Generally we are people who put a bit off effort into making a proposition before inviting discussion.
I thought the question was straightforward given that people ask these questions every day.
So far, I am still trying to figure it all out and would like to see what others have to say.
It is like asking, "What does ditty wah ditty mean?"
If you don't already know . . . I can't tell you.
We are humans on earth, which is what constitutes our reality.
Good answer- would you say we have infinite awareness as humans on this earth?
Infinite=no limitation Awareness=conscious Do you believe our consciousness has the potential to be infinite?
Probably, but only in the finite realm of our reality in that which is tangible. Everything else would pure speculation.
Wouldn't be infinite awareness in a finite realm of the tangible only would it? Speculation or not. What's new in the quantum and neurological sciences that could suggest infinite awareness? Anything?
You are the sum total of all reality...including the what and where.
For without you there can be no initiative to even begin to imagine the question muchless to formulate an answer.
I am the sum total of (MY reality) not all reality. I have nothing to do with your reality until you enter mine. Until then you do not exist.
Reality is ONE not many....
It must be One otherwise it would not be...
You do interact with all even if each one (separate as an individual) is not at the front of your awareness.
When the time is right you become aware of the individual..as in right now.
This happens according to purpose.
If there is but a single reality, then it is the one which I am in and if it differs from yours, then your either your supposition is false or 1 + 1 = 1 not 2 and the rest of human kind is mistaken.
You do see but not very clearly....Let me see if I can help you.
In the equation 1+1
Is not the first 1 exactly the same as second 1
so when united they are not 2 but still 1
So indeed 1+1= 1
and that 1 is referred to 2 to show that their unity makes them greater than their individuality.
It is not that they are of a different substance.
if they were of different substance they could not unite.
In context of you and I.....
You are 1 and I am 1
In our unity are we not 1?
If we are not united then, we are of different substance
So therefore You are 1 and I am 0,
And since we are not united only 1 will remain and what then happens to the other...
it will become the reality of what it is...0 ..or what we commonly know as death.
So if indeed we are of different reality then one of us would die...
Which one is it?
If what we perceive as reality is in actuality an illusion as some religions and researchers suggest- and what we see is only the energy vibrations our optic nerves relay to the brain to be decoded- then your supposition that 1 +1 = 1 may well be correct, as in all is one or all matter is interwoven. How explain someone who has a near-death experience and 'sees' their self on the operating table, or how do we 'see' in our dreams? Arb's position would be correct too in that context, wouldn't it?
Every man is absolutely right according to his own eyes, and ultimately a man becomes whatsoever he believes. even unto his Death but preferably unto Life.
And a man cant help but magnify whatsoever he perceives as reality, thus his experiences will always align to his perceived reality. So a NDE can only be related via the perception of the one having it.
Taking note that "Death" is the operative word in the term "near death experience"
So there even though there are millions of different human experiences, as long as they are within the context of death, then death is that ultimate reality.
And with Life it is the same ...except in Life each and every experience is harmonious with each other.
Unlike death where they are contradictory.
So if one were to insist that there are more than one reality...
I would say they are absolutely right...
For there is a True reality, where all things are harmoniously intertwined so that each one adds to the other...This is Life.
And there is a false reality, where all thing are in disharmony, contradictory, with each striving to maintain their very own individual reality at the expense of another.
This is called death....
Hello Kess and excuse my prolonged absence. First I would preface my following contentions with some clarification; 1) Being right is not an illusion I suffer from. I do not hold that my opinion is either right or wrong and is always subject to change. It is simply an opinion constructed from my own reflection and gathered from my reality. 2) It is mid day here, where I am and yet, though the sun hovers above me, somewhere in the world darkness prevails. It is Friday here, but, somewhere it is Saturday. I suspect, depending upon our proximity to one or the other, present realities appear much different.
2) I believe, as many others, that there is a God responsible for creation. There are some, many others, who would believe there is no God responsible for creation. Both are rational conclusions predicated upon an individual interpretation of the prevailing evidence, which obviously, will launch debate unto eternity. The point is, dependent on which presupposition you embrace, reality will present itself in response to that presupposition and therefore, appear different to opposite individuals. If it is was your expectation that someone might define an absolute reality, then I think you will find disappointment in scientific journals and hub pages alike.
There was no need of you to justify yourself, for you can see that that response was not directed at you specifically.
Nevertheless i do hope you can see that throughout my post allowances are made for anyone who prefer the concept of multiple realities. it is just that there will be a persistent dilemma.
On the point of being right, I would think the man who is right would know it and it would not poit of suffering as an illusion...
Actually the illusion is in not knowing that you are right....
It is acceptable that a man may not know whether he is right or wrong but...
It is not good for him that the situation continues indefinitely
This is right - up to the point where it assumes a purpose - there is no purpose, no pre-destination, no goal - for the whole of reality or for any part of it.
I am the sum of my experiences and the unrealised future of what is yet to come. That is my realty and I can not be, anywhere but now.
We are humans. We are on the Earth. Reality is this right here.
Great question, Alastar.
Who are we? We are called human beings. I believe we are parts of the One, the Great Mystery, Great Spirit, God, who allowed us to come to this University called Earth to learn and grow ever more spiritual each in our own belief system.
Where are we? Well .... in what sense? Physically we are on Mother Earth. Spiritually, we, most of us, are seeking our full potential as human beings with the wisdom, compassion and creative abilities given to us at Creation. Collectively, we are civilizations and cultures that have not yet learned how to save Mother Earth and become One with Nature and All Creation.
What is Reality? Reality is within each one of us. Truths are within us and often buried under "what society expects of us". Physical life is abundant with illusions -- Reality is in the spiritual realms where all truths come from.
This is my belief system, my spirituality, and my truths. Many may disagree with me, but, none can say I am wrong for what I believe in -- for we each are on our own unique path to eventually reach purity and peace, and find our way home.
Thank you, Alastar, for asking these questions.
Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis your thoughts are mine as well and you said it so much better than I ever could hope to. If any one is in touch with who we are, where we are, and whats our reality, it's you. Very beautiful and a joy to see, Phyllis.
Well, thank you very much, Alastar. This is what I have believe most of my life and it has been good for me. I am very happy to know that you have the same beliefs.
We are here to do the best we possibly can for ourselves and others till it is time to go home. Thank you, Alastar.
Cute, but any peace and harmony comes from its creation by people, especially people like you. It is not created by some super spirit and we were not 'allowed' to come here - we are the inevitable consequence of the formation of the universe, we could even be the universe becoming aware of itself.
No god, great spirit or spaghetti monster needed.
It is true that peace and harmony comes from its creation by people and we all have that choice. We can, if we wish, ignore peace and harmony, ignore all others and live only for ourselves and our own thoughts, yet then would we have peace and harmony with self? What good would that do if you cannot share it with others? I can create peace and harmony with you by accepting the fact that your belief system is different than mine and is right for you. I respect that. To create peace and harmony with others, it is done by accepting that we each have a right to our own beliefs. In my belief system, it is Great Spirit who, in the beginning of Creation, allowed us to choose Earth for learning experiences.
As for "spaghetti monster", I do not think it has any purpose whatsoever, except maybe to throw in as a term for lack of anything else.
We have purpose and that purpose is to at least try to reach our highest potential while on Earth. One way to do that is to be aware that out of over (what? 5 billion? wild guess) there will be many different belief systems. It is not possible, or at least not feasible, to say my belief system is the only right one. For me it is right, for you it is not -- and that is ok, for we each, in our own way, will obtain our goal, our peace and harmony.
"we could even be the universe becoming aware of itself." This is very possible -- yet, what is the Universe? I believe the Universe is, in a spiritual sense, the collective whole of all thoughts, beliefs and truths, and from the Universe we receive help in spiritual growth, if we choose to ask for it.
A purpose is only another word for goal - and having a goal helps us to think straight toward it. There is no need for any great spirit, just the goal is enough. The issue with your great spirit is that projecting your wishes, hopes and understanding onto a n other 'thing' just makes that thing look more right - this prevents us from truly looking over a wider range. But if a great spirit works for you then that is fine, I prefer to reason my way through life and know the good and bad of it all.
And that is your inalienable right to do it your own way.
Reason fails when faced with the unreasonable.
Reason never fails - it is only the maths of thinking. Not getting an answer is always down to lack of information - or faulty reasoning.
In the opinion of an old man who's looked under rocks and up at the sky for wisdom...and found only confusion[I'm professing my ignorance here so please be kind].We are one of many sensory organs of our greater[reality]selves...who's purpose in the material world is to conduct consciousness just as wire conducts electricity...the more consciousness we conduct,the more awareness we create,and that is the fruit which our greater selves or self seek...or seeks.
