"conspectus" questions for Tarver

"conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/24/12 5:45 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/25/12 4:57 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/26/12 11:56 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/26/12 3:35 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/26/12 8:35 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/27/12 12:55 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Nikolai . 5/27/12 1:23 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/27/12 7:54 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/27/12 9:59 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 5/27/12 1:33 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  7/4/12 11:25 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Nikolai . 5/28/12 7:49 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/3/12 12:49 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Nikolai . 6/3/12 5:32 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/3/12 11:59 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 6/3/12 3:11 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/3/12 3:38 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Some Guy 6/7/12 8:18 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Andrew . 6/7/12 11:45 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/11/12 4:58 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Nikolai . 6/3/12 4:58 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/14/12 11:27 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Andrew . 6/18/12 3:00 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  6/18/12 4:04 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 6/3/12 7:08 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 6/3/12 11:35 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/27/12 4:58 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/28/12 11:49 AM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/29/12 3:33 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Adam . . 5/29/12 7:25 PM
RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver Tarver  5/31/12 11:12 AM
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/24/12 5:45 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/24/12 5:45 PM

"conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Tarver - since you asked that discussions about the content of conspectus and related stuff be posted in a different thread, i wanted to make a different thread as i see lots of reasons to object to the stuff proposed in conspectus, the stuff proposed by shinzen young, and the stuff proposed by you... so there!

In my experience, the view from Dewart's theory (plus a certain dose of meditation) makes the whole problem of duality/non-duality basically go away, both conceptually and experientially. I don't find duality unpleasant. As best I can tell, and I see myself as a reasonably perceptive fellow, I simply don't have that problem.


When you say you don't find duality unpleasant - do you mean that you don't find the experience of the "feeling of being" unpleasant? If this is what you meant, do you find emotional tension to be unpleasant, and do you find physical pain to be unpleasant? If you answered "no" to any/all of the above, then how do you define the word "unpleasant"?

Another question, does the meditation do anything other than help one realize Dewart's opinion about non-hierarchical ontology at an intuitive level?

http://tarverator.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/what-to-transcend/

what i mean by non-hierarchical ontology is what you are talking about there ^^^

My basic understanding of what you are saying, and this is after reading 2 or three of your posts and some of "Conspectus", is that if one does not accept a hierarchical view of ontology, then experiential duality isn't a problem. For me though, the experience in and of itself is unpleasant whether or not one thinks about the self being imagined, the actual world objectively existing or whatever else, it is unpleasant in and of itself because it causes a "filtration" of experience which i am trying to understand over on this other thread:
http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3161010

I don't think anyone would consciously object to Dewart's non-hierarchical ontology thing, all of those things do have an existence and there is no objective way to value them that creates a hierarchy. Even the orthodox actualists would probably agree to his theory given intellectual honesty and full understanding, "real" things, like the self, and "actual" things, like my foot, are just two different categories of existence. The only people who would consciously object are those whose god(s) transcend logic.

The Actualists (and i think, the buddha, but lets save that aspect for some other time) would object to the idea that experiencing the "real" "self" is equally as pleasant as experiencing the "actual" foot, again for reasons which i don't really understand, but certainly can experience. I'll stop here with the theory because i really don't know if i am conceiving of things properly, but I would suggest you check out these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WiCXn87BF4 (this is part 1, there are 5)

I think if you maybe tried this for a day, with some sits, you might have something to compare the duality/filtered experience
to, and i think that totally independent of any ontological understandings (even intuitive ones) the comparison shows that the unfiltered experience is better. Again i have no clue why, something about attention emoticon

Also, there are some obvious language problems about how one defines consciousness, and perhaps this is why you say that dependent origination is a traditional dogma rather used to explain a teaching (apparently poorly) rather than the central practical teaching some would say it is.

There are lots of other things I'd comment on but I want to make sure my brief reading isn't totally misdirected.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/25/12 4:57 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/25/12 4:48 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Adam,

I am grateful for your questions in that "be careful what you wish for" kind of way. On the one hand, I suppose I am apt to be interpreted as inviting philosophical debate on questions of ontology. On the other hand, I am trying to point out that there is a problem with the very presuppositions that lead our entire civilization to its ontological obsession. So I find myself torn between engaging in the debate, and attempting to model how to drop it.

For engaging in the debate, I am somewhat but not very highly qualified. I did once actually apply to PhD school at a Department of Philosophy, but withdrew my application to do something else: I tried to tackle these issues from a historical perspective instead, and leverage my previous studies in the history of technology, but I dropped out of that PhD program in second year. I feel acutely self-conscious about this, as if I were allowed in the pool, but only safe at the shallow end.

At the other extreme of modeling how to drop it, there are the kinds of stunts the Buddha pulled, of the just-hold-up-a-flower-and-smile variety. I certainly don't have the cache to pull that off either. So I am left kind of blundering down the middle, raising questions that quack and waddle an awful lot like ones that people vastly more skilled and qualified than myself have tried and failed to answer satisfactorily for generations, and then trying to use seemingly familiar language to point out something that I see as profoundly and wonderfully not-duck in that very space.

So here goes...

I will start with "duality". Many, many commentators have raised the question of duality. Our very own senior in-house Arahat, for example, in the section of MCTB on the Characteristic of Suffering, links fundamental suffering itself directly to "the illusion of duality". (That is an enormously important passage in MCTB, and I will return to it another time, apropos absent-mindedness.)

Back to duality, what I am saying is that this is not congruent with my recent experience, which is informed by the view (or perhaps, View) outlined by Dewart. I have been reading E&C since 1989 -- half my life, come to think of it -- and gradually tracking towards "seeing things" the way it suggests. In my case, maybe peculiarly but perhaps significantly, although I saw something really profound in it when I first came across it (enough to attempt to explore it the best way I knew how, by trying to do a PhD), my understanding of E&C has deepened dramatically in the light of my recent period of intensive meditation practice.

Now, I do recall that many years ago I too was bothered by the question, and indeed also the experience, of duality. It seemed bothersome that there was a body, and there was a mind -- a this and a that -- and it wasn't clear how the one interacted with the other. I wasn't reading Ingram until a couple of years ago, but as I recall it would have made sense to see this unresolved puzzle as troublesome, painful even.

What I have arrived at now, attained if you like, is the capacity to be present to my own experience in such a way that I do not experience "the mind/body problem" as problematic. It does not bother me. It doesn't feel painful. What I do find painful is that I see and hear of others suffering from the "feeling of being" and I empathize and want to help them.

And the way I fancy that I can be most helpful is by taking point on making this particular "view" available for others to consider, and I hope benefit from. I am much less worried about being "identified" with this view in terms of limited self-identity, than I am worried about leading a meaningless and self-absorbed life, failing even to try to share something that I find so stimulating and frankly beautiful, as is my experience of E&C.

I don't know how to define "unpleasant". That seems axiomatic. I don't want to disappear down the rabbit-hole of inherently versus subjectively thus-and-so, although maybe I have one foot stuck there already.

To frame the view I am advocating as "non-hierarchical ontology" might be like proposing to a person troubled by obsessions that they always keep in mind that their obsessions are just thoughts and therefore harmless. Even if the content of that idea were true, it doesn't quite solve the problem of being troubled by obsessions. Likewise, although "non-hierarchical ontology" does point in the general direction I am indicating, it does not go nearly far enough because it retains the ontological focus.

Dewart criticizes the whole system of thinking of things "in and of themselves" as part of what he describes as the "semantic complex", the interlinked notion that things (realities) are constituted by an inner meaning, that our thoughts somehow repeat that inner meaning, and that our words repeat or reflect it again in turn. Dewart articulates an alternative which he calls the "syntactic" conception, and strives to point out that this is actually normative among just about every other human culture except our own, taking "our own" to mean of Indo-European descent, i.e., Western civilization. (This is very approximate -- the details are on record elsewhere.)

To face this head on: I am not trying to be objective. To borrow Wilber's bon mot, I am trying to transcend and include objectivity. Objectivity has certain uses and benefits, to be sure, but it is the tip of an iceberg into which our entire civilization is in the process of going the way of the Titanic.

Thanks for flagging the Kenneth Folk videos. I am always in awe of how he seems to be able to maintain very particular states of mind (jhanas, focus states, etc.) while simultaneously being able to verbally narrate his experience. I have heard him refer to this elsewhere, quite modestly, as his "parlor trick" but when I look at that video I see a virtuoso performance, a very high level of mastery of the skill of consciousness. Dewart distinguishes the evolutionary emergence of two levels of consciousness, first the immediate perceptual variety, and more recently the interpretative self-defining variety. We all have access to both, but we don't usually distinguish them much let alone clearly. What I believe Kenneth Folk is doing in those videos is very clearly distinguishing between these two "modes," and yet, masterfully, somehow dwelling in both simultaneously for demo purposes.

