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TOPIC: what else is there

what else is there 16 Sep 2011 16:48 #3764

I think it's a lot simpler than we're making it out to be.

Mike, let's say we use an fMRI or EEG to measure something going on in your brain while you imagine (internally visualize) your wife's face. The machine will show certain areas of your brain "lighting up". But your wife's face will never how up on the image produced by the machine.

Similarly, I could cut open your scull and ask you to recall your more frightening memory. While you are visualizing the event, I could poke around in your grey matter all day long (as long as it didn't kill you). I will never see the images you see in your mind's eye (so to speak).

That's all I'm saying. An image is not a physical property. But we don't find images where there are not brains, nor do we find brains where there are no images.

Your subjective experience has qualities and features that will never be the qualities and features of the physical world. I'm not denying either reality, and I don't think they are in a relationship (or non-relationship) of dualistic dissociation. They are inter-related, but not reducible to one or the other. They can't be, in my opinion. I don't give preference to one or the other to explain my world. I use them both, because they both exist, and are both inseparable aspects of Everything.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 16:58 #3765

You say an "image is not a physical property." and, as proof you say that the image won't show up on an MRI or EEG machine, or it can't be found if you poke around the grey matter of a human brain. I don't understand why that is proof. I have no problem with the idea that images are physical things in my brain but we just don't quite understand how that works, exactly, yet, and we may never understand it.



Or, the mechanism in my brain in which I "see" images is somehow made up of various physical things going on in the grey matter and all the chemical process and the electrical process, etc. It's stuff. Moving, temporary, constantly changing ... stuff.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:01 #3766

Yes, it's all, everything, made of stuff. But you won't find the image you see right now by examining that stuff. That's the point. Only Mike Monson can see that image. No one else, ever, can.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:02 #3767

Mike, I'm not denying any of the STUFF correlated in the external world with the internal subjective experience of an "image". All of that stuff certainly exists. It's a part of the process. But an image can only be experience by the individual experiencing the image, because it is INTERIOR. You cannot see the images that I see, can you? What am I picturing right now?

Images are compound subjective phenomena with exterior correlates of objective phenomena, and vice versa. I really don't see why this is so difficult to grasp.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:03 #3768


Yes, it's all, everything, made of stuff. But you won't find the image you see right now by examining that stuff. That's the point. Only Mike Monson can see that image. No one else, ever, can.

-cmarti

YES!
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:12 #3769


Mike, I'm not denying any of the STUFF correlated in the external world with the internal subjective experience of an "image". All of that stuff certainly exists. It's a part of the process. But an image can only be experience by the individual experiencing the image, because it is INTERIOR. You cannot see the images that I see, can you? What am I picturing right now?
Images are compound subjective phenomena with exterior correlates of objective phenomena, and vice versa. I really don't see why this is so difficult to grasp.

-awouldbehipster

Well ... sure, you probably can't see the image that I see in my brain. I get that. So what's the point? I thought somewhere along the line you where trying to say that there weren't images in our brain. That is all that confused me, at first, really.

And this:

Yes, it's all, everything, made of stuff. But you won't find the image you see right now by examining that stuff. That's the point. Only Mike Monson can see that image. No one else, ever, can.

I don't know, if we are all connected, impermeable, and the power of our brains vast ... maybe someone else could see the same image I am seeing. Seems possible to me.

And, what is a Mike Monson again?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:14 #3770

Now that is making sense again. However we got on this track, my engagement with it was that when we meditate the point is to observe what we are actually experiencing, not to assign explanations to it. The practice of observing (without interpretation) sensory phenomena is what seems to be described here:

Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the

seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the

heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to

the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train

yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the

seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in

reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the

cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there

is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no

you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This,

just this, is the end of suffering." (Bahiya Sutta)
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:41 #3771

"So what's the point?"

