The nature of consciousness

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:15 pm

Pam wrote:
Diebert: There's ultimately no such thing as "permanence". The only possible constancy is the absoluteness of existence, the eternity of Tao. But however that cannot be thought without contradiction arising. And all life is that contradiction. As long as that's understand, it doesn't have to become ignorance.
The desire for and subsequent search for permanence, the end of change/contradiction, is the root cause of stress. Usually the initial ignorance is to seek permanence in objects or form, then to seek permanence in the subject (me, I am, etc.), the perceived (formless) interpreter of form. Consciousness burns to fulfil its illogical dream of permanence. To use a Buddhist term, nirvana ("to blow out") is the end of this burning of the delusion of the thirst for permanence.
All stress, suffering and ignorance are found to be the same underlying contradiction. It's opposition to reality -- not an opposition caused by forces raising to oppose, to offset one thing against another, the struggle of intertwining forces -- but an opposition without roots whatsoever. Upon examination only a mirage is to be found, nothing actually being there, nothing actually doing anything, nothing actually accomplishing anything.

But then the following question might occur: is the mirage not caused as well? Isn't it real and changing too? Why call it illusion then as opposed to a reality? Not even delusion is ultimately uncaused. And yet it would oppose Tao, oppose the way and contradict wisdom while perpetuating suffering.

Wisdom then rises in opposition to ignorance like ignorance only can exist in direct opposition to wisdom. There's no existence of either outside this.
Where spiritual delusion comes in is when one believes the subject actually is or actually can become constant/permanent.
Only desire invokes the actuality of anything, including the briefest glimpse of constancy, including anything that's assigned beginning and ending. Including everything we accepted that it would be temporary and fleeting. It's the desire creating this in the first place. And acceptance of impermancy of things does not dissolve the suffering. It could even cloak our ignorance about the deeper nature of what is being regarded in the first place.
A personal note: it helps me enormously as I go through my day viewing consciousness in terms of release. That way, clinging to view (subject as absolute) is avoided.
The forces of desire, instilled by nature, leave in their wake the object, a winding coil, a deeply held breath. The forces of release, instilled by grace, leave us with unwinding, some deep release of breath, some realization.

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jupiviv
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by jupiviv » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:39 am

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:There is also permanence and, you know, *things*. To reiterate my original point, change and permanence refer to temporal rather than spatial heterogeneity and homogeneity. It does not make sense to say that the nature of a thing is that it is followed either by itself or by another thing in time, just like it doesn't make sense to say that the nature of a thing is that it is surrounded by things similar to or different from itself.
There's ultimately no such thing as "permanence". The only possible constancy is the absoluteness of existence, the eternity of Tao. But however that cannot be thought without contradiction arising. And all life is that contradiction. As long as that's understand, it doesn't have to become ignorance.
There is ultimately no such thing as "change" either, because neither of those terms apply to the All.
And if change is a "principle of an absolute nature", then how can anything appear to be permanent?
Appearances have nothing to do with absolute reality.
So why do things appear at all? Whatever has "nothing to do" with absolute reality cannot exist in *any* reality.
Permanence is also needed for things, awareness etc. to exist. Again, you've given no reasons why you are claiming that change is synonymous with causality.
Anything which is "needed" for things to exist would be yet another form of causality. Since permanency and change are two sides of the same coin, all one needs to do is to find a word for the coin. A good word is causality. Its nature only being possible to conceive of as constant while it can only be experienced as change.

When I said "needed" I was just reflecting your usage of the same word for change. Like I said, change and permanence are just ways of describing certain temporal assortments of things and thus can't be said to "cause" anything.
"Self-evident" means "self-proving". Something real has to be demonstrated one way or another.
How would you go about doing that? Demonstrations are always rule based, law based, theory based. Otherwise it demonstrates nothing.
By definition, self-evident truths must be experienced individually. At best, the language used to express them can be described, like describing to a child the arithmetic operators. The child has to understand what they mean and how to use them by himself.