As for the "filtration" aspect, yes: and this is what makes possible human life as we know it today. Whereas the earlier level of consciousness is immediate, the higher more recent level is mediate. I can see how that might seem "filtered". An example comes to mind, a geeky one; please forgive me if it is obscure. In computer programming, a great innovation at a certain early stage in the history of that field was "pointers". These are memory addresses with literally point to other memory addresses. Without the ability to do that, it would be practically impossible to write code beyond a certain rather low level of complexity. But neither can one use only pointers all the time; sometimes you use a pointer, other times a direct reference. Well, it turns out that the full richness of our everyday human experience depends on learning a certain way to handle our experience mediately, which Dewart argues that we learn to do when we learn to speak. Again borrowing a programming idiom, this is a feature not a bug. Believe me, you don't want to disable that feature permanently, but it would certainly be nice to be able to turn it on and off voluntarily.

Back to Kenneth Folk, that's what I think he is doing, and coaching his student to do, in the video. His description of what he is doing, however, is highly figurative and metaphorical. Rich and evocative, very clear, pedagogically sound, warm, and compassionate -- all good things -- but not actually very direct. At this point, I can only aspire to the level of actual mastery of the skill of consciousness demonstrated by Kenneth. But what I do have access to, I assert, is an explanatory framework, a View, which among other things (once it has been tumble-polished a bit through discussions exactly like this one) should make it significantly easier to teach what Kenneth is teaching in the video.

I suppose I am going to have to tackle Dependent Origination at some point, but I don't feel ready to take it on quite yet. Rushing in where angels fear to tread, nevertheless, to sum up my vedena on this doctrine at this point anyway... hmmm... let's see...

Suffering flagged as a result of (preoccupation with?) Being: good.
Circular or interdependent (hinting at emergent?) causation: good.
Unwholesome and evil phenomena arising from ignorance: good.
Analyzing human experience: good.
Inspiring generations to practice fruitfully: good.
Reincarnation: bad.
Deterministic and/or reductionistic causality: bad.
Unexamined ontic presuppositions: bad.
Outdated model of human psychology: bad.
Confusing and seemingly arbitrary chain of dependencies: bad.

Please don't take me to task on this, not quite yet. That's all I have for now on dependent origination. I have a stub of an essay on my blog called "Why I am Not a Buddhist" and I do plan to dive into these deep waters at some point, but for today I've gotten my hair wet and that's enough for now.

Finally, my experience with Actualism is such a very close approximation to zero, that I won't comment on it except to say that I am all in favour of me, you, and everybody else in the whole world being happy and harmless, right now. Yes, please, and thank you.

Oh, and by the way, if you find this interesting and want to dive into it in more precise detail, you are probably better off studying the Synopsis rather than the Conspectus. If all else fails, you could even check out the book itself.
emoticon
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 11:56 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 11:56 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I am somewhat but not very highly qualified


well i am not qualified at all, so don't worry about it ;)

Here is my current understanding of the primary issue at hand, leaving the DO stuff for some other time or never.

I am saying that the experience of self, and the concomitant feeling of being, filtration of experience based on the self's desires, and emotions are painful and unnecessary and harmful, regardless of one's view.

You are saying that the experience of those things is not harmful or painful with the correct view and that they are necessary for one's functioning.

If I've got your argument down correctly, then I would say again that it definitely contradicts the practical, non-philosophical reports of the people who have stopped those experiences entirely and report better or equivalent functioning as well as better happiness.

To frame the view I am advocating as "non-hierarchical ontology" might be like proposing to a person troubled by obsessions that they always keep in mind that their obsessions are just thoughts and therefore harmless. Even if the content of that idea were true, it doesn't quite solve the problem of being troubled by obsessions. Likewise, although "non-hierarchical ontology" does point in the general direction I am indicating, it does not go nearly far enough because it retains the ontological focus.


This is basically my understanding of what you are advocating, so what do you advocate to go further?
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 3:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 1:56 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
I really appreciate how you have summed up the thrust of what we have been discussing. Thank you.

Adam . .:
so what do you advocate to go further?


Great question. If you have a practice that works for you to your satisfaction, then keep sitting or doing whatever you are doing, ignore me and other distractions, and you are golden.

Shinzen, by the way, has articulated a really nice description of what "works" can be taken to mean:

Shinzen:
A practice is said to “work” if, in a reasonable time frame, it delivers at least one of the following:

- reduction of your physical or emotional suffering
- elevation of your physical or emotional fulfillment
- deeper knowledge of who you are
- positive changes in your objective behavior
- a spirit of love and service towards others


Alternatively, or in addition, or in some combination, you might also consider that in spite of claims to the contrary, the dharma is not static and that our understanding of how things work and best practices are all, well, anicca.

Aside from bringing to the cushion a clear and penetrating understanding of what I think I am doing to myself when I meditate -- which itself alters the experience and may be highly significant right there -- I have not yet developed much in the way of specific practice innovations. (Or maybe by "doing it all wrong", I actually already have, but haven't fully realized it yet.) I am working in that direction, and I am especially interested in noting.

The best case outcome(s) I can imagine might look a lot like the best practices of today with some seemingly inconsequential little tweaks somewhere that, for example, bring the desired results orders of magnitude faster, or are accessible to orders of magnitude more people. After all, with the Internet, all things are possible. Case in point: here we are, on DhO!

I am of course not alone. The dharma scene is swarming with innovators, although many of them sail under the colors of "what the Buddha really meant" which has some rhetorical value but doesn't float my boat. If I were to make that claim I would consider myself dishonest but others really believe that, and do genuinely helpful and positive things as they rally to that banner.

I don't particularly want to argue with or detract from the experiences of people who have worked hard to attain something they are happy with, part of their experience of which, I would point out, includes their understanding of what they have attained and how.

And yet, for example, let's recall that based on the work of Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister had to work for years to convince people -- surgeons! -- that the apparently trivial, inconvenient, and obviously totally irrelevant act of washing their hands and instruments was really, really important, and led to vastly improved outcomes in what they were already doing even if they changed nothing else in their practice. Moreover, failing to do so was in fact actively harmful. But once they had that piece in place the practices also changed and developed dramatically. Analogously, I see something in E&C that, in this metaphor, pertains to the spiritual and psychological hygiene of our entire civilization, with meditation as a kind of psycho-spiritual self-surgery (a metaphor Goenka uses) where it may be particularly relevant. I am appropriating the pragmatic dharma scene as my lab, where I can work shoulder-to-shoulder with the many others who are also seeking to reduce or even eradicate suffering for all. I don't yet know what the outcome will be, or what else to suggest at this point besides checking out the book and considering it very carefully. I am signalling here that this merits investigation in spite of apparently flying in the face of "what everybody knows for sure."
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 8:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/26/12 8:34 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I assumed you meant there was something more than 4th path + the non-hierarchical ontology view. if not, then i really do think that conspectus, E&C, Shinzen Young etc. are no different than what was debated vigorously on the DhO a bit before I started seeing you around.

The debate was basically this, the traditional 4th pathers said that duality was fine, one could simply be aware of it, acknowledge that the self existed in one way and other stuff existed in another way, the AFers said that the self (here i include emotions, sense of self, narrative thoughts, filtering of experience) was different because it was suffering and could cause malice towards others.

That's why in the other thread I mentioned that these ideas had been rejected (but from a different source and a different presentation). Are you aware of these arguments I am talking about and these debates? If so does Conspectus et al. bring something new to the table?
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 12:55 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 12:55 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
No, I was not particularly aware of that debate, although now that you mention it I may have run across parts of it. DhO is so large that I can't hope to track or read all of it.

Does E&C bring something new to the table? It probably does. Most of the traditional academics who checked it out when it first came out recoiled and set it aside not because it was familiar but because it was way too over-the-top radical and iconoclastic. Ingram tackles the mushroom factor in the dharma scene. Dewart upsets the apple cart of every religion, ever, including science -- equally. I personally think he stacks the apples up again very nicely, but the original tenders of those carts might not think so. Even people who show up motivated to meditate and are trying to get it can find non-self tricky to grasp. When Dewart demonstrates from the first principles of emergent causality via natural selection, through a few twists that I have no idea how he figured out but which just follow each other step by step that the aboriginal emptiness of the self is both perfectly demonstrable and structurally inescapable, he is doing nothing to make himself popular. Most people would rather read about how if they behave well, their souls will be reborn in a better place. I like to think that the audience Ingram has attracted here are more like me, and ready to hear the hard truth. Funny thing about truths: even if a truth is true, it doesn't preclude a truer truth from turning up.

