The necessity of holding that the same is fundamentally true for all

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by greenberg, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. swarm Registered Senior Member

    kmguru Provide an example about fundamentals...use an example between a blind man and a person with eyes.

    Since I was talking about gravity, I'll presume you are addressing me.

    The blind man or sighted climbs a ladder, jumps off, and calculates their rate of fall. Low it is the same. The both attempt to superimpose solid objects, results the same. They both have a fundamental reality which they can investigate and cross correlate formally or informally. People do this all the time and come to basic agreement on the working fundamental reality.

    kmguru How the reality is same for both?

    There is just the one and it is the foundation upon which all else is based.

    kmguru The experience of reality is the crux of the matter.

    No experience is just an effect. Reality is persistent whether or not the effect of experience is noticed, understood or appreciated for what it is.

    The importance of experience is personal, not fundamental.

    kmguru are there degrees of truth that can or can not be expressed within the context of the limitation of a human mind?

    Um, of course? But I'm not sure your question is conveying your intent. Can or can not doesn't leave out much and then what it might miss is swept up by degrees. On top of that the context of the limitation of a human mind is a pretty low bar for truth.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. swarm Registered Senior Member

    greenberg You didn't answer my question.

    Actually I did and provided an example. If you need clarification just ask. If that is not the answer you were looking for, perhaps you need a different question?

    greenberg Can you observe yourself, your mind, your life and tell me what it is that enables you to not be concerned when others disagree with you?

    Ah, sure. Ok, this is a linguistic approximation to what is actually quite non verbal and effortless. When a concern such as that arises I note it, determine it is not worth pursuing and go back to what I was doing. The concern, unfed, dissipates.

    You can practice this by doing something excruciatingly boring, like sitting and letting your mind remain clear. Minds hate that and immediately something of no real concern will pop up. Note it, determine it is not worth pursuing and go back to what you were doing. 5 - 15 minutes a day for about a month is generally enough to get it programmed in and you'll start noticing spurious non concerns don't bother you much any more.

    Instead concern becomes a tool you can focus according to your actual need.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. swarm Registered Senior Member

    lightgigantic The only way to be peaceful in this world is to properly understand how god is controlling all things in these three capacities.

    It is so wonderful that you are completely mistaken about that.

    [greenberg my apologies for the misattribution]
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    You are appointing this to the wrong person.
  8. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    And this understanding of yours then necessarily overrides any declaration a person might make about themselves?

    So that if a person claims, for example "I eat meat because meat is good and there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating meat" or "I am my own person. I am not subject to any god, nor karma, nor guna" - your understanding of the three modes of material nature accomodates for this and you don't deem that the other person's claim in any way threatens or undermines your understanding of the three modes?

    I apologize if this is tedious, I just want to be as exact as possible.
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I guess there are a few issues at the chalk board of philosophy that one would have to deal with.

    Before one moves on to issues of the modes of nature one would have to accept that we are not absolutely independent, that there is some "issue" (beyond ourselves) which is beyond ourself.

    For example, forces beyond our control force us to eat, go to the bathroom, etc etc and also its not too difficult for us to imagine scenarios that could draw any number of emotional or physical responses from us.

    If a person does not accept this, they are mad (at the very least, death acts as a final curtain call for our activities .. and a little bit of introspection can lead one to discern many other memorable moments in our life).

    The modes of nature are simply a system to categorize these "issues" that influence us. Ironically, it is the nature of being influenced by passion and ignorance that one forgets this (and hence, heavy involvement with these is associated with insanity). On, the bright side, a good indication of being heavily influenced by the mode of goodness is to be philosophically inclined. So sattva guna is celebrated as being slightly better than the other two, since it offers the means of self awareness, even if it still within the throes of conditioned life.
    IOW sattva guna offers a closeness of objectivity. The others are not even on the chart.

    So suppose a person says that there is nothing wrong about eating meat. One could begin by philosophically problematizing that by inquiring if it is ok to eat a human, and on what basis do they make such a distinction (I assume they would have moral imperatives in place to feel uncomfortable about eating a human). Their ability to partake in philosophical conversation on the topic indicates where sattva guna rests in their locality ... and even moreso their ability to bring their activities in line with their philosophical convictions.

    Similarly a person may say that they are their own person, yet it is not so difficult to indicate any one of a million influences that indicate that is not a fact.

