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No Reality Outside Our Own Existence

 
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 12:11 pm
fresco wrote:
Miang,

I've just defined it !



No, fresco, you haven't defined it. You've made many comments about it but not defined it.

I've heard bits about the effect of observation on the nature of the observed (see experiments in wave/particle duality, for example). I've heard of cats in boxes and trees falling in woods.

None of this leads me to believe that my own observations are the cause of existence of the universe around me, which I believe to continue in its constant exchange of matter and energy after I cease to observe it, just as it existed before "I" existed, as a sentient being, capable of observation.

I'll not argue that the manner in which I perceive is influenced by the culture in which I live, the language I speak etc. but I don't believe that the abstract concept of "existence" is dependent upon my own "existence". I'm vain but not that vain!
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 12:38 pm
truth
Kpete. It seems to me, if I understand you, that you are talking about PURE existence, the QUANTITATIVE difference between one and zero, whereas I am talking about the QUALITATIVE existence of a bar of soap, the number two (as an idea, not a quantity itself) and bathroom. All of these constructions exist as particular meaningful qualities, "soap", "two", and "bathroom", not as "one's" as opposed to "zeros". By our constructive actions we do not bring into reality these kinds of quantitative "existences"; we bring into reality the qualitative existences, the experienced contents of our lives. These are what I mean by our constructions, not existence per se. As I said above it is all metaphorical, the soap can be reduced to molecules, the molecules to atoms, the atoms to sub-atomic particles, quarks, and who knows what else. It is only through our constructive action that they "become soap". But remember that even "molecules", "atoms', and "quarks" are metaphors; it is metaphor all the way down.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 02:19 pm
The nondualist paradigm is really quite simple but disconcerting. There is no "existence" of any singularity "in its own right". In traditional Venn diagram form A does not have existence in vacuo.
The boundaries of A divide it from not-A. The "reality" is the complement of A and not-A.
Now allow also the boundary to be in dynamic flux such that there is a continuous exchange between A and not-A giving a degree of uncertainty as to the location of the boundary. Such is the nature of "self", "tree" or any other focus we put in place of A. The illusion we have of "permanence in its own right" is due to the use of "words tokens". Thus wording of "treeness" as "tree" conjures up a Platonic apochryphal abstraction which no doubt differs "in the minds eye" for each communicator according to their respective conditioning, but any "actual tree" can never be captured in its "entirety" by such wording since (a) the picture depends on the original attention set of the observer and (b) the "tree" like the "observer" or any other A has "moved on" in terms of its boundary dynamics.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 02:32 pm
And yes Joe, no relationship =no existence and vice versa.

(e.g. according to this "unicorns exist" because "I" (and "you") relate to "unicorns" but it is the nature of the relationship that is significant)
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 07:27 am
JLN,

You've defined what we're talking about. In my book that's a discussion of taxonomy, not existence.

Fresco,

You've used a lot of jargon. Please DEFINE the word existence as you are using it in your arguments. Then we might be able to have a meaningful discussion about the relationship between existence and reality.

I'm quite happy to agree that our classifications, using whatever language we choose, are simply that - classifications. Each of us will use such a classification to convey meaning to others (who, ideally, use the same classification to be able to refer to an equivalent subjective "reality").

It may also be that we use language to fit newly encountered situations, concepts or objects into our own schema, internally but as a result of using language in thought.

It's actually quite disconcerting to think using limited vocabulary. I remember that I went to Munich for a German course (back in 1993). In the first few days, I managed to think in German when I was speaking it. The trouble came when I wasn't speaking and thoughts would come to me, in German, relating to concepts or objects for which I didn't know the word. It felt very odd.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 08:01 am
fresco wrote:
The nondualist paradigm is really quite simple but disconcerting. There is no "existence" of any singularity "in its own right". In traditional Venn diagram form A does not have existence in vacuo.

How do you know that?

fresco wrote:
The boundaries of A divide it from not-A. The "reality" is the complement of A and not-A.