There is no reality,only moments of clarity when we focus consciousness on those possibilities which collapse into subjective momentary reality,then return to the realm of possibilities as we remove the tight beam of our consciousness so as to illuminate and create another subjective snapshot of those possibilities we deem important for our capacity to conduct consciousness..[Hows That for a run on sentence lol]
In other words...The big us is sticking its finger[us] in the pool to see what the water's like before it dives in...Hmmm,better have another Heineken so I can make some sense here....
"Who are We, Where are We, What is Reality?"
**We are the authentic self that has come to know itself spiritually and is at peace with leaving the past behind and is looking forward to the future.
**We are at a place and time of decision, choice and consequence. Every moment we are creating our future and consequences.
**Reality is the intersection of the above, the moment we realize and accept who we are and how we got here.
This may appear simple and naive but I find it to be very true in my own life. Alastar, you are an amazing man and a dear, dear friend.
For the first time I have to categorically disagree with you on something, Hyph. It is not naive and simple, but is sagely shrewd in its magnificence and truth. And your the one who is amazing. We can agree on the dear, dear, friends though.
Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only living species of the genus Homo. They originated in Africa, where they reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago..
Third planet from our Sun which is fairly far from the centre of our galaxy.
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. When we let religion go we are open to reality.
Like Asimov said in the book "The Gods Themselves": "I am god, you are god, but then again, who isn't?"
I am just saying that before I put my deepest beliefs on this forum (which is often a hostile place), it would be nice to see I am talking with people willing to lay out theirs as well.
That makes me laugh! How do you spell hypocricy?
Hopefully most of the replies here will be heart-centered, but we'll see.
So far your haven't offered anything along those lines.
I'll respond with my thoughts on the question some, maybe lay it out more when appropriate. Don't wanna give away to much in the previews- you know, like that new 'Sinister' movie has.
Alastar, it seems reasonable, when posing a large question to which a wide variety of valid OPINIONS could & probably will be responded, - without, as the questioner, assuming a dominant one-size-fits-all opinion/answer along with the question before any other replies have a chance to be offered.
The questioner is, after all, the general manager of the forum which he started. Were his opinion to be given along with the question at the beginning, it's likely that it might easily have an effect of squelching, intimidating or manipulating others'freely offered opinions which might be given otherwise, as in a 'salon' in which people simply discuss and share ideas and/or knowledge freely.
It will be good to read what you think, too, Alastar, when & if you see fit at an appropriate moment. But nothing's wrong with exercising that option. Anyone else having hesitation can exercise their option to stay mum about the question till they see fit to offer it.
It's probably especially wise to delay yours, as it turns out, since just doing so arouses a bit of animosity. What real issues might ensue upon your actually stating your opinion, if just NOT saying can be an issue?
Forgive me. I'm not a frequent participant in Forums and so am unfamiliar with their general format, but isn't it possible that if there's hostility expected, hostility may be the result?
Thank you, Alastar, for your level-headed responses to everyone's opinion, encouraging the free flow of ideas from all respondees. It's encouraging to a newbie such as I.
The sheer variety of emotions that humans experience indicates that we are important in the scheme of things; that we are here for a reason, and that we have the potential to make a difference in the world. When I ponder about whether there’s an after-life, and I wonder whether all our questions will be answered, I use that thought as my rationalization: surely we wouldn’t be put through all this for no reason at all, would we?
Then I read about outer space, and think about the distances involved, and I look at the fabulous and truly frightening photos from NASA and I think about other worlds and other suns and other galaxies that are millions of light-years away and I think of us as specks, tiny little specks, and it seems so amusing and amazing that we are capable of making thousands of decisions, where to eat, whether to marry, what kind of car to buy, whether to declare war, whether to take that new job or stay put; it all seems to come to naught in the end.
Surely when we die, all our questions will be answered; it will all become clear, and we will think, Oh! Now I get it! But if that doesn’t happen, and nothing is waiting for us after death, then we won’t know that either!
I will follow this post with interest.
Surely a creation that can think, feel, and ponder on the things we do has purpose, well said Silva. What doesn't make any rational sense is for something like ourselves and really all living things to Be for a cosmic instant and then not to Be for eternity.
I prefer to think we are living in eternity even now and that we simply change our residence somewhere along the way. Then for some, purpose is simply confined to here and now. We are here and then, we are not.
Very good thoughts, Silva. We are here for a reason and that is to find the reason, or we can just float along and not worry about any of these thoughts/beliefs in this forum.
You wrote: "Surely when we die, all our questions will be answered; it will all become clear, and we will think, Oh! Now I get it! " For me, I would rather "get it" while I am here on Earth.
I, too, will be following this forum with much interest.
1) Who are We?
We are a form of biological life (although there is no complete scientific definition of biological life, and no one cay tell where did it come from), slightly different from cats.
2) Where are We?
We are in reality.
3) What is Reality?
Reality is the opposite of a dream.
We are life, we are here-we are there-we are connected, we exist.
Our ability to perceive is determined by our subjective sensors, along with our limited experience and conditioning, making all we know of reality to each of us, merely what we have perceived and can perceive subjectively. We each live in our own subjective reality. Part of it may be and probably is a sense of what is bigger than ourselves, about which we have ideas and opinions about it, and perhaps occasional glimpses which may leave us limp with their magnitude; but we cannot KNOW about "It" as long as we are in these mortal bodies with their great abilities and narrow limitations. It's what makes 'faith' possible. If we could KNOW, we wouldn't need or have faith in the unknown which we may only sense and imagine, also subjective faculties.
Objective reality - that which is or may be beyond our limited subjective perceptions - is limitless in possibilities. "It" may consist of things we've been able to observe & conceive of, but "It" may be and probably is much more vast - or much more infinitesimal than we can begin to imagine with our limitations or our presumed wisdom and understanding. It wouldn't be at all surprising to learn that "It" is all just various forms of energy or light, manifesting itself in the seeming multitude of 'things', bodies and beings. Where we might BE in it is another unknown, except for what we can subjectively perceive of it. Perhaps 'we' are only cells in the body of a larger being. Perhaps only passing thoughts of such a being.
One thing is fairly certain, though. What "IS", is. What is NOT, isn't. We're 'in it' either by some quirk or part of a master plan or - neither. It's a thought. How wondrous to be able to think!
What an honor for you, - whose opinion is important to me, - to say that! Thank you!
Sometimes our objective life seems little more than go to work, buy this and that, consume stuff and finally shuffle off the mortal coil. But we're so much more than objective creations. It's the subjective of our dreams, our ideas, our faith in what can be. On the negative side it does seem at times as if something is holding us back from reaching heights of new understanding and a better world. Could something be feeding us illusions if you will. As the late Freddie Mercury sang- is this the real life, or is this just fantasy, caught in a land-slide, no escape from reality?
Human nature is the invisible and immeasurable spoke in the provebial wheel, I think. We are driven by various passions, motivated by various stimuli and succumb to the self interest. Each of those is influenced by our foundational suppositions. I think short of physical disabilities, we aren't so much as held back, as we settle for comfort and gratification. We are confronted by an endless barrage of cultural stimuli, intended to steal and hold our attention. In answer to your question, I think we hold ourselves back. We are in pursuit of gratification which gives us the illusion of happiness and happiness is the goal 90% of mankind. If we settle for mediocrity, for the temporary gratifications of artificial stimuli, for an escape from hurt, pain, and disappointment, which we bandaged with the illusions of happiness, then there is little reason to move beyond our protective boxes. On a positive note, there are those who perpetually search the unknown. They have always been and they will always be. We will, because of them, know more tomorrow than we knew yesterday. We think. We reason. We live. Perhaps there is nothing so advanced, a species that does so.
When homo sapiens were still cavemen and women, there was, as yet, nothing so advanced. At each step of advancement of the most advanced species, it's been the ultimate, so far. Now is but the step in progress. There is much more room for and possibility of further improvement. We can reach a higher level while still mere mortals. In fact. . . if we don't, we may have settled for mediocrity on a grand scale. The tricky part of this advancement is that it has never just descended on the whole species at any given time, but only upon individuals who balance their choices and priorities effectively to advance, somewhat along the lines of Maslow's process of actualization. No matter the name given it, it's evidenced by the changes for the better in individual members of the species. That's how the species moves along and up (or down if that's the case!)
