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Are We The Universe Looking At Itself?

 
 
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2003 09:17 am
The universe produces & evolves life.

We are a form of life that has evolved the ability to question & test its existence.

We study the physical world & our minds with the hope of understanding 3 facets of the ultimate question:
1. What are we?
2. Where are we?
3. Why are we here?

If you accept these premises, how does god fit into the process? Is there a component to life that transcends the physical?

Bonus questions Wink

Is religion an evolutionary process? Where do you see it headed (especially in its relationship with science)?
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2003 09:40 am
Hi Violet

I am an agnostic -- and I'd like to offer one agnostic's opinions on your theories and questions.

I don't think we know anywhere near enough about the universe to make many far-reaching conclusions about what it is -- whether or not it has a purpose -- or even to estimate if it ever will be possible to know enough to answer those kinds of questions.

What I said ion that previous paragraph applies not only to the metaphysical and religious attempts to draw conclusions about the universe, its characteristics, and its purpose if any -- it also applies to the physical sciences.

We see scientists talking about things like the Big Bang and asserting that all of time and space and spacetime came into being at the moment of that event along with all of the components of what we call the physical universe.

But while the mechanics of the Big Bang may be understandable, we really have no idea whatever about what preceded that event -- and what preceded it may make what happened after it seem like very small potatoes.

I don't think we know if this thing we refer to as "the universe" is actually THE UNIVERSE or if it is just a rather small component of something much, much larger.



There may very well be a component to life that transcends the physical or material aspects -- but to suppose that we can make meaningful statements about that is, in my humble opinion, absurd, because I do not see enough reliable, unambiguous, probative evidence to even make meaningful GUESSES about those things.




If there are gods, I suspect they fit in to the big picture in a monumental way. But once again, I see almost no reliable, unambiguous, probative evidence that there are any gods.

IMPORTANT: I see almost no reliable, unambiguous, probative evidence that there are no gods either.

And in both those immediately preceeding statements, I used the expression "...almost no..." where my true inclinations wanted me to use "...no...". Personally I don't see ANY evidence in either direction, but I offered the slight caveat to be fair in my comments to those who see some.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Is religion evolutionary...", but in one sense, I think it is. I think religion is a natural product of the fear ancient humans had of the unknown -- and that it developed along with humans in that form. Religion, in my opinion, is purely a function of fear of the unknown -- and has no other reasonable genesis.
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Violet Lake
 
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Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2003 09:44 am
Good thoughts, Frank. Thanks. That is what I meant by religion being an evolutionary process, although I'm not sure I agree that fear is the only thing that drives it.
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trixabell
 
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Reply Tue 13 May, 2003 07:49 am
hmmm...the only thing i no about the universe is that im its centre...hehe...religion however is a muchly interesting topic.
fear...fear of the unknown is a good explaination and i think that it does have a lot to do with it...as well as meaning that people become more religious as they get older in the light of their impendng death (morbid but true) BUT not the only reason methinks...i think your little debate about the reason for the universe goes a good way to demonstrating that it is also a human need to explain everything, not because of fear, but because if there was a bad famine, or crop failure they wanted someone to blame/a way to put it right. god-fearing is something that evolved from this - the premise that if there was something omnipotent then u better please it or face the consequences. religion is definately an evolutionary process and is there to make up for the exact science that was lacking when it originated...
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trixabell
 
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Reply Tue 13 May, 2003 07:52 am
oooh...and that would mean that the natural course of events is that religion will eventually be disproved and will die out...either that or the peoples with closed minds will stone to death the poor git who works it out...above anything, what we really hate is a smart arse -xxx-
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2003 09:49 pm
truth
Of course we are the universe looking at itself, or at least trying to. Consciousness itself exists as an aspect of the universe and when it tries to examine the nature of itself, its awareness, its "self," and the physical universe, as astronomers and astrophysicists do, we see instances of a universe trying to see and experience itself. When we look at the Cosmos with telescopes we should realize the Cosmos is on BOTH SIDES of the telescope, "right here" as well as "way over there."
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twyvel
 
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Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2003 02:53 am
Yes, the universe is on both ends of the telescope, nice way of putting it JLNobody. Everything happens, "right here".

But if things (thoughts etc.) have to be perceived to exist, that is, they are a function of the mind, and as Krishnamurti and many others have said the perceived and the perceiver are one and the same, then that which is not being perceived is in(?) the void; everything comes into existence from the void or emptiness. But this void isn't some distanct, mysterious thing(?).