I use a sig line in my email which is "Everything is the way it is because it got that way." On the one hand there is the old story about the guy hit with the arrow who wants to know everything about what kind of arrow, who shot it, etc., before dealing with the wound. On the other hand if a building was put up in a certain order, say foundation then walls then roof, and the roof keeps going crooked because the foundation is faulty, then knowing how it was built may be highly relevant to how to fix it. So in the first case practices that work should work regardless of whether the practitioner knows or agrees with the theory behind them. If you are shot, i.e., suffering, don't argue just pull out the damn arrow, i.e., do the practices. But in the second case, you can tear off the roof and build a new level one, but you will have to do it again and again if the foundation keeps sinking. What I mean by that analogy is that if our experience and our consciousness appear and are built up in a certain order, which is not obvious upon first inspection, then knowing that should lead to wiser effort -- analogous to, say, resigning ourselves to accepting a foundation that is too expensive to fix, or else getting really creative and finding a way to fix it after all, now that the problem has been traced even deeper than we ever suspected it ran. And maybe the fix can actually be much easier and cheaper than we dreamed, like a few jack-posts in the basement and everything is fine, analogously corresponding to some unsuspected small practice innovation leading to significantly better results.

So to sum up this little ramble, I am not sure what is going on with the roof at 4th path and beyond, but I think I may have noticed something that needs attention in the basement.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 1:23 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 1:21 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
 Tarver :


So to sum up this little ramble, I am not sure what is going on with the roof at 4th path and beyond, but I think I may have noticed something that needs attention in the basement.


Post-4th (as talked of within pragmatic dharma circles) practices I think are more aimed at pulling down the entire house, not building more floors, or basements. No need for top floors or rooves and keeping foundations sturdy when there is no need for a house.

The House Builder

Aneka-jāti-saṅsāraṃ
Sandhāvissaṃ anibbisaṃ,
Gahakāraṃ gavesanto
Dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ,

Through the round of many births
I wandered without reward, without rest,
Seeking the house builder.
Painful is birth again & again.

Gahakāraka diṭṭhosi
Puna-gehaṃ na kāhasi.

House builder, you are seen!
You will not build a house again.

Sabbā te phāsukā bhaggā
Gahakūṭaṃ visaṅkhataṃ
Visaṅkhāra-gataṃ cittaṃ
Taṇhānaṃ khayam-ajjhagā

All your rafters broken,
The ridge pole destroyed,
Gone to the Unformed, the mind
Has attained the end of craving.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 7:54 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 7:21 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
The point Nik made about the goal being to tear down a house in contrast to your analogy of building one really reminded me of a line from the 'hurricane ranch' talk which might be a useful thing to listen to if you'd like to understand the debate i mentioned. It isn't totally introductory because it assumes a little bit of foreknowledge of the things in question... but since you read 399 pages of abstruse dense text which was so unpopular then perhaps you won't mind listening to 2 hours of conversation.

One of the things specifically referenced is what Daniel Ingram says about the quest to 4th path being about finding ways to filter experience skillfully and the quest to 'pure conscious experience' being finding the way not to filter experience.

http://www.interactivebuddha.com/files/01%20TandDonAF1.mp3

http://www.interactivebuddha.com/files/02%20TandDonAF2.mp3

since these talks were recorded there has been an emerging consensus in the pragmatic dharma community that they fit in with the traditional pali canon style buddhism just fine, but since you mention not being particularly tied to buddhist dogma i guess that wont be a problem emoticon

also this:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/600967
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 9:59 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 9:29 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for the links, Adam; I am pretty sure I listened to those some time ago, but I look forward to hearing them again. Thanks for the full citation on the house-builder, Nick. I have definitely listened to that old ditty quite a few times, but not as many times as I know you have. (For those who don't know, this is chanted by Goenka frequently -- indeed, over and over and over -- during his 10-day Vipassana courses.)

I suppose that if the essence of your most fundamental problem is that you keep getting reincarnated over and over and over without end, you find this bothersome and you want it to stop, and what you are doing and the way you understand what you are doing are working and you are happy with it, then Dewart's take on the matter won't be of much interest to you because his analysis only focuses on the relatively short period since the evolutionary appearance of humanity, and only deals in very cursory terms with the nature of reality over the countless yugas over which you and your problem are spread. In your case, you are better off using the Internet to help yourself sort out "what the Buddha really said" so you can stop the endless cycle.

A friend of mine recently quipped that the Buddha once caused the instant awakening of a large number of bikkhus with a single email of less than 5k in size.

If the point about content vs. insight never really grabbed your attention, and you have no sensitivity to or interest in the way in which media and messages are mutually affecting (including the "media" of experience, thought, and speech) then Dewart will definitely be of no interest or value to you.

I have been spinning analogies quite freely in this thread, and I am starting to get that over and over and over again feeling right in the here and now.

I have downloaded the audio and I have a longish drive ahead of me today, so I will listen to the wise words of those more experienced than myself as I fly across the landscape at 100 kilometers per hour, just like those seeking enlightenment have always done.
thumbnail
katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 1:33 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 1:31 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Tarver,

I have downloaded the audio and I have a longish drive ahead of me today, so I will listen to the wise words of those more experienced than myself as I fly across the landscape at 100 kilometers per hour, just like those seeking enlightenment have always done.
(bold emphasis added)

Wisdom, in the dhammapada, is said to be built on paying attention (heedfulness) and, in catholicism (Leslie Dewart's faith), St. Romuald's expresses a third rule among several listed for new monks: 3. cautus ad cogitationes, quasi bonus piscator ad pisces.: "[sit in your cell...] cautiously watching your thoughts, as a good fisher watches the fish".

Dewart's subject and person are, by your account, dear to you. For me, that which I hold most dear is also worth equanimous contemplation by a mind training in meditation (which meditation depends upon and builds equanimity as well as the concentration to sustain the study). It becomes a very deep, broad study, one especially suited for ideological views (whereas "attractions" like thirst and relief of thirst are decisively resolved in compassion).

My post is to suggest that your paying attention to the long drive/driving relates directly to your own wisdom (wise: *wittos of proto-Indo-European root *weid- "to see," hence "to know"). People improve any skill with repetition, so I hope we're both paying attention right now emoticon

It follows also, as no one can pay attention to your mind and your actions like you (not more directly than you), that I don't know any who can be more wise than you in what you are actually doing.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 5/28/12 7:49 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 4:47 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
 Tarver :


I suppose that if the essence of your most fundamental problem is that you keep getting reincarnated over and over and over without end, you find this bothersome and you want it to stop,


Hi Tarver,

Where did I say this? I don't have thoughts nor opinions on 're-incarnation'. Though I have investigated what takes birth again and again in the very moment, from moment to moment.

and what you are doing and the way you understand what you are doing are working and you are happy with it,
then Dewart's take on the matter won't be of much interest to you because his analysis only focuses on the relatively short period since the evolutionary appearance of humanity,


And what is the crux of his 'view' in some simple sentences, because if it takes reading pages to express a view, that just seems complicated and not very pragmatic. Can you sum it up for me?

and only deals in very cursory terms with the nature of reality over the countless yugas over which you and your problem are spread. In your case, you are better off using the Internet to help yourself sort out "what the Buddha really said" so you can stop the endless cycle.


Can you elaborate of what you think 'my problem' is and why you think it is 'my problem'?

Tarver:
I estimate that practitioners of Pragmatic Dharma should be particularly receptive to Dewart’s thesis for a range of reasons. Dewart’s account of consciousness has direct relevance to practice, for one, since intensive meditation practice develops the acquired skill of consciousness. The flip side of this is that those who have already done a fair bit of meditation, even if their working model of what they thought they were trying to do was a bit off, are much more likely to appreciate how consciousness actually works through their own direct experience than those who have not practiced meditation.


What is 'off' about which model you have attributed to the 'pragmatic dharma' movement and how does what you are trying to get others onboard with improve on it?