I agree Nellieanna. Perhaps a focus on our beginnings and where we are today, would lend a quiet evidence to our hurry to know too much. I was also reflecting upon the things, which we thought we knew, only to discover our error. I suspect somewhere along the way, we will again, uncover existing error.
It stands to reason, I think, that what ever is, must be understood, in its connection to its start (beginning, genesis,birth, coming). If we are becoming, where are we becoming from? As Aristotle held, there must be a first mover (God, big bang, spagetti monster, whatever) something from which beginning originated. Whatever we hold as such beginning will influence our conclusion. I would hold with Aristotle, that some universal truth must launch any search for answers. His was "a thing can not be and simultaneously not be". An now immutable universal in logic. Therefore, any collection of views will inherently reveal contradicting and opposing suppositions as a consequence of the foundation upon which our philosophy is constructed. Ex: There is either God or not God. There can not be both. Our truth then, is determined by our beginning point. Our conclusion according to the laws of logic, must arrive at validity if all our suppositions are correct. If any one of them is invalid then we may or may not arrive at a valid conclusion. In short, how likely is it that any one of us is free of an invalid supposition? I would then conclude that truth is the consequence of the elimination of bad building blocks and that over time (much time) the evolution of knowledge, eliminates the bad blocks and truth is consequently closer than it was. Illusion then is or isn't and for me it remains a building block born of man's imagination. I have no evidence that it is or isn't, but more importantly, I have no reason to suspect illusion above reality apart from inventing the question to begin with. It is also my observation that illusions are short lived and reveal themselves for what they are in time and they have had enough time to end the question. Inherent in the question illusion "is or isn't the real reality". It seems to me mathematically improbable that all of us would live the same illusion (like all of us having the same dream). It seems more likely that we are all experiencing reality and entertaining an imaginary proposition.
NHH: This is far too important and civil a post to just respond haphazardly, Alan. I've brought down your words to speak for themselves & responded immediately after in my words following yours, like a real discussion. I've tried to separate my responses from what you've said by a change of color for mine, but it may not appear in the forum thread. So I've also prefaced your statements with your initials and my responses with mine. Hope it's not too much of a muddle on the comment window. Here goes:
ARB: I agree Nellieanna. Perhaps a focus on our beginnings and where we are today, would lend a quiet evidence to our hurry to know too much. I was also reflecting upon the things, which we thought we knew, only to discover our error. I suspect somewhere along the way, we will again, uncover existing error.
NHH: Little doubt that we’ll discover errors in our existing conclusions, but will continue to make faulty ones. My point was that, at any time of our species’ devopement, whatever it is, - it is the most advanced, SO FAR AT THAT TIME, for us, and for all species if we are the most advanced of them. So the idea that “Perhaps there is nothing so advanced” would be so - at any given time including now.
ARB: It stands to reason, I think, that what ever is, must be understood, in its connection to its start (beginning, genesis,birth, coming). If we are becoming, where are we becoming from?
NHH: From its start, of course, and through its stages from then/that.
ARB: As Aristotle held, there must be a first mover (God, big bang, spagetti monster, whatever) something from which beginning originated.
NHH:I think so, too; there’s an illogic with thinking there is no ‘first’ of an obvious progression, as all we can and do know is happening and all of it is a part.
ARB: Whatever we hold as such beginning will influence our conclusion. I would hold with Aristotle, that some universal truth must launch any search for answers.
NHH: Of course, but the snag is in human presumtion of KNOWING what that truth is.
ARB:His was "a thing can not be and simultaneously not be".
NHH: That makes nothing but sense to me, though I have to add that my perceiving is limited to my mortal condition - as are those of others who live, have lived and will live as mortals here on Earth. Visions and other evidences reported by other human beings cannot exceed that level of their own knowing, which is limited, though they attempt to somehow assign divine immortal omniscient sanction to their perceptions and claim it.
ARB: An now immutable universal in logic. Therefore, any collection of views will inherently reveal contradicting and opposing suppositions as a consequence of the foundation upon which our philosophy is constructed.
ARB: Ex: There is either God or not God. There can not be both. Our truth then, is determined by our beginning point.
NHH: Key word: OUR; - it is merely our own subjective truth, which is sufficient for our existence as mortals on earth, but may be totally other than universal truth, if such exists.
ARB: Our conclusion according to the laws of logic, must arrive at validity if all our suppositions are correct.
I like the adjective valid and its noun validity because they apply to subjective truth; what is valid for one person - with all his mind and heart - may be invalid for another whose experience, faculties and other factors have led him to a different conclusion. Both are valid in this way but neither is likely to have or comprehend TRUTH.
ARB: If any one of them is invalid then we may or may not arrive at a valid conclusion. In short, how likely is it that any one of us is free of an invalid supposition?
NHH: Again, precisely, keeping in mind that validity (or not) are subjective terms of measurement, invented and supported by our own minds and experiences as human beings, probably having little to do with objective truth.
ARB: I would then conclude that truth is the consequence of the elimination of bad building blocks and that over time (much time) the evolution of knowledge, eliminates the bad blocks and truth is consequently closer than it was.
NHH: Perhaps if the advancement of our species manages such heights, it will begin to comprehend and approach that state, but it’s far from the case now. If individuals draw closer, perhaps they know a little more of truth - but if they’re that enlightened, they’d be unwilling to claim what they know to be partial, at best; their little passel of truth would guide them to be compassionate and to be an example of however much enlightenment they may have reached, not to claim it or try to TELL about it so that unenlightened people could try to mimick what they haven’t personally achieved..
ARB: Illusion then is or isn't and for me it remains a building block born of man's imagination. I have no evidence that it is or isn't, but more importantly, I have no reason to suspect illusion above reality apart from inventing the question to begin with.
NHH: It’s a step toward understanding to know & value one’s own level and how to direct it in the direction chooses to go.
ARB: It is also my observation that illusions are short lived and reveal themselves for what they are in time and they have had enough time to end the question.
NHH: How true, except that they tend to gather followers who persist with the illusions with greater force and violence.
ARB:Inherent in the question illusion "is or isn't the real reality". It seems to me mathematically improbable that all of us would live the same illusion (like all of us having the same dream).
NHH: Of course we wouldn’t and couldn’t - which is either proof that our ‘validities’ are limited OR that there are more facets to “TRUTH” that we tend to allow from our own subjective point of reference. Is it any wonder that ‘beliefs’ almost invariably claim to be the only “right ONE” so that all others are, of course ‘wrong’ and misguided, at best.
ARB: It seems more likely that we are all experiencing reality and entertaining an imaginary proposition.
NHH: That’s how it seems to me! What a great basis for mutual tolernce and peace among all of us!
Wonderful here Nellieanna, Arb- one of the best, deepest discourses I've ever seen in forums before. Delighted and humbled.
Thank you, Alastar. That's quite a compliment! I'm the one who is delighted and humbled that you think so!
Perhaps discussion rather than argument is reflective of the character in the participants, in which case, we might each commend ourselves. I think that I shall do so.
It seems dear Nellieaanna that we are in mutual agreement. I should clarify my position regarding validity as it pertains to the ambiguity of my point. My reference to validity was meant in reference to the laws of logic and not the our opinions. In logic validity is absolute and objective. In short, a premise which is true is considered valid and a conclusion can only be true if each and every premise preceeding the conclusion is true. The conclusion being the logical consequence of its premises. In a simple stating of opinions, valdity is indeed, subjective because as you say, "our validities". I was refering to "validities" in regards to the law of logic, in which case validity is what is true. It does not change the basis of our agreement, but, lends clarification to my reference of it. You are right in concluding that such basis does indeed, make great allowance for expression and acceptance in discussions. We work with what we know for sure and in the absence of what we don't know, we formulate an opinion the best we can. What an absolutley rational exercise. Why it breeds such contempt escapes me. We are all simply thinking. Why does such an exercise offend or stir hostility? Perhaps different conclusions infer that we ourselves, might be mistaken and being mistaken challenges our own acceptance of ourselves. To halt such danger we must defend our argument. The defense of an argument, it seems to me, is focused on a predetermined conclusion, rather than an examination of the validity of its preceeding premises. In such cases, there is no need for a discussion. One only learns that they leave with the same thought they arrived with. Kind of a circular exercise. Of course if one is convinced that you may catch your tail if you chase it long enough, then circular exercise is indeed, beneficial.
I appreciate your clarification of your position abut validity as it pertains to your point.
So often taking time out to clarify does much to help along the discussion!
