What is a shirt?

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5 years 7 months ago #101268 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
Ok. Let's call my definition e-thoughts and your definition j-thoughts.

I say, when you see a shirt there is an e-thought arising. You say, the body just "knows".

You say, having j-thoughts is a problem and leads to suffering. I say, attachment to e-thoughts (which include j-thoughts) lead to suffering.

I say, without e-thoughts the body wouldn't be able to move around (as babies can't). You probably would agree with that, as the body needs to "know" something to move around.

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101270 by Shargrol
Replied by Shargrol on topic What is a shirt?
A few practical/definitional questions:

Is reading a sentence a thought?

Is hearing a sentence within internal "hearing space" a thought?

Is hearing lyrics in a song a thought?

Is feeling the mood of a song a thought?
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Shargrol.

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101271 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
Yes, it all arises as a series of filtered/bundled/processed bits of sensory input, some of which come from outside the body, some from the inside. This is what I call e-thoughts here. Some call them binding moments of consciousness.

I have never found anything in my experience except for such e-thoughts.
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Egor Azanov.

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5 years 7 months ago #101272 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
We can split e-thoughts into different sensory modalities (six senses according to Abhidharma or more like 15 according to modern science).

But I suspect we very rarely if ever have a raw sensory experience. That would be lines and angles and dots of color for seeing. Anything else is already processed, filtered and combined into some concepts (like shape).

Maybe, what some people see at the onset of a DMT trip — highly colored geometric patterns — is close to the raw sensory experience.

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5 years 7 months ago #101277 by Jake Yeager
Replied by Jake Yeager on topic What is a shirt?

shargrol wrote: A few practical/definitional questions:

Is reading a sentence a thought?


Thoughts arise for "me" during reading and writing. IME they are not problematic, that is, they do not cause suffering.

Is hearing a sentence within internal "hearing space" a thought?


Oftentimes these types of thoughts cause "me" suffering.

Is hearing lyrics in a song a thought?


Often I hear the parents speaking downstairs when I am meditating. Before, this would give rise to a host of thoughts about the content of the conversation, about how I wish they'd be quiet, etc. These thoughts constituted mind-wandering and were a source of discomfort. However, these thoughts don't arise anymore. Now when the conversation occurs, there is just the conversation. I'll have to look more closely at this, but tentatively I'd say that "I" do not experience suffering at these moments.

Is feeling the mood of a song a thought?


Unless there is associated "blah, blah" in the mind, this is a feeling and not a thought I'd say. But I do not listen to music much, so that is tentative too. __/\__

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101282 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?

Jake Yeager wrote: Unless there is associated "blah, blah" in the mind, this is a feeling and not a thought I'd say. But I do not listen to music much, so that is tentative too. __/\__


How does this feeling arise? What is it composed of or is it an irreducible thing in itself? Why do some pieces of art lead to different moods than the others? What is a feeling of a piece of art being meaningful and what is a feeling of it being meaningless?
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Egor Azanov.

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101285 by Shargrol
Replied by Shargrol on topic What is a shirt?
Thanks Jake, based on your replies I would say that the main focus of your approach is to reduce causes of suffering, which is a good instinct and approach. When in doubt, trust that instinct.

The reason I say that is many methods have a maturation phase when they become paradoxical. For example, in psychology crude defense mechanisms which have been seen and understood as causing suffering, they will become refined behaviors (humor, levity, reframing) that actually alleviates suffering. In buddhist practice, when greed, hatred, and delusion are seen and understood as causing suffering, they will be refined as non-dual emotions that are actually displays of wisdom. In inquiry practice, when gross resistances and burned off and all that remains is the quest for awakening, the questioning itself is seen as causing suffering and suddenly the whole dimension of mind becomes a display of intelligence that is without personal suffering.

The point is not to quit too soon on all of these practices, but to know the methods do work. Because they work, applying any method too long will actually result in an increase of suffering. Most of us have made this mistake at one time or another in our practice.

Interestingly, the way the methods work isn't what we expect (otherwise we would already know what it means to be awake/enlightened). For example, in buddhist practice self doesn't go away in the way we think it will.

Anyway, always trust suffering and the reduction of suffering as your guide.
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Shargrol.
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5 years 7 months ago #101288 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic What is a shirt?
This subject is being discussed in a terribly confused and confusing way: a designated physical object, 'shirt'-- or 'drawer', or 'room', or 'person-named-Kate'-- is not really analogous to an abstract concept like 'self.'

"Name' and 'concept' bear some relation to one another, but it is hardly straight-up equivalence.
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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101289 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
Kate, you never-ever saw a physical object. But only your experience of something. Confusion is good, I love confusion, it is my guide, it tells me what I haven't yet dismemdedded from or properly understood (what is more or less the same).
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Egor Azanov.

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101295 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
I didn't say that nothing exists outside my experience. I've just said I've never been able to find anything, and no one ever was able to tell me they've found anything outside their experience.

If someone gives me just one example, I'll be the first to jump on the bandwagon.

But I'm not certain there are no such "don't know what to call it" outside. What I'm certain of is I haven't found anything.

Oops, replied to a deleted comment :-)
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Egor Azanov.

