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kkl10

What ifs

31 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I'm not aware of another thread specifically for this so post your "What if...?" divagations here. Because kkl likes what ifs (in form and substance) and random idea exchange with no strings attached. Be as silly, vague, provocative, specific, poetic, dense, naive, insightful, etc., as you can. You can comment on, or even try to answer, another user's what ifs if you want.

The only rule is the thought must come from you. Here's an example (posted on another thread):

----------------------------------------

What if you can short-circuit the animal's primitive brain by juggling grenades in front of it?

Edited by kkl10

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what if that wasn't the answer you were looking for?

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Posted (edited)

What if there aren't any selves but rather cognitive phenomena arising and disappearing propelled by conscious or unconscious intentions and wills arising due to desires, habits or conditioning (all of which are just some more cognitive processes) and all these interacting cognitive phenomena and processes are directing various cognitive and physical actions without actually having 'anyone in particular' (a 'self' or homunculus in the mind) in control, however with the help of some particular mental faculties responsible for conceptualization and abstraction { to help shorten sensual information by associating those with familiar general abstract classes (and their associated stats) to represent it in and thereby removing more specific unnecessary details unless some specific details stands out too much in contrast to other general members of the abstract class or if a particular interest or intention motivates the mental processes to supply extra attention to the details } to construct a narrative of a-central-self to retell the story of mental and physical actions by associating first person pronouns and a sense of 'self' and 'control' to every cognitive and bodily phenomena that transcends the threshold for appearing under consciousness (thus 'anger' becomes 'I am angry' and 'arousal of intention of moving the hand, under the consciousness and the subsequent movement of the hand apparent under consciousness' becomes 'I moved the hand or I am moving the hand')  and all these story-making happens for the sake of making a simplified coherent explanation, albeit not totally accurate because these tendencies to construct simplified story-explanations, including stories about 'casualties' help in efficiently processing and organizing heavy loads of information by a limited information processing system ( Mind ) while also helping us to survive and procreate in the historical times because evolution is not concerned with absolute truth or total accuracy but enough to go on surviving and procreating, and if a lies or unjustified assumptions better helped in doing so, such tendencies would have been naturally selected there by ending up making humans deluded to some extent by default and only after some sudden accidental epiphany or consistent training of the mind to sustain mindfulness and stable attention to perceive phenomena as it is without over-conceptualizing can help mitigate the illness of the minds and make one 'awaken' from the dreams ( a metaphor for delusion ) we mistakenly believe to be reality?

And what if the above is another narrative made up by the mind; another narrative that does not correspond to reality with sufficient precision? 

 

Edited by PillowSofa

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What if I care?

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what if this is it?

Spoiler

Please login or register to see this image. /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://i.imgur.com/vvR6OqU.png&key=0d801ca48ed28f7947cbd4520d04ce0cbbfaa6c849ce66b02f4c5c3794ab6d08" />

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K2YRhQ3.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

On 6/16/2017 at 3:46 AM, PillowSofa said:

What if there aren't any selves but rather cognitive phenomena arising and disappearing propelled by conscious or unconscious intentions and wills arising due to desires, habits or conditioning (all of which are just some more cognitive processes) and all these interacting cognitive phenomena and processes are directing various cognitive and physical actions without actually having 'anyone in particular' (a 'self' or homunculus in the mind) in control, however with the help of some particular mental faculties responsible for conceptualization and abstraction { to help shorten sensual information by associating those with familiar general abstract classes (and their associated stats) to represent it in and thereby removing more specific unnecessary details unless some specific details stands out too much in contrast to other general members of the abstract class or if a particular interest or intention motivates the mental processes to supply extra attention to the details } to construct a narrative of a-central-self to retell the story of mental and physical actions by associating first person pronouns and a sense of 'self' and 'control' to every cognitive and bodily phenomena that transcends the threshold for appearing under consciousness (thus 'anger' becomes 'I am angry' and 'arousal of intention of moving the hand, under the consciousness and the subsequent movement of the hand apparent under consciousness' becomes 'I moved the hand or I am moving the hand')  and all these story-making happens for the sake of making a simplified coherent explanation, albeit not totally accurate because these tendencies to construct simplified story-explanations, including stories about 'casualties' help in efficiently processing and organizing heavy loads of information by a limited information processing system ( Mind ) while also helping us to survive and procreate in the historical times because evolution is not concerned with absolute truth or total accuracy but enough to go on surviving and procreating, and if a lies or unjustified assumptions better helped in doing so, such tendencies would have been naturally selected there by ending up making humans deluded to some extent by default and only after some sudden accidental epiphany or consistent training of the mind to sustain mindfulness and stable attention to perceive phenomena as it is without over-conceptualizing can help mitigate the illness of the minds and make one 'awaken' from the dreams ( a metaphor for delusion ) we mistakenly believe to be reality?