    Basically, to the degree that one is affected by rajas and tamas is the degree that one's objectivity is deeply stained - In short, a person in the mode of passion thinks that the only problem in this world is that no one thinks (exactly) like them and with a person in the mode of ignorance, thinking that they are their problems

    Its no coincidence that Krishna begins his discussion on the modes by saying

    BG 15.2 By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

    Even though all 3 modes of nature are technically avidya (or non-knowledge, the substance pertinent to illusion, this material world, etc), knowing how they function enable one to perceive the nature of both god and the self, and enter into devotional mood (the celebrated path of "jnana" that dovetails with "bhakti")

    I apologize if the reply is tedious ....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    ... meanwhile labour under the duress of thinking one’s self remains the purpose of one’s labour, ... that the world exists solely for one’s personal enjoyment ...and navigating the ever changing social boundaries that one thinks dictates friendly engagements ....
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    What I liked about the way you formulated here was that it made me think generally about the issue, both in terms of ALL cases, and then the types of cases: cases where moral or epistemological or character issues were the focus. Before I think I have take a more tree by tree approach, rather than a forest one. Consciously that is.

    Just to keep a little pressure on this issue....we have investments in not being competent about ourselves in ways that we may not have for others. I do share your belief that we have more of a right - is this moral, practical, epistemological? - to speak about ourselves, but I think that step needs looking at also.

    Knowing oneself can clean up a lot of the noise in perceiving others. It can also minimize the effects of certain goals that we may not want to be conscious of - to win the argument, to be right more often than my _________, etc.

    I have started noticing what sets me off more. What shifts the dialogue or interaction to the troublesome category. This helps me because I can respond more directly to the troublesome portions (or not) without mixing them with the topic of discussion or the practical goals of the relationship. So actively finding the roots of that troublesomeness, attention....

    Always a good question. I think the danger of the question can be if one talks oneself out of a basic function. Imagine the person who questions his or her intution about where to place his or her feet while walking and the trip to the store takes hours instead of 2 minutes. I can imagine the question coming back: how does one distinguish between basic function and presumption? And again, I am afraid one must rely on pragmatism and intuition - the latter and probably the former both imply levels of self-trust. But I'll take this up below again.

    Currently being an important word. To expect/demand from oneself perfect intution is a set up for failure. One can also see
    1) if there are presumptions in the self-distrust - if one does experience part of this phenomenon as self-distrust
    2) if there is a self-defining going on, especially in the negative - for example - I will never be like __________ who presumed so much and was so sure of his/her intuitions but in fact was......a bully, a fool, a narcissist, wrong a lot, an unnecessary risk taker.
    3) if one can practice expanding the role of intution, or not getting involved in chains of self-doubt, first in safe, small ways and then moving outward.

    Do you mean: what is the justification for not assuming people are all the same?

    That's one good thing about us - to generalize - we often get tired of patterns that feel bad.
  12. swarm Registered Senior Member

    You present a false dilemma.
  13. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Do explain why do you think it is a false dilemma.
  14. swarm Registered Senior Member

    He suggests the only possibility for being peaceful is his false god "The only way to be peaceful in this world is to properly understand how god is" and that the alternative must be "that the world exists solely for one’s personal enjoyment" and such people "meanwhile labour under the duress of thinking one’s self remains the purpose of one’s labour."

    Yet this is clearly not the case. Many who worship his false god find no peace. Many who don't worship his false god do find peace. Godders can be as self centered as any one. Atheists, Buddhists, etc. can be altruistic.
  15. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    The thing is that the particular absolute statements might not all have the same kind of implications, IOW, they might turn out to not be absolute after all.

    For example, even a statement like "All beings are the owners of their karma" doesn't actually always apply, as it is said that there are some beings who are beyond karma, and as such, they aren't actually owners of their karma (anymore). Or another example, "Everyone knows for themselves what they really feel" - ideally, this is true, but practically, many would agree it is not actually the case.
    So there is the problem of the truthfulness of those absolute statements.

    I think another issue is at work here, additionally - namely, that those absolute statements are sometimes a conflation of an explanation or a definition, and an instruction. The instruction version of the two statements before would be "You (everyone) should consider yourself (themselves) the owner(s) of your (their) karma" and "You should figure out for yourself how you really feel" - and these transformations are usually easy enough for us to understand, in fact, I think we often take them for granted. But all too often, those absolute statements are used in a way where it is not clear whether the speaker means them as an explanation or a definition, or as an instruction - hence another set of problems with them.

    This opens up the whole issues of selfhood, perception, (in)dependence ...
    To start somewhere - It seems to be a given that we think we are in some crucial way different than other people. But what exactly this difference is - people seem to vary very much in how they understand this difference. For some, race is the crucial factor. For others, political conviction. And so on. And for some, this difference might be about whether a person is enlightened or not. People also seem to usually have several such criteria of differentiation at work at once.
    Practically, it seems it comes down to which criteria of differentiation are the most feasible ones. For example, is it feasible to focus on whether the other person has the same political conviction as you? Or is it feasible to focus on whether the other person has the same general reasoning methodology as you? But it all gets very relative and case-specific here. It's by all means interesting, but I'm not sure of its usefulness.

