea."


I'll admit I was. The fact that you believe in a first cause or an "uncaused cause" explains your attitude in this discussion. The only reason I said "creationist" is because you are rumoured to be brokenhead, a creationist/christian poster on this forum. The first cause idea is found in many different fields, including science, but it is completely wrong.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:22 pm

David Quinn wrote:Apart from anything else, the main problem with this point of view is that it lacks imagination. In truth, we are constantly having a say over the behaviour of the furtherest galaxy, even at this very moment. For example, we are not, at this very moment, suddenly transforming ourselves into giant space-goats and dashing off faster than the speed of light in order to gobble the galaxy up. The very fact that we are not doing this allows the galaxy to continue existing. That is a pretty large influence in anyone's book!

Although this example might seem bizarre on the surface, it does illustrate a serious point - namely, that things are always in a state of causal connection with every other thing in the Universe. A distant galaxy is only able to continue existing to the degree that other objects in the Universe, including myself, are prevented from transforming into a force capable of destroying it. It does not really matter that I will probably never change into such a force. All this means is that the causal circumstances will probably never be ripe for me to undergo such a transformation - which, in turn, only supports my case that the causal conditions underpinning the existence of the galaxy are dependent, to some degree at least, on the causal conditions underpinning my own existence.

The sheer fact that an object may be too powerless to influence the behaviour of another object is not sufficient grounds to conclude that the two objects are causally disconnected. Consider a large tree, for example, which has two small leaves on either side of its massive canopy. Under normal circumstances, each leaf seems to have no influence upon the other, and yet it is obviously the case that the leaves are connected to each other via the rest of the tree. And indeed, it is precisely because of this connection that the leaves do have the potential to influence one another. For example, a bacterial disease contracted by one of the leaves can spread throughout the tree and kill the other leaf.

In the end, we are always physically connected to all things, even if it is just purely through the medium of space. People often make the assumption that the interface between the surface of their skins and the surrounding space signals an abrupt boundary of separation. They think that some sort of unbridgeable chasm exists there. Yet it is just as easy, and just as valid, to conceive of the body being joined to space. It is only habit of thought which pictures it the other way. Thankfully, such habits are easy to break.


Good way to put it. I said more or less the same thing earlier:

Besides, the idea that some things cannot influence other things is nonsensical in itself. If A doesn't influence B, then A would still have an influence on B by keeping B in a state of not being influenced by it, or by allowing other things to influence it in its place.


Another way to think about it, in terms of distance, is that A causes the thing that is nearest to it, which in turn causes the thing nearest to it, and so on. In this way a chain/web of causation exists, so even if A and B are very far away from each other(i.e, have a lot of other things between them), they still cause each other indirectly(and simultaneously). However, from the grand view of things, they cause each other directly, since distance loses its meaning here.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:34 pm

jupiviv wrote:You're outright ignoring what I say now. Neither have you given your definition of a "cause" and why it is different from mine. I can't see a way in which this discussion can continue.

I already told you I understand what you are saying - which I couldn't do if I were ignoring it. What I am trying to do is broaden the view behind the things you are saying so you can examine the world as it is, not how you sum it up to be.
What does all this have to do with the simple idea that a thing is caused by its parts?

And everything else, according to you - including those things which are not its parts. Or are you saying everything else except the thing itself are its parts? Can you see how this fanciful definition of causality of yours lacks rigor?
I'll give you another example of atemporal causation - the boundaries of a thing are created by the mind, and the mind can't create those boundaries if the thing doesn't exist. This happens simultaneously, not serially.

So you are saying the thing didn't exist before the mind creates the boundaries, and you are saying the mind could not create the boundaries if the thing didn't exist.
This is false and contradictory - and again neither atemporal nor causation.

A thing must exist prior to a particular mind perceiving it. This is entirely temporal, but again, it is not causation. It is perception - consciousness. If you believe consciousness causes the thing-in-itself, then I suggest you are the closet creationist, since there then would have had to be Consciousness to set the things motion.

You are trapped in your head, jup - and I am doggedly trying to break you free.