And what if the above is another narrative made up by the mind; another narrative that does not correspond to reality with sufficient precision? 

 

In other words, what if:

 

the sense of being separate is a survival device but also causes us trouble, but

actually we are one, and

realizing 'we are one' and living from that works better, but

humans are storymakers like spiders are webmakers, therefore

we can't know if this story matches reality, therefore 

just go live your life, except

the sense of being separate is a survival device but also causes us trouble...

 

The human condition:

despair<---------------------------->humor

Embrace it?

 

Edited by vertebrate

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Posted (edited)

52 minutes ago, vertebrate said:

actually we are one, and

Not sure. Sure you can go from we are nothing to we are therefore everything (becoming everything by shedding the boundaries of identity) but still that just becomes an all-inclusive identification. There's no duality in direct experience but nothing can be said of outside it with certainty. In an impersonal sense we can be said to be one ....but...In the end one and many are just classifications and simplified abstracts, many can be considered as one in one context and an 'one' can be considered as 'many' in other contexes, any group of similar many-s are often classified under one 'class', that's how objects come to being. Anyway, I am more of an advocate of zeroness....'lackness'...rather than 'existing as one'.

Edited by PillowSofa

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Posted (edited)

54 minutes ago, PillowSofa said:

Not sure. Sure you can go from we are nothing to we are therefore everything (becoming everything by shedding the boundaries of identity) but still that just becomes an all-inclusive identification. There's no duality in direct experience but nothing can be said of outside it with certainty. In an impersonal sense we can be said to be one ....but...In the end one and many are just classifications and simplified abstracts, many can be considered as one in one context and an 'one' can be considered as 'many' in other contexes, any group of similar many-s are often classified under one 'class', that's how objects come to being. Anyway, I am more of an advocate of zeroness but to be precise what is, is ineffable.  

Thanks, interesting.

Since we can't know what we want to know, and we're here alive for some number of sun orbits, what identity do you think best serves the good life? An advocate of the ineffable? [EDIT:  Or an advocate of lackness as per your revision?]

(The good life to me is peace, not happiness.)

By the way, I wasn't going in my thinking from 'we are nothing' to 'we are therefore everything.' I was going from 'I am me' to 'I am we.' A rung down from nonduality because nonduality affords no good life.

Edited by vertebrate

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, vertebrate said:

Thanks, interesting.

Since we can't know what we want to know, and we're here alive for some number of sun orbits, what identity do you think best serves the good life? An advocate of the ineffable? 

(The good to me is peace, not happiness.)

By the way, I wasn't going in my thinking from 'we are nothing' to 'we are therefore everything.' I was going from 'I am me' to 'I am we.' A rung down from nonduality because nonduality affords no good life.

I am me may sound neat but ultimately it doesn't elaborate anything about the nature of 'I' rather simply reinforce the self through an expression of pure self-reference. It kind of makes sense; it's simple, intuitive and devoid of clutters but it may be useful to look into our direct experience and inquire what we refer to 'I' in it and what kind of ideas are associated with it. Then we can check how much of these ideas are properly associated and if they are relevant to our 'core self'. Then after pruning ideas and concepts that doesn't define the core essence we can start to seek where is it and what exactly is absolutely essential for self and if that can be seen as self. 

Not sure how can we go from 'I am me' to 'I am we' other than in the sense of how no one is physically isolated (we inseparable from nature...and there isn't a 'clear' boundary).