Nick
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 4:58 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/27/12 4:57 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Tarver, i think you interpreted nik's teaaring down the house thing and my appreciation of it too mystically/metaphysically. I like the no-filter thing simply as an experience, the experience of no-house. In fact that's one of the reasons i suggested the hurricane ranch discussions, paraphrasing Tarin: it doesn't take any delusion or attachment to recognize that one is better than the other ("one" being pure consciousness, no-house, no filter). their discussion of no-filter being better regardless of the variables of view, past experience or whatever else is what i really wanted to suggest you listen to, and better yet try to get an experiential understanding of.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/28/12 11:49 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/28/12 11:49 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Responses forthcoming... Thanks everyone for your patience.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 7/4/12 11:25 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/29/12 12:43 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
katy steger:
...in catholicism (Leslie Dewart's faith)...


Before I get to anything else, let me deal with this one little item first. Had he not been cremated, Leslie Dewart would surely be turning in his grave at even the possibility that anyone might think that he is writing from a Catholic perspective. E&C is in no danger whatsoever of getting the imprimatur.

I cite Bruce S. Alton, ed., Religions and Languages: A Colloquium (Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 1991), pp. 98-99, where Dewart literally speaks (in a quotation of direct dialogue) not to Catholicism in particular, but to theism in general which subsumes the point:

Leslie Dewart:
Some readers of at least the earlier versions of the book have in fact said that it is nothing but a rewrite of Feuerbach, and others have said no, it's an original form of atheism. I think both views are wrong -- partly right, but partly wrong. I would not want to acknowledge the label of "atheism" for the work, although I would certainly not subscribe to the proposition that God exists. I do not acknowledge the label of atheist because I do not think that God doesn't exist either. I think there is something wrong with asking the question of whether God exists or does not exist. If you take the approach that in my estimation should be taken to speculation about religious questions, you certainly are not going to end up with an equivalent of the God that might or might not exist. I think that is a dead end. But to say that is hardly to say that the problems created by consciousness concerning its own identity, its own position in the world, its own need, is a need not worth pursuing. The need to live with our own mortality, for example, has not been done away with simply because we have proceeded along a blind alley.

Many of us here on the bleeding edge of the evolution of consciousness (which is how I would locate the pragmatic dharma scene) have moved significantly beyond our culture's age-old preoccupation with God/not-God, but are still in the same "blind alley" nevertheless. I don't wish to debate this point. I want to drop it -- but even noting that we have been dropping it risks having it flare up again, so long as we remain in the same blind alley. What blind alley? The one that prompts anyone even to want to debate this point. Tarver, can you state that any more explicitly? I am working on that... I will respond to more of this and the other posts shortly, but I am taking a little time to think between posts to try to avoid running in endless loops.

As an aside, I am in a certain sense very familiar with the text quoted above, because Alton hired me to prepare it for publication and I am credited in the preface. I manually set every open- and close-quote and inserted each Sanskrit diacritical in the "reveal codes" of WordPerfect 5.1. I crawled through the text word by word numerous times. And yet, although I was pretty sure even then that this stuff was really important, it is only recently, in light of my cumulative life experience which includes as you know so much meditation, that I am starting to feel that I really understand what it actually says. Can I restate it in a way that others can understand remains the open question.

EDIT: Just to be clear: Dewart's early career in the 1960's and 70's was in fact deeply engaged with Catholicism, principally a critique of Thomism comprising a proposal for the "dehellenization" of Christian dogma. By the time he wrote E&C, however, although he was still teaching Theology, his perspective had broadened to the point where it would be grossly misleading to call him a "Catholic" philosopher.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/29/12 3:33 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/29/12 3:33 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Next little piece... and this is going to come out in fragments because if I wait until I have it all perfect we will all be waiting forever:

A possible explanation for why AF appears to flatten affect is implicit in (or at least occurred to me as I read) the passage of E&C around p. 233. Having learned (gotta emphasize learned) to organize their experience in light of an extraordinarily high degree of assertiveness (learned how? by asking HAIETMOBA, ie, experiencing their own, in this case, thematic speech)*, AF practitioners may be somehow implicitly "self-auto-hyper-thematizing" (I just made that up) even their perceptual experience to an unusual degree -- I don't want to say "filtering" as that is loaded the wrong way, but nevertheless processing the information of experience in a certain effortless and subjectively desirable way that feels really clean and direct and "unfiltered" -- so much so, that they report absence of affect, extraordinary clarity, etc.

* Vipassana, in contrast (in noting) employs the experience-organizing properties of the experience of pre-thematic speech.

Consider the affective difference between two examples selected to emphasize the contrast: If I were to say one of (non-thematically) "Fuck this, piece of shit, damn it!!" or (thematically) "This situation is disagreeable to me," it is clear that the former is soaked with affect and the latter relatively stripped -- but not devoid -- of it. The two statements correspond to the two evolutionary successive levels of speech. If those are lined up as an "axis of development" and projected outwards, my hunch here is that the theory outlined in E&C, applied in this way, theoretically predicts what AF practitioners are reporting.

I also want to say that this is an intuitive pot-shot based on an almost laughably narrow exposure to AF. I could be totally off the mark. Or, I could be dead on, and yet utterly misunderstood. Nevertheless, here it is.

I gather that there was some sort of "political" kerfuffle around AF. I am only peripherally aware of it, and not particularly interested, although maybe I should educate myself on the issues so that I can be kind, and avoid gratuitously offending anyone, which is certainly not my intention.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 5/29/12 7:25 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/29/12 7:24 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
This does kind of read as an intuitive pot-shot not entirely based on practice in aiming to eliminate affect. I say this because the practice is so much about eliminating every subtle filtering, including the slightest, skillful things.

It is so often noted by no-affect people that you can't "feel out" what a PCE would be like, it's simply not marked by a "way" of perceiving. There is no feeling or perception that says "clean" or "pure" in a PCE, there is just the experience, which can be looked at and thought of with the affect language of "clean perception," however no language can really match with the mode of perception, because it is the *lack* of a mode.

for this reason i think if you experience a PCE this will no longer seem to make sense -
but nevertheless processing the information of experience in a certain effortless and subjectively desirable way that feels really clean and direct and "unfiltered" -- so much so, that they report absence of affect, extraordinary clarity, etc.
. There's no content in the experience that "says" clean, effortless, clear, pure, unfiltered, etc. there's just the lack of any of that type of content. In fact, this issue is very relevant to my practice now, as I have been getting an eqanimous affective overlay which seems to "say" pure, clean, clear etc. but is still a distortion, and simply being aware of that as a feeling seems to keep it from filtering the rest of conscious experience.

here is something nikolai wrote recently about objectification, i.e. imposing language onto experience and creating consciousness http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2012/05/appreciation-atammayata.html

NICK: 'Objectification': My current thinking from my ongoing current experience has shown that the mind will create 'objects' in the field of experience (sense contact-eyes/sight, ears/sound, nose/smells, tongue/taste, body/touch-surface and within) via a narrowing of mental focus, which segregates 'parts' of the whole field of experience. This in turn leads to more 'objects' arising within the field of experience next to more 'objects', segregated from the whole, giving rise to an 'attention bounce'.


This illusory 'attention bounce' has the mind's attention jumping from one perceived/conceived 'object' to another 'object' back and forth. A thought may become an 'object', a sensation an 'object, a sound an object, even the notion of 'seeing' and 'hearing' and a sense of 'me-ness', also another kind of 'object', which feels more like a 'subject'; a subjective experience for the 'object' to be related to in some way. But really, it is just another part of the 'objectification' of 'parts' of the whole.


Essentially, attention bounces around and gives off a sense of 'duality': "'I' am experiencing 'this'!" Subject and object. This 'objectification' process gives rise to the subjective experience of 'self' in many differing manifestations, all in my own experience seen to be unsatisfactory and illusory. This 'objectification' or conceiving of 'objects' for a subjective experience to arise and relate to has the mind create an 'object' from a mass of floating particles and atoms and terms/names it 'hearing', 'seeing', 'a chair', 'a man', 'a woman', 'hatred', 'self', 'thoughts of want', 'shitty sensations in the chest', etc and sets up all of these 'objects' for the subjective experience of 'me-ness' to arise as an established relationship with said 'objects'.

For example with HAIETMOBA, one trains the mind to recognize pure sense contact without this 'objectification' occurring for those fleeting moments at a time until those moments grow into longer periods of lack of 'objectification'/ segregating of conceived 'parts' of the field of experience. When the whole field of experience is now segregated into 'parts', there are now 'parts' for the mind's attention to bounce back and forth with.