Consider this - the earth upon which we stand had to come from somewhere. That is, unless you believe it appeared "simultaneously and atemporally" with the first sentient being's perception of it. I would like to have an idea of the process by which the earth was formed - I am inquisitive by nature. I see a pebble lying on the ground and mentally subtract it from my inquiry. Lo and behold! My inquiry is finished! The pebble caused the earth! I'm done! No more thinking! No more learning and speculation! As a bonus, it turns out that this same pebble caused the sun and moon as well! And the galaxy and every other galaxy! I have become a philosopher!

Can't you see that ideation is greater than perception? Only in Platonic realms are things timeless. We live in an evolving Universe. Things happen which cause other things. Causes segue into effects which segue seamlessly into causes; whether a thing is a cause or an effect is simply a product of the mind's creation - and that happens atemporally, or seems to.

Once you perceive a thing, you can speculate on its causes. This speculation did not appear until you perceived the effect - the possible causes then come into the mind; the mind has simultaneously created the boundary between the cause and the effect. In this particular mind, the effects then came before the cause. This means that it the mind, causation was atemporal. But as I stated above, ideation is greater than perception - for it is not sufficient to say the effect led to its cause - which is what you are claiming. The mind then orders the sequence in a temporal way: not how it appeared to the mind or in the order in which it first appeared to the mind, but rather how it must have happened out there.

You claim I didn't offer a definition of causality or state why mine would differ from yours. My definition is simple: one thing leads to another. Every thing, every event concerning a thing, had things and events which led up to it and caused it. Some of the causes are proximal, some are distant. But they flow in a temporal fashion.

And that is the difference between my definition and yours. Moreover, things and events determine the arrow of time - and it points one way on the scale of human life.

A car might be caused by its parts, which in turn were caused before that by the manufacture of those parts, and so on. But my car has that car bomb in it. It blows the car into smithereens (just my luck, the insurance doesn't cover that.) Thus the smithereens were caused by the car and the bomb. If there is an atemporal web of causality, one in which time does not exist, then I might expect to see a car suddenly assemble as if out of nowhere. According to you, these smithereens cause the car, since they are parts of the car and therefore its causes. If I do, I will be sure to run - because there will be a car bomb inside it.

You live in your head - my head tells me there is a world out there that is not identical to the one in here. The way things appear before consciousness - the way they arise in the mind - is not the way they independently happen out there. Your causation is describing the way the mind maps in here. Mine is trying to construct a better map (a more useful and reliable one) of what goes on out there.

But if you don't want to discuss, fine. Be that way. Take your marbles and go home. Or should I say, your pebbles.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby Cathy Preston » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:27 am

movingalways wrote:
Cathy, I am declaring compassion to be the sane and beneficial view for sentient man and woman. What is 'beyond' or 'after' sentience, I declare no human concept to be the sane and beneficial view.

What if 'this' you speak of is hate or greed or lust? Are these things sane and beneficial to the world? What is so all-encompassing about compassion is that it is married to wisdom, which means the compassionate one knows why these things of ignorance exist, and knowing why, can offer the way and means to help the one bound to hate and greed and lust also to understand why, and in understanding why, to end the suffering of being bound. Assuming, of course, the one in ignorance is ready to understand.



Movingalways do you believe if you don't hang on to compassion you will be hateful, greedy, or lustful? They are beneficial in that they lead the individual through a process. Compassion is not married to wisdom until, like love, you don't possess it at all. Being bound is not limited to hate, greed or lust, it encompasses all worldly things, like love and compassion too. We don't end the suffering of being bound, we realize we are unbounded. The one in ignorance becomes ready to understand by living truthfully, the wise one is an example of this, and as such is not concerned with appearances at all.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby movingalways » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:41 am

Movingalways do you believe if you don't hang on to compassion you will be hateful, greedy, or lustful? They are beneficial in that they lead the individual through a process. Compassion is not married to wisdom until, like love, you don't possess it at all. Being bound is not limited to hate, greed or lust, it encompasses all worldly things, like love and compassion too. We don't end the suffering of being bound, we realize we are unbounded. The one in ignorance becomes ready to understand by living truthfully, the wise one is an example of this, and as such is not concerned with appearances at all.
#


Cathy, how does a wise one, or any idea of one, live truthfully, when he only aware of his infinity [his fullness] by way of his finite intellect?
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:52 am

cousinbasil wrote:I already told you I understand what you are saying - which I couldn't do if I were ignoring it.


