discussion of the hidden void with David Quinn

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
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visheshdewan050193
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discussion of the hidden void with David Quinn

Post by visheshdewan050193 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:09 pm

Leaving this here, in case anybody finds it useful or interesting.

Vishesh
Hi David,

upon reviewing our talk, I came up with some questions which I thought I'd clear away now via email.

You mentioned that the 'hidden void' is a metaphysical concept. The tendency of ego (i.e. belief in separate boundaries) is to grasp onto things - is this grasping the result of the dichotomy that exists between conciousness and unconsciousness or is it because of the dichotomy that exists between the masculine and feminine mind?

Since you had mentioned that both masculinity and femininity are contents of consciousness, am I correct to assume that the feminine mind is not equivalent to unconsciousness aka the hidden void (in any context?). Is the feminine mind simply just an evolutionary construct that impedes masculinity from reaching enlightenment?

I'm trying to reconcile why the feminine mind is associated with unconsciousness.

David Quinn
Hi Vishesh,

Grasping onto things is a mental habit that is generated by the ego's desire to be in control. It is the attempt to preserve secure zones that can shield the ego from the threats of a Reality that is both ever-changing and indifferent to all things.

Is this the result of a dichotomy between consciousness and unconsciousness? Well, it is the result of consciousness not being developed enough to see that such grasping is a delusion. It is the result of consciousness being too unconscious.

Is it because of the dichotomy that exists between the masculine and feminine mind? One could say that the attempt to impose order on chaos is masculine - but then again, the attempt by preserve secure zones is quite feminine. It is more masculine to overcome this delusion and face Reality squarely.

Otto Weininger was the one who began equating pure femininity with pure unconsciousness (and pure masculinity with full consciousness of reality). It is a conceptual construct that has its uses, even though no woman is ever purely feminine, and few men ever reach full consciousness. Unconsciousness in this sense doesn't equate to the hidden void, anymore than a dead body or a person in a coma does. The hidden void is simply a logical construct which denotes the aspect of reality that can never be experienced. Unconsciousness, in the sense meant by Weininger, refers to a failure of consciousness to distinguish between truth and falseness at any level. From this basis Weininger is able to determine that babies and animals are very feminine (although not 100% feminine).


Vishesh

So besides being a logical construct, the hidden void has no practical significance in the dynamic of ego / grasping/ dualistic thought. In the sense, does meditation upon the construct at say an advanced stage of concious development help in powering into enlightenment? Given the detailed discussion on it in the last chapter of your book, it seems to be important.

When a scientist or a philosopher is striving to understand reality as some kind of form (strings whatever), and they seem obsessive or mesmerized by it, are they being mesmerized by their feminine ego (that seeks security), or could they be said to be mesmerized by ego deludedly attempting to grasp the hidden void? I think you'd mentioned that the hidden void has nothing to do with human psychology but im just trying to reconcile some views I'd harboured earlier.


David Quinn
The purpose of the hidden void concept is to *stop* people from deludedly thinking that ultimate reality is confined to the realm beyond consciousness. It is meant to press home to people that the hidden void is as much a dualistic illusion as anything else, that ultimate reality embraces utterly everything, including both conscious reality and the hidden void alike. You won't fully understand the hidden void until you can clearly see that it has no more significance than a tree or a cup or a speck of dust.

As I say, I'm in the process of writing another two chapters, which should make this point a lot clearer.

The scientist or philosopher who seeks the truth in form is being mesmerized by both the masculine and feminine aspects of his ego. On the one hand, the search for truth is the desire to overcome ignorance (which is masculine), while the act of pulling up short of realizing that the truth cannot reside in form is to be overwhelmed by the desire to seek egotistical security (which is feminine).


Vishesh
Sry this was unclear : while the act of pulling up short of realizing that the truth cannot reside in form is to be overwhelmed by the desire to seek egotistical security (which is feminine).
Meaning that upon falling short of realizing that truth isnt in form one is overwhelmed by the desire to seek egotistical security?


David Quinn
The feminine desire for egotistical security can cause a person to stop his thinking from realizing the truth that all refuges are illusory.


