• Heracloitus
    497
    Disclaimer: I don't know anything about anything.


    There is the concept of no-self in Buddhism. This insight seems to be derivative of another concept central to Buddhism, namely impermanence. Through mindfulness one can be aware of the protean nature of the content of experience. Thoughts, sensations, feelings - are all supposed to enter into a field of awareness and exit just as subtlety. From this is the extrapolation that there is no-self as such. The fleeting content of experience is taken to be a self because one habitually attaches to the content: my thoughts, my anger, my body, etc.

    Indeed mindfulness does allow one to perceive that we are not aware of the origin of thought, from the point of view of first person experience. But doesn't the fact that specific thoughts arise for a particular individual (and are unique to that conscious individual) indicate the ownership of thoughts? The thoughts that are happening for/to one individual are completely different from the thoughts of another individual. There is a kind of locality of thought implied here and thus ownership of thought, or thought as belonging to the particular individual. Isn't this suggestive of the existence of a self? The most that can be said about thought then, is that we are unaware where thoughts come from and where they go - so why the leap to no-self?

    How does Buddhism account for this?
  • unenlightened
    8.9k
    But doesn't the fact that specific thoughts arise for a particular individual (and are unique to that conscious individual) indicate the ownership of thoughts?Heracloitus

    Disclaimer: I know little about Buddhism.

    There is a point of view, behind the eyes, and a point of hearing between the ears, and there is a sensitive body, that has various instincts for self- preservation. And for a human there is also thought, imagination planning rehearsing dreaming remembering, replaying, recounting.

    I don't think Buddhism denies these facts of individuality. But when you speak of consciousness, it seems to me that you are not speaking of any of these things, but rather these are all things that one might be conscious of.

    It is as if all the world is a great play that consciousness watches - the life of the hero, told from his point of view. But the performer is always hidden under costume and makeup, and the audience is silent and passive sitting in darkness.

    And which is the individual, the performer or the watcher? They seem to be the same, and this implies that one is the whole world: the play, the performer and the audience. Or as it has been very simply put, 'your skin doesn't separate you from the world, it joins you to it.' Or even shorter, J. Krishnamurti said, "You are the world".
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    How does Buddhism account for this?Heracloitus


    Consider this verse from the early Buddhist texts:

    Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

    When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

    "Then is there no self?"

    A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

    Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

    The 'wanderer Vachagotta' is a figure in these texts associated with the posing of philosophical questions. The Buddha's non-response in such circumstances is generally designated a 'noble silence' wherein he declines to answer questions positively or negatively.

    The verse continues:

    Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

    "Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

    "No, lord."

    "And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"

    By not affirming or denying the existence of a self, the Buddha avoids reinforcing a dualistic view that could lead to further attachment or confusion which leads to the formation of dogmatic views (ditthi) in either a positive (religious) or negative (nihilist) sense. In Theravada Buddhism, this insight is foundational, directing the mind towards the non-conceptual understanding that the self is a dynamic process comprising the conjugation of aggregates (form, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness).

    But it's important to understand what, exactly, is being denied, and I think there is a good deal of confusion over this, even amongst the highly educated. There are many passages in the texts describing the 'eternal unchanging self' that the Buddha rejects.

    The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, set firmly as a post. And though these beings rush around, circulate, pass away and re-arise, but this remains eternally. (DN1.1.32)

    Here, the ‘this’ which 'remains eternally' is believed to be something enduring, within which ‘beings rush around, circulate and re-arise’. This arises from the Vedic principle of sat as being ‘what really exists’, distinguished from asat, illusory or unreal. Hence in this formulation, sat is what is ‘eternal, unchangeable, set firmly as a post’, and thus distinguishable from saṃsāra or maya.

    In another verse, the Alagaddūpama Sutta criticizes those who think:
    This is the self, this is the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, not subject to change; I shall endure as long as eternity’ - this too he regards thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’.

    This is designated as 'eternalism', one of the two 'extreme views' associated with death and re-birth. The other 'extreme view' is nihilism, that the body is a purely material phenomenon and that there are no consequences for actions after death.

    But - this is the crucial point, not generally acknowledged in my view - in none of this is agency denied. How could it be, in a doctrine to which karma is central? There is a verse in which the Buddha explicitly denies the claim that there is no agent (self-doer or other-doer, i.e. self and other, see Attakārī Sutta.)

