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A Course on Consciousness

 
 
Reply Sat 16 Dec, 2006 03:08 am
Part 1: Quantum theory and consciousness

Part 2: The metaphysics of nonduality

Part 3: The end of suffering and the discovery of our true nature

Stanley Sobottka
Emeritus Professor of Physics

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA 22904-4714


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From 1992 through 1995, I taught several seminars on reality and consciousness according to quantum theory for humanities undergraduates at the University of Virginia. These seminars attempted to outline in an understandable way to the nonscientist the reasons why consciousness is a necessary part of the most widely accepted interpretations of quantum theory. For these seminars, I wrote concise but complete notes which I handed out to my students, and which summarized the salient points in order to make as clear as possible the scientific basis for the seminar. A revised and refined version of these notes comprises Part 1 of this work.

In 1995, 1996,1998, 2003, 2004, 2005, again for the undergraduate nonscientist, I taught seminars on nonduality, or Advaita, beginning with the above described scientific information as Part 1, following with several speculative chapters on the metaphysics of nonduality as Part 2, and concluding with the teachings of several contemporary jnanis, or enlightened sages, as Part 3. Sages are not usually interested in teaching the principles of nonduality in such a systematic, logical way since such a conceptual system can be a prison for the mind, leading it to think that it can transcend itself (escape from its self-imposed prison) merely by mastering the system. Nevertheless, for teaching purposes, I wrote a set of notes for these seminars also.

I have continually updated and refined these notes as my experience and insights have evolved. My intent has been to present the teaching of nonduality in a scientifically sound and logically consistent, but still readable, document. While there is little about Part 1 that any scientist would disagree with, given enough time for careful contemplation, there is considerable material in Parts 2 and 3 that is in disagreement with what some sages say. The reason for this difference is that science deals entirely with concepts, which can be seen to be either self-consistent or not, and in agreement with observations or not, while it is impossible for a sage to use concepts to describe Reality, because Reality transcends all concepts. In science, concepts are (or are not) truth, while in spiritual teachings, concepts can only be pointers to Reality. The sage uses concepts as tools to crack open the conceptual prisons in which we live, but then all of those concepts must be thrown away or they become chains in our bondage. Nevertheless, there are many concepts in Parts 2 and 3 that are susceptible to verification by direct observation by those who think they are still in prison, and these impart credence to the rest of the teaching.

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Hi - I have looked at a quite a few of these. This one I came across several months ago and thought it was pretty good. The Chapters are in the side bar and worth a read.
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Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Dec, 2006 05:47 am
@Electra phil,
Since the arguments describe reality, they are untrue.

And since i know the world could have come to have existed from nothing, there is no point in believing in this. But i don't know everything.

For instance, that all things are attached, does not change the world in itself. A part of the world can be noticed from another part of the world, since this is by definition what happens in the world. You cannot change the world through beliefs only, merely the belief is the part of the world that you have changed.
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Dec, 2006 05:51 am
@Refus,
Refus wrote:
Since the arguments describe reality, they are untrue.

And since i know the world could have come to have existed from nothing, there is no point in believing in this. But i don't know everything.

For instance, that all things are attached, does not change the world in itself. A part of the world can be noticed from another part of the world, since this is by definition what happens in the world. You cannot change the world through beliefs only, merely the belief is the part of the world that you have changed.


What do you mean by attached?
0 Replies
 
Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Dec, 2006 02:46 pm
@Electra phil,
Connected by force, namely gravity. Well, perhaps attached is the wrong word.
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Dec, 2006 04:20 pm
@Refus,
Refus wrote:
Connected by force, namely gravity. Well, perhaps attached is the wrong word.


Ok thanks for clarifying what you meant. Now going back to something else. You said because the arguments describe reality they are untrue, but the author specifically addresses this issue.

I don't mean to misunderstand you so much, but I am having a difficult time discerning where everyone is coming from on this board. I just wonder if you are coming from a materialist perspective in our discussions?

No concept can reflect or describe the intrinsic wholeness of nature... The only way to know Reality is to see that you are Reality...Essential to being what you are is to see what you are not. This means that you must see that you are not a body, not a mind, not a doer, not a thinker, not a decider, not an ego, not a self-image, not anything. In contrast to the impossibility of seeing what you are, it is possible to see what you are not, because anything that you think you are is merely a concept or image, so you can also see that you are not it. The reverse of identification is disidentification, and seeing what you are not is an essential part of disidentification.

One should not assume from the above that concepts are useless or unnecessary...Conceptualizing by itself is not a source of problems--it is identification with concepts that causes all problems. The sage uses concepts as a necessary part of living but does not identify with them (does not live in ignorance). In particular, there is no identification with the "I"-doer concept so there is no sage entity.
0 Replies
 
Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 03:48 am
@Electra phil,
They are still untrue. Else everything that describes reality would be true, since it describes itself.

Honestly, you shouldn't read that stuff, it is missleading.
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 04:22 am
@Refus,
Thanks for your opinion.

Happy holidays to you. :p
0 Replies
 
Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 04:54 am
@Electra phil,
Thank you, and I wish you the best.

PS. You know alot of awesome stuff, it makes me happy. Keep up the good work!
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 05:08 am
@Refus,
Refus wrote:
Thank you, and I wish you the best.

PS. You know alot of awesome stuff, it makes me happy. Keep up the good work!



You too, Refus!


XX
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 06:04 am
@Electra phil,
No need to reply, just putting some links here that are interesting to me...

