On the Possibility of Unity

comments 36
Christ / Course Ideas / Science

There are periods in our lives when we make decisions with far-reaching implications. Doing nothing is hardly an option, and a few fundamental choices must be made that establish a line of action for the years to come. Deciding what you would like to study, do for work, or explore in life are examples of these decisions, but an even more important one is deciding what sources of information you will trust, or at least consider, in learning about yourself and the world.

Early in my exploratory journey I came to the conclusion that everyone was at least a little bit correct in their assessment of the human condition, and I chose to value traditional forms of knowledge with roughly equal weighting to modern forms of exploration. These terms are a bit misleading and require some clarification to be meaningful. Another way to say it is that I chose to give roughly equal weighting to the findings of cyclotrons, microscopes and laser beams as to our ancestral or ancient forms of wisdom, including the modern variants of long-standing traditions that are embodied in present day spiritual teachers, as well as receivers of so-called channeled material. I didn’t decide any one thing was correct above all else, I decided to investigate them all and look for distillations of knowledge when dogma, convention, and cultural particulars were set aside.

My reasoning, though not consciously clear to me at the time, was rooted in my intuitions about the nature of our reality, as well as the sense that reason is only as good as its foundation, and the choice of foundation is not easily made based upon evidence. In fact, no evidence has any meaning until the choice of a foundation has been made. I think this was one of the most powerful and fortunate insights of my youth, and it led to one of the most important decisions of my adult life, which I will get to in a moment. First it is important that this assertion of mine be understood.

When something happens, and we take note of it, the next step in our conscious appraisal of things is to deduce what it was that actually happened. This may sound foolish, but let’s say our attention was drawn to the flash of a colored light. It’s simply not enough to say that a light flashed. We want to know why it flashed, what caused it to flash, and what it represents in relationship to our own well-being. If we’re driving in a car and the light is on the dashboard, then we can explain this intrusion of light into our world pretty easily with a high degree of certainty, but if we didn’t know what a car was—if we were transplanted from 100,000 B.C into an Aston Martin with a coolant temperature alarm—the way in which we would interpret that experience might be quite different. Or so I conjecture.

Taking this sort of issue to its extreme, then it is possible to see that an entire structure of logic and reason, such as the traditional shamanic practices of a South American tribe, or the body of art and practice we call physics, are simply not possible without axiomatic beginnings. Those axioms are not disprovable, and thus, in a sense, are arbitrary. Of course they are never really arbitrary; I would argue the axiomatic beginnings of a thought system are the most fundamental expression of who the operands of the thought system (us) believe themselves to be. We could also say that the axiomatic beginnings are ultimately statements of what the universe is, leaving us (seemingly) out of it for the moment, but this is for my purpose here completely equivalent. The most important point is that once this point of origin is established, a complete thought system with self-supporting chains of experience, evidence, and logic will follow.

The major decision of my adult life was to declare that the point of origin for my own thinking would leave in tact the possibility that the universe has an interior dimension—that knowledge itself was possibly fundamental to its own becoming. In doing so I admitted of the possibility that the wisdom contained in ancestral or traditional philosophies arose from genuine contact with this dimension, but I did not feel this required that the light on the dashboard of a car need be explained as anything but what it was. To be fair, what I ultimately declared was that the universe was more than a material system, at least in terms of what we understand material systems to be. I, too, was forced to assert a point of beginning. (In point of fact, there are no neutral points of beginning, which I think is significant…)

Now once you have a beginning, you must run some experiments to develop the thought system that arises from that beginning, and my early experiments led to fairly intense (for me) psychological difficulties. But in time I came to understand the sources of my confusion and one text that was most helpful in this regard was called A Course in Miracles—though of course it was not this stand-alone document that was helpful, but an entire dynamic of history, memory, thought, insight, conversation, meditation, grace and engagement with the ideas that it contained. I think the metaphysics described therein echoes the metaphysics of countless traditions, although the language is quite unique, and this weekend I came to an interesting conclusion.

What I realized is that the point of origin for what I would call the modern rational worldview, whose philosophical labels I’m not well-equipped to offer, but which would certainly include materialism, necessarily describes the condition from which many wisdom traditions suggest we must recover. To unpack that statement, I would say that the foundation of a materialist, rational worldview would be the idea that the universe is a self-contained causal structure consisting exclusively of localized energetic transformations. To make that even simpler: what we see is the product of what preceded it, and the causes of what we see are local. This means that what happens cannot be impacted by any cause that is physically distant from the event. (I cannot flip a switch in another galaxy in the same instant that something happens in this one, because the two points are too far away to be physically related.)

