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ChloeB

What is Being?

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It's still hard to say what to just "be" is though isn't it? I mean in my head it's not really, but I guess what Jugoso said, when you shut down on the mind chatter is that what you would say is to just be?

And that Being and our "self" now seem like two things, the self and whatever it is that is watching that self and is aware it, as I said now seem separate, that might be what the fall of man was all about.

Do our bodies just sort of carry around or move around parts of the physical environment, temporarily rearranging it for a time?
Our self, and our awareness of that self, would seem to be not separate as you propose, but our awareness (self-awareness) is actually dependent on the existence of the self. In this, the entire world/universe outside the Mind is our 'mirror'.

Is being dependent on the self? Is there a self at all, or is it an artificial construct of the mind? Who is aware of this self? Can the self be aware of itself? If our awareness is dependent on the existence of the self, what happens when the self disappears from our consciousness?

Have we ever had an occasion when we loose our sense of ourselves? I've had the experience, for instance, watching a movie where for a period of time all there is is the movie, there is no separate me watching the movie. I think in this kind of experience our true being is realized. In Zen this may be called is-ness. Everything just is without separation. We loose our particular perspective, but we are not lost. In this we stand on the solid ground of true reality.

When The Buddha was challenged as to the legitimacy of his enlightenment, he reached down and put a finger to the ground around him. Then all the gods, angels and devils bowed to his authenticity. He had found solid ground to stand on.

The self is only awareness being aware of its particular perspective of the environment around it. When we are purposefully defining everything relative to this particular perspective, we are inventing an environment that is artificial, and not the true being of our environment, nor the true being of our particular perspective.

Can we eliminate the duality of the observer and the observed? Can we separate the dancer from the dance? I think this kid of selfless awareness is useful for us.

"The true nature of reality is invisible, and cannot be understood by the rational mind," some Ch'an master said. We need our rational mind, but we also need a deeper understanding than rationally can provide.

This is my perception, anyway.

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Posted (edited)

Is being dependent on the self? Is there a self at all, or is it an artificial construct of the mind? Who is aware of this self? Can the self be aware of itself? If our awareness is dependent on the existence of the self, what happens when the self disappears from our consciousness?

When you lose your sense of self, when you cannot see your self mirrored in the world around you, you are still a being - in the "entity" sense of the world. Like Chloe's labrador, there is still the sensory experience of the world.

But you cannot be a being in the sense of being "you".

Have we ever had an occasion when we loose our sense of ourselves? I've had the experience, for instance, watching a movie where for a period of time all there is is the movie, there is no separate me watching the movie. I think in this kind of experience our true being is realized. In Zen this may be called is-ness. Everything just is without separation. We loose our particular perspective, but we are not lost. In this we stand on the solid ground of true reality.

When The Buddha was challenged as to the legitimacy of his enlightenment, he reached down and put a finger to the ground around him. Then all the gods, angels and devils bowed to his authenticity. He had found solid ground to stand on.

Perhaps Buddha's enlightenment was not the 'loss of self' you believe it to be. If Buddha lost his sense of self, then how could Buddha have been aware of the enlightenment of that self?

It is my opinion that much of what is written about Buddha in Buddhism (or commentary on Buddhism) is mythology. Mainly written by people searching for something without realising it is right there, behind their eyes.

Edited by Leonardo

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Posted (edited)

You're thinking like a human, Chloe. ;)

A dog doesn't think like a human, and a dog's vision is not comparable to a human's vision when considering the relative importance of the senses. Your dog cannot smell another dog, and it cannot hear another dog. After the initial visual encounter (in the mirror) the dog is able to determine the 'other dog' is no threat - as it has no smell and no growl.

You're probably right that it has no recognisance of the 'other dog' as a reflection, but without all those other sensory clues, it has no importance to Knight as a possible threat or interloper.

LOL, yes, I hear that smell is sort of an important thing to dogs! D'oh! Oh yes, I am guilty as charged. I even speak for that dog in a totally different Scooby Doo voice. I am always thinking of him as human, but that makes sense as to why he stopped doing it.

Referring back to what Heidegger said about the "true being"...

So, Heidegger promotes our "true being" as limited participants of the world we discover (entities), and discards our manipulation of that world as "hiding" this fact.