    What is denied is the eternally-existing, unchangeable self posited by the Brahmins. And also that there is, anywhere, an unchanging element, thing or being - hence the designation of 'all dharmas' ('dharmas' here meaning 'experienced realities') as anatta, devoid of self (and also anicca, impermanent, and dukkha, unsatisfying.) In the Buddha's context, what I think he was rejecting was the religious view that through the right sacrificial practices, one could secure favourable re-births indefinitely or dwell in an eternal heaven. But he also rejects the view that physical death terminates the process that gives rise to individual existence in the first place. Getting insight into that process unties the Gordian knot of existence. And yes, that is hard to fathom! But none of it means, in bald terms, that ‘the self does not exist’, which is way it is usually interpreted.

    I suppose another thing that should be added is that no-self is not a concept, but a state of being - specifically, the state of not being self-centred! The self-centred or selfish person has a very concrete idea of what constitutes me and mine and myself as something which as to be continually reinforced and defended. One who is not self-centred doesn’t behave this way or cling to that notion of me and mine. But that is more than a conceptual understanding, it is a way of being in the world.
  • Heracloitus
    497
    Thanks @unenlightened @Wayfarer

    Your answers are very helpful. I need to spend some more time on this.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    The most that can be said about thought then, is that we are unaware where thoughts come from and where they go - so why the leap to no-self?Heracloitus
    IIRC, by "no-self" Buddhists (or Advaita Vedantists) mean there is no permanent, unchanging, non-transient, unconditional or transcendent self. I think Hume's "bundle theory" is analogous. That we are subjectively unaware of 'the comings and goings of our thoughts' implies only that this is (a) limitation of first-person awareness. I believe "the leap" (insight) originally was from 'the coming and going of thoughts' – not from lack of awareness of why they come and go – to the coming and going (anicca) of all things, which includes "self" (i.e. anatta). :fire: :eyes:

    NB: I don't know how "Buddhists" (which school? eastern or western?) account for (explain away) apparent inconsistencies in their teachings or worldview with non-Buddhist perspectives (e.g. daoism, classical atomism or modern naturalism/physicalism). My guesses above are merely 'non-Buddhist interpretations' which to me seem (pragmatically) reasonable. No doubt, most Buddhists (like Wayfarer) will probably disagree ...
  • Heracloitus
    497
    Getting insight into that process unties the Gordian knot of existence. And yes, that is hard to fathom!Wayfarer

    If I understand it correctly this insight is something which can only be realised (by direct non-conceptual, unmediated experience) through a practice of meditation. The double meditation termed (post canonically) as samadhi and vipassana. Which involves essentially developing the concentration of the mind until one is able to gain insights about the nature of reality (impermanence , suffering and no-self). There are a series of steps to pass through along the way, known as jhanas, that describe the progress towards liberation.

    But is this not essentially cultivation of certain states that are not natural? These jhanas are not normal everyday experiences, rather they are only possible during the practice of deep meditation. As soon as one gets back to daily life, work, stress, family... *poof* meditative states (of heightened awareness, or blissful jhanas) are gone. My question is: why would a cultivated state be considered as basis for the true nature of reality? Especially a state that most people cannot experience.

    I could decide to start a practice of staring at a blank wall, plug up my ears and ignore my thoughts. I'm sure I would get pretty disoriented after a while and it would be odd to make claims about reality based on this experience.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    But is this not essentially cultivation of certain states that are not natural? These jhanas are not normal everyday experiences, rather they are only possible during the practice of deep meditationHeracloitus

    True, but not necessarily a criticism of Buddhism per se. One of the epiphets of the Buddha is 'lokuttara' which means literally 'world-transcending'.

    My question is: why would a cultivated state be considered as basis for the true nature of reality? Especially a state that most people cannot experience.Heracloitus

    I would say that Buddhism sees it as being about the true nature of being, or the human condition.

    I can see what you're wrestling with, I've been down this path myself. It is true that Buddhism, at least 'early' Buddhism, the form preserved in the Pali texts, is in some fundamental way world-denying. The Buddha renounced homelife and encouraged those who followed him to do likewise. It is also true that the later form of Buddhism, Mahāyāna, adopted a more cosmopolitan perspective, which allowed that even householders and merchants might be enlightened. But that world is vastly different to our own.