When the entire field of experience is experienced as simply 'the whole field of experience', without that attention bounce segregating via 'objectification', there is simply 360 degree ongoing experience of a soup of sensations which can be explained in conventional terms as seeing, hearing, smelling, sensing, tasting, thought hitting mind, all cognised as a mass of mixed up sense contact with none of it being segregated and 'named' 'seeing', 'hearing', etc. The mind/body organism is able to function perfectly without 'you' arising to overlay it all with a sense of 'controlling' and 'defining' relationships with 'parts' of experience (objectification/conceiving).
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 5/31/12 11:12 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/31/12 11:12 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
... which can be looked at and thought of with the affect language of "clean perception," however no language can really match with the mode of perception, because it is the *lack* of a mode.

As soon as I hear you speaking about language, I begin to suspect that we are speaking past each other.

I am trying to speak about speech, leaving the complexities of language as given.

I had a chance yesterday to listen again carefully to the Hurricane Ranch AF conversation in it's entirety. My assessment, however inarticulate, stands. If anything, I caught many more instances of what I am trying to talk about than upon the first hearing.

Thanks for pointing out Nick's post. I can't say that I have really digested it fully, but I have picked out a few phrases upon which the discourse turns: "primordial awareness", "three characteristics of existence", "this is not entirely real," "ultimate concept", "mental energy conforms to its object (e.g., a thought) and then returns to the subject", "The mental energy of the experiencer (subject) becomes consubstantial with the thing (object) being realized", "characteristic of ultimate reality," ...all of which are very, very deeply embedded in the ontic perspective. It's like Neo in the train station: even if you run out one end, you will come right back in the other. And I am using the word "embedded" mindful of Kenneth Folk's metaphor for how one progressively realizes one's identification with one's experience, looking back at levels at which one was embedded with a kind of "ha ha, how silly of me to have missed that," and looking ahead to levels at which one is still embedded with "what are you talking about, there's no problem here, that's just [snap - right back to what you were doing]."

And yes, I am very aware that I am pointing to vocabulary -- language -- even when I am trying to speak about speech.

I would also like to say that I really like the taste of dzogchen that I have picked up via Shinzen's "Do Nothing" which approximates it and which has become a staple of my own practice. It is not a beginners' practice -- preliminaries are indeed necessary.

I am very grateful to be in conversation with you all, and that's all I have time for right now.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 12:49 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 12:40 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
And what is the crux of his 'view' in some simple sentences, because if it takes reading pages to express a view, that just seems complicated and not very pragmatic. Can you sum it up for me?


Philosophers, scientists, mystics, and just about everyone studying or working with "consciousness" in our Western tradition (which includes Buddhism, due to its Indo-European roots) has inadvertently reduced consciousness to experience, and missed the most relevant part, the human specificity. Stated simply, consciousness is experience present to itself. It takes some unpacking to grok this, but once grasped, the "aha! factor" is huge and any competent meditator should be able to verify this empirically in short order. Dewart explains the evolutionary origins of "absent-mindedness," a kind of blind spot passed on culturally, which predisposes us to content over insight, to being dazzled by the object of experience and failing to notice the act of experience. Once you know what to look for the maddening circularity of much philosophy and self-defeating, power-driven, even violent behaviour endemic in our culture all conform to an understandable pattern. Dewart names the "semantic complex", an interlocking set of ideas that meaning inheres in objects (and words), that there is a transcendent ultimate reality, that fate directs our future, that power prevails, which keeps absent-mindedness institutionalized: that many of our cultural institutions are devoted to "solving the problem of existence" is small consolation, and sadly ironic when the origin of the problem in those very self-perpetuating institutions (mainly religions) becomes clear. Though this complex has weakened its grip on us in recent historical times, no viable alternative has yet appeared because of ethnocentrism and our ongoing absent-mindedness. The people of no other culture on the planet except those either based on or informed by Indo-European and Sumerian culture speak and think the way we do. Calling a spade a spade, Dewart calls our way of thinking and the way of speaking which causes it not only "defective", but also a danger to the human species. Dewart's theory is based on taking very, very seriously the idea of emergent causality, and scrupulously avoiding the reductionistic and deterministic reasoning characteristic of absent-mindedness and the semantic complex. His analysis is staggeringly bold and iconoclastic, and could be compared to moving from a Newtonian (often, indeed, Aristotelian) grade of understanding of the human mind to a relativistic "contemporary physics" grade. Just as understanding modern science takes a bit of math, following Dewart may take a bit of philosophy. He writes at what may for some be an intimidatingly high level, but develops his ideas with painstaking rigour. The applications for anyone interested in accelerating progress in the reduction of suffering either through "post-traditional" pragmatic dharma or alternative (e.g., Actual Freedom) approaches are legion.

Helpful? I am not going to keep trying indefinitely; only until human suffering is eliminated or at least vastly attenuated. emoticon
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 5:32 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 5:28 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
 Tarver :

Philosophers, scientists, mystics, and just about everyone studying or working with "consciousness" in our Western tradition (which includes Buddhism, due to its Indo-European roots) has inadvertently reduced consciousness to experience, and missed the most relevant part, the human specificity. Stated simply, consciousness is experience present to itself.


What is the difference bewteen 'conciousness reduced to experience' versus consciousness is experience present to itself? Is the bolded statement the problem according to Dewart or the solution?

It takes some unpacking to grok this, but once grasped, the "aha! factor" is huge and any competent meditator should be able to verify this empirically in short order.

Verify what? It is unclear what the difference is or what is supposed to be unpacked. Can you repeat it in one sentence for me? I am simple like so.

Dewart explains the evolutionary origins of "absent-mindedness," a kind of blind spot passed on culturally, which predisposes us to content over insight, to being dazzled by the object of experience and failing to notice the act of experience.


These days I would say "being dazzled by an 'object' of our own mind's creation. Noticing the 'act' of experience without it 'being an 'object' to dazzle, is what I've been talking about recently concerning 'objectification' and 'fabrication' of 'parts' of the whole field of experience. Is this close to what Dewart is saying?

Once you know what to look for the maddening circularity of much philosophy and self-defeating, power-driven, even violent behaviour endemic in our culture all conform to an understandable pattern. Dewart names the "semantic complex", an interlocking set of ideas that meaning inheres in objects (and words), that there is a transcendent ultimate reality, that fate directs our future, that power prevails, which keeps absent-mindedness institutionalized:


Is this where you got hung up on terms like 'primordial awareness', 'pure presence', pure conscious experiecne? Because they somehow convey some 'transcendent ultimate reality'?

that many of our cultural institutions are devoted to "solving the problem of existence" is small consolation, and sadly ironic when the origin of the problem in those very self-perpetuating institutions (mainly religions) becomes clear. Though this complex has weakened its grip on us in recent historical times, no viable alternative has yet appeared because of ethnocentrism and our ongoing absent-mindedness.


The experience of the absence of all mental stress for me is the complete absence of any 'objectification' (which i think results in the whole subjective reactions that are unsatisfactory in my experience). This complete absence of 'objectification and thus absence of fabricated 'objects' and 'subject' (tangibly felt and experienced) I believe has many names attached to it like 'pure presence'. Are you saying the way we term experiences such as what I refer to as the complete absence of all mental stress the problem according to Dewart?

The people of no other culture on the planet except those either based on or informed by Indo-European and Sumerian culture speak and think the way we do. Calling a spade a spade, Dewart calls our way of thinking and the way of speaking which causes it not only "defective", but also a danger to the human species. Dewart's theory is based on taking very, very seriously the idea of emergent causality, and scrupulously avoiding the reductionistic and deterministic reasoning characteristic of absent-mindedness and the semantic complex. His analysis is staggeringly bold and iconoclastic, and could be compared to moving from a Newtonian (often, indeed, Aristotelian) grade of understanding of the human mind to a relativistic "contemporary physics" grade. Just as understanding modern science takes a bit of math, following Dewart may take a bit of philosophy. He writes at what may for some be an intimidatingly high level, but develops his ideas with painstaking rigour. The applications for anyone interested in accelerating progress in the reduction of suffering either through "post-traditional" pragmatic dharma or alternative (e.g., Actual Freedom) approaches are legion.


How would you set it up in a simple pragmatic way. Lets take the PCE for example, those moments where the mind is fully aware of sense contact without 'objectification' going on. How would you talk about it a la Dewart so as to convey that this can be an alternative to mental stress? How would it accelerate the progress of realizing such an absence of all mental stress?

I am far from an academic, thus i may have misunderstood much of what you just wrote. Forgive any lack of understandings on my part. But you might need to say this stuff again in layman's terms. Make it 'pragmatic'.Cos to accelerate the path for the masses, you may have to tone it down and make it as simple as.