Let me turn to the other portion of my assertion. The condition from which many wisdom traditions suggest we must recover is the perception of separation—the view that we exist as fundamentally distinct beings, or to say it another way, as beings without any ultimate unification. Who and what I ultimately am is independent of who and what you ultimate are. To make this as clear as possible, we are separate bouncing balls on the gymnasium floor, not two fingers on a common hand. What the wisdom traditions would suggest is that this notion of separation is illusory, and that there truly is a universal now—a non-dimensional locus inclusive of all time and all space, of which we actively participate.

So, back to my claim, which is this: the assertion of local causality in modern physics, as powerful as it is, is not only a restatement of the axiomatic foundation on which the entire intellectual exercise of modern physics rests; it is also axiomatically equivalent to the premise that the universe is a collection of fundamentally separate entities—the very premise which traditional wisdom cultures argue is the root cause of suffering as manifest in our experience.

Why is this important? Well, I think it is important because a necessary outcome of the axiomatic assertion of separateness is that we live in a zero sum game. The two notions are concomitant. This is the bounding feature of our interactions, our policy debates, our relationships, our institutions and the fundamental manner in which we attempt to organize our world. I would even hypothesize that the world so many well-intentioned persons wish to participate in creating—a world that not only works for everyone, but doesn’t require unacceptable levels of sacrifice—is simply not possible in this environment.

This hypothesis of fundamental unity is tough to test, of course, because it cannot be evaluated in the context of the current paradigm, in which it can only be judged as insane. Yet what is sane or insane is deemed such, in any thought system, by comparing an idea’s accord with the very axioms on which the thought system is founded. Also, if the possibility exists, however slight it may seem, that even our best efforts are founded upon untenable foundations, and will not be capable of succeeding in the manner that we sincerely hope, it is worth a moment of sincere reflection.

At minimum, perhaps, the mere acknowledgment of such a possibility might temper the swiftness with which we judge who and what is “right” in our world. A healthy dose of uncertainty would do all of us some good, I think, and create the space for choosing compassion before we reach for the rhetorical guns.

36 Comments

  1. Something about this piece of writing is connecting me to words from 🤓 Ram Dass “Making your own observations will show you that when you arrive at a new situation, a new moment, the optimum strategy for dealing with that situation is to quiet down and hear the totality of it.”….always thoughtful reflections Michael I appreciate them…I’ve also reached a point in my being where I don’t need to know everyone anymore…but of course remain ever curious and make sure not to get too comfortable…happy writing ~ sending you joy ~ smiles Hedy ☺️💫

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Hedy. What a lovely thought from Ram Dass. Yes, to remaining curious and exploring new spaces. The interesting thing is how challenging it can be to navigate those spaces with words, and how when we give one another the generosity of spirit to see where we’re each coming from, there is room for the truth of who we are to shine through–regardless of our intellectual conceptions… I love when we discover ourselves anew…!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So glad to see you again, Michael, here. I wondered what happened to you. Perhaps it was my fault. I do not read posts daily and wasn’t reading at all for awhile, nor writing. Slowly getting back to it and trying to read a couple times every week or so. Anyhow glad to see you at it. You are so good. Blessings, Ellen and thanks for visiting my blog. I will get to your comment soon and appreciate it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nobody’s fault, Ellen. I’ve been hit or miss here the past few months, compared to my output at earlier times. I like staying somewhat engaged but haven’t had the energy or time to devote to the regular posts I once was making. It’s important to find that balance. Thank you so much for the kind words! It was great to happen across your beautiful paintings the other day, and I’m glad we’ve reconnected. Always a pleasure, my friend.

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Michael. I just love when I think about you and then open my email and there you are!!
    Yes…the point of origin. Honestly, in the climate of our country lately, I have to wonder about the vastly different points of origin. Believe me, deep down you know I believe we are one, but I have days when I find it so hard to believe that people can be so far apart in their ideological views.
    Ah! Not to worry. I’m (my ego) not sitting here thinking that my views are the correct views…just correct for me. And at the end of the day, which this is, and in the middle of life with its ups and downs, I still adhere to the idea that we are one…we are connected…and our energy impacts us all.
    Hope you are well, Michael!
    💜

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! Sounds like a perfect synchronicity there, Lorrie. We really are all over the map on our points-of-beginning, but that’s almost never what is discussed I’ve found. Or if it is, the discussion is basically a statement of why a given starting point is better than all the others. But you know, there’s basically no value to the world of one person or another winning an argument. It may seem like there is, and of course conditions can change as a result, but the real transformation we’re after comes from living the truth of who we are. And that’s a wholly different proposition!

