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Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity


I have recently seen this video( and I have a question for Mr. Daniel  Ingram        

What do you mean by “where the brain is we're not exactly sure”(56:15)?.  Are you  just addressing The solipsism problem,  because Otherwise, it doesn't make sense.  From the moment you're talking about brains, you are already  taking for granted the position That there is an external reality  and we have a  model of it part of which is our  conception of brain and its location.  You cannot talk about brains and at same time  wondering about  the place they are because  these things are at the same level of analysis and derive from the same axioms  about  objective reality. The content of our consciousness arises to a greater or lesser degree predictably in accordance to our conception of the  physical world and the Arising of  seeing a lion  for example is causally followed  by the arising of painful  bodily Sensations, so  we have in some degree  knowledge of how the physical world works.
“Well, this isn't the brain, this is the construct”(57:57).... Why do you differentiate them? The physical brain is where the
construct is pointing.If I remove a  part of the “ supposedly being there brain”  of someone, the  content of her  consciousness  will alter or even gone.

thank you

Edit: Hallo  everyone :-)

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/24/17 3:32 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
"Brain" can mean anything that is generating the subjective representation. I call it representation, but it can be a creation, since we don't know if our subjective experience actually re-presents something objective or if it's just a mental show devoid of relation with anything else (like a dream).

Back to the "brain": whatever is generating the subjective experience is necessarily outside of said subjective experience. So we know that whatever is generating our subjective experience canNOT be the brain we see, feel or touch - because what we see, feel or touch is necessarily a representation, including the subjective brain we know. The mind that dreams a dream is necessarily outside of the dream.

We don't even know if the brain we see is a representation of the objective source of the subjective experience. We mess with it and experience seems to change, but we too can mess with other parts of the body and subjective experience equally changes. My subjective experience can, in fact, be produced in laboratory, by some alien machinery or by some 2D surface at the edge of the universe, like in the Informational Model of the universe.

You may program a computer game character's subjective experience in such a way that when he messes up with is "screen brain" is experience will drastically change. That doesn't mean that it is his "screen brain" that is producing his subjective experience - the computer is.

Hope this makes any sense. Questions dealing with the objective side of reality are always perplexing. I suggest reading Goran Backlund's "Refuting the External World", where he seems to completly refute the possibility of an external reality.

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 2:19 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Andre has the essence of my arguments down.



RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 11:44 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
This is just another form of solopsism.

What one can be aware of is only a very, very, small portion of all the processes of the brain and that of consciousness. Many processes operate outside of those involved in awareness.

Interstingly, the brain has no sensory nerves within it, this means no awareness of the processes operating outside of awareness can be directly available for insight through firsthand experience, a key tool in Buddhism. This lack of sensory nerves makes practical sense. If there were sensory nerves within the brain they would be constantly feeding back upon their own signals and create too much feedback distortion, much like a speaker feeding back into a microphone feeds back as a harsh loud squeal. It wouldn't work at all.

What Buddhism works with are experiential feedback loops between sense data and the arising conscious awareness. It also seems to work with quieting processes so that they go into abeyance while others ignite anew.

The sense many people have of no origin, as well as, the expansiveness of consciousness, both at the heart of the Buddhist experience is probably intricately and inherently due to the lack of sensory nerves within the brain. This creates a sense of no edges to one's consciousness. And, it seems obvious that no firsthand experience of consciousness would ever reveal its non-existence. How could it? This is why Buddhist solopsism is fully capable of promoting notions of consciousness as a central feature in the world, and leads many to presume that this equates it with being perenial, one and the same as the fabric of the cosmos.

But within Buddhism the central feature of insight is how all experience is conditional, and therefore experience does not exist without conditions. What is included in this is that even consciousness is such a construction and will end. The use of awareness as the tool for investigation is inherently limited by its own processes. No sitting living Budha ever experience death. Period. It was a great imponderable that Gotama avoided answering directly in many suttas. Yet I can easily understand why people continue to desire for consciousness to be the all (we humans have our egoic self-interest of survival) and how people come to such beliefs as consciousness is everything. It all is due to the inherent disembodied experience of consciousness. Just cause it feels that way, or one can have all sorts of altered states with ideas of this nature doesn't make it eternal nor central. 

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 2:46 PM as a reply to jonjohn.