Is he right?

I would argue that manipulation of the world is one indication of, one aspect of, self-awareness, true being. The realities we create for ourselves suggest this is so.

That was confusing to me how they put that. So what I'm understanding is that the true being is what discovers and what manipulates is hiding it. That to me is like how people are talking about to just be, like SMK said to just be- that's discovering and kind of accepting of what "is" but the not true being part is the part trying to manipulate that and convince ourselves that we are any more than that. Manipulation of the world, well can't any being do such a thing, one that is not self-aware, true being? I can provide Knight examples if necessary, lol,;) but you know what I'm saying, they can do interact with the physical world, reality, but we've agreed they lack true being, right?

It sounds like he's saying the true being is that watcher part of ourself, the limited participant and more discoverer and the "the doer" part of us, the one that manipulates reality, interacts with reality is not the true being.

Edited by ChloeB

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That was confusing to me how they put that. So what I'm understanding is that the true being is what discovers and what manipulates is hiding it. That to me is like how people are talking about to just be, like SMK said to just be- that's discovering and kind of accepting of what "is" but the not true being part is the part trying to manipulate that and convince ourselves that we are any more than that. Manipulation of the world, well can't any being do such a thing, one that is not self-aware, true being? I can provide Knight examples if necessary, lol,;) but you know what I'm saying, they can do interact with the physical world, reality, but we've agreed they lack true being, right?

It sounds like he's saying the true being is that watcher part of ourself, the limited participant and more discoverer and the "the doer" part of us, the one that manipulates reality, interacts with reality is not the true being.

Sorry, my fault because I wasn't very clear in writing what you quoted. I should have said "mental manipulation", not just manipulation. I hope that makes it a bit clearer.

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Perhaps Buddha's enlightenment was not the 'loss of self' you believe it to be. If Buddha lost his sense of self, then how could Buddha have been aware of the enlightenment of that self?

Perhaps we have different definitions of "self". I would define "self" as one's experience, memory, knowledge and one's awareness of these personal aspects, and one's reflections on and use of these mental quantities.

This is what I meant by "loss of self". One's awareness remains when these aspects of mind are recognized as a hindrance to a clear understanding of being.

I don't think one's "self" is enlightened, enlightenment is the recognition that these features of the mind are superficial, and that there is a deeper more fundamental intuitive sense of one's being.

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Because I operate so intuitively, and through a lot of sensing & feeling, I have a difficult time following the conversation, but I think I have the gist of it. So I'm feeling that self is important, not as the star of the show, but as a necessary component of form function. In order for us to walk, talk, work, thing, etc. a sense of self is necessary. However, there have been times when I've been very aware of self, and at the same time experiencing self as extending outside my body and being a part of a greater whole;so self & consciousness work together to create an opportunity for this to occur. Each is necessary, as long as we have bodies, what differs among people is how and to what degree these two necessary components work together. And there's always fluctuation, too, I think. Anyhoo, maybe "field of being" is a helpful term. Field in terms of wave function and electro-magnetic and consciousness.

Being & consciousness are perhaps directed by or act within the physical laws of the universe, whatever they might be, so if that's true, then what are the parameters, or even, are there any parameters? Of even, how much choice do we really have about all this and how much is imperative natural law?

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Beany, I think your "field of being" is an excellent term.

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Okay, that gets my dog back into being, but so what you're saying is basically conscious, sentient right? So would someone in a coma, in a state of unconsciousness not be in a state of being? They are in a state of existence but not in a state of being?

And that would lead me into my next question and all these does God "exist" debates......does something need to "exist" as we understand "exist" to be in a state of being? Point being, God as a ground of all being, but existing isn't really what God is about...........maybe..........or I think, haha.

IMO, the key word is essence. I rationalise it lick this,"Being" is conscience but essence is everything (including existence, conscience & rationale). Essence is the output result of our brains interpretations. Traditional philosophy and Sartre initially differentiate Existence from Essence. Hey, what can I say, it's just my opinion but I believe essence incorporates everything.