The void is the unperceived, and as such right now my head ( my face) (and most of my body most of the time) is in the void and has been all my life as I have never seen it (never seen my unmirrored head). So seeing, hearing, tasting etc, take place from the void. This void (consciousness) is what is aware; thinking and all else spring from it.


And so, to my point, the void is looking through the telescope, (if looking actually takes place) and in one sense is the universe in as much as everything emerges from it, is contained in it, and in another sense is not the universe as it is the unmanifest. The unmanifest observing the manifest.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2003 06:11 am
twyvel wrote:
But if things (thoughts etc.) have to be perceived to exist, that is, they are a function of the mind, and as Krishnamurti and many others have said the perceived and the perceiver are one and the same, then that which is not being perceived is in(?) the void; everything comes into existence from the void or emptiness. But this void isn't some distanct, mysterious thing(?).


It is possible!

But simply because Krishnamurti and many others have said something is so -- does not make it so.

The perceived and the perceiver may not be one.

There may be very, very little illusionary about the universe -- and what we think we see -- may be what is.

The mystical stuff is interesting, intriguing, and certainly has lots of appeal -- but it is nothing to go to the bank with.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2003 12:46 pm
Frank wrote:

Quote:
It is possible!

But simply because Krishnamurti and many others have said something is so -- does not make it so.

The perceived and the perceiver may not be one.

There may be very, very little illusionary about the universe -- and what we think we see -- may be what is.

The mystical stuff is interesting, intriguing, and certainly has lots of appeal -- but it is nothing to go to the bank with.


Oh it's not merely based on what Krishnamurti and others say, (although their words certainly give support, and a starting point for many) it's based on ones own personal observations which are verified by others who care to look.

I know I cannot observe the awareness/consciousness observing these words.

It simply cannot be observed, it's an empirical observation. Given that, it cannot be said that there is a perceiver if the perceiver is the awareness,..........and it really cannot be anything else.

So if we ask, Who's looking at these words?

Answer, ...........The awareness.

But what is that? Can you see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, think it or feel it?........No.

So there is no observable perceiver.

When you look at an apple what separates or distinguishes the awareness from the apple?

Nothing.

It appears separate because the body, as a series of perceptions is perceived to be separate from the apple,..........not the awareness.

The 'awareness' has to be observed in order to make a distinction between it and what it is aware of, but since it cannot be observed a distinction cannot be made.

So if we think we see something separate from the awareness it is illusory, since you cannot separate something from 'nothing' but only from 'other things' (thoughts, images, observables).

Given that, the primary subject---object dualism is an illusion.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2003 04:06 pm
truth
Twyvel, Frank is right. Your mystical perspective, while the deepest of truths, cannot be taken to the bank. It has no cash value, as the American pragmatists might have said in the days of Wm.James. By cash value I mean that it is not the kind of knowledge that will build bridges or cure cancer. But it IS the kind of "knowledge" that saves us existentially from the delusion that makes life a process of suffering (Buddha). Let me tell you that your most recent statement is the most illuminating I've read in many years. My printer is broken so I'm going to have to write it out and study it, repeatedly, whenever my understanding of the phenomenology of self and experience tends to fall into an ego-centered perspective. I hope that all of us will take your words VERY seriously and try to see into their truth. And I'm very happy for you.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2003 04:37 pm
We're just a glob of biological mass that happens to think we have a reality during the short period we call 'life.' Some scientists think we are related to the fish. We can no more prove that than we can about the "big bang." Truth is always in the eye of the beholder - even when we're wrong. So is life. c.i.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 01:12 pm
HI, JLNobody, thanks for your encouraging words.


I'm not sure what meaning Frank had in mind with the metaphor:

"The mystical stuff is interesting, intriguing, and certainly has lots of appeal - but it is nothing to go to the bank with."


......nor with his generalized term "mystical stuff", but I suspect it's his way of reaffirming agnosticism, to put it lightly,......and of course it's up to Frank to expand on that if he chooses.

The three of us agree, (Frank tentatively) (I don't know about cicerone imposter or others on this thread) that awareness cannot be observed, and I think, and perhaps you and Frank also think there are consequences with that being the truth.