So the law of non-contradiction works in the realms of non-duality?

fresco wrote:
Now allow also the boundary to be in dynamic flux such that there is a continuous exchange between A and not-A giving a degree of uncertainty as to the location of the boundary.

There are only three ways of "knowing" that this sort of "dynamic flux" occurs: empirically, logically, or metaphysically. I see no reason to conclude that "dynamic flux" is required logically, and I see no evidence to suggest that it is supported empirically. That leaves only a metaphysical type of "knowing." Is that your position?

fresco wrote:
Such is the nature of "self", "tree" or any other focus we put in place of A. The illusion we have of "permanence in its own right" is due to the use of "words tokens". Thus wording of "treeness" as "tree" conjures up a Platonic apochryphal abstraction which no doubt differs "in the minds eye" for each communicator according to their respective conditioning, but any "actual tree" can never be captured in its "entirety" by such wording since (a) the picture depends on the original attention set of the observer and (b) the "tree" like the "observer" or any other A has "moved on" in terms of its boundary dynamics.

The tree has "moved on"? How do you know that?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:19 am
pete.

Existence is a set of two way interactions or relationships. Generally humans are concerned with cognitive relationships or "observations" but the concept has been extended by Capra et al such that "cognition" is a special or transcendent level of "life". The relationships are dynamic involving exchange of information, materials, etc across what we might call a structural membrane and the integrity of the "structure" depends on both "inner" and "outer" processes.

The mathematical models in structural dynamics are beyond the realm of this discussion. What matters is the shift of focus from the (fallacious) existence of structure in its own right to the complementarity of "existence" in terms of mutual interaction. In terms of the traditional "tree in the forest" argument...there is no such thing as a "tree"etc independent of an observer who evokes "treeness" or "fallingness" or "forestness" with all these "-nesses" implying sets of interactions common to specifically human observers.
0 Replies
 
gozmo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:26 am
despite all, there is beingness, be it me, you or a mass of particles
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:35 am
Joe,

What you mean by "knowledge" is concerned with prediction and control, i.e. the "outcomes" of relationships. Since prediction has become probabalistic at the boundaries of research the status of "evidence" has become problematic and alternative epistemological paradigms are offered.
So when you say "I see no evidence..." of course not !....change the "I" and its relationship with "evidence". Smile
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:59 am
fresco wrote:
Joe,

What you mean by "knowledge" is concerned with prediction and control, i.e. the "outcomes" of relationships.

I am comfortable with the notion that "knowledge" is probabilistic. On the other hand, I have no idea what you mean when you talk about "outcomes of relationships."

fresco wrote:
Since prediction has become probabalistic at the boundaries of research the status of "evidence" has become problematic and alternative epistemological paradigms are offered.

Offered by whom? On what basis?

fresco wrote:
So when you say "I see no evidence..." of course not !....change the "I" and its relationship with "evidence". Smile

And you get . . . what?

By the way, I can't tell if any of these remarks constitute answers to my previous questions. For your convenience, then, I'll repeat them:

1. So the law of non-contradiction works in the realms of non-duality?

2. There are only three ways of "knowing" that this sort of "dynamic flux" occurs: empirically, logically, or metaphysically. I see no reason to conclude that "dynamic flux" is required logically, and I see no evidence to suggest that it is supported empirically. That leaves only a metaphysical type of "knowing." Is that your position?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 12:22 pm
Joe,