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Re: Explicit Absolute Truths

Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:05 am

From page 1, Russell Parr wrote:
Beingof1 wrote:OK I will revamp
11. There is infinite energy propelling all things.
I think you are creating a false dichotomy. You are proposing that there is an "infinite energy" that is separate from all things, which somehow still leaves room for all things. Things and energy are ultimately one, and all that there is is the Infinite.
I do not see that this is necessarily a dichotomy. Things and energy are ultimately one, which fills the Infinite... but this is the only way that they can both be infinite.
Beingof1 wrote:
1. Consciousness is obviously caused.
Caused by what?
All of the infinite antecedents and co-occurrences. I think that all of the personal attacks have interfered with your logic here Being - you know this.
Beingof1 wrote:
Did you cause the universe?
Yes, and so did you. (I see in a later post you agree with this)
Russell Parr wrote:Causality comes first; consciousness, and the perceptions of consciousness are secondary, that is, are only part of the causality that permeates the entirety of Reality. That which is beyond consciousness is, by definition, imperceptible. The whole, which includes the imperceivable that things come from, as well as the things that come to exist by way of perception, is the eternal Tao, or Ultimate Reality.
How can anything come first in an infinite regress?
Beingof1 wrote: if your consciousness is a whole/singularity it is the point (a point is infinite) in which all lines intersect and all wave patterns collapse.
Your consciousness does not appear in space or time yet it is the only experience where all senses (as you said above) thoughts, and awareness takes place.

Let me know if that needs more explanation or we need to flesh it out.
Yeah, I need one "point" fleshed out. The point being the point... you said that a point is infinite, but went on to mention lines intersecting, necessitating that there are lines outside the point, thus the point not being infinite. The only infinite point that I am aware of is the Infinite.
Beingof1 wrote: all and everything is in a constant state of process and therefore transcendence. We only arbitrarily point to a beginning and end for function. This includes your consciousness. Therefore; your consciousness had no beginning.
Exactly.
Beingof1 wrote:Thought experiment:
If you could stop time - who would be observing reality in stasis?
Nice one. No one could observe because observation requires the passage of time (it seems that Russel and I agree on this).
Russell Parr wrote:If consciousness cannot observe itself, then it is limited.
Strawman. Consciousness can and does observe itself all the time. When time was removed from the equation, a strawman argument became possible.

(paused partway down page 2 due to endurance constraints. I've been away from GF too long, and my brain gets rusty when I don't exercise it here regularly)

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Russell Parr
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Russell Parr » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:28 am

Hey there Elizabeth, nice to see you around.
Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:
From page 1, Russell Parr wrote:
Beingof1 wrote:OK I will revamp
11. There is infinite energy propelling all things.
I think you are creating a false dichotomy. You are proposing that there is an "infinite energy" that is separate from all things, which somehow still leaves room for all things. Things and energy are ultimately one, and all that there is is the Infinite.
I do not see that this is necessarily a dichotomy. Things and energy are ultimately one, which fills the Infinite... but this is the only way that they can both be infinite.
I think that in many cases, especially in these conversations, it is unhelpful and misleading to attribute the quality of "infinite" to anything but the Infinite.
Russell Parr wrote:Causality comes first; consciousness, and the perceptions of consciousness are secondary, that is, are only part of the causality that permeates the entirety of Reality. That which is beyond consciousness is, by definition, imperceptible. The whole, which includes the imperceivable that things come from, as well as the things that come to exist by way of perception, is the eternal Tao, or Ultimate Reality.
How can anything come first in an infinite regress?
Yes, nothing "comes first" per se, but what I was trying to say is that causality is omnipresent, whereas consciousness is not.
Beingof1 wrote: all and everything is in a constant state of process and therefore transcendence. We only arbitrarily point to a beginning and end for function. This includes your consciousness. Therefore; your consciousness had no beginning.
Exactly.
By that logic, why don't we also say that this apple is infinite, or that cup? Because that's silly. But of course we humans love to think that consciousness has some sort of extra special properties, because 1) the ego revels in the idea and 2) it's hard to pinpoint exactly what consciousness is.