Does this mean I put the dog back into Being? Why not. A dog exists, knows it exists (at least in it's simplest form of understanding) and some have a basic level of rationality . The difference is, our brains are capable of interpreting signals from our senses in a more sophisticated manner. If you were religious, you would probably reject this idea as being blasphemous because Being is a Metaphysical way to describe God. We're the Sons of God while animals are just animals, so they don't belong.

The biggest puzzle for me is, why? Why is our brain interpreting and perceiving?

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Well if we are using being as an entity, which is what Heidegger was saying the problem is, then my dog is a being, but I like where you're going with this. I would say my dog has a self, that is what he is, himself, his personality and ability to feel and have emotions is his self, but what he doesn't have is that observer of his thoughts, as we've said that awareness of his self, and that we might say is what Being is, which some might argue is something separate from self.

Last I checked it's called existentialism, although in my opinion there are plenty of people who have less self awareness than your dog. And this is why I believe Sartres was wrong when he wrote Being and Nothingness (L’Être et le Non-être)

Is being dependent on the self? Is there a self at all, or is it an artificial construct of the mind? Who is aware of this self? Can the self be aware of itself? If our awareness is dependent on the existence of the self, what happens when the self disappears from our consciousness?

Have we ever had an occasion when we loose our sense of ourselves? I've had the experience, for instance, watching a movie where for a period of time all there is is the movie, there is no separate me watching the movie. I think in this kind of experience our true being is realized. In Zen this may be called is-ness. Everything just is without separation. We loose our particular perspective, but we are not lost. In this we stand on the solid ground of true reality.

When The Buddha was challenged as to the legitimacy of his enlightenment, he reached down and put a finger to the ground around him. Then all the gods, angels and devils bowed to his authenticity. He had found solid ground to stand on.

The self is only awareness being aware of its particular perspective of the environment around it. When we are purposefully defining everything relative to this particular perspective, we are inventing an environment that is artificial, and not the true being of our environment, nor the true being of our particular perspective.

Can we eliminate the duality of the observer and the observed? Can we separate the dancer from the dance? I think this kid of selfless awareness is useful for us.

"The true nature of reality is invisible, and cannot be understood by the rational mind," some Ch'an master said. We need our rational mind, but we also need a deeper understanding than rationally can provide.

This is my perception, anyway.

Which boils down to what Leo said earlier when he spoke of Blaise Pascal: I think therefore I am (Je pense donc je suis)

In any case in order to really understand Heidegger one must first dive into the concepts of "Intentionality" of Franz Brentano. After all Heidegger studied Brentano and of course Kierkegaard.

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Posted (edited)

I would say my dog has a self, that is what he is, himself, his personality and ability to feel and have emotions is his self,

And it is reasonably clear that this is something you have inferred from regularities in his behavior, from evidence that he has preferences and acts accordingly, and from shared warm-bloodedness, so you have a very direct idea how motivating thirst is, or being cold is, etc.

We then come to

but what he doesn't have is that observer of his thoughts, as we've said that awareness of his self,

On what basis would you infer that?

I am not at all sure that I "have" an oberver of my thoughts. As Philemon once said to Jung (which, relevantly enough for this conversation, is another way of saying that Jung once said to himself) thoughts happen to a person, as opposed to being an activity the person engages in.

Philemon himself was a thought, and was experienced by Jung as something that happened to him. So, there is a self-proving quality to Philemon's pronouncement, in the same way that Descartes' "Cogito ergo sum" is self-proving.

There is simply no reason why the subject and the object of thought cannot be one and the same. (A point on which I am open to rebuttal, but until then, I feel confident about.) Thus, there need not be An Oberserver, except insofar as I am an observer of everything that happens to me, subject to the limits of my perceptual grasp.

Returning to Knight, he has apparently qualified to your satisfaction as an oberver of that which happens to him which you both can observe. As Leo has pointed out, there are differences in your sensory endowments. So, Knight has also presumably qualified an oberver of some things that happen to him which you cannot observe (and vice versa, to his satisfaction).

You cannot observe his thoughts. On what basis, then, do you infer that his thoughts are not part of the category "things that Knight can observe that I cannot," and instead place them in the category "Things that neither Knight nor I can observe?"

And yes, Chloe, I do take very seriously the hypothesis that all the warm-blooded animals have rich interior mental lives.