It's a simple point -- if you want to have a meditation practice it has to be about what you experience subjectively. It can't be about the science of what you experience. That just leads to science. Examining your subjective experience can lead to awakening.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:41 #3772

I agree with a lot of what you're saying here, Jackson. The distinctions you're drawing are important seems to me. I would just add a few thoughts, not in contrast to what you're saying, but in complement I think: physical and phenomenal descriptions each have there own pragmatic meanings in their own pragmatic contexts. And each mode of description is also "poetic" in the sense that, as an integral vocabulary, each mode is evocative of different flavors of experience.

In other words, in my articulation of these integral ideas*, I might push the post-modern insight that descriptions are all inherently reductionist (yet have variable pragmatic and poetic meaningfulness depending on context). And in what i'd call constructive post-modernism, there is also an acknowledgment of a suchness of things or way of things which at once de-stabilizes and un-grounds every description and is the very self-arising clarity of each and every phenomena including descriptions.

What I find particularly fascinating is that this radiant open mystery consents to be reduced to the various descriptions which different epochs evoke with their epochal descriptions**.

* as I think we're referring to a kind of perspective on life that Ken Wilber and others identify as "integral" in the context of other modes of describing/experiencing life, such as the rational, mythic, magic and so on, often collectively referred to as paradigms or world-views.

** I like how Heidegger used the word "epoch". He pointed to an etymology of the word connoting a sort of parting, almost like curtains parting; a holding-open. Yet this image implies more than revealing: because there is always something concealed beyond the "stage" of what is ephocally allowed, what it is permissable to speak of in any given place and time (there's something of "bardo" in this word, "epoch". As if epochs with their seeming stability are the bardos between bardos.) And yet, paradoxically, this "hidden" suchness is not "behind" anything. Rather, it is close enough to take for granted, as our descriptions, our fixed meanings, move in to eclipse the meaningness of that suchness-- yet never rendering it invisible.

As Basho wrote on the occasion of sight-seeing at Mt. Fuji (considered a very lucky mountain to gaze upon):

misty rain--
can't see Fuji.
Interesting!
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:51 #3773

"... physical and phenomenal descriptions each have there own pragmatic meanings in their own pragmatic contexts. And each mode of description is also "poetic" in the sense that, as an integral vocabulary, each mode is evocative of different flavors of experience.[...]" -Jake

Yes, that does compliment what I was trying to convey. Thank you!
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 17:57 #3774


"So what's the point?"

It's a simple point -- if you want to have a meditation practice it has to be about what you experience subjectively. It can't be about the science of what you experience. That just leads to science. Examining your subjective experience can lead to awakening.

-cmarti

Okay, I didn't even know that that was what was being debated or discussed. Sometimes on these forums I'll find out I've gotten so lost that I didn't even know that I was apparently defending a point of view on something I didn't even know had become the subject.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 19:12 #3775

Okay - see you next week!
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 21:48 #3776

So, anyway, what else is there?

I recently had a week-long visit with a man that I grew up with. We were very close from seventh grade until just after he joined the Air Force in his mid-twenties. So, from about 1967 to about 1982. Then we were in touch intermittently from 1982 until last month when he came to our house as a stopping point on his way to the "Bay Area Tarot Symposium" or BATS in San Francisco.

He and I talked and talked about everything while he was here. He lives in Framlingham, England now and has made a name for himself as a Tarot expert and was one of the featured attractions/speakers at BATS. Dude was very "spiritual" in more the sort of magik, psychic, channelling, "healing," Tarot sort of sense than the dharma or eastern religions sense. (and, incidentaly, he was very interested in the whole challenge of marketing oneself as a "spiritual master" type).

Anyway, on one long walk on the outskirts of Modesto I gave him two choices:

Choice A: We are all just a collection of sensations that our minds constantly make sense of and creates a continuity from and all perception and awareness is located in each of our brains and it is only through our brains that we are aware of and conscious of moment to moment life. Our senses and our brains are the creator of all things. And, once we die, it will all go away. No more person. No reincarnation, no heaven, no hell.

Choice B: There is a huge all pervading primoridal awareness or God or Buddha Mind or something like that that is alive and pulsating and intelligent and we are all connected to and mannefestations of this wonderful creative force. We, like this force/thing are infinite, never ending, and all powerful and the source of all things. We never die but just change shape within this primoridal awareness thing.