      Hope you’re well, too, Lorrie…
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Deciding what sources of information to trust, has been, for me, the most important decision I’ve made in my life. This is why I completely turned off the media, all media, a few years ago. Except for the most general of facts – such as “an earthquake occurred in Chile” or “this person was elected president” – I now base my views on direct experience. It has made such an incredible difference in my perception of everything, and on my feeling of connection with the rest of humanity. Some have criticized me for refusing to “stay informed”, but until I’m forced by law to participate in something I see as incredibly toxic, I will continue to stay “ignorant”. Thank you, Michael, for another though-provoking essay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a big one, Julie. Your decision makes sense to me. I can remember going camping for two weeks at a time, which I’ve not done in a while, and being completely divorced from any form of media whatsoever. That time was so refreshing and helped me to see just how much of our sense of “world” is fabricated. It is possible to be on this planet and exist in a completely different ocean of awareness! It’s really quite remarkable. I don’t do a good job of keeping up with the media, myself. What I do take in is usually to satisfy a curiosity about the world. But I do take in some different podcasts and such from time to time. I enjoy the conversations once in a while–and being challenged to see something in a completely new way. But it’s sort of surface level compared to the deeper awareness I try to retain of what is occurring in the space of my life, my heart, my writing, etc.

      Thanks for reading, Julie!
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Michael,
    You wrote, “So, back to my claim, which is this: the assertion of local causality in modern physics, as powerful as it is, is not only a restatement of the axiomatic foundation on which the entire intellectual exercise of modern physics rests; it is also axiomatically equivalent to the premise that the universe is a collection of fundamentally separate entities”
    What do you mean by ‘universe’ here? Does your meaning of ‘universe’ differ from the meaning of physicists?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello OR,

      I don’t know if I mean the same thing as physicists do or not. In a way, that question is related to one of the ideas I’ve been exploring of late, which is that perceptual outcomes are related to the starting point which oriented the perceiving itself. So when I say there is a premise that the universe is a collection of fundamentally separate entities I am basically referring to whatever it is physicists suppose they are studying. But I’m not certain that what physicists suppose they are studying is everything that could possibly be in the frame. So what I mean by the word universe in the ultimate sense is everything that could, from one vantage or another, wind up in the frame.

      To be as clear as possible, I’m suggesting our notions of universe are themselves concepts dependent upon, or built upon, our choice of a starting point for conceptual thinking.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Michael,

        You wrote, “In a way, that question is related to one of the ideas I’ve been exploring of late, which is that perceptual outcomes are related to the starting point which oriented the perceiving itself.”

        It seems to be obvious that it is related. But mind you I am using the word ‘related’ and not ‘determined’.

        You wrote, “But I’m not certain that what physicists suppose they are studying is everything that could possibly be in the frame.”

        Seems to me to be pretty certain that what physicists study is not reality in itself at all but only reality as viewed from a certain stand point (in this case the human point of view), which can never be reality in itself.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello OR,

          As to the first point you’ve noted, I do think the relationship is one of at least partial determination. I say partial, and not complete, because I do think the seltzer can beside me here on the table is whatever it is, whether I choose to look at it or not, leave the room, etc. So, I wouldn’t say that the foundations of the system of thought which orient my perception would cause the seltzer can to cease existing, necessarily. If it did then it would be wholly determined. But I do think there are qualities of universe, constellations of meaning, and phenomenological structures that we interact with, or not, depending on our perceptual orientation, and in this way they are determined. This is what I mean by them being in or out of the frame.

          As to your second point, I understand the concept that nothing perceived through human sensing and cognitive processing can be reality in itself, but I’m not sure I agree. This would be so if we insisted reality is something out there somewhere, always and only capable of being apprehended in an externalized manner. I don’t think that is the case necessarily. If reality is something from which humans inseparably partake, then we could argue humans can know reality directly, which I agree with.

          When we bring physicists into it, we bring their insistence on a particular method that makes the idea of knowing reality directly an unreasonable claim. But this is my point, or at least one piece of it, about how our definitions and methodologies determine outcomes. That said, this idea of separation also contains within it the idea that the inner and the outer are never joined. Because I think they are joined, then there is a way in which physicists are studying reality. They’re just studying it in a particular way, using a particular set of tools.

          Another related idea would be this: reality can be studied, but only through the application of tools or methodologies that slice it into arbitrary subject-object relationships. This reduces reality to a particular set of relationships that continue to exist in the reference frame. We might be able to slice it another way and study it, and a different set of relationships might obtain. There could be some relationships that remain no matter how we slice it. But in any case, yes, I agree with you, all of these acts involve only a partial or filtered contact with reality in itself. So, we can study all we want, but ultimately reality in itself can only be known directly.