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5 years 7 months ago #101299 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic What is a shirt?
I deleted my own comment. It was meant to be funny. Not serious. I removed it because I didn't want it to interfere with the discussion.

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5 years 7 months ago #101300 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?
I found it both funny and serious

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5 years 7 months ago #101301 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic What is a shirt?
I'm the last person you want in this discussion; I grew up in a very solipsistic religion (Christian Science) so I've had the whole of my long life to untangle these linguistic and philosophical knots in a way that makes sense and works for me.

And I'm not about to go injuring my feet as Samuel Johnson did, refuting Bishop Berkeley about 'physical reality.' :P

"Refutation of Bishop Berkeley
After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."
Boswell: Life


However, I have no need to prevent anyone else from making their own journey. Bon voyage!
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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101302 by Kenneth Folk
Replied by Kenneth Folk on topic What is a shirt?
Kate, it sounds like you are taking issue with the assertion that there is nothing outside one's experience. But I don't hear anyone making that assertion. In fact Egor added a clarification of his original comment to point out that he wasn't saying there's nothing outside his experience, but rather asserting that he had no experience outside his experience (which seems obvious when stated in those words).

Another way to say this is that everything we know or experience is a model inside our brain. Neuroscientist David Eagleman is fond of pointing this out, as is philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinger. Without taking a stand one way or the other about whether there is a world "out there," we can be reasonably certain that all human experience is happening within the human nervous system. We don't have a direct, unfiltered window on reality. All we know is our mental model. It may well be that this model is built with plenty of real input from the world around us in the form of sensory input, but it is nonetheless a mental model.

In the context of spiritual enquiry, this is amazing stuff; armed with the assumption that nothing can be known for sure, the quest to find what is "true" becomes a non-issue, clearing space for something else to emerge. This is very different from a naive assertion that the world is illusion and nothing exists outside my experience.
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Kenneth Folk.
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5 years 7 months ago #101303 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic What is a shirt?
I get that 'questioning conventional reality' is very useful. I just think that solipsism is a subset of conventional reality that is also worth questioning. The best thing about finding myself in that infinite-regress hall-of-mirrors space was that it brought a whole bunch of mentation to a dead stop.

It is true but trivial to say that all I can experience is what I experience. Explanations and beliefs are another thing than sensory experience, however-- they represent a processed state of the raw sensory input. This is so whether we're talking about outmoded or current explanations and beliefs, popular or unusual explanations and beliefs.

Personally, I'm not so impressed with the currently modish neuroscience models as The Explanation. When I look at them, it is always with an eye as to whether they answer questions that matter to me, or if they simply change up the focus and the language of, say, deistic explanations in which I am similarly not interested. Or Freudian psychological explanations, which seem almost as inelegant to me as deism.

I'm not saying I'm right; I'm just describing my personal esthetics and logic as something that could be considered. Or not. Maybe this argument doesn't look like a box canyon to anyone else. :unsure:
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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #101304 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic What is a shirt?
Human beings can only experience the world using our senses, and thus all experience is the product of mental activity of one sort or another. It's also the case that we have many, many tools (made by mental processes) that allow our meager brains to make very good, sometimes brilliant, inferences about the experience we have. These inferences are about the "stuff" that we assume is "out there" that we cannot directly experience. These inferences have had a huge impact on how we live and what we are capable of. It seems obvious to me that while I can only access my experience using my senses it is also obvious to me that that is not all there is. There is more, though I have no direct, sensory access to it.

My humble attempt to describe it as I see it.
Last edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Chris Marti.
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5 years 7 months ago #101305 by Kenneth Folk
Replied by Kenneth Folk on topic What is a shirt?
Lenses don't negate other lenses. A lens can work within its own sphere and make no sense in another.

Lens: The people and the world around me are real, and they matter. I care about people and the world. = Of course.

Lens: There are only thoughts and sensations. There is no way to be sure of any of it. = Of course.

Lens: I found the Master Lens. It makes sense of and integrates all lenses simultaneously. = Bullshit.
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5 years 7 months ago #101306 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?

Chris Marti wrote: It seems obvious to me that while I can only access my experience using my senses it is also obvious to me that that is not all there is. There is more, though I have no direct, sensory access to it.


There are two possibilities for there been something out there not in human experience:

1. Real objects with inherent separated of any observer existences.
2. Experiences of observers not accessible to us.

(2) is obviously true (unless we take solipsism). But we can make tools that allow us to see beyond senses, what is still an experience. We probably will be able to simulate an experience of being a dog someday.

But (1) seem to be refuted with more and more certainty in experimental tests of Bell's theorem. That is why I've allowed myself a bit of certainty, which, of course is not ultimate for now.

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5 years 7 months ago #101307 by Egor Azanov
Replied by Egor Azanov on topic What is a shirt?

Kenneth Folk wrote: Lens: I found the Master Lens. It makes sense of and integrates all lenses simultaneously. = Bullshit.


If a lens says that it's not a Master Lense. Because we (humanity) have already found/invented more complex and inclusive lenses that include a lot from this pseudo-master and transcend it's claim to be The Master.

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