I read this 4part article 
Andre of Goran Backlund you suggested me  but didnt find much value in it

The thing in itself is a very problematic point of view. What does this mean?  It asks us to perceive something without perception,  to refer to something without point of reference. This is absurd... but the main point is that The problem of solipsism is more or less irrelevant considering that even if it is a Matrix, there are  still laws that govern the arising of phenomena  and it doesn't matter if you call it natural  laws or laws of Subjectivity. How much are you willing to pay for  “certainty” and “pure actuality”? Will you give up the existence of subconsciousness? Time’s? death’s?  
Will you  give up all the mental abilities to try to stay  with a minimal of  an Impaired  chaotic Incomprehensible perception,  without understanding, without... nothing?

In what terms and level of analysis will we agree to communicate? “We mess with it and experience seems to change, but we too can mess with other parts of the body and subjective experience equally changes”

So you think that  we don't have reasons to distinguish between the effect of cutting a hand   and  cutting a part of the brain? 
That  we don't  have  reasons to inject Particular substances  in particular ways  to cause unconsciousness   because more or less sensations are Sensations and change the same way? You think the total  paralytic ignorance of extreme skepticism  is the way to go?

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 3:36 PM as a reply to David S.
Solopsism (need to examine this term fully) is our actual experience, we appear to be apart and always locked into subjectivity. That's the reality of the human born condition. The reality of our born condition is we try to communicate with 'out there' from 'in here'. Someone from out there, says. 'Hate to tell you this old mate, but you are a fiction accidently caused by objective effects'. 

With your arguement you are trying to stand outside of your actual experience (solopsism) and presuming a big solid world 'out there' with brains and nerves doing this and that to distort your reality, which is of course complete 'bollocks' from the truth of your actual experience. A bit like being in a dream and believing the logic of the dream. It's not sane or true to your primary experience. 

This is a much more 'realistic' assessment of the human position in relation to arising events. As Descartes pointed out ( and many others) your 'own existence' is your primary knowledge. 'I Am' is absolute default.  Once you loose 'this position' and then you loose your inherent humor and trouble begins. 

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 6:16 PM as a reply to Marty G.
But i don't need to refer to an external world. The solidity of the world  is not found in the supposed “external”,  but in the laws. Physical laws Continue to apply without the “external”,  by being reduced  to  concepts and perceptions and conecting Mental faculties like analyzing, associating, cognizing, remembering etc. 
Returning to the beginning point,  the location of the brain is where mr. Ingram points e
xactly because the model we have about it (the brain) is in so strong agreement with our datas and makes so strong predictions. Of course a model can be falsified  by a better  one but  this doesn't nullify the relative weight  differences among the models, and  the brain's location model is a  heavy heavy one. 
(To say that awarness is non-dual  and arises with the object  is a different matter and it's something that I agree)
Of course for  all of these you want time, and remembering, and thinking... and withought them you have no science and you just rest in a state of total ignorance and incomprehensibility.
 Without this “unrealistic” view (science), you walk for axample towards a fire unaware that you're going to suffer a suffering Impossible to transcend.  How real  would be this?
(Nor in Buddhism  you can speak of causality without such things).  

Decartes was wrong ;-)

“Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum -- "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;" as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.”

Ambrose Bierce

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 6:56 PM as a reply to Marty G.
I'm not sure why there would be doubt that the solid world exists. That is a solipsistic view.

 (/ˈsɒlᵻpsɪzəm/; from Latin solus, meaning 'alone', and ipse, meaning 'self')[1] is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind."

I'm not standing outside of experience, but considering other types of knowledge readily available. I think consciousness is an embodied phenomena arising out of a multitude of processes. This is my view. I don't think it can be separated out from which it arises. They are inherently bound together. This is part of dependent arising isn't it? Each sensation is dependent upon the particular sense organ. Each creating their particular type of conscious experience. A sort of biological soup.

If I ingest a physical material such as LSD my consciousness experiences an altered state. This means the particular material caused the alteration. From this it is not so difficult to understand that our consciousness is arising from the material of our bodies and all its processes. Meditation works within these processes, although they can't be known through meditation. But that wasn't the goal of the Buddha anyway. His goal was the end of suffering, which can be worked on within the solely experiential.

And in Buddhism isn't the notion of "I AM" being investigated as a sort of meta-fiction from the get go? Even though experience is located within a single physical person? I do not experience your thoughts... etc. So one does have an individual experience but can losen their identification and hence the suffering that comes with that.