    I think there's a lot of illusions about Buddhism and 'mindfulness' in modern culture. For us, it's a way of better coping with life, of being happy or being a better person. Buddhism really is a lot less domesticated than that. It's not about having a better life in the way us comfortable secular moderns envisage it. It is a religious philosophy.

    There's a perceptive scholar called David MacMahan who's written a book on Buddhism in the modern world. Here is a book chapter of his that came up in my feed the other day, about whether meditation 'works' and what that might mean, in the context of the original Buddhist texts, and our own secular modern worldview. All very deep questions.
  • ENOAH
    637
    There is a kind of locality of thought implied here and thus ownership of thought, or thought as belonging to the particular individual.Heracloitus

    The locality supports the illusion that there is ownership. But like a bubble in a locus of the ocean manifests seemingly separated from the ocean but there is no unit to whivh tàhe bubble attaches, the thought manifests seemingly separated, but there is no self to which it attaches.

    we are unaware where thoughts come from and where they go - so why the leap to no-self?Heracloitus
    That is exactly a reason to leap to no self. If thoughts are why/what we attach to a self (Descartes), and thoughts move without the direction of a central authority, then where or what is this presumed self lacking control over thoughts? Isn't it more reasonable to conclude there is only the convenient fiction of a self unifying these thoughts as they affect what also appears to be a single body?

    Also, for Mahayana, since no thing whatsoever enjoys independent origination, each thought arises out of a prior thought/event triggering such thought. Therefore there is no need of a central authority constructing such thought.
  • Heracloitus
    497
    @180 Proof interesting. A quibble: I think the advaita vendantists actually posit an eternal, unchanging self. As opposed to the Buddhists.


    @Wayfarer
    Thanks, I will gladly take a look at the book chapter.



    That is exactly a reason to leap to no self. If thoughts are why/what we attach to a self (Descartes), and thoughts move without the direction of a central authority, then where or what is this presumed self lacking control over thoughts? Isn't it more reasonable to conclude there is only the convenient fiction of a self unifying these thoughts as they affect what also appears to be a single body?ENOAH

    But that lack of central authority could also suggest the possibility of some kind of subconscious psychical process. Which now makes me wonder if Buddhism accepts/rejects the concept of a sub(un)conscious.
  • ENOAH
    637
    But that lack of central authority could also suggest the possibility of some kind of subconscious psychical process.Heracloitus

    Yes it could.

    Which now makes me wonder if Buddhism accepts/rejects the concept of a sub(un)conscious.Heracloitus

    Good question. My guess, irrelevant; at least originally. Wayfarer might know.
  • ENOAH
    637


    The thing is, the presence of some unconscious process taking place without a central authority suggests no self. It suggests that the seeming of a central authority in Conscious processes is just that: seeming.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I appreciate the correction. Thanks.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    How does Buddhism account for this?Heracloitus

    Disclaimer: I know a little bit about everything but not much about anything.

    I've read and thought a lot about Taoism - The Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu - but little about Buddhism. I hope it's ok if I take a broader philosophical approach. As I see it, the question of self vs. no-self is metaphysics. To me that means neither is true or untrue, but each may be more or less useful at specific times and in specific situations. They're points of view, ways of thinking about things, not facts. We get to choose which to apply when the question arises.

    For me, it helps to think about the self just as if were any old thing in the world, what Taoists call "the 10,000 things." It's no different from a baseball, a proton, or love. It's a concept, something with a name. Verse 1 of the Tao Te Ching says "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Which now makes me wonder if Buddhism accepts/rejects the concept of a sub(un)conscious.Heracloitus

    Not every school of Buddhism does, but the Yogācāra, one of the principle Mahāyāna schools, has a theory of the unconscious. See the Wikipedia entry on the ‘ālāyavijñana’ the ‘storehouse consciousness’ which is functionally similar to the unconscious.
  • ENOAH
    637
    Yogācāra, one of the principle Mahāyāna schools, has a theory of the unconscious. See the Wikipedia entry on the ‘ālāyavijñana’Wayfarer

    Ok, interesting. Reminds me of the Lankavatara Sutra. It might implicitly reference the same sort of "unconscious.", no?
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Reminds me of the Lankavatara Sutra. It might implicitly reference the same sort of "unconscious.", no?ENOAH

    Very much. The Laṅkāvatāra is one of the central texts of Yogācāra. (See this entry.)
  • ENOAH
    637
    Cool. I've always thought of it in terms of Cha'an. A wealth of metaphysics and psychology even at the primary "scriptural" level, eh? I wonder if (generally) "we" from a Western perspective are still just treating Buddhism with a sentiment of quaintness, or at least, fixated on the [false] label of "religion." As if Descartes, Kant and Hegel aren't at least shaped by their Christianity. Anyway, off topic, but I can always count on you for accurate direction, thanks!
  • Fire Ologist
    349


    I don’t disagree with any of your post (which I quote from below.). Good stuff.

