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Friday, October 31, 2014

Hands off the tiller

Over the past two years or so this blog has completely changed.  It's because my whole way of life has changed.  I am letting my life steer itself.

This started  when I began to realise that the notion of free will that almost everyone believes they have is a mistake.  Give that idea up and your life will run more smoothly.  Plus, you won't be regretting choices or wondering what to choose, or debating with yourself over the correct course of action.  Just do what appears to be appropriate to do, it may seem like I am making choices but I am not worried about whether they are good choices or not, which I certainly often used to do.

The Nature of Reality II

1. It's hard to imagine what the world would look like if we weren't there to experience it, simply because the act of imagining it involves our presence.  Would there necessarily be any world if we were not there to experience it?  It would be simply a matter of assertion, about which there could be no direct evidence.
2. Since we cannot demonstrate the existence  of the world when we are not experiencing it, we have to doubt it.
3. We cannot even demonstrate the existence of the world when we are apparently experiencing it.  I have already said in the previous post that we perceive only images.  Even if we were to concede the existence of eyes and a brain, what we are perceiving must be created by us somehow, there's no way of establishing that those images represent some reality external to us.

There is a big mental problem here.  For someone like me who has been interested in the scientific view of the universe for a lifetime, it's a very big change to start questioning the very existence of that universe.  It's an exciting feeling but how can I actually start to believe in what logical enquiry is telling me? For eight decades I have been believing stuff that now, upon careful enquiry, starts to look like mere assumptions, mental constructions - for there can be no doubt that that is what our "knowledge" of the universe amounts to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Philosophical thoughts about the nature of reality

For a while I am going to use this blog to clarify my philosophy regarding the nature of the world by writing it down as clearly as possible.

1.      Contact with objects in the world is through our senses.  I only know the perceptions of those objects coming to me through my senses, I do not know the objects directly, since I have no direct contact with them.
2.      I seem to have direct contact with my senses, though.  You might even say I am my perceptions. They are at least a part of me, if not all of me.  I don’t really  have a perception, since without someone to perceive it there can be no perception.
3.      For a perception to exist, there must be something perceived, real or imaginary.  Now I come to think about this, there does not seem to be any way to tell the difference between a real object of perception and an imaginary one.  That at least suggests that all percepts could be imaginary and we would never know it.
4.      So a perception needs a perceiver and something to be perceived, otherwise there is no perception.
5.      Without any perceptions, I am just potentially aware.  I can hardly say I am aware if there is nothing to be aware of.
6.      But perhaps I can be deep asleep, not dreaming.  Am I aware then?  I don’t know.  My senses are ready to work, I can be woken by a sound or a touch, or even a smell. So there must be some awareness, even though there isn’t anything to be aware of.
7.      Since perceiver-perception-perceived cannot be dismembered without disappearing, all I know about the world is a part of me by virtue of its being perceived by me.
8.      But the world does not feel to be a part of me.  For over eighty years I have been  used to regarding it as separate from me, and arguing that it isn’t, as I have just been doing, isn’t enough to convince me.  I am a creature of habit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Radical teaching

I ask you only to stop imagining that you were born, have parents, are a body, will die and so on. Just try, make a beginning — it is not as hard as you think.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

McKenna, Jed (2010-02-28). Spiritual Warfare (The Enlightenment Trilogy) (p. 119). Wisefool Press.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our little fish pond

Rose likes to keep fish and breed them.  One female Swordtail has recently given birth to more than 80 babies. I am amazed at the number she manages to keep in her body, she is about two inches long and the babies are about 1/6 inch long.  How are the babies fed in her womb, I wonder?

The fish normally live in our pond which is a little less than two metres square, but when a female looks pregnant and might be about to deliver, She is put in a tank, then when she has finished delivering her fry, she is returned to the pond and not kept with the fry because parents sometimes like to eat their children.  The fry will be transferred to the pond when they are big enough not to be eaten - perhaps 3/4 inch long.

Th pond itself is one foot deep at one side, sloping to two feet at the other.  There are three water lily plants (they multiply) and a large quantity of Acharis, a fast-growing plant that can choke up the whole pond and has to be severely pruned from time to time to give the fish room to swim and us the possibility of observing them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I have re-blogged this from Goran Backlund's excellent blog

Free Will: How Would It Actually Work?