My Dad was a great debater in the formal sense. I should get out some of his books on its rules and formalities, which I've never studied. Even so, sometimes adhering to a system of proper assignment of definitions only serves within the system which has agreed upon them. People outside the system need and devise logical meanings for words in order to think clearly too. Systems can be as numerous as individuals, same as subjective realities are. They can, fortunately, - coordinate and cooperate, though, if they're willing to respect and 'hear each other out'. It's likely that there is more agreement lying under the language if we just can do that.
As I read the description of validity you laid out quite logically and well, I couldn't help but stall on the use of the the concept of 'true' and 'truth' cropping up frequently because those are simply whatever we as people (or some of us) have agreed upon, anyway. Others may have agreed on the exact opposite and called it truth. But we - no humans - simply do not KNOW. We call something "truth" & where two or three agree. may accept it as THE truth. But by what stretch of the imagination?
If we accepting it as valid for us, gives it stature, that's something to get one's mind around -- and allows for the myriad of differences of what is perceived to be 'true' without the presumption to be universal, absolute TRUTH. It might even turn out to be a multiple truth. We don't know that either.
I could agree that this is true: "Perhaps different conclusions infer that we ourselves, might be mistaken and being mistaken challenges our own acceptance of ourselves. To halt such danger we must defend our argument." It has observed human nature's way and drawn a valid conclusion about it. It's within the scope of reason and logic. We can stretch our scope and reach for other glimpses of understanding as well. What we cannot - TRUTHFULLY - do is claim it is all-time, all-circumstances, one-size-fits-all truth or one idea above all others - true.
Thinking that we can establish and validate that any conclusion reached by any person or committee or majority that 'each and every premise preceeding the conclusion is true' is surely the height of delusion and absurdity. We can, though, compare and discover commonalities in conclusions with lend more likelihood of being reasonable, logical, valid conclusions - for that moment - before other evidence may be introduced to consider.
I so agree that we should all be able to mull over private or public propositions & conclusions, to weigh them, to think, to discuss, to find our agreements or not; - without arousing counter-attack and hostility, each of which smothers & snuffs out paths to better enlightenment. It needn't exact, expect or require changes in people's perspectives, but, as you say, it can lend clarification and release freedom of thought, which people need in order to move closer to valid conclusions and along the way, more agreement, perhaps!
I just happened to have watched "The Nun's Story" earlier. What a story of dedicated, determined, honest effort to stop the flow of experience, to accept & embrace an ideal frozen in time, committed to stone, and to doggedly turn off every other development which could occur which would further enlighten it, with the penalty of disgrace for being truly unable to be so frozen, even though & when the personal heart is willing to be frozen. She really tried, but could not. Not only a moral dilemma, but one which a truly good and alive heart just couldn't accept, rightfully.
Now "Fiddler On The Roof" has come on and there are elements of the same disturbing anomalies between set rules and actual life depicted, which, without some "give" to the rules, results in freezing the heart and soul. Tradition! Ah, yes.
Yet rules have a place, too, and shouldn't be trivially rejected. Now the song "Sunrise, Sunset" is being sung, looking at the progression of life from early to late. All I can say is wow.
haha - the chasing of one's tail is a wise and good-humor conclusion, dear Alan!
Have you thought lately of Plato's "Analogy of the Cave" or the "Analogy of the Lotus Flower"?
Truth in logic is absolute and immutable. Logic not as rational or possible, but, logic as science, as the "father of mathmatics". Truth in the discipline of logic or the science of logic is empirical. For ex: Water is wet. The lake is water. Therefore, the lake is wet. Logics syllogism would use letters and symbols. A=wet. B=water. therefore B=A. A sleepy example, but, a mathmatical example of syllogisms used in logic. The truth of A is absolute and objective. The truth of B is absolute and objective. Therefore the conclusion is absolute and objective. In logic (the discipline) inductive reasoning is subjective because the premises may or may not be true. A=I feel hot. B=fire is hot. Invalid conclusion=I am on fire. Valid conclusion= I may or may not be on fire. Premise A is subjective. Premise B is objective. Premise A may or may not be true. A valid conclusion is dependent on each premise being valid and A may or may not be valid. Truth then is not subjective in the field of logic. Logic is the science of verifiable objective statements. Opinions are subjective because they include unverifiable (or in the mathmatical language of logic) invalid statements. Statements which may or may not be true. God exist is an invalid statement in the field of logic because the statement is unverifiable. God does not exist is an invalid statement in logic also because it is unverifiable. Perhaps easier to follow is, an objective statement has to be either true or false. A subjective statement (may) be true or false. The truth of objectivity is verifiable and conclusive (valid). The truth of subjectivity is unverifiable and therefore may or may not be (valid). Valid statements are necessary in logic to reach a valid conclusion. Invalid statements may or may not reach a valid conclusion. All this may or may not clarify my use of the words valid and invalid.
In the allegory of the cave the perception of "reality" was actually a world of shadows. What has always interested me however isn't that the perception was flawed, but, that the perception gave some indication of reality. Even if our perception is flawed today, we are still left with an indication of that reality. We are closer than the man who lives in the cave and is blind all together. We have pieces of reality (maybe shadows) but still, some semblence of it, none the less.
From what I remember, the analogy of the lotus flower is buddist in origin. My studies of buddism are limited to a parallel study of Christianity and the claims of both. Such studies remind me of the judicial process in which evidence is gathered, analysed objectively where possible and subjectively where impossible. In the end a rational but, unverifiable conclusion is arrived at. The weight of the prevailing evidence will tilt us to one direction or the other. In my case, the weight tiltled toward Christianity. It does not mean that I am right or that I was wrong. The perpetual rebirthing of the lotus flower does indeed, reveal similarities to the human condition. The irony is, the similarities are interpreted according to ones overall life philosphy. The Buddist will find it analogous to his belief and the Christian to his and so on. In the end, we are all doing the same thing. Constructing a conclusion by interpreting the world around us. That interpretation is colored by want, by prejudice, by lack of information and by available information. Its kinda like looking at a puzzle that isn't put together and trying to identify the picture from all the scattered pieces. We must all have as much doubt about the whole picture as we have conviction. Just educated guess. One as worthy as another.
Oh, Alan, that 'God does not exist' is also an invalid statement in logic because it, too, is unverifiable. gets a resounding "yes' here! I've said virtually that for years. Denial is as big a leap of faith as the contrary & is pursued with the same or more zeal by its adherents.
But also shown is that logic is unverifiable in an 'absolute & immutable' way. Logic has merit but is not absolute because its supports are not. Mathematics approaches 'clean truth' a bit closer, but inherent in it is the subjective interpretation in, at and from its form.
One can somewhat verify that earthly reality may be proven empirically, - except that its premises from which it derives its conclusions can & do falter in the mire of subjectivity. They're not absolute and immutable. Certainly none of them is applicable to whatever may or may not be beyond or outside of this reality or known and comprehend without perceiving with human subjective sensors, including our very good intellectual sensors. They're all subjective and acceptable as valid only for the individual whose perception as he humanly does, or group of human individuals are in agreement on them and their presumptions. We forget who is drawing the conclusions and think they're objective, which they can't be, derived as they are with equipment for perception we possess as humans, infused with our experience and designed for our subjective use and application, not for absolute knowledge of immutable truth.
Some may be nearer earthily objectivity than others but none is truly objective of anything beyond earthly possibilities, and often stumbling even with those. We interpret and think it's clear and impersonal observation. But the moment we see, hear, feel, smell, and filter incoming information, it's distorted and forms suppositions fitting our personal experiences and states of mind, so that much more it takes on our own view and loses any objective reality it may still have discovered, and becomes simply what we interpret & suppose. Absolute truth and immutable fact may, indeed, exist, but it is not what registers in its purity in human consciousness.