    Which means I also agree with this:
    Thanks unenlightened @Wayfarer

    Your answers are very helpful. I need to spend some more
    Heracloitus

    I also see the following:

    specific thoughts arise for a particular individual (and are unique to that conscious individual) indicate the ownership of thoughtsHeracloitus

    Ownership of thoughts. My own thoughts. My. Own. So a self buried still in there somewhere, and/or emerges. I see that, but it needs to be developed.

    So I agree with this:

    But - this is the crucial point, not generally acknowledged in my view - in none of this is agency denied.Wayfarer

    Which I see agrees with this:

    I don't think Buddhism denies these facts of individuality.unenlightened

    So we have:
    when you speak of consciousness, it seems to me that you are not speaking of any of these things, but rather these are all things that one might be conscious of.

    It is as if all the world is a great play that consciousness watches - the life of the hero, told from his point of view. But the performer is always hidden under costume and makeup, and the audience is silent and passive sitting in darkness.
    unenlightened

    And so we now have to reconcile ”the performer is always hidden” with “specific thoughts for a particular individual” (Heracloitus) and “agency” (Wayfarer) and “facts of individuality” (Unenlightened).

    The following, which I agree with, speaks about speaking and naming and how these are not the same as what is spoken of or named, particularly when speaking of the self or Tao.

    The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.T Clark

    When speaking of or naming the self, we are both the speaking self and the one spoken about. The one spoken about can be recognized as an illusion. But by speaking, a self-certified speaker remains.

    To bring this all together, the self is elusive, even to itself; if this is not admitted, the self can become illusion, but if this is admitted, the admitting agent, the facts of individuality, the particular thoughts that show this elusiveness, can be known, as an actual self.

    The self is the thing that does not know the self. There is no need to consider mind/body, signifying/ signified, or any distinction to see where the self becomes one of its things and its own becoming at the self-same time.

    The self is its own answer when it is questioning itself, and the self is lost the minute it takes up only that answer without the questioning.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    But is this not essentially cultivation of certain states that are not natural? These jhanas are not normal everyday experiences, rather they are only possible during the practice of deep meditation. As soon as one gets back to daily life, work, stress, family... *poof* meditative states (of heightened awareness, or blissful jhanas) are gone. My question is: why would a cultivated state be considered as basis for the true nature of reality? Especially a state that most people cannot experience.Heracloitus

    To answer this the way that Plato does, the natural way of apprehending reality is not the best way, because the natural human body with its senses misleads and deceives us. So the world, as presented to us through the sensing activities of our body, is not reality, its an illusion. The cave allegory presents the illusion as a sort of reflection of reality. The "cultivated state" you refer to is necessary to get one beyond the natural inclination toward complete reliance on, and faith in, the empirical illusion. The vast majority of human beings do not provide what is necessary for their minds to ascend from the prison of the body, with the punishment and rewards of sensation.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    When speaking of or naming the self, we are both the speaking self and the one spoken about.Fire Ologist

    It has always struck me that the ability to treat I as me, as just another one of the things in the world, is the essence of consciousness.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    It has always struck me that the ability to treat I as me, as just another one of the things in the world, is the essence of consciousness.T Clark

    And it's always struck me that 'all the other things in this world' are objects of consciousness, whereas I am a subject of experience.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    And it's always struck me that 'all the other things in this world' are objects of consciousness, whereas I am a subject of experience.Wayfarer

    I may be a subject, but me is an object just like all the others.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Only to another subject ;-)
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I may be a subject, but me is an object just like all the others.T Clark

    Agreed, that is to say the self is not anything beyond the experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting bodymind. We can be an object to ourselves, and we can also feel ourselves in ways others cannot. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    Agreed, that is to say the self is not anything beyond the experiencing/thinking/acting body. We can be an object to ourselves, and we can also feel ourselves in ways others cannot. The rest is smoke and mirrors.Janus

    I was with you until "The rest is smoke and mirrors." I'm not sure what you're referring to.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I was referring to the idea that the self is something more than the experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting bodymind.