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

    • Good question, and I’m not sure. Ha! I certainly accept that a great many proximate causes are local. But I also think there are aspects of universe that are non-local, and which are not confined to time and space at all. Exactly what those structures are, I couldn’t say. But were we to one day discover that there is some fashion in which information at one point is in accessible from every other point–a way in which all points in space are in some fashion joined, for instance–it wouldn’t surprise me. That’s kind of a bad way of saying it, though. I mean, it’s not like I’d be bored by it! I’d be fascinated, in awe, astounded, joyful, unable to fall asleep, texting friends. You name it. For now I’m saying I don’t think it’s implausible. I think the universe is not exclusively local in its structure or unfolding.

      In an exploratory sort of way, I think that local causality is probably one mode or pattern or level at which things occur. But probably not the only one possible. I suspect there are transitions to other modes possible in which other types of order emerge or are made manifest.

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It strikes me as a curious thing, Michael, that all we know is a mind-creation, and no matter the degree of efficiency of our inference, deductions, phenomenological evidence, empirical measurements, equations, logic and so forth, it remains the case that all we know — that is to say, in the immediacy, the actuality of our knowing — remains a mind-creation. As such, and based purely on its introspective nature, it (this kind of knowledge) is in some degree unreliable, and we must always allow some element of doubt in our immediate holding of such knowledge. But this becomes ‘a curious thing’, because some mode of (let’s call it) knowledge, outwith mind-creations and beyond effective expression in words, occurs for certain individuals (and which I gather is accessible to most). They may call this a ‘spiritual experience’, although I’m not sure if it really is an experience at all, not in the immediacy, the actuality of our knowing of it. One characteristic of it, as commonly reported (and as we well know), is that the sense of separation either disappears, or is clearly seen as a mind-creation (which it is, as apprehended). It sounds rather as if some quality we might call ‘awareness’, and which is the crucible or illuminative enabler of consciousness (mind-creations), ‘leapfrogs’ the domain of consciousness and sees it from a position of absolute perspective — one might say ‘outside’ of it, and yet it too pervades the consciousness. And it is this that gives rise to the knowledge of unicity (some claim, and I agree). Enough ramble from me today. Sending love and best wishes, Hariod.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Hariod,

      Thank you for your note here. It brings two things to mind for me. The first is that there are a couple of ways of “knowing” something. The intellectual way, which is highly conceptual, is based upon what you describe as inference, deduction, phenomenological evidence, etc. This is, for me, the most unreliable method for knowing the true nature of ourselves. At least when it is the only mode of knowing deployed. That may be controversial–I’m certain it would be highly controversial in some circles–but it’s a conclusion I’ve come to personally. It’s related to this post: our intellectual knowing begins, just as I’ve described in this post, with some beginning, some anchor from which to depart, and then assembles facts and inferences in ways that are logically acceptable. But if we didn’t have direct experience of ourselves and the world, there would be none of the feedback that is so necessary to correct the possible constructions. And as we know, even our interpretation of facts and data is susceptible to the intellectual constructions through which they are viewed. I think actually you agreed with this in your note, which I see now in my second reading of it.

      Then there is what you describe as a ‘spiritual experience.’ It’s like seeing beyond the screen and phantasms we’ve constructed intellectually, though I don’t think it’s related to seeing with our eyes at all, of course. I suspect that’s why it’s called an insight. It’s like discovering a surface in your basement when the power has gone out that you weren’t expecting to contact. A pure distillation of some salience, and as you say, implicit in this is the discovery of unity. But when you and I talk about this I can’t always tell if we ‘know’ this in the same way or not. Often it feels like we do. But it’s so hard to put into words, there is a trust on both our parts, I think, that what we’ve discovered must be the same for everyone. I’m confident that something is there, at the middle of it all, that is exactly the same, and that this “sameness” is where we actually meet. Or dissolve. Or join.

      But then… there is the knowing of the heart. And this is what I wanted to touch upon. This gets dismissed quite often, and many who do confuse it with romantic love, or with the emotions generated by and through the body, and that is not what I mean by knowing of the heart at all. The only way I could describe it is that I believe this heart-knowing works like a compass in a sense. When we confront an element of truth, even if it be buried within the trappings of some dogma or extraneous window-dressing, there is a palpable sensation of recognition. We can, at times, particularly if we make it a daily practice, discover the truth is alive in and as one another, and experience a pulse of recognition in the eyes of another. We may experience that pulse of recognition at a beautiful poem, or piece of music, or scientific description of order. We may experience a pulse of recognition when listening to a lecture on compassion, when hearing a regarded friend share from his or her own heart. I describe it as a pulse of recognition because I experience it with a visceral quality–a dawn of energy in my system, a mode shift in the way I perceive, a subtle sinking into acceptance.