    As for us having investments in not being competent about ourselves in ways that we may not have for others - you mean the sort of "Oh, I don't know about this, but I am sure he does, so I'll listen to him" -? I think these are sometimes justified, and sometimes they are not.

    We surely might have secondary gains at stake when we all too readily submit to another's authority or presume their superiority. There can be something infinitely appealing in putting oneself into the position of the inferior one or of the victim. Some people might have learned to find self-value only if they are trodden upon, despised, opposed; some think that the only way they can be viewed as important to the world is if they are victims, targets for compassion - as if they were beggars, who had nothing to give and noone to be. The sad irony of such behavior is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    This is my hunch too. In fact, it is something I am counting on very much.

    True. I've noticed that when I actually set out into a debate with the sole purpose to win, to be right, aware that this is precisely my intention, losing the debate or reaching stalemate does not feel so bad as it does when I am not aware of my desire to win. Intentional action (even if it is about lowly things) has this magnificent benefit that one can be relatively cool and rational about its results, even if they are negative.

    Yes ... One would think that a basic function is something that is a given and that can and does take place no matter what, that one can attend to it come what may - but it is not so. In this dog-eat-dog world, it is easy enough to meet people who have no qualms demanding you to give them everything you have and who are angry with you if you don't. Even the instinct for bodily self-preservation is not a given. I find all this very disturbing.

    Yes, this is another way to put it. What do you think is the justification for assuming all people are not the same?
    And also, what do you think is the justification for assuming all people are the same?

    We do, yes.
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I guess I missed the part where you established it was false ... but anyway ...

    You doubt that attachment to one's activities and bodily sense of self and everything connected to it is the number one cause of distress in this world?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Altruism offers a solution to the issues indicated above?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  17. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    From what I can see 'out there' Karma plays out so radically differently for different people that I am not at all sure it is useful to generalize. (Apart from the fact that it can lead to some of the most callous victim blaming I have ever seen) I think it my be best (for me) to be very utilitarian about karma. Can I find a way to make the idea useful for me? Yes. I should say that it is a version that is different from traditional versions of Karma, but that is a side issue here.
    And, in any case, their usefulness for we little observers with our agendas and sensory apparatuses.
    Interesting. I just wrote something similar, I think, on the Ockham's Razor thread. Could you give me an example here, especially one that is problematic or important to you. I am not sure I get it 100%.

    I was just thinking that anger in response to someone should imply a sense of sameness. If a branch whaps me in the face I am less likely to get angry than I would at a 12 years waving his arms wildly and much less likely than an adult on the sidewalk who I thought 'should know better'.
    And this made me think that many judgments of superiority control emotional response and this may be a part of their misuse. But avoiding noticing superiority - or advantage, or greater experience or....- can also lead to greater unnecessary strife and is also a misuse.

    People, in general, seem to varying degrees very different from me. I have guesses that their felt experience may parallel mine - they have emotions and prefer pleasure over pain - but that any communication is across a gap. Even with those I am closest to and share much philosophy with. Sameness is an experienced exception. I do not mean I am some hermit or isolated, but I take for granted that we are so different that Nagel's essay about bats is misleading because it is working from an implied 'with bats it is radically different'.
    So far so good with this one, but much remains.

    I think it also helps me to realize what the actual consequences are as opposed to the felt ones.

    But can one not have a basic function that fits this world. To keep on with my metaphor I think you shifted to the surface of the sidewalk. Yes, it can have cracks and buckles and open manholes. But the self-distrust I was talking about was more in relation to things like 'if I lift my left foot is it really my left foot that is raised or is it my right?' 'Is it lifting?' asked after every two centimeters. So even the flat sidewalk is unmanageable. And further the same trust could help one navigate the dangerous sidewalk - which one would do with greater observation of the sidewalk, for the most part, and not one's self, except in very limited, highly specific moments.

    Perhaps a tangent but it makes me think of Mirror Neurons.
    I'm afraid I cannot find a better link. In general it seems the assumption of similarity is how we learn to an enormous degree. IOW via imitation. And by understanding others but non-motor in-brain imitation of others.
    So there is a 'let's not reinvent the wheel' habit we have. It is practical to assume we are the same so I can imitate and become proficient, so I can internally imitate and make assumptions, rather than always having to build from the ground up.
    This does not mean it is right, but I am raising the issue of how hard it would be to start without.

    It seems, though, we reach a stage where the backside of this heuristic device has to be faced.
  18. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

  19. swarm Registered Senior Member

    I merely applied the standard of falseness for all other gods to his god.

    I'm completely failing to see how this is derivable from what he said, but we'll go with what you are interested in. What you have is close. The actual cause is being unable to sustain or fulfill the attachments, aversions and desires which arise from ignorance.

    Alturism by non godders shows they do not "labour under the duress of thinking one’s self remains the purpose of one’s labour."
  20. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Sure. But being completely without absolute statements in one's belief system doesn't work well for one either.