Sincerely,

Nick
thumbnail
katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 7:08 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 7:06 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Tarver (and welcome, Sweet E, your kind post I saw in another thread),

Stated simply, consciousness is experience present to itself.

What is your experience of this "consciousness" itself?

Meaning, would you please provide your directly experienced description of this consciousness about which you've written, including any ingredients, regular concomitants and/or finding of elemental irreducibility?

Thanks and bye for now
thumbnail
katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 11:35 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 11:35 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
And/or,

Are you taking a position?

only until human suffering is eliminated or at least vastly attenuated


And, in/if taking up Dewart's concepts in a salvational position, is there some job security for the position-bearer?

If so, why was the HR talk so compelling to you?
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 11:59 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 11:59 AM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Everything hangs on the difference between reducing consciousness to mere experience versus understanding -- and hopefully if you want to use this in practice directly experiencing -- consciousness as self-present experience.

To get to this, Dewart starts with distinguishing conscious from non-conscious experience. For example if you are intently enough focusing on your hands you aren't especially present to your feet, and vice versa. We are selective about where we place our attention, and never aware of everything our nerves are hooked up to. We are always "subliminally" experiencing all of our bodies (and other senses); this is Goenka 101. Consciousness is not synonymous with experience. We are only present to, aware of, or in Dewart's specific use of the term, conscious of, objects in those cases when we are simultaneously present to (a) the object of experience, and (b) the act of experiencing said object. It is the coincidence of these two phenomena that create the subjective experience of "being aware" of something. Note that neither component is itself necessarily a conscious experience unless one were to do something unusual like make the process of consciousness the object of scrutiny, which Dewart calls "reflexion" adopting the variant spelling to underline that this is unusual (unless you are a meditator, for example).

This explanation is so simple, the difference in what it takes for us to wake up to the richness of the consciously experienced world which we inhabit is so small and almost trivial, the relevant adaptation so itsy-bitsy and yet having such huge consequences, that Dewart is able to account for both the vast continuity between us and other animals, and also how this adaptation emerged through the process of evolution to account for the uniquely human mode of life that we lead.

There is nothing in consciousness that makes it necessarily self-evident what is going on for us to be aware of ourselves and our world, as we are. Humanity somehow made it for a long time without knowing that, for example, the blood circulates through our arteries and veins. But in the reflexive case of awareness of awareness, understanding of understanding, etc., there are a few additional complications that have made it hard for us to catch on to what is happening. Specifically, we have developed a culturally-perpetuated proclivity to "absent-mindedly" not just fail to notice, but actually to actively discount the significance of the presence of the act of experience as a working component of the process that gives rise to the human mode of life.

Let me try to work though the specific questions you asked:

Consciousness consists of experience "done" in a special way (self-presently and "assertively") that seems to require a human brain plus a certain kind of training that happens spontaneously to almost (but tragically not all) children during the process of their learning to speak. But just like we functioned organically for eons without knowing that our blood circulates, this process transpires without anyone catching on to the mechanism until very recently. Our failure to understand this, however, is compounded by a kind of glitch or defect built-in or almost literally congenitally transmitted from one generation to the next in those cultures of Indo-European and Sumerian origin (and which appears to be contagious, now affecting most of the world).

So the thing that I think might be simple to verify, might prove tricky because we are weirdly inclined against it. That thing is this: when you experience consciously (everyday, normal, pedestrian look-at-an-apple consciousness), you have two experiences simultaneously, or rather, the one conscious experience has two aspects that are both present. One is presence to the object, and the other is presence to the act of experiencing said object.

In our tradition, because of absent-mindedness, this has been clouded, obfuscated, debated, misunderstood, denounced as "duality", and treated in every way except to be noticed in a matter-of-fact way. As it turns out, the vast majority of other cultures on earth don't seem to have our problem and seem to take this as such a matter of fact and obviously self-evident thing, that they aren't even inclined to philosophize or make a big deal out of it, until Westerners show up and teach them that there is some "mystery" here that needs solving.

Ok, I am reading very carefully what you have written about "objectification", and I think I may see a point of connection.... "Objects of the mind's creation" and "complete absence of objectification" sounds like you may be describing a way of understanding your (conscious) experience as NOT making a mental copy of the object of experience in your mind, but rather being present to the object in a direct and non-reduplicative way. Is this correct? Given your extremely high level of skill and experience, it seems overwhelmingly probable that you know this territory backwards and forwards, and yet there might still be a figure-and-ground-reversal way of seeing and speaking about the whole thing that could yet be surprising -- and I hope helpful -- to you.

I have been reading the AFT website, and comparing notes on what I have been reading and experiencing and descriptions of PCE. I am seeing some congruence as far as the possibility that PCE is actually a normal and functional way of experiencing the world, but not all new and unprecedented -- rather, it may be closer to what every other culture on the planet took for granted until coming into contact with the West.

Another idea that occurred to me last night is that there may be a way here of synthesizing the jhana/AF points of view in you-are-both-right kind of way, as follows: if normal conscious experience consists of being present simultaneously to the object and the act, the rupa jhanas may be a way of inclining to the object at the expense of the act, and the arupa jhanas may be the (more difficult) reverse, inclining to the act at the expense of the object, whereas "PCE mode" (if I am calling it the right thing) would be an integrative type of experience that obviously would feel rich and wonderful, but would make it hard to get back to jhana. This makes totally perfect sense to me -- and wow, wouldn't it be cool if jhanas could be explained this simply.

I don't know if I have answered your points sufficiently directly, but that's all the time I have right now, as Sweet-E and the magic dog are waiting and I gotta run... emoticon
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 3:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 1:36 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
But what's new?

Rupa jhanas, 'presence to object', absorption in object (notice the propositions 'to' and 'in')
Arupa jhanas, 'presence to presence', absorption in subject (again notice the propositions)
PCE, presence, non duality (notice the lack of propositions)

 Tarver :
Please be warned, however: paradigm shift ahead!

Again, of what you have written, what's paradigm shifting?

 Tarver :
Everything hangs on the difference between reducing consciousness to mere experience versus understanding -- and hopefully if you want to use this in practice directly experiencing -- consciousness as self-present experience.

Apperception (see my reply re: apperception, 3rd post from the top)? From that post:

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Apperception is the perception of perception (...) informing one that one is indeed conscious.

In other words:

Tarver :
(...) consciousness as self-present experience


 Tarver :
In our tradition, because of absent-mindedness, this has been clouded, obfuscated, debated, misunderstood, denounced as "duality", and treated in every way except to be noticed in a matter-of-fact way. As it turns out, the vast majority of other cultures on earth don't seem to have our problem and seem to take this as such a matter of fact and obviously self-evident thing, that they aren't even inclined to philosophize or make a big deal out of it, until Westerners show up and teach them that there is some "mystery" here that needs solving.

Please say more about this!

EDIT: What is "our tradition", what are examples of what you talk about in the second quoted sentence ("As it turns out...")? What is a westerner? What are examples of westerners showing up and teaching "them" that there is some mystery here that needs solving? Who are "they"? And what is the mystery? I'm not asking for specific answers to these questions, but pointing out that the quoted paragraph is very vague and ambiguous to me.

Edited.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 3:38 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 3:38 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
EDIT: What is "our tradition"

In this case I mean, over the broad sweep of history over the last several thousand years, the cultures based on those founded and affected by the peoples whose languages are originally Indo-European and Sumerian, which Dewart calls "ontic".

Dewart addresses "perception of perception" in detail on pp. 45-52 of E&C. I don't know about delta waves.

What's a paradigm shift is that speech is prior to consciousness.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 4:58 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/3/12 4:08 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Tarver,

I'm going to comment on what you say. Tell me if it is way off in your opinion.

 Tarver :
Everything hangs on the difference between reducing consciousness to mere experience versus understanding -- and hopefully if you want to use this in practice directly experiencing -- consciousness as self-present experience.

To get to this, Dewart starts with distinguishing conscious from non-conscious experience. For example if you are intently enough focusing on your hands you aren't especially present to your feet, and vice versa. We are selective about where we place our attention, and never aware of everything our nerves are hooked up to. We are always "subliminally" experiencing all of our bodies (and other senses); this is Goenka 101.


Recognition of all of this without any segregating or ignoring of all sense contact, without making one 'aspect' of the field of experiecne into an 'object' is what I would call , or what has been called, 'apperception' round here.