Therefore, all the features of "facts" to be applied to a syllogistic conclusion that exist here in this realm experienced as features in the process, which 'we' (a pronoun comprised simply of individual 'I's) can and do associate with things, such as "wet", 'hot", "distant", "sweet", "right", "one", "two", "bad", "obvious", etc, etc, and which are the foundations & hangers of rational syllogisms, may work in those instances, in which "water IS wet. The lake IS water. Therefore the lake is wet", all the way up to E=MC2, & are, indeed, as logical and workable as we can achieve, so long as we can be certain absolutely to KNOW that water exists for us only as WE KNOW IT, and realizing that the feature of WET is the merely the trait we have apprehended and assigned to it as a result of sensations of it we've experienced by touch, taste, sight, hearing, odor, & with the other subjective human senses: awareness and comprehension. But, just as logically, another human being may have apprehended water and wet in some other context toward a different conclusion which may or may not agree with ours or even the majority of 'we's. So his conclusion may disprove the 'fact' derived from the reasoning. Which would be 'right' or factual, then? Is one presumption from actual personal experience superior or inferior to another? Aren't these simply conditions of being living humans on a changeable and various Earth? Would a '3rd human party be able to judge that which 2 other humans experienced and reasoned to different conclusions? Our civil courts are clogged with impasse cases of such conflicts. So is science. So is religion. So are many forums online! In the example of water and wet, a truly perfect, objective observation might see-through illusions crowding ours and realize it's all some other element, agent or force having nothing to do with H2O. The problem is that the foundations of syllogistic reasoning must be in agreement even to begin to plot the results; but they're not, except among individuals who have settled or decided upon what they may believe to be the same premises. In fact, no two subjective experiences and conclusions therefrom ARE apt to be very close to being the same, even those which seem to be & strive to be! Too many different filters formed by quite different experiences and aptitudes. And we have no perfect observer here and now.
So underneath the assumption of the infallibility of the syllogism is another assumption of a same basic premise upon which its logic is being based, which is iffy at best, and patently flawed at its core. But even so, it may indicate some semblance of fact in an uncertain and iffy world. The problem comes in the shaky assumptions supporting it and any determined close-mindedness which insists upon it even to extreme measures of crushing opposition - which are rampant in the world and seem always to have been. That's enough to dispel the illusion of 'absolute truth' being known to humankind.
In any case, absolute, unimpeachable & final truth (IF there is such) is beyond this realm of fragmental differences which observably do produce wide ranges of conflicting possibilities and more disturbances of the peace.
If a truth which is absolute and immutable exists, it is beyond our comprehension, fastened as we are to this realm of discord and subjectivity, for the most part. It's not a fault, but the basic condition of mortal life. Any glimpses of such truth as we might have are still of necessity clothed in earthy imagery & processes in order for us to relate to them. If those turned out to apply to it, too, certainty of it still remains unknown here and now, except if, 'whatsoever is loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven and whatsoever is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven." A rather unnerving thought, unless it presupposes that we'll have gotten our act together better here and now!
Our mentality can produce beautifully logical conclusions, though which of course, can fit & harmonize with some of the experience of 'objective' facts that apply to our earthly journey (possibly a first phase of a longer one), but which still must allow for variations among individuals of even those 'facts'. Surely color blindness, faulty senses of sight, hearing, mentality, education, etc. change & render arbitrary 'empirical' knowledge & its basic suppositions meaningless for those whose subjective ability includes ability to perceive "A" or "B" in the application, if they're wise enough to realize and admit it is subjective at its core. Who is to declare that it is absolute OR immutable? Another subjective entity? Judge Judy? Socrates, who admitted that all he knew was that he knew nothing? Who? What happens is that - each of us has our opinions - and they're seldom in perfect harmony or accord - not to the fullest extents, at any rate. Sometimes we're not even sure of them ourselves!
Add to it that we don't really KNOW that anything we perceive can or does apply to a larger sense which 'absolute' claims in the original example and in the form AS it is being perceived, whether by me or you, the Octomom, Snooky, Alfie, Einstein or Stephen Hawking - or millions of other working minds.
What "IS" may be simply a manifestation of a much bigger or smaller entity, feature or 'thing', such as energy or light or something else we've not even so far experienced in its truth and purity enough to place it into any formula devised from what we have experienced. Even 'spirit' in its true form could be a basic building block of "everything" that IS - where IT is. We can't know or not know that. Our formulas for explaining what is HERE, good as they may be for that task, are useless when we presume to probe anything beyond HERE, and often are even insufficient for accurately comprehending the here and now.
I'm far from being unaware of the advances in science and scientific instruments and sophisticated formulas to make sense of far reaches of observable universe, or what we presume to be 'the universe'. These give us a sense of connection and knowledge but may just further our subjective biases. IF those biases are taken into account, and I believe some more enlightened scientists DO, there is much information on which to build and to be considered. However it is limited to human subjective comprehension and reasoning, - all far short of 'absolute truth' or immutability. The beginning of some knowledge & understanding is realizing its low blip on the 'absolute' graph and in clearly accepting its own fallibility.
So, yes, - for the here and now in the realm in which we're fairly familiar & sometimes able to agree or disagree with wisdom & civility, but in which we are living humans as connected as we'll get here, the application of logic vs. totally personal illogic=personal 'feelings' and thinking/intuition as applied to explaining things in search of knowledge and understanding does, indeed, promise to lead to slightly more inarguable conclusions than not (but not foolproof); and can or could raise individuals to a bit higher level of development ON THIS PLANE, though there's not too much evidence walking around that this is the usual outcome so far among homo sapiens. We may have come a long way, but there's no great unfolding zenith of perfection in sight. Yet somehow, I think that we - (certainly I) - must keep at it, at least today and where we are/I am. It's not a futile quest, either way. It's progress.
"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof", observed Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount!! Wise.
If someone's conclusion is that this plane IS THE ONLY EXISTENT ONE, then that conclusion of such a finality would seem 'good enough' to suffice as his own validity FOR HIMSELF. And that supposition might even turn out to BE "IT". Or not. It's neither conclusively in error or right. It's just his take on it, based on his subjective leanings. It's not a 'known'.
But if one's being, even while existing in the arbitrariness of the HERE & NOW, indicates that it can & will reach for more than that for consideration, such as the questions posed by this forum have asked to be considered, then we must admit to possibilities beyond what is HERE & NOW, yet we also need to realize that anything we consider as being a 'beyond this' existence - including its absence as truth or reality, - isn't to be proven or disproven or in any way dependent on anything which may be emotionally OR logically applied, supposed or concluded in & by evidence in this realm; though at the least, a 'beyond this realm' would probably be, and more than likely IS beyond our ability to fully comprehend, prove, successfully argue, conclude or TO KNOW, as we are, in our present form, - if at all. What our present responsibilities are should be little changed by either eventuality, more than likely. But we do have power and choice to work on and with those while here.
The good news is that once one surrenders the arrogance of claiming a way to perceive what is beyond subjective perception or to consistently apply even its logic to actions IF it were possible to know it; then, with that humility and open-mindedness, our 'here and now' functionality kicks in more fully geared so that we can demonstrate better use of and management of the here and now which is at our disposal, at least; and maybe, even toward enhancement of our ventures into imagining beyond it. We've nothing to lose but our crippling arrogance & our erroneous verities & expectations of really KNOWING. There may be windows or slits of consciousness through which some light can slip to illuminate our journey.
Perhaps worst case is that absolute and immutable truth in the form of proof of this realm could actually BE all there is, as some believe (using a form of faith in the negative, which, as you point out, is unverifiable also), and that 'this' IS where it begins and ends, the alpha and omega; and that anything beyond 'this' is pipedreaming. But we cannot KNOW that 'this' is all of "IT" or that it is not IT, any more than we can know there is more. Fortunately - we don't have to know what we cannot know. In fact, faith arises out of unknowing. Likewise it can't therefore claim KNOWING, else it cancels itself. And we do have the here and now with which to work.
We have more than we usually can handle simply dealing with our here and now lives, sorting out the stuff that works & progresses, from that which leads to despair and defeat. What we choose in which to place faith may help or hurt that effort. But it is the practical effort and practice of sound guidelines which actually accomplish any of progress here possible.
Good sense & clear vision would begin to look at results & consequences which make themselves very well KNOWN, & which can help clarify our plight of unknowing, confusion and errors of choice and judgment. Our 'work' is here and now, since this is the canvas we have on which to paint our murals. Logical reasoning suggests that 'beyond' may provide its set of paints and supplies, since there ARE those which fit this realm. It can be noticed that the painting by the powers of nature and its Guide is superior to ours, but has similarities to ours at a basic level. But while it might seem, "if this, then that" - we don't know what is a valid conclusion in arriving at THE truth of it. :-) Entertaining a good hope is surely preferable to entertaining & promoting a horrid one, though.
We do often view the shadows & echos of reality & confuse them for the real things. We can "see through the veil darkly", at best. The Lotus' rising from the mud does suggest the way human life begins & blossoms into beauty out of its muddy conception, birth and life experiences. These analogies deal with the here and now. Nothing wrong with that.
It's hard to NOT notice the amazing everyday examples of life and synergies of life all around one here and now and to not think, hopefully, that there's surely 'more'. If there is, though, we'll have to see & internalize it better than we sometimes notice, perceive, appreciate and remember what's right under our noses daily in this realm. Some upgrading needed there, too, surely! Enough to occupy one for the remainder of being here and now.