    Note; I changed body to bodymind and added aspiring after you quoted me apparently.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    I was referring to the idea that the self is something more than the experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting bodymind.Janus

    As long as that includes experiencing/thinking about the bodymind itself.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    :up: Of course.
  • ENOAH
    637
    I changed body to bodymindJanus

    Maybe your intial intuition followed a valid path. I'm hypothesizing your so called intuitions, to offer a point.

    The body is a being in itself. The body feels, senses, has drives, explores, bonds, and acts in present aware-ing of these and the world around it. We can understand all of that fairly well enough. But the intuition which has puzzled philosophy for millennia (not necessarily always expressed in the same way) is never mind all that; how does this lump of flesh "do," in your words, "experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting"?

    Hence (and I'm being presumptuous as hell) your two-fold intuition, both-folds being "right". First, your intuition that when your talking about your real being, you know (in spite of millennia of chatter) it's the body which moves, feels and senses that you're talking about. Second, your intuition that the "experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting" is not the body itself, but is being generated by and in mind. The latter seems like it's doing its own thing, yet the body is real. Thus, ultimately, you turn to "mindbody."

    But I think your intuitions (presumably) are right. These goings-on of experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting (oh, and I'd delete "acting" which is plainly the body; unless you really mean, choosing) are just the stories generated by mind. They are not really happening as mind "depicts" them. Body is affected; but just as body is affected by a sad movie. Images trigger feeling, drives, action.

    The fact that we speak of the self in terms of subject and object (me/you/they) highlights that they are mechanisms in the stories mind projects, just as is their role in grammar; to unify/order and attach, etc. It provides a function.

    "I" displace the body in Mind's projections; but the body remains present and real. Though body is attuned to its representation as "I/Me" it never ceases being (body). And from there--from present being; not becoming--there is no self. Not only is there no self; but [for many Buddhists] no Mind.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    The body is a being in itself. The body feels, senses, has drives, explores, bonds, and acts in present aware-ing of these and the world around it. We can understand all of that fairly well enough. But the intuition which has puzzled philosophy for millennia (not necessarily always expressed in the same way) is never mind all that; how does this lump of flesh "do," in your words, "experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting"?ENOAH

    Right, the living, aware body is minding, so mind is more of a verb than a noun, an activity rather than an entity. I think the question as to how a "lump of flesh" could do all this is the wrong question and will be endlessly misleading. We simply cannot understand how processes we conceive of as being mechanical could give rise to a mind that reasons and values, and I think this is not simply because we have not found such an explanation, but because such an explanation is impossible insofar as its realization would demand the unifying of categories of understanding which are inherently incompatible.

    Hence (and I'm being presumptuous as hell) your two-fold intuition, both-folds being "right". First, your intuition that when your talking about your real being, you know (in spite of millennia of chatter) it's the body which moves, feels and senses that you're talking about. Second, your intuition that the "experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting" is not the body itself but is being generated by and in mind. The latter seems like it's doing its own thing, yet the body is real. Thus, ultimately, you turn to "mindbody."ENOAH

    There is no problem with presumption in my view as it is necessary to get the engine of thought moving. I agree that it is the body which moves, feel and senses and that the experiencing/ thinking/ aspiring/ acting processes are not the body itself, but I have no problem with thinking that these are bodily activities generated by the body itself, and the first three we refer to as activities of the mind, but we could just as well, or better refer to them as minding, itself conceived as the central activity of the living body. So, I say 'bodymind' to indicate that I don't believe the mind(ing) is an illusion just on account of its not being a physical object. I find the idea that only physical objects exist absurd simply because objects have no existence in isolation; they are relational and are themselves congeries (although don't take this term to suggest disorder) of processes which are in turn themselves not physical objects, but the activities of such.

