David Quinn wrote:
The trouble is, both you and Victor are making these assertions on the basis of a rock-solid belief in an absolute certainty - e.g. "life is an endless ocean of being", "relative and absolute are meaningless distinctions", and so on. But you're both trying to pretend this isn't happening.
I'm not pretending it isn't happening, it just isn't. "Life is an endless ocean of being" isn't an "absolute certainty," it's a metaphor. The concept of "absolute certainty" in this context doesn't even arise for me. It is a concept you are projecting onto the discussion which is apparently meaningful for you, but not for me. I see the metaphor as a useful way of pointing to the way things are in our experience; a term of convenience.
The human mind always operates, without exception, on a platform of what it believes is absolutely certain and true in life. This occurs in all situations, even if the person involved is in denial of it. The mind cannot function in any other manner.
I think you should show how and why this is the case. Merely asserting it without support is extremely unpersuasive.
One of the main differences between you and Victor, on the one hand, and Kevin, Dan and myself on the other, is that we are conscious of this and openly work with it. "Riding the waves on a surfboard" is just a pretty euphemism for settling into a passive, unconscious mode of existence.
And one of the main differences between you guys on the one hand and Taoism, Zen, science, epistemology, Chuang Tzu, Nagarjuna, Quine, myself, and Victor on the other, is that you guys cling to these ideas, concepts, beliefs, and positions about "absolute reality" and "ultimate reality" while nobody else does. Victor pointed this out on the show where you guys mentioned that philosophy was opposed to science, and Victor responded that both philosophy and science are opposed to you guys.
But yeah, I know, this is more herdly unconscious thinking. I'm going down a dead-end road here, because you guys have never shown any willingness to give this issue due consideration.
The "dynamic stream of existence" is itself a fixed, ontological framework.
I was afraid it would be taken that way, and I considered adding a disclaimer but decided to conserve my energy. I guess I should have gone ahead and added the standard disclaimer that by "dynamic stream of existence," I don't mean a fixed ontological concept. Like the term "Tao" itself, it's just a term of convenience pointing to what is. This is explained in the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching
as well as elsewhere throughout the text.
There is something seriously wrong if you and Victor are in agreement in these matters, considering that he knows nothing beyond the empirical mentality. I would be deeply concerned at this, if I was in your shoes.
I dunno. I think you may be unaware of my actual stance regarding empirical matters and the relationship of ontology to Eastern thought. If you haven't already, you should probably go read this essay
which should clarify my position enormously and save you some time and energy.