-

Edited by eight bits

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Posted (edited)

And it is reasonably clear that this is something you have inferred from regularities in his behavior, from evidence that he has preferences and acts accordingly, and from shared warm-bloodedness, so you have a very direct idea how motivating thirst is, or being cold is, etc.

Absolutely, and even more advanced than cold and thirst. Knight is a very emotional dog, part of why everyone loves him so much. When people come over and hang out and talk, he loves it. He's in the middle of everyone and gets on his back and flops all around like a fish and acts like a silly nut. He enjoys people laughing at him, making them laugh. I also call him my emotional sponge; he's absolutely miserable when I'm upset. He's just very sensitive. I woke up once with my whole bed shaking and it was him up there trembling and looking with this terrified look towards the kitchen, and all it was, was that the light above the sink, a fluorescent light was going out and flickering. It totally freaked him out. Once there was a guy over and he wasn't happy about it for some reason, and he p***ed on the guy's leg. I was mortified, but he may not can talk, but he can communicate. But anyway, those are all parts of his personality, the things I see that make him, "him" and his "self".

On what basis would you infer that?

I am not at all sure that I "have" an oberver of my thoughts. As Philemon once said to Jung (which, relevantly enough for this conversation, is another way of saying that Jung once said to himself) thoughts happen to a person, as opposed to being an activity the person engages in.

Philemon himself was a thought, and was experienced by Jung as something that happened to him. So, there is a self-proving quality to Philemon's pronouncement, in the same way that Descartes' "Cogito ergo sum" is self-proving.

There is simply no reason why the subject and the object of thought cannot be one and the same. (A point on which I am open to rebuttal, but until then, I feel confident about.) Thus, there need not be An Oberserver, except insofar as I am an observer of everything that happens to me, subject to the limits of my perceptual grasp.

I agree with that a lot, thoughts happen to a person, as opposed to being an activity the person engages in. I very much feel like that, because an activity a person engages in would indicate a willing participant and I do not feel like I am. My thoughts run wild sometimes where I can't control them or turn them off, isn't that the point and training of meditation? It's why I'm taking tai chi, to learn how to do that better or at least get a handle on it. So with Philemon, he was a thought form of Jung's right? But he wasn't Jung was he? I mean when he says "thoughts happen to a person"....that in and of itself separates thoughts from the self, the person. And if we say thoughts are happening "to" the person, that almost sounds like something not created by the person, but more like something being subjected on the person and see again, there we seem to have two separate things.

Returning to Knight, he has apparently qualified to your satisfaction as an oberver of that which happens to him which you both can observe. As Leo has pointed out, there are differences in your sensory endowments. So, Knight has also presumably qualified an oberver of some things that happen to him which you cannot observe (and vice versa, to his satisfaction).

You cannot observe his thoughts. On what basis, then, do you infer that his thoughts are not part of the category "things that Knight can observe that I cannot," and instead place them in the category "Things that neither Knight nor I can observe?"

I read Eckhart Tolle say, he lived with 5 Zen masters, all cats. Knight is the same, he is pretty much always present. He's not rapped up in the past or future, but he's a master of that "is-ness" SMK talks about and also that self that SMK talks about "is it real? "is it a fabrication?" and "is being dependent on that? Well Knight really doesn't have that. Another Tolle story he tells, about watching ducks in a park, ducks that got in a fight and after the fight, the ducks split up and they flap their wings really fast and release the excess energy and then float on their way peacefully, over and done with it, but a human doing that would obsess and replay the fight over and over, the possibilities of what might happen the next time they have a conflict, and in that kind of thinking....we kind of create an identity out of that, maybe in a sense we all make our own Philemon doing that, but I think there's some problems when we lose ourselves to that. I mean that's why people do what they call soul searching right? They're trying to strip all that away. Knight doesn't have all that. He does observe what happens to him and things I cannot see, yes, of course, but he's like the ducks, not like the human in the same situation, creating their own movie of the events and there is an observer watching that movie we make in our heads.

And yes, Chloe, I do take very seriously the hypothesis that all the warm-blooded animals have rich interior mental lives.

