Contradiction and the Absolute

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
Post Reply
User avatar
Trevor Salyzyn
Posts: 2414
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: Canada

Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:21 am

Enlightenment is the realization that no metaphysical beliefs are ever certain. It is best expressed in terms of the tetralemma. For any truth statement x, there are four distinct truth values: x, not-x, not x and -x, and neither x nor -x.

We usually use the concept of selfhood to explain why this leads inescapably toward the third option, since selfhood is a fairly universal belief. As such, we have 4 options:

1) the self exists
2) the self does not exist
3) the self neither does not exist nor exists
4) the self both exists and not exists

The first two options do not prove anything logically about the self. It is an empty word, dependent on its definition. Both x and -x rely on the certainty that x and -x are true opposites, which is not always possible to prove. So long as we deal with empirical truths, finding true opposites is a pipe dream. The fourth option is a contradiction, so whatever value self-hood has, it would falsify itself.

The third option, however, is possible. It covers the range of all possible values in its web of meaning. However, it is singular. There is no duality, so calling it either a tautology or a contradiction would both be incorrect. But calling it neither is likewise incorrect. It is both absolutely true and absolutely false. It is, therefore, a true contradiction.

What this means is that metaphysical claims, which strive for the absolute, can only be proven by a circular argument.
A mindful man needs few words.

Pam Seeback
Posts: 2357
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:40 pm

Re: Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Pam Seeback » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:46 am

True opposites cannot exist as the declared opposite is interdependent on the undeclared opposite. This is why contradiction appears in the consciousness of those who are ignorant of interdependent origination. And why circular arguments (and laughter) exist.

Serendipper
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:43 pm

Re: Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Serendipper » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:59 am

Pam Seeback wrote:True opposites cannot exist as the declared opposite is interdependent on the undeclared opposite. This is why contradiction appears in the consciousness of those who are ignorant of interdependent origination. And why circular arguments (and laughter) exist.
I don't understand why true opposites cannot exist. Would you elaborate?

I have the impression that true opposites are the only things that can exist because every thing needs an offsetting balance (aka opposite). The sum of everything in the universe must = zero or existence could have no explanation.

Serendipper
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:43 pm

Re: Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Serendipper » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:56 pm

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:Enlightenment is the realization that no metaphysical beliefs are ever certain.
I think "hasty generalization" is a better descriptor. The realization that no metaphysical beliefs are ever certain is itself a metaphysical belief. How can you be certain about something that you can't be certain about? If you can't be certain, then how can you be enlightened?

Further, I'm not sure I would describe a realization that nothing can be known for certain as "enlightenment" since the word "demoralization" exists as a better-suited characterization.

1) the self exists
2) the self does not exist
3) the self neither does not exist nor exists
4) the self both exists and not exists

1) x exists
2) x does not exist
3) Neither 1 nor 2 are true.
4) Both 1 and 2 are true.

3 and 4 are both contradictory. Only 1 or 2 can be true. Either x exists, or it doesn't. It can't both exist and not exist at the same time. Neither can it not exist and not not exist at the same time.

If your intention is to disprove duality, then you can *not* use constructs of imagination (ie logic) which depend on duality to exist (true/false) because you'd be using language to disprove the very language you're using. How can you use the thing that does not exist to disprove the thing that does not exist?

Pam Seeback
Posts: 2357
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:40 pm

Re: Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Pam Seeback » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:51 am

Trevor, I don't know how I could say the truth of no true opposite eany clearer than each opposite is dependent on the other for its appearance, nullifying the perceived absolute status of each. Have you received the insight of emptiness yet?

User avatar
Trevor Salyzyn
Posts: 2414
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Contradiction and the Absolute

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:17 pm

Serendipper wrote:I don't understand why true opposites cannot exist. Would you elaborate?
All knowledge is either empirical or absolute. The only knowledge that can show true opposition is absolute. Empirical knowledge, by its very nature, does not have a logical opposite. If you think that the only knowledge that can exist is absolute, you are trapped in a middle-ground where nothing is demonstrably true.

A pictorial analogy. Imagine that all propositions in the universe is "either p or not-p". In the middle is a Venn diagram. One circle is true propositions; another circle is false propositions. They intersect at "both p and not p".

Now, how did I prove that all knowledge is either empirical or absolute?
Pam Seeback wrote:Have you received the insight of emptiness yet?
Absolutes are empty. We only have empirical truths, but analysis of them shows them to be empty, as well. Black is the "opposite" of white, but that is a false dichotomy. Is that the insight?
A mindful man needs few words.

Post Reply