Vishesh
Hi David,

bit of a lengthy one. I have sent a dialogue and some questions based on it.


Dialogue

PR: "The 'hidden void' is something that causes 'form' in conciousness, yes ?
And that means the hidden void is a cause for form. Here's where I can't seem to grasp it. You can't think of causality 'within' the hidden void as it is not form (or a thing), yet it causes form. This dissonance I have with thinking of causality within it while also understanding it cannot be analysed as such is confusing me.Ever had that? Because my mind automatically thinks of all the differentiated forms within conciousness it creates, originating from different types of causes in a long chain. And somehow I end up not satisfied about the explanation."


VD: Isn't that just thinking the hidden void to have objective existence? Thinking causality to happen in the hidden void is to think of all the things that are happening outside your conscious experience?

PR: Yea, I know. By it's very definition it does not have existence.

VD: I didn't quite get what you meant by causality within the hidden void
Perhaps an example would make it clearer

PR:
Hmm Ok.
Let's take something of green and red color, differentiated forms.
When I hear the term 'hidden void' causes different forms in conciousness, I automatically imagine it as some sort of black hole. And apply the logic of causality inward for it to cause the said differences in form. But that itself is a folly, as it lies outside conciousness. It is non experiential and abstract.
I can't seem to merge the two viewpoints together.
Does that make sense ?

VD: "And apply the logic of causality inward for it to cause the said differences in form." You saying that the hidden void is the cause for the red and green variation? Because the red is also a cause for the green (and vice versa)

PR: Mhm, among a myriad of causes.

VD: It's a logical construct. Concious form is dependent on the unconscious void to arise

PR:
There's a sentence in Wisdom of the Infinite where he says that conciousness is passive while this hidden void is active.
At least I remember it as such, been a while since I read it.

VD:
Yes and the point made is that Reality transcends both
There's a part
Let me find it

It is important to avoid the trap of thinking that the construction, and everything within it, is merely an appearance, while the "hidden void" constitutes ultimate reality. Such a duality is unnecessary and lacks any fundamental basis. The hidden void and the construction are simply two manifestations of the one Reality. Everything within the construction is as real as the hidden void. The only difference between the two is that the hidden void is an aspect of Reality which is incapable of being experienced.

And


there are only two things that we can know for sure about the "hidden void" - namely, (a) that it does not have any form and is therefore wholly unlike anything we can ever experience, and (b) that it possesses the capacity to generate consciousness and existence. Nothing else can ever be known about it.

And


Both the mind and what lies beyond the mind are only real to the degree that they exist as an appearance. Understanding this point is important because it enables one to transcend to an even higher perspective, taking one beyond consciousness, as it were, to the very threshold of enlightenment itself. One is now but a finger snap away from opening the wisdom eye and seeing directly into the secret of creation.

Mind= concious form
Beyond mind = hidden void

I think
Worth confirming this again

PR: "that it possesses the capacity to generate consciousness and existence". This throws me off.It's not a thing but we usually associate a thing with a capacity (or ability)

VD:
Well it's like saying that staticness causes dynamic behaviour
Or that the perception of something dynamic depends on the perception of staticness
It's a logical dependency

PR: Hm, so think of it as the opposite needed for existence.
For it to be a logical consitency

VD:
Yes
But I need to confirm this
Whether it is a logical dependency
Or whether it rests on the premise
That the world we perceive is based on something out there?
Which is an intuitive premise

PR:
In the end though, aren't both alluding to the same thing

VD:
Oh I'm more comfortable with the logical dependency
But this needs to be doubly cleared
I'll send what I have on this

Questions

1. Can you spot any false assumptions or conceptions PR is harboring about the void in this conversation (or me for that matter). I find his usage of the phrase 'causality within the void' as a bit confusing and I'm trying to clear what exactly is his source of confusion (perhaps you may have some insight). To me, also can you explain why the idea that the void causes forms to arise means causality is applied within it?