You've summed up pretty much what I'm saying in your last paragraph, especially: "In the end, we are all doing the same thing. Constructing a conclusion by interpreting the world around us. That interpretation is colored by want, by prejudice, by lack of information and by available information. Its kinda like looking at a puzzle that isn't put together and trying to identify the picture from all the scattered pieces. We must all have as much doubt about the whole picture as we have conviction. Just educated guess. One as worthy as another."
Actually I think that doubt may be the best evidence of the probability of real truth. It's not something to fear, anyway. Real truth isn't injured by it. There is much symbolism in that, in fact.
It's quite a wondrous journey!! Woo Hoo!
This is a great discussion and one that inspires deep thoughts and possibilities as to what life is and why we are here. At times there does seem to be something that holds us back, Alastar, and often it does seem as if it is we who hold ourselves back.
I have a very close friend who I have discussed life and human needs with. We went through a very difficult time of different opinions and with his help, I learned that following the path that life intended is the best thing for the two of us. I wanted more than what he could give and he taught me to live in the moment. Since then we have become ever closer with greater understanding of each other and our needs, or desires.
In following the path that life intended, I find that it falls in harmony with another close friend that strongly believes in following destiny. Are the two friends saying the same thing? I believe they are -- to follow destiny is to live in harmony.
Destiny is a different path for each person and sometimes the destiny of two separate individuals merges into one path of harmony and balance.
So - is this our purpose .... to find our destiny and follow that path? I wrote a poem once about 'When Spirit Meets Destiny'. The two (spirit and destiny) argued as to which was the right path: destiny or the heart?
This brings up the question of "is destiny and the heart the same?"
Just pondering out loud here, but if others have an opinion, I would love to hear it.
Nellieanna, let me start off by saying your post is reasonable and very thoughtful. It definitely causes me to reflect on my short-comings as concerns starting this thread. As the 'general manager' I should have clearly stated a firm position on the subject to begin with; the reason I didn't was because that would have been untrue as i really didn't have an absolutely firm one. The intention was to hear from others and kind of go from there. This approach was in error; you see Nellieanna, I'm not that savvy in initiating forum threads and will try and do better next time. If I'd known asking who are we, where are we, and what is reality would cause anyone to feel any hostility towards anyone else, they never would have been asked to begin with. Welcome to Hubpages Nellieanna, it's a great community of writers you've joined.
No, no, Alastar - My thoughts were definitely not criticism of your withholding your own position - - quite the opposite. Waiting to make a firm statement (especially if you're hoping to learn more) is wise whether or not yours is firm. It would seem high-handed to start off with a position that would, at best, challenge others' thoughts about the question and might even discourage them from replying from their perceptions of it. No one is apt to have the final, unassailable answer to such a large question. You've set off a genial discussion with most folks feeling OK about sharing their ideas about it. That's its value.
Your intention was right-on and your approach wasn't in error, at least not in my opinion! You did it a nerve with your question, but not with anyone who is OK with discussing large questions amicably. I don't believe anyone felt any hostility, just perhaps a little chagrin that you'd not stated your position. My remarks were totally to agree with your reasons and right to wait to express yours, and especially if it was an honest question whose answer you didn't claim to know for sure. (No one does, for that matter!) It's a great Forum!
I'm not a newbie to Hubpages - been here nearly 3 years. Just to active participation in Forums. I agree that it's a great community of writers - of all persuasions, which makes it the more interesting..
Alastar, I so agree with Nellieanna -- if you had stated your own feelings and answers to your questions, it may have influenced others to either agree with you, strongly disagree, or even not respond.
I think you started the forum in the right manner by posing the questions and allowing others the freedom to express their viewpoints first. Not only did that give us the chance to explore our own inner truths first, but it gave you and everyone else the opportunity to read viewpoints that are sincere and coming from the heart center without any persuasion.
Well done, Alastar. And .... well said, Nellieanna. I applaud you both!
You are most welcome, Nellieanna. This is probably the most interesting forum I have participtated on HP.... well, I do not participate that much in these forums, but this one is presented well by our dear Alastar and is really interesting with so many participating.
I definitely agree, Phyllis! I love a good, lively, civil discussion on most any subject, and this one is especially interesting, dealing with thoughts most of us have about "What's it all about, Alfie?" Alastar has presented it well and carries it along well. Participation is excellent too.
I love that song, "What's it all about, Alfie?" This is the perfect song for this discussion. I have never been this enthused about a forum discussion and I check out every notification I get on it.
So, "What's it all about, Alastar? Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alastar?"
Perfect! The song dos suit this hub. By coincidence, I was just putting another Bacharach song on a hub - "Walk On By", which sometmes suits the moment's situations, as well. :-)
"Wait on the corner" and we can have a cuppa in the tea shop with a great discussion on this delightful forum.
I confess my ignorance of that "Walk on By", though I looked it up and heard the "Wait on the Corner" line in it - which is a lovely invitation for a cuppa tea! When? :-)
The "Walk On By" I referred to, however, is the Bacharach one, which Dionne Warwick (Whitney Houston's aunt) made famous in 1963, along with many other great Bacharach songs, including 'Alfie".
Nellieanna, I did not know Bacharach also had a song by the same name. I do not believe I ever heard it.
I think we should all get together for tea. Would that not be delightful?
Phyllis, as a matter of interest, Bacharach wrote the music (the lyrics are from Hal David) specifically for the original movie (1966) of the same name, "Alfie". Here's what Wikipedia says:
"The title song, "Alfie", was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was a hit for Cilla Black, Cher Madeline Eastman, and Dionne Warwick."
Actually, he wrote the music for a number of films in that general time frame.
Oh yes - sharing tea would be most delightful!! :-)
Isn't Alfie a ladies man who returns to his true love in the last reel, Phyllis? Perhaps we can use the movie's plot as an analogy; maybe with humankind returning to some deeper understanding of who, what, and why after mucking around with affairs that have no meaning in the end.
Gee, I do not know, Alastar. I never saw the movie and only listened to the song. I thought it was a good analogy for what this is all about, and I like your analogy of returning to some deeper understanding of who, what, and why. hmmm .... I believe that this year has been a time of transition for all humankind and that we are indeed returning to the old ways of spiritual truths. As the year has progressed, so, too, have many people become more in tune with what is within them.
I do a lot of research into the ancient scholars and what many of them wrote centuries ago have meanings that are true for today as well.
Plato believed that the meaning of life is to attain the highest knowledge possible, which is the Idea of the Good, from which all good and just things derive utility and value. He believed that humans are duty-bound to pursue the good.
Aristotle taught that if one wanted to become virtuous, he could not just study what that meant, but had to live it in order to become virtuous. It is true today that one must study AND practice to become what they want to be.
To realize why we are here is to discover what our place in the Universe is and to accept that 'task'.
Why am I here? To obtain my highest good, or potential, which is writing and helping others to find their spiritual path in life. For many years I had wanted to do what I am doing now: writing and spiritual coaching. I studied, read, memorized, read and studied more for many years. I did not BECOME what I wanted to be till I lived it. All the study did not give me all I needed .... by living it I learn more every day and become that much stronger in my truths.
Where am I? I am right where I want to be and need to be at this time in my life.
What is my reality? My reality is being the best writer and spiritual coach I can possibly be -- and to realize that I will never stop learning, for to stop learning is to stop growing. If one stops learning and growing, then what is the purpose of being here?
You amaze me, Alastar. You ask questions and give out your thoughts in little pieces which inspires others to look deeper within themselves. This is a great gift that few people have and I admire you for opening this discussion. Thank you.
My pleasure Phyllis. The ancient philosophers were fonts of high wisdom, certainly. I've also come to believe in my studies that very important writings on truths about who, what , when, and how have been lost over time- like the library at Alexandria, supposedly torched by those who didn't want its knowledge disseminated to future generations. Fortunately many things have been discovered-recovered recently, so that is very encouraging. Phyllis it took me quite a while to learn to trust that which is deep within us, and let it be my ever faithful guide.