Free WillThe notion of free will simply doesn’t make sense. Having realized the fictitious nature of objective reality, the question is a non-starter—there’s simply no entity to possess it—but even if, for the sake of discussion, we grant the existence of a material universe, there’s still no way in which “free will” could ever be an intelligible notion. That is, if we ask ourselves what we actually mean by the word “free,” we can’t seem to come up with an answer.
Commonly, the notion of “free will” means something like: To be able to have chosen otherwise. In other words, “I did this, but I could have done that instead.”
But what does it mean that ‘I could have done differently?’
Let’s say that I chose vanilla ice cream. But I firmly believe that I could have chosen chocolate instead. I believe that the choice to take the vanilla flavour came from myself, that the choice was mine. Sure, I may have been influenced by external forces, but I alone ultimately decided whether I wanted vanilla or chocolate ice cream today. Right?
But if the choice to take the vanilla was caused by me, what then caused me to cause that choice? There has to have been a prior cause; some force making me decide what to eat—whether internal or external—otherwise that choice to take the vanilla ice cream is simply indistinguishable from a random one. In other words, unless I decide to decide, or something decides for me, the choice is simply random.
So, do I decide to decide? Of course not. Then we would have to admit another decision, one that decided that we were going to decide to decide, and so on ad infinitum.
The only possibilities left are either that choices are random, or they’re caused—their causes themselves being caused, and so on, “all the way back,” so to speak—but neither of these alternatives fit what we mean by the word “free.” So, what do we mean?
Well, there’s the problem. When we truly  try to comprehend the concept of “free will,” we realize that we don’t even know what we mean.  The notion is literally inconceivable.
Either choices depend on something, in which case they’re not “free,” or they don’t, in which case they’re indistinguishable from random ones. There’s no third alternative here.
Even if we grant the existence of some kind of “soul” that exists outside of the chain of causation, yet with the ability to inject decisions into it, we would still be unable to come up with an idea of how ‘free will’ would actually work. If we as the source of a decision exist outside of the chain of causation, how’s that decision any different from a merely random one? And do we really mean to say that our souls are uncaused? We usually think that some force put us here; but if anything, whatever is responsible for putting us here would then also be the ultimate cause for any decisions that we come up with.
Does all of this mean that there’s no possibility of choice? That there aren’t a multitude of possible outcomes? That everything is “on rails,” so to speak? Yes it does.
The idea that anything could be different than it is, is simply delusion. The idea that there were multiple possible outcomes to an event is nothing but a way of thinking. We call events “random” when we couldn’t predict what was going to happen, mentally creating a plethora of “possible outcomes” – but all of that is just in thought. It’s just a way of thinking. None of that exists in reality.
The way things are, is simply the only way they could be.
When you realize this—that nothing could be different than it is—the habit of incessantly worrying about past and future decisions can finally come to an end. Thoughts surrounding the notions of selection and choice need not to occupy our consciousness anymore; instead, their absence signifies a newfound freedom: anything but constant perfection is starting to become unthinkable. In the absence of these thoughts surrounding the notion of “free will,” we can at last rest assured that everything is always unfolding exactly as it should.
by Göran Backlund

I strongly recommend Goran's book "Refuting the External World" , the clearest exposition of what reality is that I have yet read.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The cause of human suffering and conflict

I have re-blogged this from

The cause of human suffering and conflict is our commitment to the illusions we call values, morals and ethics. Values, morals and ethics do not exist outside of our cultural- existential minds. They do not exist in reality and are therefore a figment of our culturally and existentially indoctrinated imagination. We believe or think values exist when in fact they do not. This describes the schizophrenic mind. The schizophrenic mind is separated from reality and centered in unreality or what psychologists call fantasy, believing this fantasy to be real. Cultural/existential humanity exists entirely within the framework of illusionary values, morals and ethics and is therefore absolutely schizophrenic. We are either affirmatively committed to the existence of values, morals and ethics or we are not. If we are committed to the existence of values, morals and ethics, we are schizophrenic and consequently insane. If we are not committed to values, morals and ethics, then confusion, conflict and insanity are not a part of our psychological nature. The term insane is used to describe the personal and social actions of the schizophrenic personality. There can be no conflict without the values of right or wrong being offended or defended. There can be no guilt or repression without the values of right or wrong, good or bad having been applied. There can be no psychological neurosis or psychosis without the fears associated with the loss or gain of that valued. There can be no anxiety without the anticipation or expectation concerning future uncertainties about success or failure. There can be no frustration without a desired goal being thwarted. The illusionary concepts of values, morals and ethics exist so that we may judge, separate and divide, and then pit the one side against the other. This enables the persons involved to feel either superior or inferior as the case may be. This is the underlying motivation for all cultural-existential activity. Due to the divisive and conflicting nature of duality, cultural/existential humanity can be described as being not only sociopathic (anti-social) in its attitude and response to humankind, but also psychopathic (aggressively anti-social) much of that time. Since confusion, conflict and insanity are the consequence of our commitment to values, morals and ethics, and peace exists when there is no confusion, conflict or insanity present, it can be concluded that peace is the consequence of having no values, no morals and no ethics. If values, morals and ethics are the direct cause of all human suffering and conflict and do not exist in the tao/eden/reality, and if peace and sanity are to be realized, we must refuse to take part in their use.


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