A mind that segregates (sections out and conceives of 'objects' that co-arises with a lunging consciousness shaping around the now fabricated 'object' thus 'ignoring other simultaneous sense contact in the process) is a mind that does not become aware of 'apperception' as i see it.

Consciousness is not synonymous with experience. We are only present to, aware of, or in Dewart's specific use of the term, conscious of, objects in those cases when we are simultaneously present to (a) the object of experience, and (b) the act of experiencing said object. It is the coincidence of these two phenomena that create the subjective experience of "being aware" of something.


Without an 'object' there is no subjective feeling that co-arises with it. There is simply the pure sensory contact (without being made into an 'object', from all sides, 360 degrees, simultaneously.)

Note that neither component is itself necessarily a conscious experience unless one were to do something unusual like make the process of consciousness the object of scrutiny, which Dewart calls "reflexion" adopting the variant spelling to underline that this is unusual (unless you are a meditator, for example).


Some aspect of the field of experience can still be looked at in detail even when all the rest of sense contact is simultaneously still unsegregated from the field of experience in my own experience. Periphery/centre for all sense contact.

this explanation is so simple, the difference in what it takes for us to wake up to the richness of the consciously experienced world which we inhabit is so small and almost trivial, the relevant adaptation so itsy-bitsy and yet having such huge consequences, that Dewart is able to account for both the vast continuity between us and other animals, and also how this adaptation emerged through the process of evolution to account for the uniquely human mode of life that we lead.

There is nothing in consciousness that makes it necessarily self-evident what is going on for us to be aware of ourselves and our world, as we are. Humanity somehow made it for a long time without knowing that, for example, the blood circulates through our arteries and veins. But in the reflexive case of awareness of awareness, understanding of understanding, etc., there are a few additional complications that have made it hard for us to catch on to what is happening. Specifically, we have developed a culturally-perpetuated proclivity to "absent-mindedly" not just fail to notice, but actually to actively discount the significance of the presence of the act of experience as a working component of the process that gives rise to the human mode of life.


That 'absent mindnedness' occurs for a mind that has the strong tendency to fabricate 'objects' for a sticky consciousness to co-arise with, and react towards. Spacing out, fantasies, ideas, thoughts, sensations, memories, all becoming fabricated 'objects' for the mind to cling to at the expense of the 'whole' field of experience, thus the 'absent mind' concept. Without 'object' for the mind to continuously fall on, there is just the whole field of experience, what the eyes see, ears hear, taste on tongue, smells to nose, touch within and surface of body, and thought to mind. All experienced as a mass of sense contact, without any of it being sectioned out at the expense of some other aspect of experience. And without 'object' there is no subjective like experience of 'me-ness' at all. 'Me-ness' feels subjective and arises to establish a relationship with whatever conceived 'object' has arisen, but it too is also simply another fabricated 'object' amongst more fabricated 'objects. Attention then bounces about, from one conceived 'object' to another and much goes on ignored. Yet, the brain is cognising it all, as you say subliminally. It doesn't have to be subliminal though in my experience.

Let me try to work though the specific questions you asked:

Consciousness consists of experience "done" in a special way (self-presently and "assertively") that seems to require a human brain plus a certain kind of training that happens spontaneously to almost (but tragically not all) children during the process of their learning to speak. But just like we functioned organically for eons without knowing that our blood circulates, this process transpires without anyone catching on to the mechanism until very recently. Our failure to understand this, however, is compounded by a kind of glitch or defect built-in or almost literally congenitally transmitted from one generation to the next in those cultures of Indo-European and Sumerian origin (and which appears to be contagious, now affecting most of the world).

So the thing that I think might be simple to verify, might prove tricky because we are weirdly inclined against it. That thing is this: when you experience consciously (everyday, normal, pedestrian look-at-an-apple consciousness), you have two experiences simultaneously, or rather, the one conscious experience has two aspects that are both present. One is presence to the object, and the other is presence to the act of experiencing said object.


The flow of fabricating 'objects' and subjective reactions is very strong. Seeing it in action and developing dispassion for it, and moving the mind from such a deeply engrained tendency to simply recognizing the whole field of experiecne without that 'objectification' is a hard thing to do, for any human being, until done a number of times until one learns to let go of 'objectification'. There are many ways to do that. See 3 C's in the 'objects', even 'equanimity' as 'object avoiding the 'insight meditator ' trap (an eternally 'equanimous' subjective reaction towards 'objects' of consciousness as opposed to non-fashioning, unfabricated awareness) and let them go, jhanas, see the ever more sublte 'objects (space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, neither perception nor non-perception) and let even such sublty go as 'object', attentiveness and sensuousness to recognise apperception without the 'subject'/object overlay and trigger prolonged periods of its absence.

If I understand it, experiencing the presence to the 'object' is the conceiving of it and the consciousness forming around it at the expense of all other unobjectified sense contact. And the presence to the act of experiencing said object is simply allowing it to be experienced at the same time as all other sense contact sans the objectification of it.

In our tradition, because of absent-mindedness, this has been clouded, obfuscated, debated, misunderstood, denounced as "duality", and treated in every way except to be noticed in a matter-of-fact way. As it turns out, the vast majority of other cultures on earth don't seem to have our problem and seem to take this as such a matter of fact and obviously self-evident thing, that they aren't even inclined to philosophize or make a big deal out of it, until Westerners show up and teach them that there is some "mystery" here that needs solving.


Fabrications of 'objects' are still stressful in my book as they will always have some 'tension' arise around them as the subjective experience.

Ok, I am reading very carefully what you have written about "objectification", and I think I may see a point of connection.... "Objects of the mind's creation" and "complete absence of objectification" sounds like you may be describing a way of understanding your (conscious) experience as NOT making a mental copy of the object of experience in your mind, but rather being present to the object in a direct and non-reduplicative way. Is this correct?


Yes it is. This is called 'apperception' around here and elsewhere if i understand you correctly.

Given your extremely high level of skill and experience, it seems overwhelmingly probable that you know this territory backwards and forwards, and yet there might still be a figure-and-ground-reversal way of seeing and speaking about the whole thing that could yet be surprising -- and I hope helpful -- to you.


I'm interested in this other way.

I have been reading the AFT website, and comparing notes on what I have been reading and experiencing and descriptions of PCE. I am seeing some congruence as far as the possibility that PCE is actually a normal and functional way of experiencing the world, but not all new and unprecedented -- rather, it may be closer to what every other culture on the planet took for granted until coming into contact with the West.


It has been said that most people have experienced it at some point in their lives. i did as a kid. It was just experienced without being conditioned to understand what drops away and what is recognized. Thus no impetus to take it further was triggered. It was just a weird expericne in hindsight for me as a kid.

Another idea that occurred to me last night is that there may be a way here of synthesizing the jhana/AF points of view in you-are-both-right kind of way, as follows: if normal conscious experience consists of being present simultaneously to the object and the act, the rupa jhanas may be a way of inclining to the object at the expense of the act, and the arupa jhanas may be the (more difficult) reverse, inclining to the act at the expense of the object, whereas "PCE mode" (if I am calling it the right thing) would be an integrative type of experience that obviously would feel rich and wonderful, but would make it hard to get back to jhana. This makes totally perfect sense to me -- and wow, wouldn't it be cool if jhanas could be explained this simply.


In the suttas the jhanas (all of them) are talked of as fabrications of mind. "Objects' that co-arise with consciousness. The jhana factors are the 'objects' of consciousness. And if one is so inclined to 'unpack' them, and drop the 'objectification' of them, then what occurs is consciousness without 'object'. This has been talked about as far as I understand in the suttas as nibbana. Maybe a pali enthusiast can correct me.

I don't know if I have answered your points sufficiently directly, but that's all the time I have right now, as Sweet-E and the magic dog are waiting and I gotta run... emoticon


It is clearer now what you are talking about. If it is indeed what you are talking about, then it is the way the mind 'segregates' parts from the whole field of experience to establish subjective relationships with such conceived parts or 'objects', at the expense of all the rest of what the brain is cognising simultaneously. Right there is where all the unsatisfactoriness arises and why there are so many seekers of its cessation in my opinion.

Thanks for the clarifications.

Nick
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 6/7/12 8:18 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/7/12 8:18 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
 Tarver :

What's a paradigm shift is that speech is prior to consciousness.


I first encountered this idea as a teenager - maybe 15 years ago - in a book by Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, published in 1975. He described so succinctly and clearly that the self was a concoction of language that it terrified me. I put the book away and didn't dare read it for another year. In fact, I guess my long, dark night began about that time. So, it was a paradigm shift for me.

Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world. Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and decision.