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 9:41 PM as a reply to David S.
I'm not arguing from Buddhist perspective, just the obvious state we are all in. If you are not sure you exist, then you are in trouble. It's basic, human awareness. Even if the 'I' sense is dissolved, there is still existence . The 'AM' part of I Am remains, otherwise extinction and unconsciousness is the goal ( and it does seem to be for some). Buddhism doesn't understand Consciousness, no consciousness, no existence (imo).

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/25/17 10:01 PM as a reply to Marty G.
Just on a side note, no one has ever directly seen an object ( substitute any sense here) this according to science. What we perceive by any sense is a reproduction. A 'hallucination' of sorts. The closer you investigate sensory input, the weirder it all gets. Liberating, or disturbing depends on how you approach it. What are you actually looking at? A bunch of  'waves'  moving through space. Sure dress it up into a logical sequence, but it looks like a big mind-machine to me. I agree for 'all practical purposes' there is a big solid universe out there, full of creatures and people and objects. 

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/26/17 2:31 AM as a reply to Marty G.
Yes, I agree, the 'am' of existence will remain in experience. No reason to doubt it.

I agree with the gist of your second post too. As far as experiencing objects, I have found while meditating on the sense object of the breath that there is a difference between the experience of the sense of touch and how my mind adds spatial qualities and imagery to the sensation. There is a lag time between the spatial-imagery and the sensation, just a bit of a lag time, but enough that it becomes apparent that the immediate, rapidly changing sensation gets out of touch of my attention for a microsecond due to my attention catching onto the forming imagery. I have to nudge my focus loose to speed up again and return to what the sensation of touch is actually up to, which has no imagery at all and is more like your description of a shifting wave.

I see this as being an example of how the 'mind bending machine' is consciousness itself. All the processes which are out of reach of awareness help form parts of aware experience. This could become a perception of these as external processes, even though they are internal. Either way, this reinforces that our average experience is a higher level representation, whether accurate or not. And it just makes sense to me that such experience comes out of body-mind processes. So I agree without complete agreement.

Did you hear about the person who was blind, but only in that portion involved in conscious awareness of sight? The person walked down a hall in which objects were placed in their path and they walked around them without even knowing they had. It's called blindsight. Some form of the person's perceptual awareness exists without their conscious awareness.

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/30/17 11:37 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
So, I have read "refuting the external world" and I both get intellectually and have perceptual experience as well of that virtual reality/simulation view of the world.

One thing I can't quite reconcile though with that pov, is something really simple.  In the extreme case, if we percieve no external "objective" reality and further, just say it doesn't exist full stop, than why act with morality.

Now of course, in my own practice, I take the 5 precepts to heart and have very strict adherence to them and have for years.  That form of training has served me very well to turbocharge my concentration and insight practces.  So that in itself is my own answer.  (ie. its fundamentally un-wise to go about thinking you are the only "real" person in the world, and everyone else around you is basically a non-player character from a video game like GTA V or World of Warcraft.

However, after reading this thread and also re-reading "refuting the external world", I'm having difficulty reconciling that simulation view of reality with sila/morality practice.

Can anyone help me here?

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
3/31/17 4:34 AM as a reply to tdiggy t diggy.
tdiggy t diggy:
One thing I can't quite reconcile though with that pov, is something really simple.  In the extreme case, if we percieve no external "objective" reality and further, just say it doesn't exist full stop, than why act with morality.
Acting with morality affects you even if there is nothing but subjective experience and nobody else. One characteristic of the mind is that the defilements are inherently "suffering" based, so if you have evil thoughts then you'll experience a type of nightmarish reality. A dream in which you act immorally and kill people is still a bad dream, even if nobody was "objectively" harmed.

You could look at two different hypothetical delusional people in a mental hospital, who don't believe others exist, but one of them is gentle and friendly (eg has morality) and one is violent and demented (no morality), its clear that one would suffer much more than the other. So its good for its own sake.

RE: Guestion on mr. Ingram's view on subjectivity
4/1/17 7:34 PM as a reply to Andrew K.
Thanks Andrew, that makes sense and is very helpful.

i was discussing this yesterday with a friend, and the best I could summarize was: "I have un-shakeable faith in my sila/morality practice (5 precepts, etc.) and any intellectual argument/situation wont' convince me out of my conviction.  

However at the same time, I could not intellectually reconcile the whole "this is just a big GTA V" point of view.  (and so lets run over all the NPCs, etc.)  But you are right, whether the characters in our universe are virtual or not, its good to be good for its own sake.

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