If you understood it then you would have given reasons why you disagree with it. So far you've done nothing else other than express your disagreement.

What I am trying to do is broaden the view behind the things you are saying so you can examine the world as it is, not how you sum it up to be.


Are you joking? I have the broadest view of all! It is you who are caught up in your temporal causes.

I'll give you another example of atemporal causation - the boundaries of a thing are created by the mind, and the mind can't create those boundaries if the thing doesn't exist. This happens simultaneously, not serially.
So you are saying the thing didn't exist before the mind creates the boundaries, and you are saying the mind could not create the boundaries if the thing didn't exist.
This is false and contradictory - and again neither atemporal nor causation.


No I am saying the mind distinguishes the thing from other things, thereby causing its boundary, and this boundary in turn causes the mind to distinguish it from other things. This causation doesn't depend on time, since the thing being distinguished may exist in the past or the future or at the same time as the mind. Actually, "simultaneous" may have been the wrong word to describe it, since it refers to the present time.

A thing must exist prior to a particular mind perceiving it.


If this were true, how can we posit a present or a future? Indeed, how can you even know this if your mind didn't exist when the things that it perceives came into existence? This is equally as ridiculous as saying that a thing must arise out of nowhere in the moment when a mind perceives it, or that it must exist in the future for a mind to perceive it.

And how does the mind waltz into being just after the thing arises?

You claim I didn't offer a definition of causality or state why mine would differ from yours. My definition is simple: one thing leads to another. Every thing, every event concerning a thing, had things and events which led up to it and caused it. Some of the causes are proximal, some are distant. But they flow in a temporal fashion.


The entire of causality does not fall within temporal causation, but rather the opposite is the case. That is all I am saying.

If there is an atemporal web of causality, one in which time does not exist, then I might expect to see a car suddenly assemble as if out of nowhere.


No that is not atemporal causation. You are simple reversing the sequence of events. Even a rock existing simultaneously 200 miles away from the car causes it, but that doesn't mean the car turn into a rock in the next moment.

The way things appear before consciousness - the way they arise in the mind - is not the way they independently happen out there.


If your mind isn't seeing things as they are happening independently then how do you know that they are happening independently? You can never prove that this is the case. Therefore, isn't this "happening independently" an idea you have created in your mind, and without any basis in reality? Aren't you the one who's living inside his head?
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:01 am

David wrote:I don't know if you have read it, but I addressed this issue in my ebook, Wisdom of the Infinite.
Yes, I have read large parts of it, if not all of it by now. Let's focus on the excerpt which you provide for the moment:
If boundaries are fundamentally non-existent and all things are causally connected, it may be asked, then isn't it the case that we are connected to all things in the Universe, even to the furtherest galaxy in the universe? Yet how can this be when we clearly have no influence over the galaxy's behaviour? Surely, for all intents and purposes, we are utterly disconnected from it.