We always joke that Knight is going to publish his memoirs one day, hehe. I don't know what goes on in his head, I make guesses, but I do think sometimes we think we are the advanced species, but so often, they are our teachers. I quoted this once on my profile: “The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” - Samuel Butler. That is Knight totally, and being a fool with a dog, you've thrown off all worries about judgment that we have with people and it is a true moment of presence, of that is-ness, of being fully in the moment when all that brain chatter, all our brain movies shut up and that to me is a true moment of Being. Knight does that, not me, he brings that about because of who he is, his "self".

Edited by ChloeB

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Could we say that Prime Substance is the ground of all being as we are talking about here? I'm trying to think about what you said about wave function being the same as prime substance. We'd save wave function is just a realm of possibilities, right? When it collapses, then one of those possibilities becomes reality, correct? And the multiverse is all the infinite excluded possibilities that our reality didn't collapse on, right? I'm just trying to sort this out in my brain. But they say for it to collapse, someone has to observe it right? So is that the consciousness Max Planck is talking about? We might have to get away from this word being, I'm afraid it's causing more confusion than clarification.

In Buddhism reality only exists when experienced.

When we gain information on the Prime Substance (trying to experience something) we cause being and non-being to seperate. The being we get to experience as reality while the non-being is excluded.

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Is it possible the non-being, instead of being excluded, is experiencing something else or having the same experience in a different way?

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I'm not sure one can separate the two so easily. I know you are arguing this partly based on your appreciation that your dog has a 'self', but does it?

If your dog is not self-aware, then how can we say it has a self to be aware of?

Your dog is an entity, but I would argue that we cannot state it is a 'self'.

Our self, and our awareness of that self, would seem to be not separate as you propose, but our awareness (self-awareness) is actually dependent on the existence of the self. In this, the entire world/universe outside the Mind is our 'mirror'.

Back to the Buddhism.

The Prime Substance is a unification of being and non-beimg into a state called non-dualism. When we 'experience' that is to gain information the being and non-being seperate. This creates our reality (being) while all the other possibilities are excluded (non-being).

What becomes reality is dependant on the information we have gained. Thus our reality exists to prop up the information in our minds.

You seem to have reached the same conclusion another way.

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Posted (edited)

Is it possible the non-being, instead of being excluded, is experiencing something else or having the same experience in a different way?

Dual Slit experiments show that once its known which path the atom took it no longer produces an interference pattern. I dont know the Buddhist stance on your question.

However Buddhists teach people to return their minds into a non-dualist state (what they call oneness). Therefore the non-being isnt lost otherwise people wouldnt be able to return their minds into that state.

Edited by Mr Right Wing

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I understand the dual slit experiments. However, I'm not willing to limit my thinking to the current explanations postulated & demonstrated by current quantum mechanics theories. Because current quantum mechanics theories are no more the end all/be all of science any more than Newtonian science is. It's in its infancy, and I don't want to turn it into dogma.

I'm not a student or practicioner of Buddhism, or of any religion or spiritual tradition, but my inner wisdom & intuition tell me that every one of us is exactly where we're supposed to be doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing at any given time. I stay away from dogma that tell us we need to be something other than how we are, that we need to undergo some sort of education or change or experience or rite or ritual in order to attain happiness, fulfillment, enlightenment, or heaven/nirvana. And I'm allergic to traditions that promote the idea that all life is suffering.

If I had my own church, the service would be come as you are and join in the celebration.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not a student or practicioner of Buddhism, or of any religion or spiritual tradition, but my inner wisdom & intuition tell me that every one of us is exactly where we're supposed to be doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing at any given time. I stay away from dogma that tell us we need to be something other than how we are, that we need to undergo some sort of education or change or experience or rite or ritual in order to attain happiness, fulfillment, enlightenment, or heaven/nirvana. And I'm allergic to traditions that promote the idea that all life is suffering.

If I had my own church, the service would be come as you are and join in the celebration.

I stay away from dogma, as well. However, I think some sort of education or experience is necessary for us, or we just keep running over the same ground, and for some of us it is an unhealthy or destructive repetition.

I agree that we are exactly where we're supposed to be, and that realizing our place is a good starting point to see ourselves clearly. But what are the internal motives that have placed ourselves there? This, I think, we must also realize. If we are dissatisfied with our place, we may want to reach out for some method of change.