While it's true that beginnings and ends are arbitrary designations, that doesn't mean that the thing observed is infinite. It means the thing observed is there only inasmuch as boundaries are perceived.
Russell Parr wrote:If consciousness cannot observe itself, then it is limited.
Strawman. Consciousness can and does observe itself all the time. When time was removed from the equation, a strawman argument became possible.
Consciousness can certainly observe itself in reflection, which does indeed require time. (I'm not sure how this attributes, or attributed, to my main point, which is that consciousness is finite. Come to think of it, "The limitations of consciousness" would've been a better name for this thread.)
(paused partway down page 2 due to endurance constraints. I've been away from GF too long, and my brain gets rusty when I don't exercise it here regularly)
Sorry for the late response :)

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:14 am

jupiviv wrote:There is ultimately no such thing as "change" either, because neither of those terms apply to the All.
There's ultimately no such thing as "the All" either. So there's nothing to apply then?
So why do things appear at all? Whatever has "nothing to do" with absolute reality cannot exist in *any* reality.
Things don't. Appearances only seem to exist because ignorance perpetuates its fundamental opposition to reality.
Like I said, change and permanence are just ways of describing certain temporal assortments of things and thus can't be said to "cause" anything.
Causality is just a way to describe the nature of things. It's being presented as the superior way in this context, nothing more.

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jupiviv
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by jupiviv » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:26 am

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:There is ultimately no such thing as "change" either, because neither of those terms apply to the All.
There's ultimately no such thing as "the All" either. So there's nothing to apply then?
Where *exactly* did I say that the All is a finite thing? I want a direct quote followed by a reason why you think it directly or indirectly implies the above. If your response is more word games I'm calling it a day.
So why do things appear at all? Whatever has "nothing to do" with absolute reality cannot exist in *any* reality.
Things don't. Appearances only seem to exist because ignorance perpetuates its fundamental opposition to reality.
In other words, appearances *appear* to exist and we're right back to the problem I originally pointed out with your arguments on this issue. The distinction between ignorance and wisdom, according to this logic, lies in what appears (appearance or thing). And as pointed out all too many times by your miserable interlocutor, that doesn't make any sense!

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:43 am

Russell Parr wrote:
Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:
From page 1, Russell Parr wrote:
Beingof1 wrote:OK I will revamp
11. There is infinite energy propelling all things.
I think you are creating a false dichotomy. You are proposing that there is an "infinite energy" that is separate from all things, which somehow still leaves room for all things. Things and energy are ultimately one, and all that there is is the Infinite.
I do not see that this is necessarily a dichotomy. Things and energy are ultimately one, which fills the Infinite... but this is the only way that they can both be infinite.
I think that in many cases, especially in these conversations, it is unhelpful and misleading to attribute the quality of "infinite" to anything but the Infinite
[/quote][/code].[/quote]

Maybe I was imprecise when I said that they fill the Infinite. Things and energy, which are ultimately the same thing, are the Infinite. Everything is a thing - even a concept is a thing - and things and energy are the same as everything is energy in one form or another. While I agree that especially in these conversations, it is unhelpful and misleading to attribute the quality of "infinite" to anything but the Infinite, in this case I am referring to the Infinite.
Russell Parr wrote:
Russell Parr wrote:Causality comes first; consciousness, and the perceptions of consciousness are secondary, that is, are only part of the causality that permeates the entirety of Reality. That which is beyond consciousness is, by definition, imperceptible. The whole, which includes the imperceivable that things come from, as well as the things that come to exist by way of perception, is the eternal Tao, or Ultimate Reality.
How can anything come first in an infinite regress?
Yes, nothing "comes first" per se, but what I was trying to say is that causality is omnipresent, whereas consciousness is not.
Beingof1 wrote: all and everything is in a constant state of process and therefore transcendence. We only arbitrarily point to a beginning and end for function. This includes your consciousness. Therefore; your consciousness had no beginning.
Exactly.
By that logic, why don't we also say that this apple is infinite, or that cup? Because that's silly. But of course we humans love to think that consciousness has some sort of extra special properties, because 1) the ego revels in the idea and 2) it's hard to pinpoint exactly what consciousness is.