Alastar, your last sentence comes straight from your heart and so it is one of your truths. It took me a long time, also, to learn to trust that which is deep within me. We are born with the inherent ability to be our true selves, to be in touch with the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors. As babies and young children, we can communicate these truths. If you put two babies on the floor, facing each other, they begin to communicate in a language adults do not understand. Each baby knows what he is saying and the other baby understands. Then the programming starts, from parents, from schools, from society. I am not saying that children do not need this -- I am saying that if a child imparts what he thinks is the truth, an adult will "correct" rather than discuss and ask why the child feels that way. By just correcting, it can make the child believe that his truths should not be trusted, or even considered. A child with parents who are aware that there is a whole universe of truths within, is very fortunate indeed. Intuition and the courage to go with it should be encouraged in children rather than squashed.
I love to read the ancient philosophers to realize that what they said is as true today as it was in their own times.
Native Americans (and many other cultures) teach their young about the wisdom of the ancestors and impart in the child the sacredness of harmony and balance within the self, with others, and with all Creation. A child without the knowledge of spiritual matters grows up to become an adult who one day realizes they are missing something in life -- then they go on a quest to find out who they are, why they are here, and what is reality.
It took me many years to begin this journey. I brought up my children by listening to them, as well as teaching them. We had long conversations, my kids and I, since they were just babes, about life and spiritual matters. They are both well balanced and secure with their own truths.
It's been a long while since I saw the original version of "Alfie" with Michael Caine in the leading role, Alastar; but I think you're right. He is a womanizer who finally faces the consequences of his own choices & changes his lifestyle. I'd agree that it exemplifies that one of the outcomes of life is to learn valuable lessons about living it more satisfactorily, effectively and happily. Some of the lessons take the form of more difficult 'labs' than just mucking around meaninglessly as Afie did. Guess it depends on how hard-headed the student is, how extreme the lessons must be to get through to him/her!
How can you get help on here. Quick.
My 32 webpages have vanished off my profile.
I note that this thread is full of the idea that there must be a purpose for life - there is, it is the biological programming that every living thing shares. The imperatives to eat and to recreate ourselves. Why this simple drive to live should be thought to be some high level of purpose I can't understand - maybe it has something to do with the nature of our ego and the way we think of ourselves. Just because a higher level of thinking evolved in us does not make us any different in every other way to any of the amazing creatures and living things that have evolved on this planet with us - what higher 'purpose' does a whale, or a dog or a redwood tree have ? what makes us different to them ?
Have you ever been in the redwood forest in California where these giants live, some for over 1500 years?
Have you ever had a dog come and lay its head on your knee when you are hurting or lonely and need comfort?
Have you ever heard the sounds of the whales as they call to each other and sing their songs of love or mourning?
Every living thing on Earth has a higher purpose.
While it is true that all living things are driven, biologically, to survive and to propagate their respective species, it remains interesting that man alone, questions his existence and seeks a purpose higher than mere survival. That we ask the question, does in itself, allude to a possibility that we may have further purpose. Possibility is the basis for our discussion, the basis for looking deeper and the basis for learning anything at all. If we contend that there is no higher purpose, we simultaneously, discount the basis for almost every religion on earth. If we are simply moved by a biological need to survive, then there is no basis for love, for longing, for grieving or a host of other living emotions, each of which is unecessary for survival. Why is man burdened with so many feelings, with such advanced intellect if surviving is our only goal?
Or maybe it is a side effect of the 'higher level of reasoning ability' that we have, the ego, that demands that it must have some higher purpose because it is so damned important. I suspect that belief in a 'higher purpose' is pure arrogance. As proof of this I know many people who are far less important than the air they waste in breathing ! ps, this is a joke.
I conceed that our search for purpose may well be the side effect of an intellect that simply wants there to be a higher purpose. There are, however, unanswered phenomemnon such as instinct, intuition or a sixth sense if you will. Although there is no empirical evidence, there is consequential evidence. For instance: How dose one simply feel as though they are being watched and suddendly such suspicion is confirmed. A mother feels something is wrong with a sleeping baby, checks and finds it has quit breathing. Obviously, our history is littered with intuitive knowledge which we, nor science, can explain. Intuition, is an unexplained knowledge that we know exist and it has posed a problem for both philosophy and science since the dawn of time. It is a mysterious phenomenon, but, just the same a knowledge which most living things seem to share. It is, it seems a knowledge executed by feeling. If man feels this intense intuitive existence of someone watching or that there is something more (purpose, God or whatever) it is just as likely that intuition is manifesting itself within his consciousness. It carries enough weight to consider possibility as much as the premise which simply considers it a side effect. We know things which we have no expalnation for. Because we have no explanation, they are simply refered to, as phenomenon. None the less they exist. I am not suggesting that I know "the purpose or the God" but I do sense, intuitively, that there is something higher, something more. That so many share this experience lends credibility to this intuition. So much so, that humans begin to question, try to get their minds around what it is and they search. It is a rational search because such feeling has verified in the past, that it can be trusted. Obviously, feeling has also taught us it can not be trusted. I suppose that we are like a bystander in a sense, perpetually feeling as though someone is watching. Is it not rational then, to look around, to examine the landscape and try to put our suspicions to rest?
There are many reasons why intuition is a natural phenomenon, not least the many times we feel we are being watched - and we are not.
That you remember only the rare occasion that supports your intuition says everything about why you choose to see some kind of god in things - and no other reason.
Your attitude in assessing intuitive knowledge refutes both the science behind it and 2000 years of philosophical thought from scholars more learned than either you or I. The possibilty does exist that you are wiser than all of them and science combined. My intuition tells me however, that although possible, it is not probable.
You want to separate intuition from reason ? and give it some kind of spiritual source ?
There is no mystery about intuition - it is a natural operation of the mind. There is no external input into intuition except what comes from the 5 senses and the mix and match operations of the subconcious, that it appears to come from 'outside' yourself is why Freud called it the 'subconcious' mind.
renowm neuropsychologist and neurobiologist Roger Sperry says intuition is a right brain activity.Jung claimed that intuition was sheer intensity of perception.Randolf Steiner that intuition is the 3rd of three stages of higher knowledge.Yale University did a study in 1977 verifing that certain individuals with high intuitive knowledge could read cues before rienforcement actually occured.Carl Jung again defined intuition as perception via the unconscious. As defined by websters-immediate a priori knowlege apart from usual reasoning.No one claims that it comes from outside, it is knowlege reveald inside. I have never claimed that intuition came from a spiritual source. I merely stated that it may or may not. We can not prove that it does or doesn't therefore, the possibility does exist until it is eliminated. We may sense a "higher purpose" than survial intuitively. I have simply offered a reason why many people feel that there is a higher purpose. It may be the consequence of intuition and it isn't yours to say there is no higher purpose unless you can eliminate intuitive knowlege. The bottom line is - we don't know and the things that we don't know, are plausible in the world of possibilities. Given what evidence we have from the sciences, it remains a credible possibilty.
I (intuitively, perhaps) suspect that there is a form of intelligence throughout the body which culminates in an ability to act rationally and to "know" before the fact without passing it through the brain for response instructions or mental evaluation and conclusion. It seems extra-ordinart at times, but is merely heightened awareness, alertness and perception.
Also - That intuition is more apparent in some individuals than others is possibly simply because those individuals are more able to recognize it & to employ it comfortably, without stirring an internal battle between its operation and that of the brain; - realizing they're marvelous partners for life's challenges, pleasures & the ongoing improvement of its quality.
It is only "intuition," if you don't understand where it comes from.
Bit of a mental backflip there ! All your sources agree that intuition is a function of the mind manipulating information that is in the mind - there is nothing outside. So your only idea is that you intuitively feel that there is some greater force at work. My normally functioning reasoning says there is not = and any greater purpose than staying alive and reproducing is pure arrogance and your ego insisting that it is sooooo superior.
Obviously, your normally functioning reasoning is impaired.It seems limited by the boundaries which you, yourself, have imposed. You have decided that the only purpose in life is survival and therefore any other possibility can not enter the box in which you live. Kinda like the man who was convinced that he was dead. The doctor asked, "Do you agree that dead men don't bleed?" He answered "Of course." The dortor cut him and as he bled, he proclaimed," My God! Dead men do bleed." Until you learn the meaning of "Perhaps" you are imprisoned by your own stubborn presuppositions. Arogance is the consequence of believing that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Arrogance refuses the word "perhaps" into its vocabulary because certainty can not accomodate it. The word "perhaps" does not make claims, it makes room for claims.
The statement that there is perhaps a higer purpose does not convey the notion of superiority, it does just the opposite. It says inherently, others might be right. You refuse to acknowledge any such possibility. That, my friend is arrogant and projects an attitude of superiority.
