• Jack Cummins
    5k

    I am inclined to agree @Pantagruelabout the limitations of 'the mundane'. It seems such a 'flat perspective'. Of course, I am not wishing to go into a fantasy world of the 'hidden', and a lot does come down to what is 'true, as well as what works as a philosophy to live by and with.

    I am not sure that there is any absolute objective meaning and it may come down to Victor Frankl's point of finding meaning in daily existence, including suffering. So some of the ideas to which each of us gravitated towards may be about subjective choice. Saying that, I am not wishing to suggest that psychological biases are the main basis for belief. They may contribute to what paths of thinking one goes down, but it does involve reason as well.

    Personally, I wish to pursue ideas from the exoteric and the esoteric because I am not sure that 'truth', logical or psychological can be split into one or other categories. So, I see it as a whole area of exploration in the widest sense of 'the examined life'. My own dipping in and out of so many different perspectives may be a bit like crawling through a maze at times, and I may be my worst enemy here. However, it is also a quest for 'waking up' and looking beyond surfaces. The idea of 'hidden' may be mythical as opposed to an objective 'reality' beyond the visible.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    I think when you pursue the esoteric you are taking a risk. You risk being seen as an outsider by a certain subset of exoterically-content people. You risk vital time and energy that you are investing in a seemingly fruitless enterprise. Perhaps the greatest risk of all is the risk of belief. If an esoteric teaching is to have value I would assume it would involve changing the way in which one lives, and that can only take place through a genuine insight born of committed belief. Assuming the esoteric knowledge to be of actual value.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k


    I am inclined to agree [with] Pantagruel about the limitations of 'the mundane'.Jack Cummins
    As I understand it, philosophy concerns making explicit – problematizing – the "limitations of the mundane" beginning with reasoning itself (e.g. Plato, Kant) so attempts to reason-without-limitations (i.e. thinking/knowing-beyond-thinking/knowing) is, it seems to me, pseudo-philosophical nonsense (Witty) or not doing philosophy at all (e.g. religious / spiritual / therapeutic fantasy). Except maybe in poetry, IMO, there is no "beyond".

    It seems such a 'flat perspective'.
    We exist on a plane of immanence (Deleuze et al) that is unbounded in all directions. We are also inseparable from this plane (i.e. "the mundane"), therefore, though limited, we are not merely finite beings. :fire:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plane_of_immanence (scroll down half way)

    I may be my worst enemy here.
    Aren't we all? :monkey:

    However, it is also a quest for 'waking up' and looking beyond surfaces. The idea of 'hidden' may be mythical as opposed to an objective 'reality' beyond the visible.
    Play Chess or Go, Jack: the real is always "hidden" from you in plain sight on the board (i.e. "the mundane", "the surface") while you play the game (i.e. live/think). Play Jazz music or European / Indian Classical music – truth is there if you listen with both your body and your ears.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    For certain things types of things, we can only really ever know the results of beliefs we are willing to test by embracing them fully.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    "Beliefs" such as? Also, please clarify what you mean by "embracing them fully".
  • Jack Cummins
    5k

    I am not sure that the risk of being seen as an outsider is the biggest risk of following an esoteric philosophy. The risk would be of being mistaken if it involves extreme ideas.

    Changes in lifestyle may accord with following a tradition, but that applies to religion if taken seriously. I remember when I was going to Christian Union when I was a student, all the things which were considered to be wrong morally. In particular, sp much music that I liked was considered as 'wrong' to listen to..

    Generally, there is more tolerance in some groups, with less emphasis on 'sin' as such. Changes in lifestyle may involve abstaining from alcohol, vegetarian or veganism. Of course, there is the point where someone joins a sect or a cult, but that is a bit different, and most esoteric thinkers are more likely to attend meditation groups. Also, most people who take an interest read or blend ideas.

    Of course, there may some dangerous ideas and I am familiar with there being some concern that the ideas of Alestair Crowley being dangerous. Also, there may be dangers of confusion due to dabbling with ideas like fortune telling and astral projection.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    I think the willingness to test is not only an acceptance of some starting place of conception but willingness to change responses. The Tao that cannot be spoken is behind action in a way explanation is always after the event. François de La Rochefoucauld said it in French, which makes it more elegant:

    "Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils; but present evils triumph over it."