While it's true that beginnings and ends are arbitrary designations, that doesn't mean that the thing observed is infinite. It means the thing observed is there only inasmuch as boundaries are perceived.
Russell Parr wrote:If consciousness cannot observe itself, then it is limited.
Strawman. Consciousness can and does observe itself all the time. When time was removed from the equation, a strawman argument became possible.
Consciousness can certainly observe itself in reflection, which does indeed require time. (I'm not sure how this attributes, or attributed, to my main point, which is that consciousness is finite. Come to think of it, "The limitations of consciousness" would've been a better name for this thread.)
Okay, I understand what you're saying now, and I agree... especially the point about it being difficult to pinpoint what consciousness is.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:23 am

jupiviv wrote:
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:There is ultimately no such thing as "change" either, because neither of those terms apply to the All.
There's ultimately no such thing as "the All" either. So there's nothing to apply then?
Where *exactly* did I say that the All is a finite thing? I want a direct quote followed by a reason why you think it directly or indirectly implies the above. If your response is more word games I'm calling it a day.
It was about saying "there is ultimately so such thing as..." followed by some philosophical term and saying they do not apply. But that is in itself not an argument against those terms. It's an argument against all terms and applications. Including of course using a word like "All". For this reason I think you were playing more than arguing against my philosophical application of "change".
In other words, appearances *appear* to exist and we're right back to the problem I originally pointed out with your arguments on this issue. The distinction between ignorance and wisdom, according to this logic, lies in what appears (appearance or thing).
The nature of wisdom lies in understanding the nature of appearances, things and becoming. While ignorance is basically all that is raised against the truth of this nature and especially its own. This lies beyond good and evil, useful or unuseful as it points to something beyond change. And if one would define reality as whatever does not change, does not go away, then it's clear that appearances cannot exist. Of course for someone whose life, whose identity and existence is wrapped in the act of shifting representations around, symbols bestowing eternity on what's changing and therefore empty, for such being to oppose truth is the main thing left beyond the driving force of survival. It's this opposition where the whole notion of life, things and self is based on. Remove it and they were never there to begin with. Not even as appearance.

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jupiviv
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by jupiviv » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:33 am

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:Where *exactly* did I say that the All is a finite thing? I want a direct quote followed by a reason why you think it directly or indirectly implies the above. If your response is more word games I'm calling it a day.
It was about saying "there is ultimately so such thing as..." followed by some philosophical term and saying they do not apply. But that is in itself not an argument against those terms. It's an argument against all terms and applications. Including of course using a word like "All". For this reason I think you were playing more than arguing against my philosophical application of "change".
But this application wasn't your original application of the term "change". In fact you have moved the goalposts several times in this thread.
The nature of wisdom lies in understanding the nature of appearances, things and becoming.
It isn't possible to understand the nature of appearances because that too would be an appearance. The rest I agree with. So why/what are we arguing? I'll give my opinion after you.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: The nature of consciousness

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:02 pm

jupiviv wrote:
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
jupiviv wrote:Where *exactly* did I say that the All is a finite thing? I want a direct quote followed by a reason why you think it directly or indirectly implies the above. If your response is more word games I'm calling it a day.
It was about saying "there is ultimately so such thing as..." followed by some philosophical term and saying they do not apply. But that is in itself not an argument against those terms. It's an argument against all terms and applications. Including of course using a word like "All". For this reason I think you were playing more than arguing against my philosophical application of "change".
But this application wasn't your original application of the term "change". In fact you have moved the goalposts several times in this thread.
The above was about your application, to be precise: "this or that does not apply to the ALL". But what does really apply? It's a red herring.

What I said was that change and causality, the words, are describing the same notion of the absolute in a particular but similar way. My view is that I didn't move any goalposts here. If you have a more specific claim on those goalposts, feel free to describe it!
The nature of wisdom lies in understanding the nature of appearances, things and becoming.
It isn't possible to understand the nature of appearances because that too would be an appearance. The rest I agree with. So why/what are we arguing? I'll give my opinion after you.
By that logic one can never know how ones face looks like because all you would see are mirror images or imagination, some conceptualization. While the perception will certainly be limited and flawed, there's obviously distinction possible: that your face is not much like the head of a pink hippo or a black cloud. In the same way one can understand appearances through appearances.

Actually it's the nature of self-consciousness: awareness that one is aware, that something "is going on". Self-reflection is reflecting on reflection. That doesn't make it something else than another reflection. Just with one particular focus. It would be same with appearances: the appearance of self, reality or "everything" are particular appearances with particular possibilities in terms of consciousness. True and false are both appearances but that doesn't negate distinctions between true and false. However, the factor of change will require to look beyond true and false: upon deeper investigation you won't find anything "really" or completely true or false - or being there at all. Hence it 's said that only the absolute can be called true and yet not "known".

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