Consider the metaphor that the snow blankets the ground. The metaphrand is something about the completeness and even thickness with which the ground is covered by snow. The metaphier is a blanket on a bed. But the pleasing nuances of this metaphor are in the paraphiers of the metaphier, blanket. These are something about warmth, protection, and slumber until some period of awakening. These associations of blanket then automatically become the associations or paraphrands of the original metaphrand, the way the snow covers the ground. And we thus have created by this metaphor the idea of the earth sleeping and protected by the snow cover until its awakening in spring. All this is packed into the simple use of the word ‘blanket’ to pertain to the way snow covers the ground... Consciousness is the metaphrand when it is being generated by the paraphrands of our verbal expressions. But the functioning of consciousness is, as it were, the return journey. Consciousness becomes the metaphier full of our past experience, constantly and selectively operating on such unknowns as future actions, decisions, and partly remembered pasts, on what we are and yet may be. And it is by the generated structure of consciousness that we then understand the world.


You may find some significant variation from Dewart's position. But the gist is the same, no?

Anyway, it was a paradigm shift to me then because I had not experienced the knowledge of the Arising and Passing of Phenomena. I think the connection between language, thought and ego-consciousness is especially clear in the 11th nana. Now, that paradigm is already history.

I don't doubt that Dewart's work may be life-changing for people steeped in western philosophy, who trust that mode of inquiry. I wonder what sort of awakening Dewart achieved? Or was he a dark night philosopher?
thumbnail
Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 6/7/12 11:45 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/7/12 11:37 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
it does make sense that language would arise in a non-conscious way (the animal hearing it's own mind as other- like my rabbit who is convinced another rabbit is in the mirror), be itself experienced as other within itself, then mimic this other in the mind as a personal self giving rise to the modern 'i own my body' feeling. there being then 2 selves (Systems 1 and 2 from Felipe's thread), both of the selves being projections of the animal mind and causing the resultant 'cognitive dissonance' famous in modern psychology, or plain old suffering in everyone elses language...

they are not incompatible from reading the summaries at least...
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/11/12 4:58 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/11/12 4:58 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
J B:
I first encountered this idea as a teenager - maybe 15 years ago - in a book by Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

That's really cool. Meeting and reading Julian Jaynes was huge for me too, and set me up to appreciate Dewart.

I met Jaynes in the spring of 1989 when he came as the invited annual guest lecturer to the Liberal Studies (Great Books) Program at Brock University, where I was in my Senior year. He made a huge impression on me, and as it was a small program I had time to really meet him and dine with him, etc. That man had some real charisma and a lot of flair. I dropped what I had been working on for my senior essay, and knocked out an extended reflection on the role of metaphor in the development of human consciousness and what makes a Great Book based on some of Jaynes's ideas. The key piece that I twigged to, besides obviously the role of language, was that consciousness itself evolves. Even I could see then that much of what Jaynes was saying didn't hang together, but there was something in there, something important, something big.

Later that same year, now in grad school, I chanced upon Dewart's book and almost had a heart attack when I realized that I was holding in my hands just shy of 400 pages of the most unbelievably meticulous exposition of an idea that I had just barely glimpsed thought the trees, as it were, on the far side of Jaynes's thesis -- but I had seen it, so when I first picked up E&C I recognized immediately why it was so important. I wrote to Dewart, and he wrote back:
Leslie Dewart:
For me, too, Jaynes acted as a catalyst in several important respects, though in my opinion his explanation of the origin of consciousness was not at all satisfactory. But as you surely know, whereas many truths are trivial, some mistakes can be inspiring.

In E&C Dewart responds in detail to Jaynes over several lengthy footnotes. Come to think of it, Jaynes might get more and longer notes than any other single reference in E&C.

In addition to being a scholar, Jaynes was a playwright and an actor. His presentation was entertaining, captivating even. Dewart, on the other hand, who initially trained as a lawyer, had an entirely different style: he just masterfully and systematically works his argument until a watertight case has been made.

I would not think of Dewart as any "dark night philosopher". I am only speculating here but given that he was a professor of Religious Studies, and started out as a rather serious Catholic, I am sure he had his share of spiritual experiences -- the difference is of course the use he made of his life experience. He was a deeply compassionate man in my recollection, but more of a Socratic gadfly than a mystic himself. He had very little patience for spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but tremendous empathy for people's attempts to make sense of the world. His understanding of consciousness was profound -- the whole point of his book is that one must take one's own experience into account if one is to discuss the mind intelligently, and not pretend that I can grok consciousness by observing you. I can't prove it one way or the other, but having worked through all traces of absent-mindedness within himself, and having reflected as deeply as he did upon his own experience, Dewart might well have been de facto enlightened, even in the absence of participating in any "certifying" mystical tradition. In my observation, it was the stupidity of others that pained Leslie Dewart, not his own ignorance -- and out of great compassion he went out of his way to help the best way he knew how, by exposing the root of the problem. Like Socrates, he was not always popular.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/14/12 11:27 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/14/12 11:27 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
I'm going to comment on what you say. Tell me if it is way off in your opinion. ... Thanks for the clarifications.

I keep thinking we are speaking past each other somewhere here, Nick, but I can't put my finger on where in this case. No matter; I am going to keep drilling into this and looking for specific practice modifications or tweaks that can illustrate or leverage this perspective and hopefully deliver solid results more quickly and reliably than current best practices. Right now I am reviewing Shinzen's 5 Ways for coverage of Relativity and Purpose (analogues of No-self and Suffering respectively) as well as meeting a couple of Dewart's other former students online and looking at some of the earlier writings -- I renewed my U of T Alumni library card today. If it is a mirage, then I will disappear into the desert and never return with water. If there is something to it, I will be back soon and you will be among the first to know.
emoticon
thumbnail
Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 6/18/12 3:00 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/17/12 8:44 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
edit: deleted. unasked for / misguided advice.

rock on bro.
thumbnail
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 6/18/12 4:04 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/18/12 4:04 PM

RE: "conspectus" questions for Tarver

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Andrew Jones:
rock on bro.

Thanks for your ongoing encouragement. You raised two points in your original post, however, to which I would like to respond -- as they really hit the mark and resonate strongly with a few things I have been turning up lately.

First of all, you mentioned statistics. Well, it turns out that Leslie Dewart's 1954 doctoral dissertation was about the philosophy of Karl Pearson, the founder of modern statistics. Let's just say that Dewart is no apologist for the triumphant success of science, or religion, or philosophy: on the contrary, he was documenting another man's attempts to make sense of an enormous impasse -- the word "Failure" occurs in quite a few of the chapter titles of the dissertation. He makes the point that the development of statistics wasn't (from it's founder's point of view) a turning of the back on the fundamental problems of man's relation to God, the need for religion, etc.; it was meant to be an implementation of the foregoing utterly Christian concerns! The more I plumb Dewart's thought, the more I realize how much religion, philosophy, science, and mathematics all have in common; and how, so long as we as a culture remain absent-minded, every "innovation" is just another round that returns to something very similar to the point of departure.

For example, it seemed to me some time ago that Buddhism couldn't possibly be any more different than, say, Catholicism; that was what attracted me, actually. Now that I have reviewed the idea of "institutions of self-definition", I can see that they share a lot more in common than I suspected: Catholicism, which claims by its very name to be the "Universal" religion, and Buddhism which claims not to be a religion at all. Has anyone counted how many times Goenka uses the word "objective" or "objectively" in a 10-day course? It must be dozens. Let me connect the dots: The continuity between the "old philosophy" (Christianity) and the "new philosophy" (science) is vast. The apparent lack of contradiction with which Goenka introduces a "scientific" spin on Theravada Buddhism is telling, is it not?

The second point is my use of what might come across as rarefied, intellectual, abstruse exposition. (Yep, there I go again!) Well, this is something that lept out at me, and I just posted it to my Facebook the other day:

Leslie Dewart, _Religion Language and Truth_ (1970), p. 9:
It is much more difficult to write for the 'general public' than for the specialist, concisely than at length, in outline than in detail. To do the latter requires no more than some knowledge of one's subject; to do the former one must have mastery of it.

In case it wasn't clear, let me admit this explicitly: I don't have mastery of this material. I am just figuring it out. If I write at length or reach for words that don't come up everyday it's just because I haven't found a way to organize my experience any more succinctly yet. I'm working towards that. It may take a long time to emerge. This is the best I can do. Thanks for your patience. I am responding to this point because I am sensitive to it, and admitting my vulnerability. Your perception is accurate.

Breadcrumb