Peace and equanimity can be achieved through practice of mindfulness and training the mind. Mindfulness empowers objectivity and helps one to disassociate from negativity without suppressing or ignoring them (by simply observing them without submerging in them or triggering judgments or feedback loops (judgements may still nevertheless arise and we can similarly just observe them as well)). As the advocates of mindfulness say 'pain is inevitable but suffering is optional'.   

A moral lifestyle with love-kindness-generosity-compassion is recommended as it can be helpful for one's own mind (keeping it guilt free and devoid of lingering negativity, remorse etc.) and other's too; also development of equanimity and mindfulness may automatically contribute to purification of mind resulting in reduction of mental defilements (anger, fear, past trauma) and making one more loving, generous and moral as a result.

Mindfulness practice doesn't require much of any adherence to a particular belief systems. Non-dual understanding can be adopted along with mindfulness (which is actually considered necessary for making oneself prone to 'insights'...though some may receive glimpses to it without any much of a cultivation of mindfulness and equanimity; for some it may not be initially 'all too fun'. Depends, I guess. But probably those who have trained and adjusted oneself in equanimity, serenity and calm joy can much easily handle the non-dual insights. Also not all non-dual traditions or schools of thoughts are the same). Not to mention, the practice of Mindfulness was highlighted by a certain non-dual tradition in the first place. However a true sufficient degree of gnosis into the fundamental nature of existence in some of these non-dual traditions (Buddhism, Advaitans)  is said to be necessary for being free of a form of more fundamental form of existential suffering and eventually contribute to the freedom from cycle of rebirth. 

I was reading 'The Mind Illuminated'. It seems to be be quite a detailed book with a very systematic approach to developing 'stable attention' AND 'mindfulness' (both of which are apparently important). It has divided meditation practice into 10 stages depending on how developed one's mind is. I have yet to see how well this practice goes for me. It's a pretty good book as far as I have read, it describes how mindfulness can influence you and is also quite precise in it's usages of different terms. 

I somehow spontaneously developed mindfulness along with equanimity at some time of my life before even knowing such a thing as mindfulness actually exist and even though I didn't stay in it 24/7, I could use it to observe pain and unpleasant sensations without suffering; instead I could choose to enjoy or appreciate it to some extent (though sometimes I feel like I should put myself in seriously severe situations to test the theory to the very limit). But my attention and clarity is not up to the standards I wish them to be. So I will try to develop them and see where it leads me to. From my personal experience of equanimity, mindfulness, life can be made peaceful and suffering can be 'mitigated' at the very least and these practices doesn't really require any adherence to particular belief system as I said before.

I am kind of 'meh' about the matter of adopting identity. There's of course this conventional 'identity' ('PillowSofa' and its tendencies, inclinations, desires) that I live by but without believing it to be some kind of cartesian self controlling all thoughts, emotions etc. Also Nagarjuna's stanzas made me realize the lack of independent permanent essence (self) in not only my 'self' but in all 'appearances'. Advaita or Neo-Advaita's true self ...empty-awareness is still interesting...and the state of being mindful can 'feel' like being this 'empty awareness' separate from the contents (thoughts, emotions)...it's something I can totally deny neither verify (for an in depth explanation, I have to write a book which I won't write without further education, clarity and wisdom. Though I guess I can explain if insisted to)...perhaps I have hit an epistemological limit here that I can't really overcome...but I don't think about it....right now. IIRC The 2nd Book of Flying Banana that I shared in some other thread emphasized my more or less current opinion on all these (appearances) but it can be kind of esoteric though, the way I have written even though it's written in plain language....it might be dense without going through the same path I went through. I will rewrite the book some day later and may even make flying Banana a full fledged religion someday.  

_______________________________________________

Sorry for hijacking this thread. So let me contribute to the original topic.

What if I am not creative enough to make an entertaining what-if scenario to contribute to the thread ?

Edited by PillowSofa

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What if this universe really is a hologram/computer simulation? Does that mean I actually paid money to experience this life?:cry:

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

Not sure how can we go from 'I am me' to 'I am we' other than in the sense of how no one is physically isolated (we inseparable from nature...and there isn't a 'clear' boundary).