And as I have said I think these 'consequences' modify and change agnosticism or our "I don't know's", by expanding and/or altering what most of us claim "to know"; I am an autonomous ego/body entity in an apparent infinite universe, occupied by other ego/body entities (etc.),....all of which is distinct and separate from me.

However that's not to say we are not left with even more "I don't know's",......but different ones. One insight leads to another etc.

In ones life the contents of agnosticism is in constant change in a similar way what a child knows and does not know changes as s/he grows,.....and s/he's always in some form, in some area or another in a state of, "I do not Know", but it metaphorically moves on down the road. (generally speaking)

Then of course, I think the truth nature of "self" is beyond knowing or not knowing, where claiming to know or not to know is an indication that one does not know, ......a paradox but at this moment words are all we have.

If awareness cannot be observed, and you are it, how do these words get to you?

It's baffling, but in a good way, Smile

And I think you are correct; many are trying to clear the window, free themselves from delusions, and it might help to recognize the problem in order to engage it; that we/they are delusional, and one key, one potential indication might be that awareness cannot be observed.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 02:02 pm
truth
Twyvel, you say, correctly, that observation cannot be observed. Is it also the case that "sight cannot be seen"? If we try to focus on sight, I find, we tend not to be able to actually see that which is being seen. There is a kind of self-consciousness that gets in the way--as when, I supposed we frustrate ourselves when we TRY to enjoy a sunset.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 02:20 pm
twyvel wrote:
I'm not sure what meaning Frank had in mind with the metaphor:

"The mystical stuff is interesting, intriguing, and certainly has lots of appeal - but it is nothing to go to the bank with."


......nor with his generalized term "mystical stuff", but I suspect it's his way of reaffirming agnosticism, to put it lightly,......and of course it's up to Frank to expand on that if he chooses.



Over the years, when discussing Eastern mysticism, I have taken to referring to it as "that mystical stuff."

It happens that when I force myself to guess about reality -- I often find myself most comfortable with guessing in the direction of Eastern mysticism -- "the illusion" and such.

But truly, it has no more solidity than the guesses Christians make about reality; or the guesses atheists make about it.

Hence, my comment: Nothing to go to the bank with.


Quote:
The three of us agree, (Frank tentatively) (I don't know about cicerone imposter or others on this thread) that awareness cannot be observed, and I think, and perhaps you and Frank also think there are consequences with that being the truth.


Awareness, like oxygen, cannot be observed. There definitely are consequences of that -- but it is my guess that anything said about those consequences would be guesswork also.

Quote:
And as I have said I think these 'consequences' modify and change agnosticism or our "I don't know's", by expanding and/or altering what most of us claim "to know"; I am an autonomous ego/body entity in an apparent infinite universe, occupied by other ego/body entities (etc.),....all of which is distinct and separate from me.


Without getting into specifics, I disagree with all of this. To get anywhere near this point, you are already deciding what the consequences mentioned above ARE. In my opinion, it is not reasonable or logical to do that.
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twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 04:33 pm
JLNobody wrote:

Quote:
Is it also the case that "sight cannot be seen"? If we try to focus on sight, I find, we tend not to be able to actually see that which is being seen. There is a kind of self-consciousness that gets in the way--as when, I supposed we frustrate ourselves when we TRY to enjoy a sunset.


Yes, we cannot step back and see ourselves seeing, or see seeing seeing. That's why it is said there is no self, because 'you' cannot get to it, and so goes the limitations of subject---object knowledge. All knowledge acquired through a subject-object relation excludes knowledge of the subject ,.....that's pretty straight forward. ( if the subject is something other then the object)

It's odd but we also cannot see what we touch or touch what we see, even though common sense says we do, but of course we are talking about what's contrary to common sense, i.e. possibly the truth.
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twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 04:54 pm
Frank wrote:

Quote:
Awareness, like oxygen, cannot be observed. There definitely are consequences of that -- but it is my guess that anything said about those consequences would be guesswork also.



Oxygen can be observed and detected with meters and instruments, awareness cannot, so I don't think your analogy holds, or is anything to go to the bank with.


The statement, "Awareness cannot be observed" mean precisely; That I cannot observe myself. That's one of the consequences which is not about any guess work. It's not even a 'consequence', but rather that's what it means.