    I hope that I am slightly less ignorant than two decades ago, If that is true, it is because I feel and do things differently. As the Art of War notes at the beginning, if you need this book, you failed to learn the preceding lessons.
  • Jack Cummins
    5k
    In the first place, my linking ideas of the esoteric with philosophy is meant to involve critical thinking about it as opposed to complete acceptance. I came to this philosophy site after a complex mixture of esoteric and philosophy reading without having thought about some underlying contradictions. For example, I embraced existentialism, postmodernism and theosophy. Such ideas probably don't fit together well.

    As far as the 'beyond' it may come down to how many dimensions exist. It may be that reality is multidimensional, according to each perceiver's point of view and its shifting nature. This would not be transcendental but imminent, although it is possible that there is cosmic consciousness, which may be more about Maslow's idea of peak experiences, self-actualization and creativity.

    Poetry may be one way of going 'beyond', as well as other forms of art. Both making and viewing aspects of art may have a transformational effect. I am inclined to listen to music in that way, almost meditating to it or using it to enter alternate states of consciousness. I have had moments of synthasesia without taking any hallucinogenics. There is meant to be a physical basis, as opposed to spiritual one, for synthasesia, as a result of the nodules in the brain for the development of the senses, especially sight and sound having a common origin.
  • Janus
    15.3k
    Yes. Even if it were only this, that would be enough. But the fact is, if you radically alter the nature of your being, the way that you live, you can begin to see patterns of feedback from people, society, and the universe, that you did not before. To that extent, it can be 'scientific'. As I have said and will continue to say, the human mind is very limited, so to presuppose that there are not further dimensions to understanding is just poor reasoning. Evolution documents their emergence.Pantagruel

    Sure you can interpret things differently if you alter your consciousness, but it doesn't follow from that that anything determinate is the case about the nature of what is actual in contrast to what might seem actual to you in your altered state.

    Such things cannot be scientific because to be scientific is to be intersubjectively assessable according to pragmatic criteria which are accepted by all those who wish to eliminate bias, merely subjective beliefs or ides based solely on imagination.

    Where have I claimed there are no possible further dimensions to human understanding? You can take your own understanding wherever you like in the sense that you can believe whatever is believable to you. If you believe anything strongly enough it will alter your experience to be sure.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    Where have I claimed there are no possible further dimensions to human understanding?Janus

    I wasn't implying you had said, it was just an ongoing observation.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    ↪Pantagruel "Beliefs" such as? Also, please clarify what you mean by "embracing them fully".180 Proof

    Like stoicism. You can read all the stoicism you want. But there is a difference between reading it, and believing it to the extent that you actively, even transformatively embrace it. Or perhaps something more esoteric. But along those lines.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    I hope that I am slightly less ignorant than two decades ago, If that is true, it is because I feel and do things differently.Paine

    This is how I feel.
  • ENOAH
    55


    If Mahayana, and particularly Zen, falls under "esoteric," then, I think, simply put, the whole idea is to "transcend" philosophical thinking. What is the sound of one hand clapping must necessarily abstain, not only from logic, but from any "form" of "discursive" or other "conventional" "thinking" or "problem solving."
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    I hope that I am slightly less ignorant than two decades ago, If that is true, it is because I feel and do things differently.Paine

    Not sure I can say the same. I wouldn’t even know how to assess this. I don’t think I feel or do things much differently. I am more competent in a range of domains but I doubt this has come with measurable wisdom.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    Well, the tiny units I introduced is also a caution regarding assessment. I was agreeing with Pantagruel that trying to learn a discipline required working with its language. But my acceptance is thoroughly bound with the skepticism I have expressed previously about mapping territories.

    I harmonize with the way Marcus Aurelius spoke of his teachers and influences. He just lays them out there and lets the reader find their own.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    I was agreeing with Pantagruel that trying to learn a discipline required working with its languagePaine

    I tend to intuit my way through, almost entirely by feeling and with a fair amount of imitation. Which might help explain why I have never taken an interest in maths, physics or technical matters.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    My life has mixed up those different kinds of action where I do not know where one begins and the other ends.
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