That's the sense I meant, exactly. 

3 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

Peace and equanimity can be achieved through practice of mindfulness and training the mind. 

Is this your experience? That is, can you personally say you have achieved peace and equanimity?

If not, are you taking the beliefs of others on faith?

I ask this because I have known IRL an unusually high number of, you might say "adepts" at Eastern ways--and consequently steer clear of Eastern ways with a 10-foot pole.

If you've involved yourself in neo-Advaita and similar, we may know some of the same people. 

3 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

Mindfulness practice doesn't require much of any adherence to a particular belief systems.

I know what you wrote is a commonly held belief. We can agree to disagree, perhaps. Actions are based on beliefs, and the action of mindfulness comes from a specific set of beliefs. Practicing mindfulness is by default practicing a particular belief system. 

3 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

sometimes I feel like I should put myself in seriously severe situations to test the theory to the very limit)

Consider doing so, otherwise you run the risk of wasting great amounts of your life, not to mention the potential fallout from disillusionment.

Disillusionment. An intriguing word. Disillusionment is what you're after, in another sense, continuously and permanently, is that right?

Edited by vertebrate

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What if the alphabet had only four letters.

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What if—what if—could not be conceived?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, vertebrate said:

I ask this because I have known IRL an unusually high number of, you might say "adepts" at Eastern ways--and consequently steer clear of Eastern ways with a 10-foot pole.

Sorry that you've met this sort, I don't doubt that people would and maybe should feel repulsed by the fakers; it might be pointless to say that they're not representative of all 'Eastern ways'. 

That being said, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and because of these boundaries (continents) drawn by people, Christianity ends up being birthed by an Asian in Asia... 

Edited by zonsop

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, vertebrate said:

That's the sense I meant, exactly. 

Is this your experience? That is, can you personally say you have achieved peace and equanimity?

If not, are you taking the beliefs of others on faith?

I have experienced moments of mindfulness spontaneously (without practice or cultivation of mindfulness specifically, before even knowing such a thing exists)

Spoiler

[It probably started when I had a certain experience in shift in consciousness when 'I' disappeared and found that thoughts and emotions coming and going...there's a mere observation of them and I (felt like a silent observer) couldn't identify with them. Also I had a knack of trying to perceive without conceptualizing too much, without names and labels...these together led me to be able to initiate this silent observer mode whenever necessary; and also observe things without conventional judgements like observing pain without 'typical' reactions...then I could notice interesting sensations at different locations...things I didn't notice when I was busy to ignore, or avert them by thinking 'they are painful]. At that time I didn't know anything about mindfulness or whatever. I used to use Internet for video games and stuffs.

I have been able to use it to reduce suffering and can still use it if 'intention' arises. Physical pain often turns into 'simply intense sensations' without the emotional charge and mental judgement that it's 'painful'. I had directly experienced it but more mindfulness is needed for more intense pain, I have not been able to perfectly nullify all pain but still I can mitigate it to some extent by becoming mindful of it. Same for emotional pain. I had mitigated them by being mindful of it in past. Though in some rare occasions I had been unable to do so, when I was getting submerged in a huge mesh of dark-emotions-thoughts etc. Generally I don't feel suffering though generally I don't remain too mindful and sometimes do get depress and don't even feel like trying to be mindful or reduce it; but those were not substantial sufferings. So generally I can be in peace and equanimity almost all the time, though not strongly mindful. But considering how I barely ever tried to cultivate or empower mindfulness, it's reasonable to think that the empowerment of mindfulness and result in better overall handling of mental states.'

However, I have also heard about chances of 'dark night' or experiences like that which can result. On that matter, I can't say anything. 

Quote

If you've involved yourself in neo-Advaita and similar, we may know some of the same people. 

I know what you wrote is a commonly held belief. We can agree to disagree, perhaps. Actions are based on beliefs, and the action of mindfulness comes from a specific set of beliefs. Practicing mindfulness is by default practicing a particular belief system. 