    But I think your intuitions (presumably) are right. These goings-on of experiencing/thinking/aspiring/acting (oh, and I'd delete "acting" which is plainly the body; unless you really mean, choosing) are just the stories generated by mind. They are not really happening as mind "depicts" them. Body is affected; but just as body is affected by a sad movie. Images trigger feeling, drives, action.ENOAH

    You are right, acting is most obviously an activity of the body. You say they are stories generated by the mind, but I have no problem with saying they are stories generated by the body, they are also part of the activity of the body. You say they are not really happening as mind "depicts" them, and I would agree insofar as mind's depictions are inherently and inevitably dualistic, whereas I think we have good reason to believe ( dulaistically :wink: ) that there is nothing dualistic about the body and its activities, or about anything else for that matter. I can anticipate an objection to that last statement that says that since human judgment and narrative is inherently and inevitably dualistic that all those mental activities of the body are also dualistic, and that therefore the dualistic nature of those activities being real in human experience, must be an aspect of reality. I don't know how to answer this other than to say that I think this is merely a "seeming" and not a reality, but then this could devolve to being a merely terminological issue, throwing into question what we mean by 'reality'.

    As you say this dualistic 'seeming' "provides a function".

    "I" displace the body in Mind's projections; but the body remains present and real. Though body is attuned to its representation as "I/Me" it never ceases being (body). And from there--from present being; not becoming--there is no self. Not only is there no self; but [for many Buddhists] no Mind.ENOAH

    Yes, we talk about "having bodies" rather than being bodies, and this is again an example of the dualistic nature of our conceptions. In Cartesian fashion the elusive "I" has a body, and it is ultimately more real than the body!

    I'm intrigued by the idea that there are Buddhists who deny the reality of the mind; I haven't encountered anything like that. That said, Buddhism, although I have been peripherally interested in it for many years and have studied it formally to some degree, is not one of my central interests.
  • ENOAH
    637
    I can become fixated. Feel free to move on. I've already been enriched. I also understand Buddhism is not your thing. But it seems, there is a place where (certain, but broad) western philosophy and (certain, and a narrow certain) Buddhism intersect, and we can float between the two unconscious as to their historical divergence. But full disclosure I'm no scholar in either.

    body is minding, so mind is more of a verb than a noun, an activity rather than an entity.Janus

    Very nice. But following what proceeded in your response, I'm not certain that observation compels me for exactly the reason you were compelled by it.


    explanation is impossible insofar as its realization would demand the unifying of categories of understanding which are inherently incompatible.Janus

    Interesting. Could you simply mean "knowing" vs "being" as incompatible? I will have to think through. Of course any elaboration would be welcome.


    we could just as well, or better refer to them as minding, itself conceived as the central activity of the living bodyJanus

    Fair enough but I have settled upon the belief that the "stuff" of minding is neither the stuff of the body (as in organic matter) nor even of its nature or being.

    Except unlike breathing, digesting, mating; when minding, the by-product is an empty and fleeting image, a Signifier, the "reality" of which is entirely in its function; like zeros and ones, in how it triggers organic matter.
    It does its thing then disappears for ever, reappearing just as fleetingly as a new construction.

    And it is to that and not the body, that we attach this so called self, most commonly in the form of the Subject I.

    the idea that only physical objects exist absurdJanus

    Mental objects "exist" but are not the ultimate reality of present being; they are fleeting becoming. So whatever we want to call that. I prefer the bold statement "fiction" makes. But it's a very hard pill to swallow, hence sell. I call it constructions-and-then-projections. It is definitely not what my actual aware-ing Organism is. It's what the latter is compelled to watch because by an evolved process of conditioning (generational and individually) its images flood the human brain and monopolize the response loop. Where once we were aware-ing and responding to reality. Now we are aware-ing and responding to imaginary stimuli gone wild (but following an evolved autonomous law and mechanics).

    Point is. The self is the Subject Signifier in that process of turning reality into Narratives.


    stories generated by the bodyJanus
    Ok, but then, the key word, binding us, is "stories". Body is the source of mind. But mind is stories. That's the point. And self is the Subject in the stories. It's fine for a 16 year old, while reading The Catcher in the Rye to sympathize with Holden Caufield, even to "become" the character. But that's what's happening. Should we aware-ing that?

    nothing dualistic about the body and its activitieJanus

    Yes I agree completely. I reiterate that I agree the body is the one and only reality. No wink even necessary, because I see no conundrum. Mind is, as I say, a fleeting and empty nothing. It is not necessary. Our nonconceited ape cousins do fine. It is a fiction flooding our brains. There is, in reality, only thd body.
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