I do not know whether there is a higher purpose, but, I also don't know whether there is not. Because I do not know, I would not be so audacious as to tell everyone else that they are mistaken. Of course, I am plagued with the notion of possibilities and you are free of such burden. It must be extremly liberating to be in the constant company of such normal reasoning. Perhaps we could save ourselves such tedious discussion by simply asking you to reason for the rest of the world in the future. Come to think of it, perhaps you could write a book explaining reality. Then I could simply throw my volumes of philosophy and psychology away and curtail my library to a single volume. After all, it is tedious reading from so many who are so burdened by possibilities when your superior and normal reasoning can answer what they could not.
No need to get nasty and start in with personal insults - but in so doing you have illustrated precisely the problem with your thinking. I describe ego, and you understand it as describing YOU. How can you understand any of the writing you so admire if you cannot understand a basic principle contained in page one.
This situation also explains your methods of seeking some higher 'power'. It is scientifically the first mistake to have a belief in something and then try to prove it by cherry picking information that appears to support your pre conclusion. This is why you believe in predetermination, because you are already predetermining.
That I've employed some sarcasm to defend, not my position, but my right to have a position was probably unwarranted. My defensive posture was in response to being called arrogant and being told that I feel superior. In the future, if civility is absent, I will simply not respond. If you would like to try again without employing ridicule of an opposing position, then I will extend the courtesy of considering your position and responding with a reciprocal civility.
So you still clearly do not understand the difference between you and your ego, you think that by describing your ego I describe you ???
So you do not understand how everything you know (or store in your mind) is accessed by your concious thinking - but you are happy to blindly accept that information that comes to you intuitively 'may' be from an outside 'higher' being. Not understanding how something works does not make it magic.
I hope you don't mind me interjecting here, but you said some very interesting things here and I thought I'd share my thought on the matter.
A simple, but perfect explanation for intuition would be Carl Jung's "perception via the unconscious". The "right brain" is associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic abilities which also makes perfect sense because that is where the unconscious mind exists. The study of split brained patients has shown us that the right brain can't talk, but understands, but by it's self is unaware of it's thought. Ask it to pick up the tool and it will, then ask it why it has the tool and it has no idea.
So intuition is a product of the brain, specifically the unconscious letting the conscious know what it's thinking and not messages from anything spiritual.
Hello Rad Man and welcome to the discussion. I would certainly agree that both you and Carl may be right concerning the placement and purpose of intuition. It does not, however, discount the notion that it was put there or that it is immune to an outside influence. It is, as you say, probably, little more than you ascribe to it. I simply speak to the possibilty that a higher power speaks through such vehicles. If a higher power doesn't exist, then the point is mute. If one does exist, it would be an appropriate place to communicate.
The logical question would be, why would a higher being communicate through our unconscious mind rather then cutting to the chase right to our conscious mind? Would you communicate to another through this manner, hoping they get your message?
A worthy point and one I have considered. If the principle of faith is a requisite of communication, then intuition fits the requisite where speaking to the conscious mind would leave no doubt and faith would be unnecessary. Of course, such hypothesis begs the question, why is faith a necessary requiste to communication? And that my logical friend, is entirely new discussion. Your question, however, reveals you prefer thinking to arguing. I commend you for an exercise which is uncommon in the forums.
You correctly predicted my next question. Thanks for the kind words. Why in fact would a God choose to only communicate with those who have faith or and have been taught of his existence when he could simply make himself present? It seems to me the most likely scenario would be that because of how illogical that scienerio is no such God exists. Only the unconscious mind bringing forth it's ideas to the conscious mind makes sense to me.
I can only give you the an answer which is the consequence of my own search for such an answer, Let us presume that free will is necessary under the terms of the higher power. For the moment, why free will is necessary is irrelevant. If the higher power makes itself known objectively, then it has interfered with our free will. If we were as certain of its existence as we are of say, air, our free will would be altered much like a servant to its master, whether from fear of consequence, discipline or retribution. Our every aim would be to conform to its like and dislikes. Faith leaves our free will in tact and we choose what we will do and how we behave without supreme interference. We are free to choose between good and non good without intervention. Obviously, this now begs the logical question, why is our free will necessary to a supreme being or higher power? You see, I have had this argument with myself, but, perhaps, you have answered this within your own reason and so I will not presume you need my humble opinion.
What a relief to get back to civil and thoughtful discussion here! Thank you Rad Man and arb.
I take exeption to this comment, especially as it immediately follows arb's nasty personal attack on me !
I take it that the actual problem here is that I refuse to accept the clear nonsense of pre-determination that is essential base of christianity ?
Take exception to: object to, take offense at, take umbrage at, demur at, disagree with; resent, argue against, protest against, oppose, complain about, shudder at; informal kick up a fuss about, raise a stink about.
Thanks Nellieanna and Arb, I do love complete honesty. It shows.
We're no different than other living things on the planet except that homo sapiens are on a higher evolutionary consciousness level. The Orcas and such are interesting in this regard, however.
One thing about Orcas and dolphins, each of which has shown to have high intelligence: - they've not used it to mess up their world and to try to annihilate each other as the home sapiens are obviously bent on doing to ours! Makes one think!
It does make one think! The Orcas, for example, are not only highly intelligent but are like us in their emotions and actions- they have an extremely complex way of communicating too. If our consciousness was somehow transplanted into their bodies would we act and behave any different than they do? I don't know of course but it is fascinating to ponder on.
Recently I stepped out on the front porch and there was a brown grasshopper perched on the edge of its platform. It sat very still as I leaned over & talked to it. It tilted its head so that its eyes were gazing right at me, following me as I moved to look in the mailbox and told it I was leaving. There was no mail yet then and when I came out again later to look, there was no grasshopper either.
BUT, the next day - he was right there again, and this time seemed to notice me the moment I came out the door.
I frequently talk to cute little chameleon lizards and they seem aware, too. Of course the squirrels always are attentive & aware; they know me now, know my voice!
But I have to wonder at the attention of insects and reptiles! Were they merely interested from the standpoint of their safety? Well, - making a quick exit would be a better response in that case! I think I prefer to think they rather enjoyed the peaceful conversation and/or the intent of same!
Nellie, they are charming creatures, those grasshoppers and even more so the chameleons. Why, watching the colorful lizards go about their business and cock their curious heads as they contemplate the giant staring at them...well, there is something positively human about it. Since we have a bit of the ol' reptile in us perhaps they have a tiny bit of the giant in them.
I wouldn't be surprised, Alastar, but either way, it's fun to give them regard and a kind word! I do have a soft spot in my heart for them. I almost cried that same day when I found a tiny little baby lizard dead. Silly, huh?
Not at all silly, Nellie. Like I said there is something special about the chameleons, especially in their natural state. As to them having a little bit of us in them that was meant figuratively of course...or was it now? Once walked into the middle of a bushy field in a national forest that held dozens of them all around me. I watched them for maybe twenty minutes go about their community lives and must say...well, they do indeed seem to have something of us in them!
Yesterday I saw a little chameleon on my patio door screen. Went close to take a picture of it, then realized it was on he INSIDE of the screen, trapped in there. So I managed to crack open the glass door enough for it to escape and tried to coax the little guy to take advantage! But it reacted by going the opposite direction away from freedom; so I realized it was inhibited by my proximity and I left & sat down, still able to watch what it did. Poor little thing had a bit of a strruggle figuring it out, took wrong courses but finally got on the edge of the doorframe, right beside "freedom", but where it scooted UP and further from the bottom step. So I moved the glass door a bit, enough to scare it to hop like lightning onto the brick wall and escape rapidly! It was a rather gratifying mini-relationship.
A mini-model of how we humans often ignore our own opportunities, except that we often seem deliberately to ignore ours and to doubt the prevailing good-will of nature and life!
We have the capacity to behave, to be kind, to love and to nurture, That we have the capacity to be otherwise might be what separates from such other living things. I wonder if they have such choice or if its a burden of man alone?
Buddhist View: We are not the body but soul. We live in Samsara, the endless cycle of birth and rebirth. Nirvana, the liberation, is the ultimate reality.
Hindu View: We are atma (soul) and our propose in this world to be merged with parmatma (God). Our life here on earth is illusion.
Hi Vinaya, Such a view is as worthy of consideration as any other. In your case such view is your foundation and influences the shape of the house you build. In a sense it builds your view of reality. Your reality then is different than mine, but, no less as valid unless I can disprove your foundational premise and I can not. Again, our beginning point dictates our conclusions.
Vinaya, are those two views in harmony with each other? They could be or they could be somewhat 'at odds'. What is your view?
Well I hope it continues. I was enjoying the dialogue.
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