I don't belong to any particular community or eastern tradition (I forgot, officially I am Hindu but do not subscribe to it), barring may be one or two facebook group which I don't interact with much anyway. So I don't deal with any neo-advaitans or such; I don't particularly subscribe to their philosophy either though I find it interesting (Talking about Advaitan, I have Ramana Mahashri in mind.  I don't know anybody else) I lean towards Buddhism more, but I don't let myself 'fall' in it. 

Mindfulness Meditation probably comes from Buddha's teaching. This type of meditation was formulated to result in 'insights' in the fundamental natures of existence. But mindfulness in itself seem to have other functionalities and it can be cultivated merely for those functionalities. While originally mindfulness meditation might have been formulated in the context of a belief system, to acheive some goal stated in the system but there are actual research papers IIRC that points out several psychological and physiological benefits of mindfulness meditators. So one can simply practice it for that reason without suscribing to any particular 'view'....which may be better than starting with a biased view about 'what kind of insights one is supposed to achieve' which may result in 'scripting' the perception to make it appear as how one thinks it should appear according to one's view\philosophy. So it may be even better to practice without belief and just experience whatever insights that arise. I can't personally validate and confirm from personal experience about insights arising from mindfulness meditation, but still it can be practiced for other known benefits. In addition concentration meditation may also be learned for better stable attention. 

I will admit though; I myself did not achieve any dramatic transformation that I can 'certainly' relate to the meditations I am recommending; I already experienced lighter versions of the many of the promised transformations before even meditating. I have experienced 'interesting sensations' when I tried to meditate by just blocking thoughts or doing nothing specific when I didn't know about mindfulness techniques and others; but that's about it. I never consistently meditated in these methods, so I can't vouch for their exact method. But the meditation experience and the concept of mindfulness sounds exactly like what I personally experienced and can experience. Which is why it makes sense for me that these techniques may help develop mindfulness. I am trying to consistently practice nowadays following the systematic approach of The Mind Illuminated (trying to develop both 'stable attention' and 'mindfulness'). I have yet to see how it goes. 

However, in short benefits of mindfulness (if not mindfulness meditation) was personally experienced by me and additionally the western side is currently interested in mindfulness meditation and there are apparently quite some research backing up mindfulness meditation which seems to effect beneficial developments in the brain and is correlated with reduction of negative emotions. 

Quote

Consider doing so, otherwise you run the risk of wasting great amounts of your life, not to mention the potential fallout from disillusionment.

Disillusionment. An intriguing word. Disillusionment is what you're after, in another sense, continuously and permanently, is that right?

When I was talking about testing the theory to the limits, I was considering about really going to extreme...like putting myself in a situation where I am tortured day and night physically and mentally? Or may be solitary confinement in a small dark room for years. Should I get myself in that situation? Hmm. May be in due time, I will see what I can do. Though generally I am biased for avoiding discomfort when I can avoid it conveniently (plain survival mechanism, I guess. Helps to keep insane people like me alive and well.) and only use mindfulness as a last resort (I'm lazy). Though recently I am trying (24/7-sleep time) mindfulness. Obviously, I can't...but I will keep on trying. I just wanna see what happens. Otherwise less extreme life situations like loss of loved ones or stuffs probably won't bother me enough. I don't think mindfulness is invincible however; it's dependent on certain conditions, a certain level of trained mind...if the mind is damaged due to old age or something age...all those training may go to waste for this life.

Disillusionment, may be. Though it's a bit strong word. I am not actively seeking disillusionment (which requires an active belief in being under some illusionary belief...but if one knows one is under an illusion\false belief...one is already disillusioned) but if it happens and I lose some delusions that I may be holding, that would be nice for sure. More precisely, what I am currently curious to achieve is further clarity in my direct experience....if that results in disillusionments then so be it.   

Edited by PillowSofa

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4 hours ago, Kilowatt0 said:

What if this universe really is a hologram/computer simulation? Does that mean I actually paid money to experience this life?:cry:

oxhtqrg.jpg

xRbhJ5U.png

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Posted (edited)

@RTB said:

What if—what if—could not be conceived?

 

 

I actually tried to think this though. It got really weird. My head hurts.