Sorry I can't answer you because you are asking me the equivalent of describe "baseball" in terms of the rules and conventions of "musical composition" (Nuances of Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" ?) For example, I cannot interpret "metaphysical" since I cannot distinguish "physical" from "non-physical" either from within the paradigm, or from without ( without begging the question of the nature of "existence") The paradigm represents a Gestalt, albeit an incomplete one, which shifts our focus from reductionism to complementarity. Its utility must be judged from its applicability to ones personal "understanding" of reality.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 12:53 pm
truth
Gozmo, I understand your position: "despite all, there is beingness, be it me, you, or a mass of particles." When I talk of our construction of reality, I am, as I tried to make clear above, saying that the qualitative, meaningful character of things are what we create (they are illusions in that sense). And we create such "things" because it is essential that we do: it is in our nature to do so and it is essential to our survival. But, philosophically speaking, they are still illusions, useful fictions, as it were. As for "beingness", I take that concept to indicate what Kant called the noumena, the thing in itself, that is not knowable "in itself"; it must be converted into phenomena by our senses and our meaning-generating, capacities/activities (I personally prefer Spinoza's non-dualistic pantheistic monism to Kant's dualism--noumena vs. phenomena). Buddhists would state that because there is no real thingness, no static beingness of things, only movement, becoming or process, the world consists of "empty" (non-static, non-beingness) or dynamic processes. Indeed, the entire universe, all of Reality, is "empty" in this sense, without "being status". Yet processes exist, so a literal "nothingness" cannot be the case. Emptiness (Sunyatta) is full not literally empty. But as I said above, our ontological realities of "soap", the number, "two", the place, "bathroom", as well as the more abstract, "truth", "beauty","evil", "goodness", etc. etc. are the qualities that we invent and ascribe to the world. If we did not exist such things would not exist. To believe that "soap" exists independent of our constructive activity is Naive Realism. These ascribed qualities are our on-going mental creations and part of what we mean by "culture".
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 02:30 pm
fresco wrote:
Joe,

Sorry I can't answer you because you are asking me the equivalent of describe "baseball" in terms of the rules and conventions of "musical composition" (Nuances of Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" ?) For example, I cannot interpret "metaphysical" since I cannot distinguish "physical" from "non-physical" either from within the paradigm, or from without ( without begging the question of the nature of "existence")

Fresco, your entire position is one long petitio principii. It is transparent question-begging exalted into a system of metaphysics.

fresco wrote:
The paradigm represents a Gestalt, albeit an incomplete one, which shifts our focus from reductionism to complementarity. Its utility must be judged from its applicability to ones personal "understanding" of reality.

And this, I contend, is merely another example of such question-begging.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:26 pm
truth
I take it, Joe, that you just don't want to make the effort to understand him. It's the same old story: inter-paradigmatic communication is extremely difficult and generally fruitless.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:17 am
Yes - its the vested interest syndrome perhaps.

It is "self-evident" to JLN and myself that observer and observed are inextricably related. It follows for us that the status of "observational evidence" depends on "consensus".

Any research worker in perception will verify that the "problem" is deciding which are the "significant" features within a "physical" signal that the brain NEEDS to abstract. Nobody can tell you because "significance" and "need" are negotiable. We can guess, and therefore "find neural circuits which appear to do the job" but generally this is reductionist tinkering rooted in naive realism. My very usage of the words "circuit" or even "brain" delimit my evidence gathering activities. It is generally accepted ( with a few exceptions like Pinker) that even a "single perception" may involve the total life experience and genetics of the observer both as a member of a species and as an individual, and may involve more than superficial neural transmissions.

So although the paradigm does allow for "normal logic" when consensus is available, the interesting questions about "reality" transcend this position.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 08:54 am
fresco wrote:
Yes - its the vested interest syndrome perhaps.

As laughably weak an example of an ad hominem argument as I've ever seen.

fresco wrote:
It is "self-evident" to JLN and myself that observer and observed are inextricably related. It follows for us that the status of "observational evidence" depends on "consensus".

Really, fresco, given twyvel's dismal performance on the "Non-Contradiction" thread, I had hoped that you might have something more to offer than a bland assertion that your position is "blatantly obvious." Imagine my disappointment, then, when I discover that your epistemology is just as barren as twyvel's. Where twyvel rests on "blatant obviousness," you rely on "self-evidence" to support your assertions. But, in the end, the result is the same: the sole foundation for your position is a bare ipse dixit, a feeble "sez me."

fresco wrote:
Any research worker in perception will verify that the "problem" is deciding which are the "significant" features within a "physical" signal that the brain NEEDS to abstract.