Even if we are satisfied with ourselves and our place, there is always room for improvement.

The Buddha said all life is dukkha, usually translated as "suffering". This is not an accurate translation, as there is no English word that satisfactorily defines dukkha. Dukkha can mean suffering, but also anxiety, dissatisfaction, impermanence, boredom, social conditioning, even happiness, as happiness is subject to change.

Clinging to these temporary psychological conditions is dukkha, too.

Your church is a good idea, and I'm all for it, but without some form of psychological or spiritual realization, what happens when a gang of Hell's Angels join the celebration, who are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing?

I just think we all can use some authentic nudge to open our eyes to ourselves. We don't have to follow any tradition, but some understanding beyond what we are currently aware of can be helpful.

Edit: only two 'k's in dukkha. :unsure2:

Edited by StarMountainKid

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I think one of the most common and destructive ailments in society is the notion that in order to be worthy we must strive to be something other than what we are in the moment, that this is necessary in order to gain love or approval. And that life is full of suffering, we are born into sin, that we must overcome something in order to be worthy. As a Wiccan, I believe life on this planet is one of the best, if not the best, gifts that we have been given, and that we are to celebrate each and every day, that we are all part of the divine, and therefore have innate value and lovabilitly. Sure, we can all be "better", I suppose, but whatever we are lacking doesn't imply a lesser value. My philosophy is inclusivity and celebration, love, kindness, compassion.

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Thinking about this too much, trying to comprehend existence, the universe, time.. the complexity of everything is astounding. :mellow:

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It does seem to be complex, doesn't it? I can't wrap my mind around it, it goes just so far, then comes to a screeching halt. Maybe the psychological or spiritual manifests itself when the mind is quiet, maybe it's not a case of searching or looking or being actively engaged, but one of simply letting go and seeing what manifests, letting it reveal itself, whatever it is. I'm thinking that opening ones self is passive, but also less restrictive, as there are fewer parameters or preconceived expectations. What works for me is to have a quiet mind and an open heart.

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Chloe

My thoughts run wild sometimes where I can't control them or turn them off, isn't that the point and training of meditation?

It can be. There is another tradition, of "sitting with what comes." As Joe Campbell liked to say, Sanskrit has a word for everything in psychology or spirituality, and there's a word for that, too.

So with Philemon, he was a thought form of Jung's right?

Yes. Jung made him. Jung's technique was an early form of what is now called "active imagination," although that could also be described as "sitting with what comes." As for why a persistent thought form emerged, experienced by Jung as a separate and autonomous personage, I believe that Jung was suffering from acute schizophrenia. Other Jung fans disagree.

But he wasn't Jung was he? I mean when he says "thoughts happen to a person"....that in and of itself separates thoughts from the self, the person.

He wasn't Jung's conscious self, and not one of Jung's personae. Jung experienced Philemon as someone else, another person who was visiting. Philemon "happened" to Jung.

And if we say thoughts are happening "to" the person, that almost sounds like something not created by the person, but more like something being subjected on the person and see again, there we seem to have two separate things.

Yes. Maybe the way to look at it is that Carl Jung and Philemon are both products of the same neural apparatus. When I said up above "Jung made him," maybe that was shorthand for "What made Jung also made Philemon, and did so simultaneously."

The apparatus existed in the same sense that the computer I am typing this post on exists. "Carl Jung" existed in another sense. "Philemon" existed in the same sense as "Carl Jung," I think. As far as time and space are concerned, both the existence of "Carl Jung" and of "Philemon" depended on the continued existence and operation of the same piece of neural apparatus.

The world is a cotton candy spinner. The neural apparatus is the operator, who moves paper wands around the insides of the world-spinner, pretty much mechanically. The cotton candy that stuck to one wand was "Carl Jung." One day, the operator got the bright idea of using two wands at once. The cotton candy that was to become "Carl Jung" continued to accumulate on its wand. Cotton candy also accumulated on the other wand. That cotton candy was "Philemon." Same "stuff," produced the same way, but distinct products, two wands.

Knight doesn't have all that.

That's what I'm not so sure about. I have been caught up in some very elaborate plans hatched by dogs to solve social problems (much like your ducks). In one case, this plan played out for months. As a reality check, I have seen film of a captive wolf with a parallel social problem who was followed doing much the same thing, also over a period of months.

