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(Responding to Anita after an extended exchange.)
Your conversation with Kevin Osborne was interesting.
Some thoughts… Perhaps there is a need to revisit just what “freethinker” means. What is “free” about a reflex to “doubt” before experience is accepted as real.
Then, the notion of “what is real” needs some examination. This involves contemplation of “consciousness” and more importantly,the sense of “I” through which the “personal” experience of “consciousness” flows.
At the level of physics and it’s laws, what is the prototype of the Self? Of Will? Of Love?
Even induced hallucination is “real” as a phenomena. What is the role of self in relationship to the hallucination? This is open ended. The “self” can doubt, or believe, or transform the vision to its needs. All of these actions are as real as the hallucination. No more and no less.
Another possible action it to simply witness. Without attraction. Without aversion. Dwelling in the “Realness” underlying every aspect.
This is Yoga, This is Zen. It’s fruit is actual freedom.
Anita – “Hi brmcKay. Thanks for replying so long after the event. I thought this thread had finished. Some interesting thoughts. The term ‘freethinker’ is usually used as a euphemism to spare the indignity of the term ‘atheist’ as, like ‘communist’, the word comes with a lot of baggage a preconceptions about the worthiness of such a person.
To my mind the ‘thinker’ is not so free as to entertain the thought of any eventuality. If an idea seems completely preposterous to the thinker involved, and there’s not a shred of evidence to suppose that it’s true, then proposing such thoughts seems like an exercise in futility.
You know that nouns such as ‘love’ are abstract concepts and can’t be defined in any real way without the participation of the individual involved. One can see the manifestations of ‘love’ in the way that individuals are treated, but even then, the emotion is only really experienced by the individual. It can be faked, and it’s even possible to fool oneself. (Think of all those infatuations of ones youth!)”
“You know that nouns such as ‘love’ are abstract concepts and can’t be defined in any real way without the participation of the individual involved.”
Yes, abstract. As is an “idea seem[ing] completely preposterous”.
What you have said is all true. I would expand upon it though, and suggest that humans have been engaged in piercing the veil of “abstracted experience” for millennia.
The best traditions of meditation have kinship with the scientific method. Even gestated it.
As some science benefits from genius but not all, and not all the time; The same for the path of contemplation.
The underlying motivation though, remains the same. Whether clouded or crystal clear;
WE WANT TO KNOW.
Anita – “I wonder at the relative life expectancy of a Buddhist monk and an ordinary citizen in say Japan, Switzerland or Australia. I suppose that would depend on whether the monk had access to modern western medicine, would it not? My guess is that the Dalai Lama himself will end his days in a hospital bed in a country using up-to-date medical procedures.
Granted that meditation is a practice that leads to a higher degree of relaxation, but I think that where the benefits stop. I may be wrong of course, but when greater insights into the nature of the universe start to spring from the meditating mind I’ll sit up and take notice. Till then Ill rely on the scientific method for my revelations. And……from whence comes the notion that the scientific method comes by way of meditation? (no woo, please).”
Rather than stick around while we box each others ears over this, I’m going to say goodbye for now.
Someday I’ll make somebody actually explain this term “woo”.
Perhaps though, it is something that evaporates as horizons broaden. So I’ll defer to the passage of time to make the point for me.