OK, this must be some kind of elaborate prank, right? I mean, in a previous post you declined to explain the nature of "knowing" because . . . well, because of something having to do with "paradigms" (which, in itself, is the paradigmatic response of someone who has nothing to say but who wants to say it profoundly). But then here you are clearly relying on an empirical basis of knowledge, something that you specifically rejected before as somehow not fitting in with your "paradigm." Hence we see yet again the selective sort of cherry-picking of the evidence that has been a hallmark of the non-dualists.

fresco wrote:
Nobody can tell you because "significance" and "need" are negotiable. We can guess, and therefore "find neural circuits which appear to do the job" but generally this is reductionist tinkering rooted in naive realism. My very usage of the words "circuit" or even "brain" delimit my evidence gathering activities. It is generally accepted ( with a few exceptions like Pinker) that even a "single perception" may involve the total life experience and genetics of the observer both as a member of a species and as an individual, and may involve more than superficial neural transmissions.

More empirical evidence, more cherry-picking.

fresco wrote:
So although the paradigm does allow for "normal logic" when consensus is available, the interesting questions about "reality" transcend this position.

How do you know that?

Oh, wait, I know how you know: it's "self-evident," right?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 09:19 am
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
I take it, Joe, that you just don't want to make the effort to understand him. It's the same old story: inter-paradigmatic communication is extremely difficult and generally fruitless.

Actually, JLN, I've made a tremendous effort to understand non-dualism and its trio of acolytes. But I invariably find that there's nothing to understand, apart from: (1) a purely metaphysical worldview; (2) a lot of impenetrable and ultimately meaningless jargon (like "inter-paradigmatic"); and (3) a consistent effort to use the impenetrable jargon to disguise the metaphysical worldview.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 10:04 am
Joe,

What efforts? Both JLN and I have given references (here and elsewhere) which you don't seem to want to read. I have even given counter-references which one might assume would be significant for you. Your talents seem wasted if you are stuck at the level of a pugnacious reactionary. I don't seem to see your views on the nature of reality. Why not ?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 11:54 am
fresco wrote:
Joe,

What efforts? Both JLN and I have given references (here and elsewhere) which you don't seem to want to read. I have even given counter-references which one might assume would be significant for you. Your talents seem wasted if you are stuck at the level of a pugnacious reactionary.

I have read most of the links that you've posted. They usually fall into one of two categories: (1) sites that do not support the points that you are attempting to make; or (2) sites that simply repeat the same errors that you make in your own posts. The problem isn't that I haven't read your sources, it's that they don't make your case. In fact, here, as elsewhere, we see the non-dualistic inability to distinguish between understanding and acceptance. I understand your position; I just don't accept it.

fresco wrote:
I don't seem to see your views on the nature of reality. Why not ?

One simple reason: you've never asked.

Really, fresco, your lack of curiosity on this particular point had me stumped too. Surely, in all of the exchanges that we've had regarding the nature of knowledge, I would have thought that you'd ask me what my views were at least once, if only by accident. But no such query was ever forthcoming. Instead, you seemed singularly concentrated on your own position, as untenable as it may have been, to the exclusion of all else. I could only surmise that this obsessive interest left no room for the discussion of any other point of view, apart from the occasional dismissive reference to "naive realism," even if such a discussion might bolster your own arguments. Rather than yield the floor, even for a moment, to some other perspective, you prefered to monopolize the discussion even if it was on increasingly disadvantageous terms.

But then I can understand this stance. Certainly, if I held to a position as intellectually threadbare as yours, I'd be less than eager for anyone else to bring up a more plausible alternative.

As for my own position on reality, I generally take a pragmatic approach, as informed by the works of Thomas Reid, C.S. Peirce, and William James. Reality is what we perceive through our senses and what we can deduce therefrom.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:04 pm
truth
Joe, how can you consider "inter-paradigmatic" impenetrable and ultimately meaningless jargon? You've read Kuhn, of course. And since you must therefore know what a paradigm is--that is elementary--you must also know what communication across/between paradigms is. You DO seem to be pugnaciously resistant. Why?
0 Replies
 
 

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