Please login or register to see this link.

 

 
 
...... added to this post 17 minutes later:
 
5 hours ago, zonsop said:

Sorry that you've met this sort, I don't doubt that people would and maybe should feel repulsed by the fakers; it might be pointless to say that they're not representative of all 'Eastern ways'. 

 

Spoiler

 

No, no, fakers isn't the right word. They were sincere. I was sincere. You haven't lived till you've been at a restaurant where three of the four people at the table--including yourself, unfortunately--think they're enlightened. 

Many unforgettable experiences and Experiences. :p "May you live in interesting times and/or inflict them on yourself."

Repulsed is the right word, though. I no longer believe in enlightenment. 

 

 

Edited by vertebrate

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Posted (edited)

What if oxytocin deficiencies/differences underlie all social contrasts between distinct demographics sharing equal privileges?

-----------------------------

10 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

What if I am not creative enough to make an entertaining what-if scenario to contribute to the thread ?

Wha...??

It's not about entertainment. It's about planting seeds and letting random cause and effect grow new life.

6 hours ago, Cacao said:

What if the alphabet had only four letters.

Please login or register to see this link. . I still haven't bothered to research why, though.

Edited by kkl10

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5 hours ago, PillowSofa said:

When I was talking about testing the theory to the limits, I was considering about really going to extreme...like putting myself in a situation where I am tortured day and night physically and mentally? Or may be solitary confinement in a small dark room for years. Should I get myself in that situation? Hmm. May be in due time, I will see what I can do.

(If you don't already), just have several children.  :devilish:

 

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What if the afterlife is terrible and painful and disorienting? 

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, vertebrate said:

(If you don't already), just have several children.  :devilish:

Seriously. That's a bit too much. 

5 hours ago, vertebrate said:

 

Please login or register to see this link. Reveal hidden contents

 

No, no, fakers isn't the right word. They were sincere. I was sincere. You haven't lived till you've been at a restaurant where three of the four people at the table--including yourself, unfortunately--think they're enlightened. 

Many unforgettable experiences and Experiences. :p "May you live in interesting times and/or inflict them on yourself."

Repulsed is the right word, though. I no longer believe in enlightenment. 

 

 

There's an interesting story which was written in a certain book. Someone in the neo-Advaita tradition was praised for being able to aware to be aware of boundless consciousness and having her all 'thoughts' shut off. She thought she was no longer thinking but just boundless consciousness or something.  Then she went with a group into another tradition (some Buddhist tradition, don't remember precisely which one) and the guru-equivalent of the particular group representing the tradition whom she went to meet, upon hearing her condition, laughed and gave her a simple instruction: 'to think and notify the guru when she had successfully thought a thought'. She tried to do..and after a while she started becoming confused...'wait was that a thought or was that not?...."

Many people seem to consider themselves enlightened (as I gathered from internet) having some transformative experience and glimpse into no-conventional-self and some pure awareness or whatever. At one point I did too...yet I noticed my understanding, perception, opinions kept on changing though not drastically. It's probably all crazy out there. Some books mentioned that inside most Buddhist Monasteries, enlightenment is kind of a taboo and ironically thought to be kind of unacheivable and also there are various ideas about what enlightenment it, it is also associated sometimes with perfect conduct and other stuffs. I don't find these terms too useful anymore. There's all these people calling themselves enlightened after some random transformative experience or whatever. In some way it's all bullshit including the concepts of awareness, the concept of self, control; all of them. Right now, HONESTLY only the books of Flying Banana makes sense to me. Especially the 3rd book (which has 1000 pages of wisdom (

Spoiler

Each of them is blank.

)).    

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What if the one who started reading this statement is completely dead and the you right now is not the one who started reading? 

By dead I mean absolute death, not trivial metaphoric stuffs. By absolute death I mean absolute termination of consciousness. 

What if each moment is death of consciousness...but the 'blink' between death and new birth of the quality of consciousness isn't noticed because there is no one to register that blink? What if memory stitches the instances of consciousnesses to bring about the illusion of continuity? What if we are literally dying every moment? What if it's not fundamentally too different that being destroyed and then cloned like in that teleportation dilemma (think Parfit's article on persons) but every moment and we can never know because memory makes it seem all normal?