Ian Goddard's Philosophy

WT Stace: Mysticism and Language

(cached document)
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 06:35 am
@Electra phil,
http://borndigital.com/tree/esa/sec1.jpg

Binah, forming a triad with Kochma and Keter, balances three forces: Spiritual love and awareness (Binah), Spiritual will and purpose (Kochma), and the infinite realized self (Keter). These three spheres could be compared to the 'Father, Son, and Holy Ghost' in the Christian pantheon.

...


Kochma (right silver) is the wisdom beyond reason. Spiritual leaders and people who inspire us can embody this quality.

Potentials of Kochma: Developing purpose and initiative, manifesting the universal plan in the world, genius, logos, pure spirit, transformation.

Kochma is the first real manifestation of en soph, containing the ideal plan of all the worlds. Kochma is pure, undifferentiated mind, before words - the tools of differentiation. With words come the "olam ha pirud," the "world of distinctions."

Oceanic Consciousness / Wisdom / Revelation / Light / Memory

...


Binah (left black) is the the realm of pure understanding. It is the feminine component of deity, the home of 'peak' experiences. It is the first sphere of the transpersonal realm, after crossing the abyss. Binah is restrictive - the hand of 'God' that takes away. BINAH, or "Understanding," is the first sphere after the abyss; It is the beginning of the spiritual realm, on the same level as KOCHMA, balancing the highest energies in readiness for KETER.

Understanding / Reason / Intelligence / Language
The supernal Mother. The Womb.

....

The Infinite (Top, White)


Keter's planet is Pluto.
Divine ideal wisdom / Will / Inspiration / Spirit
Keter is the source of all, including the things as yet unmanifest. Stabilizing consciousness at this sphere is the goal of human evolution. KETER, or "The Infinite," is the crown of the tree, the peak of the spiritual realm, the assimilation of all spiritual work. It is the place where the pure energy first extends into the world and becomes recognizable as tangible reality.

[INDENT]"The ignorant man goes no further than the concept of God as an old man with a long beard who sat on a golden throne and gave orders for creation. The scientist will go back a little further before he is compelled to draw a veil called the ether; and the philosopher will go yet further before he draws a veil called the Absolute; but the initiate will go back furthest of all because he has learnt to do his thinking in symbols, and symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand -an extended application of its powers. ... (Esotericists) do not try to explain to the mind that which the mind is not equipped to deal with; they give it a series of symbols to meditate upon, and these enable it to build the staircase of realisation step by step and to climb where it cannot fly. The mind can no more grasp transcendental philosophy than the eye can see music." [/INDENT]

[INDENT]The Mystical Qabalah, 1935, pp. 30-31, 29[/INDENT]

[INDENT]ifdawn.com | The Tree of Life (The Original, since 1994)[/INDENT][INDENT]Transcendental Philosophy

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Self-Reliance


[/INDENT]
0 Replies
 
Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 09:09 am
@Electra phil,
"but the initiate will go back furthest of all because he has learnt to do his thinking in symbols, and symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand -an extended application of its powers. ... (Esotericists) do not try to explain to the mind that which the mind is not equipped to deal with; they give it a series of symbols to meditate upon, and these enable it to build the staircase of realisation step by step and to climb where it cannot fly. The mind can no more grasp transcendental philosophy than the eye can see music."

So you are through this religion saying that I am an initiate that thinks in symbols? It seems I can after all grasp reality. Given that you believe me.

But given that you've been so nice, I take it I shouldn't take it personal. After all, it might not even be directed against me or anyone for that matter.

Also, The purpose of man is really to magnify the self. To make the % part self as big as possible in the universe, so that we get as much as possible. One single unit cannot replace a whole world of others. The self must be spread and made as big part as possible. How have we succeeded with this mission today? Is it even possible to complete it?
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 09:28 am
@Refus,
Refus wrote:
"but the initiate will go back furthest of all because he has learnt to do his thinking in symbols, and symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand -an extended application of its powers. ... (Esotericists) do not try to explain to the mind that which the mind is not equipped to deal with; they give it a series of symbols to meditate upon, and these enable it to build the staircase of realisation step by step and to climb where it cannot fly. The mind can no more grasp transcendental philosophy than the eye can see music."

So you are through this religion saying that I am an initiate that thinks in symbols? It seems I can after all grasp reality. Given that you believe me.


Follow your own drum. Listen to the song of your soul. Follow your star. Those 'concepts' are something I do believe.
0 Replies
 
Refus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 09:38 am
@Electra phil,
So that religion, what religion is that?
Electra phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 09:52 am
@Refus,
Refus wrote:
So that religion, what religion is that?


I would not view it as a religion, but a use of symbols and concepts that have been useful to me in terms of a kind of work in which I find value.

It is a map of sorts, called the Tree of Life. Some people call it Kabala, and that is spelled in different ways, so you know. It has been an aid in determining what energies I am personally working with and a way of assessing "where I am at", ie what lessons I am learning and the right attitude needed to approach those lessons.

A simplistic view of this kind of practice can be seen at ifdawn.com | The Tree of Life (The Original, since 1994). Be sure to test out all the little lines, circles and words on the interactive map, should you take a look at it. The tarot card references are archetypal energies one ("the fool") encounters on his journey (to God).

I think this system has value even if you consider yourself an atheist, for it can still help authenticate the genius or the expression that is considered "self".

I should state once again that I am not fishing for people or for any particular judgements or assessments on anything I post here. I post because I am sharing on this board for the time being, as I work. There is really nothing more to it than that. Others opinions and assessments have been of very little value to me on my journey as an overall statement.

There are a few people I could count on one hand that have made any kind of impression on me in my journey. Everyone else has just been "nice to meet" along the way. :p
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