Apart from anything else, the main problem with this point of view is that it lacks imagination. In truth, we are constantly having a say over the behaviour of the furtherest galaxy, even at this very moment. For example, we are not, at this very moment, suddenly transforming ourselves into giant space-goats and dashing off faster than the speed of light in order to gobble the galaxy up. The very fact that we are not doing this allows the galaxy to continue existing. That is a pretty large influence in anyone's book!
But this "influence" is entirely imaginary and therefore arbitrary. Your point is that since this lunatic scenario does not occur, we are therefore a cause of that distant universe.
A distant galaxy is only able to continue existing to the degree that other objects in the Universe, including myself, are prevented from transforming into a force capable of destroying it.
Prevented by what?
The sheer fact that an object may be too powerless to influence the behaviour of another object is not sufficient grounds to conclude that the two objects are causally disconnected.
But you have implied there can be no sufficient grounds for such a conclusion, since no two things are causally disconnected, according to you.
Consider a large tree, for example, which has two small leaves on either side of its massive canopy. Under normal circumstances, each leaf seems to have no influence upon the other, and yet it is obviously the case that the leaves are connected to each other via the rest of the tree. And indeed, it is precisely because of this connection that the leaves do have the potential to influence one another. For example, a bacterial disease contracted by one of the leaves can spread throughout the tree and kill the other leaf.
Here you provide an example of several things that are causally connected. How does this prove, demonstrate, or even suggest that all things are causally connected?
In the end, we are always physically connected to all things, even if it is just purely through the medium of space. People often make the assumption that the interface between the surface of their skins and the surrounding space signals an abrupt boundary of separation. They think that some sort of unbridgeable chasm exists there. Yet it is just as easy, and just as valid, to conceive of the body being joined to space.

But I do agree with this. This statement taken by itself is logically consistent and so is completely valid. But it does not mean everything either can or will affect everything else. This "web of causality" is some kind of delusion you have concocted. It is a quagmire of sloppy thinking. I will give you an example. I see a star. That means a photon from that star has made it to my eye. The photon began its trip thousands of years ago. In what sense have I caused this photon? Another photon from that star flies into space in the other direction and I never see it. How do I have a causal relationship with it of any kind, since the second photon I never even see?
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:20 am

jupiviv wrote:Even a rock existing simultaneously 200 miles away from the car causes it
How so? In twenty-five words or less.
If your mind isn't seeing things as they are happening independently then how do you know that they are happening independently? You can never prove that this is the case. Therefore, isn't this "happening independently" an idea you have created in your mind, and without any basis in reality? Aren't you the one who's living inside his head?

Not really. I am positing phenomena and the noumena which give rise to the phenomena which constitute my perceptions. And I am positing myself as both participant and observer. My inner world consists of perceptions, yes, but it also consists of ideas and speculations about perceptions.

Why is it important that the rock be seen to cause the car and the car bee seen to cause the rock? Moreover, this viewpoint is too slippery to be of much value. You never answered this: You claim a thing is caused by its parts. At the same time you claim a thing is caused by everything that it not itself. Therefore, a things parts would be everything that is not itself. Otherwise, a thing would only be partially caused by its parts. Correct?
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:39 am

Cathy Preston wrote:You've just declared your belief that compassion is the correct world view for this moment and every moment to come. It just seems like you're defending an unnecessary belief. Can we even know what compassion looks like in any given moment? If compassion arises within the context of the moment, there is absolutely no way to predetermine what it looks like.
Hi Cathy
Why would one need to know this?
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Re: On consciousness

Postby cousinbasil » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:21 am

jupiviv wrote:The first cause idea is found in many different fields, including science, but it is completely wrong.
In your view, why is it completely wrong? If you would, please leave beliefs out of your answer, important to you as they may be. Please rely on observations and your own speculations concerning your observations.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby Cathy Preston » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:55 am

movingalways wrote:
Movingalways do you believe if you don't hang on to compassion you will be hateful, greedy, or lustful? They are beneficial in that they lead the individual through a process. Compassion is not married to wisdom until, like love, you don't possess it at all. Being bound is not limited to hate, greed or lust, it encompasses all worldly things, like love and compassion too. We don't end the suffering of being bound, we realize we are unbounded. The one in ignorance becomes ready to understand by living truthfully, the wise one is an example of this, and as such is not concerned with appearances at all.
#


Cathy, how does a wise one, or any idea of one, live truthfully, when he only aware of his infinity [his fullness] by way of his finite intellect?