At a simpler and more direct level, I sometimes "sit" friends' dogs when they go away. Some dogs brood over their companions' absence. Not all, but some. And, of course, I have experienced a dog holding a grudge, because I offended them. Usually, I can patch it up, but I have also seen a dog think it over before accepting a peace overture.

I have also seen dogs in reverie. I know they were "zoned out," even though they were awake and oriented, because I watched them come back to focus. On what basis can I say that one animal was "lost in her thoughts" while saying another animal, behaving the same way, wasn't? Because one of them speaks my language? Not good enough.

Of course, I agree that Knight is like the ducks. All I can say is, don't let ducks fool you. They're not simple, either.

As to who's the "crown of creation," it's not an accident that wolves and people got together and formed, even in the coldest objective terms, one of the great symbioses of all time. We are complementary in our capabilities, neither species dominates. Where you see a goofy Lab, I see the Dalai Lama with teeth.

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I stay away from dogma, as well. However, I think some sort of education or experience is necessary for us, or we just keep running over the same ground, and for some of us it is an unhealthy or destructive repetition.

I agree that we are exactly where we're supposed to be, and that realizing our place is a good starting point to see ourselves clearly. But what are the internal motives that have placed ourselves there? This, I think, we must also realize. If we are dissatisfied with our place, we may want to reach out for some method of change.

Even if we are satisfied with ourselves and our place, there is always room for improvement.

The Buddha said all life is dukkha, usually translated as "suffering". This is not an accurate translation, as there is no English word that satisfactorily defines dukkha. Dukkha can mean suffering, but also anxiety, dissatisfaction, impermanence, boredom, social conditioning, even happiness, as happiness is subject to change.

Clinging to these temporary psychological conditions is dukkha, too.

Your church is a good idea, and I'm all for it, but without some form of psychological or spiritual realization, what happens when a gang of Hell's Angels join the celebration, who are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing?

I just think we all can use some authentic nudge to open our eyes to ourselves. We don't have to follow any tradition, but some understanding beyond what we are currently aware of can be helpful.

Edit: only two 'k's in dukkha. :unsure2:

Perhaps when one's mind is quiet, the spiritual realizations/experiences/growth/learning will occur. I'm not sure it's necessary to seek them out. Helpful, certainly, but possibly not necessary. I'm thinking of the idea of creating an empty space and seeing what steps into it; trusting the process as opposed to directing it.

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I understand the dual slit experiments. However, I'm not willing to limit my thinking to the current explanations postulated & demonstrated by current quantum mechanics theories. Because current quantum mechanics theories are no more the end all/be all of science any more than Newtonian science is. It's in its infancy, and I don't want to turn it into dogma.

I'm not a student or practicioner of Buddhism, or of any religion or spiritual tradition, but my inner wisdom & intuition tell me that every one of us is exactly where we're supposed to be doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing at any given time. I stay away from dogma that tell us we need to be something other than how we are, that we need to undergo some sort of education or change or experience or rite or ritual in order to attain happiness, fulfillment, enlightenment, or heaven/nirvana. And I'm allergic to traditions that promote the idea that all life is suffering.

If I had my own church, the service would be come as you are and join in the celebration.

Yes!!! I could kiss you,

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Perhaps when one's mind is quiet, the spiritual realizations/experiences/growth/learning will occur. I'm not sure it's necessary to seek them out. Helpful, certainly, but possibly not necessary. I'm thinking of the idea of creating an empty space and seeing what steps into it; trusting the process as opposed to directing it.

Seeking is fine..... Seeking with an open mind and empty space and potential for multiple inturpretation will give a closer than average perspective.

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I've pretty much found that whatever I need to know seeks me out one way or another and delivers the message. And it hasn't always been pretty! In fact, sometimes it just a big dope slap along side my head. That's how I got started on my spiritual path. I wasn't seeking it out, it found me, (metaphor alert for the literal minded) my head spun around a few times like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, and I haven't been the same since. What I often find myself looking for is an explanation, as in just what the heck was that? Am I the only one who's done this backwards? Have the experience first, and then try to make sense of it?

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