Here's what I think of when you mean causality happening within the void. suppose you take a chemical mixture of an acid and base and left it in a closed room. You go out of the room and don't think about it again for a while - during this time for all practical purposes the mixture has slipped out of existence and is part of the hidden void (I think, I want to clarify if this is correct way to think about it) - then when you come back into the room and observe it, it slips back into conscious existence - but its now changed - its salt and water. Can you say that something was happening to it while it was part of the hidden void (something that DQ says is meaningless to talk about in his book- of things happening outside of consciousness). Do we simply accept that at the moment when it slipped back into existence (when we reentered the room and observed it), it was simply caused by the void to appear as salt and water?

2. PR said that the statement "that it (the hidden void) possesses the capacity to generate consciousness and existence" throws him off (see above). I suggested that the reasoning behind it is logical codependency (consciousness and unconsciousness), but I also wanted to confirm whether it is just about logical codependency or whether it rests on the intuitive premise that the world we perceive is based on something out there?

3. Is it accurate to say that forms cause each other to exist as much as the form of an observer (which you have mentioned before is that upon which the existence of anything is contingent upon at the very least). Is the hidden void just another 'cause' for the existence of any form just like any cause that is mentioned in the previous statement?


David Quinn
Hey Vishesh,

It is a subtle issue and difficult to fathom, so it is no surprise PR is experiencing confusion. But he is generating this confusion by thinking of the hidden void as a kind of undifferentiated black hole, and thus he is unable to resolve how it is that an undifferentiated back hole can create the differentiation we see within consciousness. This is entirely understandable. If I was conceiving the matter in this way, I would be having same problem too. But the hidden void is not a black hole, nor indeed is it any kind of objective realm at all, either void or non-void, either differentiated or non-differentiated. It is wholly beyond our minds to imagine.

I often like to use the example of time-travel to illustrate this point. Consider an event that scientists infer happened before the emergence of consciousness on earth - for example, the arisal of the very first strand of RNA in the primeval soup. With no conscious observer back then, the strand of RNA in question cannot possibly have had form and thus cannot have existed. Yet if we were to time-travel back to that moment, it is likely (although not absolutely certain) that we would indeed observe the strand of RNA coming into existence. In effect, the introduction of a conscious observer is the final piece of the puzzle that allows the RNA to come into existence.
The hidden void, then, is reality minus consciousness. This reality minus consciousness shouldn’t be thought of as an empty void or a black hole, but rather an unimaginable realm of potentiality that is wholly beyond our minds to analyze. It has to be accepted as an unknowable mystery that no one or no thing can possibly get a handle on.

At the same time, this unknowable mystery is a dualistic creation and fundamentally unreal, just as the things we experience within consciousness, and indeed consiousness itself, are unreal. They are all fleeting illusions which do not touch the fundamental reality of Emptiness.


"I also wanted to confirm whether it is just about logical codependency"

Yes, consciousness and reality minus consciousness are logically co-dependent. just as a tree and reality minus that tree are logically co-dependent.


"or whether it rests on the intuitive premise that the world we perceive is based on something out there?"

It depends on how these things are conceived. If the world we perceive is conceived to exit objectively, then the world beyond will also be conceived objectively. For me personally, I never entertain the idea of objective existence, and thus the issue never arises for me. When the world beyond consciousness appears to exist, I accept that appearance. And when it doesn't appear to exist, I accept that appearance too. I accept these ever-changing appearances as the play of God and I never make the mistake of grabbing hold of them and trying to make them objectively real. The only thing that can be said to be objectively real is God Himself.


Vishesh:

"When the world beyond consciousness appears to exist, I accept that appearance."
Appearance being when you reason about it as a logical construct? It has no form.

Your time travel example can be extended to space travel (instant teleportation) as well. I guess it seems to be a satisfactory answer for now that reconciles the perception that a great many things are happening outside your perception. From an unenlightened POV It's a bit difficult to let go of the idea that things outside your perception must be unfolding just as things are unfolding within your perception. Does imagining something unfolding outside your perception based on memory give the event existence or is it just a deluded exercise of a mind fixated by objective existence?

Finally, could the void be said to a cause for the color green just as much as the colour red or the perspective of an observer is a cause for it?


David Quinn:
"When the world beyond consciousness appears to exist, I accept that appearance.
Appearance being when you reason about it as a logical construct? It has no form. "
Its form is whatever it appears to be in any given moment.