Understanding isn't a plateau that you reach then stagnate. Your intellect is only as full as you think it is, wisdom isn't stored in it, it moves through it. Someone who has an understanding of infinity has no fullness. Fullness implies capacity, capacity isn't infinite. Someone who understands infinity, is empty, he hangs onto nothing, he moves through the universe unchecked. The universe itself is mind, as far as we can see in any direction is mind, unbounded, infinite mind. Not your mind nor my mind but one shining luminous mind, besides which nothing exists, the source of everything, it transcends all limits, it is that which you see before you, just this.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby Cathy Preston » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:31 am

cousinbasil wrote:
Cathy Preston wrote:You've just declared your belief that compassion is the correct world view for this moment and every moment to come. It just seems like you're defending an unnecessary belief. Can we even know what compassion looks like in any given moment? If compassion arises within the context of the moment, there is absolutely no way to predetermine what it looks like.
Hi Cathy
Why would one need to know this?


Hi cousinbasil

If you're asking why would we need to know what compassion looks like, then yes I agree there is no need.


But, if you're asking why its important to know that compassion is an unnecessary belief then I will say this: Just by having the idea "that compassion is the correct world view" you've defined compassion. You've limited it, you've created an expectation of how it appears and anything outside of that appearance is judged as incorrect. But we have no way of knowing what compassion looks like, it may appear as hate, apathy, water, love, kindness, fear, since compassion is a desire to alleviate suffering. I mean a bucket of ice cold water might be compassion to a burning man, a quick dose of hate might be beneficial to alleviate the suffering of unrequited love, apathy alleviates suffering when dealing with an overbearing person. So if compassion has no set appearance why then make it a condition of a correct world view.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:38 am

cousinbasil wrote:
David wrote:If boundaries are fundamentally non-existent and all things are causally connected, it may be asked, then isn't it the case that we are connected to all things in the Universe, even to the furtherest galaxy in the universe? Yet how can this be when we clearly have no influence over the galaxy's behaviour? Surely, for all intents and purposes, we are utterly disconnected from it.

Apart from anything else, the main problem with this point of view is that it lacks imagination. In truth, we are constantly having a say over the behaviour of the furtherest galaxy, even at this very moment. For example, we are not, at this very moment, suddenly transforming ourselves into giant space-goats and dashing off faster than the speed of light in order to gobble the galaxy up. The very fact that we are not doing this allows the galaxy to continue existing. That is a pretty large influence in anyone's book!

But this "influence" is entirely imaginary and therefore arbitrary. Your point is that since this lunatic scenario does not occur, we are therefore a cause of that distant universe.

A contributing cause, yes - one component in the endless array of contributing causes that sustain the galaxy. Our influence isn't imagainary, as it is undeniably true that the galaxy can only continue to exist as long we don't turn into giant space-goats and dash over there to gobble it up. The scenario is imaginary, but our influence is not.


cousinbasil wrote:
A distant galaxy is only able to continue existing to the degree that other objects in the Universe, including myself, are prevented from transforming into a force capable of destroying it.

Prevented by what?

By causal conditions. The continued existence of the galaxy is dependent not only on its immediate causal conditions, but also on the causal conditions that govern everything else.


cousinbasil wrote:
The sheer fact that an object may be too powerless to influence the behaviour of another object is not sufficient grounds to conclude that the two objects are causally disconnected.

But you have implied there can be no sufficient grounds for such a conclusion, since no two things are causally disconnected, according to you.

If a cause is defined as anything which is necessary for something else to exist, then the point I making here naturally follows.


cousinbasil wrote:
Consider a large tree, for example, which has two small leaves on either side of its massive canopy. Under normal circumstances, each leaf seems to have no influence upon the other, and yet it is obviously the case that the leaves are connected to each other via the rest of the tree. And indeed, it is precisely because of this connection that the leaves do have the potential to influence one another. For example, a bacterial disease contracted by one of the leaves can spread throughout the tree and kill the other leaf.

Here you provide an example of several things that are causally connected. How does this prove, demonstrate, or even suggest that all things are causally connected?