Edited by PillowSofa

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14 minutes ago, PillowSofa said:

There's an interesting story which was written in a certain book. Someone in the neo-Advaita tradition was praised for being able to aware to be aware of boundless consciousness and having her all 'thoughts' shut off. She thought she was no longer thinking but just boundless consciousness or something.  Then she went with a group into another tradition (some Buddhist tradition, don't remember precisely which one) and the guru-equivalent of the particular group representing the tradition whom she went to meet, upon hearing her condition, laughed and gave her a simple instruction: 'to think and notify the guru when she had successfully thought a thought'. She tried to do..and after a while she started becoming confused...'wait was that a thought or was that not?...."

Yes, that was in Sam Harris's book, Waking Up.

14 minutes ago, PillowSofa said:

At one point I did too...

It's a common affliction? Glad you got back out. The ones who stay... I suppose their horrible example helps others get back out. 

 

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Posted (edited)

52 minutes ago, vertebrate said:

It's a common affliction? Glad you got back out. The ones who stay... I suppose their horrible example helps others get back out. 

There seems to be many self claimed enlightened masters writing books and stuffs. I wouldn't exactly call them (those who I am thinking about) horrible.

Statistically it's probably not too common. But there still probably are quite some. And most of them might be (not speaking from experience. I don't meet with people. I am just guessing) people who have some light glimpse into the lack of their selves or some potentially incomplete intellectual understanding and yet call them (and sincerely believe to be) enlightened some of them might be those whom you met? 

I do think part of their (the one's I have in mind, those who have well established 'personas' and name in the internet) experience\insight is true (the lack of self in the way most thinks the self to be). They might have achieved some profound insight but that might not be the end of all. The people I know (none of them I know personally), aren't horrible examples but I don't just blindly trust they have reached the peak or so to say. I find myself in agreement with most of what they say, much of which I already came to conclusion before finding these people but I don't trust them in all the things, nor do I trust myself.  one point I was almost at total agreement with them...but I had some doubt creeping in and after some analysis of direct experience....I lost something....the concept of <one pure awareness as underlying every phenomena> and more...but I couldn't grasp the other side either...the world without base or substance but conglomeration of various units organized in certain way....I was stuck in the middle path of no knowledge...then I also had some other realizations of emptiness of other 'objects' in appearances (thanks to Nagarjuna)...I looked at conceptual formations how different stuffs get mixed together under one 'name'...there were interesting things to realize and see from different degrees of skepticism. There's this contrast in conventional Buddhism (some Buddhist traditions can be very close to Neo-Advaita and not in contradiction with it) and Neo-Advaita where according to one there is no underlying essence and according to another there is one. Both have there own enlightenment. Most of the so-called enlightenment experiencers are more closer to the advaita side as I have found (though there are other so called self claimed 'enlightened' ones who are 'far out there' away from either of these traditions which I have seen in Internet.)  but from my direct experience at my current level I could not deny or accept either view points. And then even if simply a glimpse of one's lack of self supposedly makes one enlightened there's still apparently difference in degree. For example in Ramana Mahashri's case after having the transformative experience , after a while he left home and meditated alone somewhere...and kept on. Before that he was just an <apparently> ordinary untrained kid who had a talent in sleeping. How many of these so called enlightened beings were transformed to this degree to feel compelled to and being able to meditate all the time and stuffs. There's probably much deeper to go and even if the intellectual understanding may not expand..the intuitive understanding may expand and the mind-experience may take much different shape.

From what I have seen even after understanding the lack of conventional selves, there many possible belief systems that can be taken...many roads to be taken...and it all might be far from end. Also there can be question if the authenticity and 'truth' that an experience makes one 'feel' can be really correlated with the intensity of the so called 'feeling' and transformative power of that 'experience'. 

Actually I have read so much about these enlightenment stuffs at one point, with all these different people, opinions, conflicts and all...the term <enlightenment> became a cliche for me.

 

 

Edited by PillowSofa

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