    Some examples of such conflations - but the conflation is not inherent in the statement, though, it depends on the intention of the speaker or listener (under potential instructions, the first one is an example what the speaker might have meant, and the one after the dash is what the listener might have understood):

    Statement: I am a noble person.
    Definition: I am a noble person.
    Potential instructions: You should respect me, and if you don't, you are a bad person. / I'm screwed, I should go to a corner and die of shame.

    Statement: I love you.
    Definition: I love you.
    Potential instructions: Don't attack me. / I have to do as this person tells me to do.

    Statement: Everyone is worthy of respect.
    Definition: Everyone is worthy of respect.
    Potential instructions: You owe me respect. / I owe this person respect, regardless of what I think of them.

    It is basically a matter of indirect communication - either from the side of the speaker or from the side of the listener or both. For example, from my own experience, I can tell that almost everytime someone says "Everyone is worthy of respect," what they actually mean is to tell the listener that the listener does not respect them and that he or she should respect them. Or, "I love you" tends to actually mean "love me" or "don't attack me".

    We communicate mostly to manipulate, not to inform - even though techincally, the way we speak tends to have the form of merely giving information.

    It does, yes. There is the classical example of a man rowing a boat and there is mist on the water preventing visibility. Suddenly, the man's boat is hit by another boat, while because of the mist the man cannot discern whether there is anyone in the other boat. The man gets angry and curses the other rower. But as he gets closer to the other boat, through the mist, he sees there is no rower in the other boat - and the man's anger dissipates immediately.

    I find it puzzling why this happens. I've had a lot of this kind of experiences. It seems that the deciding factor is that we presume that all that is happening is happening intentionally and is thus carried out by a person. We presume intention. And when a happening (I can't say "action" here because if a branch whaps you, this isn't actually an "action", but a "happening") is harmful to us in some way or another, we presume harmful intention. The usual reaction to a harmful intention or a harmful action is defense, whereby dislike, anger, fury, physical aggression are degrees or kinds of this defense.

    So the other underlying issue here is - How come we consider ourselves harmed? This consideration is probably heavily conditioned also. One first needs to identify with one's body, with one's status, one's emotions etc. etc. before an attack on those can be perceived as an attack on the self.

    I presume your line of reasoning can be exemplified as something like "He can do that to me because he is better than me, but if someone else would do that to me, I would hit them in the face" -?

    I understood Nagel's essay to be just about that - how potentially we are all so very different, and that the example with the bat was to point this out; that just as we can't adequately imagine what it is like to be a bat, one person cannot adequately imagine what it is like to be "in another person's shoes".

    I think I understand your point about self-trust, but I find the notion of self-trust very abstract. Because to have trust in oneself, one would have to know what this self is. And I don't know what my self really is - it seems that everything I can think of that I usually consider to be my self (body, emotions, thoughts, ...), isn't actually my self.

    There is the concept of emotional contagion - . I know you don't like the term, at least you didn't like it a while back.

    The basic idea seems to be that we tend to take on and become like that which we are exposed to, and the longer or the more intense such a conditioning takes place, the more likely it is that it will stick, even if we leave the environment where we originally picked it up. And this tends to happen entirely automatically.

    I think that this is true both in blatant as well as in subtle ways. E.g. if you hang around alcoholics a lot, you'll probably become an alcoholic yourself. And if you hang a lot around people who are very indirect in communication, who have ulterior motives - you will pick up this style, to a greater or lesser extent. And it seems these things really hurt only for as long as one hasn't become thoroughly conditioned by them yet.
  21. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

  22. swarm Registered Senior Member

  23. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Lightgigantic & Simon Anders -

    See this? This is the sort of thing I'm talking about in this thread on the necessity of holding that the same is true for all.

    We say that everyone is subject to ideology/indoctrination of one kind or another - and here comes someone claiming she is not, and that we don't know her, and how dare we make such claims about her, and that we are the ones who have had an ideology drummed into us.

    What to do in such a case? Do we believe her? Do we change our mind about the notion that everyone is subject to ideology/indoctrination of one kind or another?

    On the whole, I would say StrangerInAStrangeLa seems to have forgotten that this is a discussion in a specific discussion forum, not a discussion taking place at lunch or watercooler. I've noticed that many people who post in online forums can't tell the difference, and they also tend to take things very personally and take offence quickly.

    Perhaps this is one of the keys to the solution to the problem posited by this thread: That there are times and places to take (more or less) philosophical discussions seriously and personally by default (such as a confrontation between partners), and that there are times and places where this is not the case (like a philosophy class or online forum).
    The line between the two is of course not always so clear, but I presume it would be a good idea to make it really really clear. I presume this would do away with a lot of the unnecessary strife we experience due to indiscriminate engagement in philosophical discussions.

Share This Page