Quote:
And as I have said I think these 'consequences' modify and change agnosticism or our "I don't know's", by expanding and/or altering what most of us claim "to know"; I am an autonomous ego/body entity in an apparent infinite universe, occupied by other ego/body entities (etc.),....all of which is distinct and separate from me.

Quote:
Without getting into specifics, I disagree with all of this. To get anywhere near this point, you are already deciding what the consequences mentioned above ARE. In my opinion, it is not reasonable or logical to do that.



As stated above that awareness cannot be observed, means I cannot observe myself, which has an effect on what one knows and does not know, and therefore alters ones agnosticism.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 07:36 pm
twyvel wrote:
Frank wrote:

Quote:
Awareness, like oxygen, cannot be observed. There definitely are consequences of that -- but it is my guess that anything said about those consequences would be guesswork also.



Oxygen can be observed and detected with meters and instruments, awareness cannot, so I don't think your analogy holds, or is anything to go to the bank with.


And are you saying that awareness cannot be detected?

Oxygen can be detected -- and so can awareness -- even though neither can be observed.


Quote:

The statement, "Awareness cannot be observed" mean precisely; That I cannot observe myself. That's one of the consequences which is not about any guess work. It's not even a 'consequence', but rather that's what it means.


If you are meaning to say that you cannot observe yourself -- your really should say "I cannot observe myself" rather than Awareness cannot be observed. They say two different things -- and have two different meanings.

Twyvel, your devotion to this belief system of yours is amazing -- much, much more complex an activity than its cousins, the belief systems of the theists and atheists.

Quote:

As stated above that awareness cannot be observed, means I cannot observe myself, which has an effect on what one knows and does not know, and therefore alters ones agnosticism.


I don't think it does. I think this is analgous to the theist Christians explaining the trinity.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 07:40 pm
twyvel wrote:
As stated above that awareness cannot be observed, means I cannot observe myself, which has an effect on what one knows and does not know, and therefore alters ones agnosticism.


I'll tell you something else that alters one's agnosticism -- and alters it a hell of a lot more than awareness and observations will.

It is a devotion to a belief system.

I suspect that is what is altering your agnosticism, Twyvel.
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twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 10:36 pm
Frank wrote:

Quote:
And are you saying that awareness cannot be detected?

Oxygen can be detected -- and so can awareness -- even though neither can be observed.


If I cannot observe the consciousness that is me I certainly cannot observe it in others. When I observe someone conscious or unconscious I am observing behaviour or the state of their body (moving, not moving), not consciousness.

Can awareness/consciousness be detected?

Who/what is going to detect it?.......Consciousness?

If so, consciousness can detect itself. But consciousness doesn't detect itself, it detects what it is aware of.

And as Roger Penrose in his book The Emperor's New Mind, states: "we don't have a good definition of consciousness because we don't know what it is."
(haven't read the book, but perhaps will)

So if we don't know what it is how could we detect it?

From the nondual perspective the awareness of an object (or thought or mental image) and the object are one and the same, which sheds a different light on this issue.

Quote:
The statement, "Awareness cannot be observed" mean precisely; That I cannot observe myself. That's one of the consequences which is not about any guess work. It's not even a 'consequence', but rather that's what it means.


Quote:
If you are meaning to say that you cannot observe yourself -- your really should say "I cannot observe myself" rather than Awareness cannot be observed. They say two different things -- and have two different meanings.


Of course I can observe my body and thoughts, but that which does the observing cannot be observed. The "awareness" which IS me cannot observe itself.

I thought we agreed.

Quote:
Twyvel, your devotion to this belief system of yours is amazing -- much, much more complex an activity than its cousins, the belief systems of the theists and atheists.


You love to call it a belief system, but the observation, "I, as awareness cannot observe myself".......... Is not a belief.

Or,......."Awareness cannot be observed"..........Is not a belief.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jun, 2003 11:25 pm
truth
Frank, I want to repeat once more, and for the last time, that it seems very clear to me that Twyvel's "argument" is not a case put together on the basis of evidence that is public in nature. He cannot really lay out his evidence so that he can persuade doubters by the wieght of unambiguous facts. His insights follow IMMEDIATELY from experience. His evidence is private, not public; it is a matter of perspective--the evidence is right under his nose. But we have the same kind of "evidence" under ours as well. What we usually lack is the perspective to appreciate it, to be transformed by it--as opposed to believing IN IT.
Does that sound right, Twyvel?
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