"Your time travel example can be extended to space travel (instant teleportation) as well."
Indeed.


"I guess it seems to be a satisfactory answer for now that reconciles the perception that a great many things are happening outside your perception. From an unenlightened POV It's a bit difficult to let go of the idea that things outside your perception must be unfolding just as things are unfolding within your perception. Does imagining something unfolding outside your perception based on memory give the event existence or is it just a deluded exercise of a mind fixated by objective existence?"

The imagined existence of that event in that moment is the event itself. There is no other duplicate event anywhere else.

"Finally, could the void be said to a cause for the color green just as much as the colour red or the perspective of an observer is a cause for it?"

Logically, the cause of green is the rest of reality. How this rest of reality is conceived and mentally divided up (into red, observer, void, etc) depends on what the mind happens to do in any given moment. That is to say, on cause and effect. That is to say, on God's whim.

visheshdewan050193
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:03 pm

Re: discussion of the hidden void with David Quinn

Post by visheshdewan050193 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:18 pm

continuation:

Vishesh:
I have to say I'm a bit fixated on this - "Both the mind and what lies beyond the mind are only real to the degree that they exist as an appearance. Understanding this point is important because it enables one to transcend to an even higher perspective, taking one beyond consciousness, as it were, to the very threshold of enlightenment itself. One is now but a finger snap away from opening the wisdom eye and seeing directly into the secret of creation."

Long ago, I'd sent a Socratic dialogue that I had with somebody in which I basically described the conscious mind to comprise of all possible forms and the unconscious mind to be the hidden void. I invoked the idea of dependent origination between them - and I asked a question that sort of hinted at what Reality might be, which was what happens to each aspect if you took the other away, what remains?

Is this a useful way of looking at the relationship between consciousness and the void, and Reality? Does it link appropriately back to what you were attempting to convey in the paragraph above that you wrote?


David Quinn
Yes, that is certainly part of it. But try not to confine yourself to that perspective or line of reasoning alone. It is important to keep mixing it up and attack the matter from all angles.

For example:

- See how consciousness couldn't continue to exist if you subtracted away all objects of consciousness.

- See how the hidden void is also a form within consciousness (which thus strips the last remaining external contrast to consciousness and thus strips consciousness of existence and meaning)

- See how consciousness is utterly dependent upon the functioning of the brain, that our every experience is essentially an ever-changing chemical reaction.

- See how the experience of consciousness (and/or the hidden void) is an appearance of the moment and that such an experience vanishes in the very next moment.

And so on. The goal is to thoroughly imbue the mind with the truth that nothing really exists.

visheshdewan050193
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:03 pm

Re: discussion of the hidden void with David Quinn

Post by visheshdewan050193 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:10 pm

DQ: When the world beyond consciousness appears to exist, I accept that appearance.
VD: Appearance being when you reason about it as a logical construct? It has no form.

DQ: Its form is whatever it appears to be in any given moment.

VD: But the world beyond consciousness can only be reasoned about as a logical construct, it cannot present a form otherwise

DQ: In ignorant, unphilosophic people it usually presents the form of the same physical world that they see in their consciousness.


VD: I guess it seems to be a satisfactory answer for now that reconciles the perception that a great many things are happening outside your perception. From an unenlightened POV It's a bit difficult to let go of the idea that things outside your perception must be unfolding just as things are unfolding within your perception. Does imagining something unfolding outside your perception based on memory give the event existence or is it just a deluded exercise of a mind fixated by objective existence?

DQ: The imagined existence of that event in that moment is the event itself. There is no other duplicate event anywhere else.

VD: So if there's a plane in the sky somewhere outside my line of observation, and if I imagine it flying based on my memory of how a plane looks, are you saying that it is the event itself - there is no other plane flying outside my realm of experience.

DQ:
There is no plane in and of itself. What we call the plane appears differently to different observers. You might hear a jet noise coming from outside and imagine a plane flying overhead - that is one appearance.. Another person outside might look up and see a plane flying overhead - that is another appearance. The pilot might look at the plane around him from within his cabin - that is yet another appearance. All of these appearances are just as real as each other, and none of them intrinsically exist.

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