(I think I put it better than this at the time, but this is sort of what I said)

I asked him which choice he thought was true. He didn't hesitate for an instant. "Choice B." Then we talked and talked about why he made that choice. First, he said he was because he choose to believe it. I insisted that that just put him in Choice A. He then said it was because he preferred the world described by Choice B. Again, that really put him back in Choice A. He then decided that it was because he was psychic and in tune with others people's thoughts and feelings.

In the end though, he admitted that for now at least, his believe in Choice B was was not based upon direct knowledge or any wisdom or insight or certainly but was truly and instinctual gut preference.

Now, I think many of you and many others choose B (maybe a Choice B not quite as I described) from direct experience rather than confjecture.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:22 #3777

Mike, why do you think folks here are Choice B?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:28 #3778

First off, let me ask if I even laid out the choices in a way that made ANY sense?

Second, I'm not really sure, but I do think that at least a couple of members here are on the side of there being a "primoridal awareness" but, maybe not.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:31 #3779

You have laid out a choice that makes sense to you, I think. May I ask which choice you would pick, A or B? And why?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:48 #3780

I'm choice A all the way, but only because I don't really understand B (I'm actually just guessing on that and how to describe it) and, I make choice A with the caveat that I don't think I'm anywhere near awake enough to even know -- if being that awake is even possible.

Choice A is what actually seems to happening with whatever insight I have right now. I think the brain is a big movie-making machine and it creates everything all the time and interprets what it sees, feels, hears, tastes, touches all the time based upon genes, life experiences, background, patterns, influences, instincts. It is huge, vast, and extremely creative. I think that even wonderful mystical experience in which one may experience the presence of God or Gods or feel unified with all things, etc. are just the mind's way of projecting or creating or interpreting.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:54 #3781

Is Choice B what you believe the term "primordial awareness" refers to?
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 22:55 #3782

If a young child (at the pre-operational stage of cognitive development) plays hide-and-seek, they may run over to a corner and simply cover their eyes. It doesn't make sense to them that anyone else can see something that they can't see. They are incapable of taking the perspective of another. Older kids no better, right?

If you tell a slightly older child (at the concrete operational stage of cognitive development) a story about a woman who steals food because if she doesn't her children may starve and die, and you ask if the woman is doing something "wrong" or "sinful", they will say, "Of course! Stealing is wrong!" Adults know better, right?

This process keeps going. People at the rational-perspectival stage of development often have a corresponding worldview and idea of self that does not go beyond material/scientific. If someone at a later stage (either personal or transpersonal) explains how things look from their perspective, the rational adult will object. "Poppycock! That doesn't make sense! Things are THIS way, you know?!"

But, that's if you look at things from a developmental perspective. Not everyone accepts it, or agrees about what actually constitutes a real "stage" (the disagreements, no doubt, can be seen in light of the above paragraphs).

So then, what of choice 'A' and choice 'B'?

Food for thought.

[I'm not claiming to know the answer.]
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:00 #3783

I think Mike's question (dilemma?) can be framed as a pretty simple practice related question. In that vein it's about what we have "seen" in our practice. It's also a question relating to our level of belief.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:00 #3784

How come choices always have two?

How about C?

Better yet, my favorite choice in multiple choice tests: "D, all of the above."
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:01 #3785

Yes,

Is Choice B what you believe the term "primordial awareness" refers to?

-cmarti

Yes, but "believe" is the wrong term. "Guess" would be better. I don't really get it and suspect I have no real clue.
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:03 #3786


How come choices always have two?
How about C?
Better yet, my favorite choice in multiple choice tests: "D, all of the above."

-ona

Right, you are like my Tarot reading friend. But, do you see that if Choice A is true then there is no other choice except for something you just make up? There is no "all of the above."
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:03 #3787

Presenting choices as binary hones our decision making processes ;-)
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what else is there 16 Sep 2011 23:04 #3788

Mike, is this choice (A or B) another way to interpolate to an understanding of primordial awareness?
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