This was intended to be an illustration of how two things that appear to have no influence over each other in the normal course of things, can in fact influence each other when the circumstances are right. The same applies to ourselves and the distant galaxy.


cousinbasil wrote:
In the end, we are always physically connected to all things, even if it is just purely through the medium of space. People often make the assumption that the interface between the surface of their skins and the surrounding space signals an abrupt boundary of separation. They think that some sort of unbridgeable chasm exists there. Yet it is just as easy, and just as valid, to conceive of the body being joined to space.

But I do agree with this. This statement taken by itself is logically consistent and so is completely valid. But it does not mean everything either can or will affect everything else. This "web of causality" is some kind of delusion you have concocted. It is a quagmire of sloppy thinking. I will give you an example. I see a star. That means a photon from that star has made it to my eye. The photon began its trip thousands of years ago. In what sense have I caused this photon? Another photon from that star flies into space in the other direction and I never see it. How do I have a causal relationship with it of any kind, since the second photon I never even see?

I've answered all this above.

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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:07 pm

cousinbasil wrote:
jupiviv wrote:Even a rock existing simultaneously 200 miles away from the car causes it.

How so? In twenty-five words or less.


The rock causes the existence of the car by not being it.

If your mind isn't seeing things as they are happening independently then how do you know that they are happening independently? You can never prove that this is the case. Therefore, isn't this "happening independently" an idea you have created in your mind, and without any basis in reality? Aren't you the one who's living inside his head?


Not really. I am positing phenomena and the noumena which give rise to the phenomena which constitute my perceptions. And I am positing myself as both participant and observer. My inner world consists of perceptions, yes, but it also consists of ideas and speculations about perceptions.


The noumena are something that you've made up in your mind, as is the phenomena. However, in the case of the former, you have no way of knowing that these noumena actually exist, by your own definition of them.

Why is it important that the rock be seen to cause the car and the car bee seen to cause the rock?


Why does it matter in this context if it is "important" or not?

You never answered this: You claim a thing is caused by its parts. At the same time you claim a thing is caused by everything that it not itself. Therefore, a things parts would be everything that is not itself. Otherwise, a thing would only be partially caused by its parts. Correct?


Yes, a thing is partially caused by its parts, which in turn cause each other, and also things which they're not part of. What may be called the parts of a thing are really just other things. You obviously have some kind of mental block against the idea of causality, otherwise you wouldn't be stubbornly refusing to understand my simple definition of it.

The first cause idea is found in many different fields, including science, but it is completely wrong.

In your view, why is it completely wrong? If you would, please leave beliefs out of your answer, important to you as they may be. Please rely on observations and your own speculations concerning your observations.


Dispense with the bullshit, cousin. Urging me to rely on observation and leave out beliefs doesn't make you appear more rational than you actually are. This is a typical trick employed by many people in order to mask the irrationality of their position.

Anyways, the first cause idea is wrong for two main reasons:

1. A first cause implies a beginning, and a beginning has to be within time. But since time could not have arisen before the first cause, there is no way for it to be a beginning within time.

2. A cause is also an effect at the same time. A thing is the cause of everything that is not itself, and everything that is not the thing is its cause.
Last edited by jupiviv on Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On consciousness

Postby jupiviv » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:17 pm

Cathy Preston wrote:Someone who understands infinity, is empty, he hangs onto nothing, he moves through the universe unchecked.


That is not possible, since by saying that someone who understands infinity is empty, you have eliminated the existence of someone who understands infinity.

Just by having the idea "that compassion is the correct world view" you've defined compassion. You've limited it, you've created an expectation of how it appears and anything outside of that appearance is judged as incorrect. But we have no way of knowing what compassion looks like, it may appear as hate, apathy, water, love, kindness, fear, since compassion is a desire to alleviate suffering. I mean a bucket of ice cold water might be compassion to a burning man, a quick dose of hate might be beneficial to alleviate the suffering of unrequited love, apathy alleviates suffering when dealing with an overbearing person. So if compassion has no set appearance why then make it a condition of a correct world view.


Your definition of compassion here is anything that benefits someone/alleviates suffering. The definition of a pair may be applied to anything - socks, apples, electrons or moons. That doesn't mean that the definition of a pair is invalidated.
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