      And so for me, when our intellectual explorations are directed by the bread crumbs of recognition that the heart provides, then we can reach a common ground (in my opinion). But this is a subtle thing, for if I have a personal identification with a particular idea, then the presence of another idea that is contradictory could quickly be perceived by my subconscious as a threat to this constructed identity. The heart can guide us but there is a real challenge for a while, as we observe, discern, and wade through the quagmire of attachment and false identification that leads us down false roads…

      This has gone on far too long, for which I apologize. The point I wished to make though is that when the heart and the intellectual mind are reconciled, I think it is an invaluable compass for navigating what otherwise must always be given the benefit of uncertainty. The heart, though, is not uncertain. When there is strain between a construct of the intellect and an awareness of the heart, then it can seem confusing, and we can be quite confused, and in great pain or difficulty. But I’ve always found that in working through that conflict, when there is accord once again, there is creativity, compassion, and joy…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Michael, another mind blowing post that I always have to read a couple of times to digest… and still ponder to understand… 🙄 The mind always wants to understand yet I trust my heart to guide me through this earthly adventure of, you said it insanity at its best!

    I’ve put up another writing challenge… 2 years later from our last collaboration on our awakening journey… thought it would be nice to create part 3 to share how/where our own journey is going as our consciousness expands. You can check out the following post, I mention it at the bottom. Much love to you Michael x Barbara x http://memymagnificentself.com/2018/09/04/iam-thankful-for-the-light-and-my-awakening/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your note! Nice to see you again. This sounds great and I look forward to checking out the link you sent. As to the heart guiding you, I think (as I noted above to Hariod) that this is vital. I like to think of what we call the heart as the root of our connection to spirit, to being, to creation. It’s the thread that can never be broken, and it tugs gently to guide us home…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Michael,

    You wrote, “If reality is something from which humans inseparably partake, then we could argue humans can know reality directly, which I agree with.”

    I do not know if by ‘reality’ here you mean phenomenal reality or ‘reality in itself’. If you mean reality in itself then everything that is or exists is in it or is a part of it, so humans are in it. But then it can not be phenomenal humans. Please clarify.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello OR,

      I’m not really sure that I understand what you are asking. I can appreciate the difference that I think is important to the questions you’ve asked, which is reality in itself, vs reality as perceived. Within that context you’ve established, if what you are saying is that human beings exist within reality in itself, but cannot in any way relate to or know reality in itself, then I don’t agree.

      But what is a phenomenal human? And are you saying a phenomenal human can be part of reality in itself but never know it? While humans (that are not phenomenal) can both exist in it and know it?

      Thanks,
      Michael

      Like

    • M!

      Thank you… I’ve been thinking of you often this week. It is a joy to see your hand appear through the mist… I was just readying a flare.

      Much Love
      MM

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Michael,

    You wrote, ” I can appreciate the difference that I think is important to the questions you’ve asked, which is reality in itself, vs reality as perceived.”

    I am not saying that there are two realities, one, reality in itself and another, reality as perceived. I am not saying this. What I am saying is that there is only one reality which I call reality in itself and then there are billions and trillions of other empirical realities which are merely made out of perceptions of the reality in itself by trillions of different perceivers. The reality in itself is the ground of these trillions of empirical realities but is separate from all empirical realities. Human empirical reality is only one of these trillions of empirical realities. These empirical realities do not have absolute existence of their own, they are merely relational to the perceiver. Only reality in itself has absolute existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello OR,

      Thank you for the clarification. I can follow your line of reasoning here I think, but what about the perceivers who form these empirical realities through their acts of perception? In your view is a human being the same thing as the empirical reality that forms when that human being looks upon reality in itself?

      Is it fair to say that a difference in our respective views is that you don’t think that a human being can know reality in itself, because they can only form empirical perceptions, while I believe humans can (know reality in itself)?

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Michael,

    Thank you Michael for your intelligent questions.

    You wrote, ” but what about the perceivers who form these empirical realities through their acts of perception? In your view is a human being the same thing as the empirical reality that forms when that human being looks upon reality in itself?”

    I tend to think that a human being, a mouse or a bat etc.. are different than a rock or a pond of water in this regard because a mouse etc. have their own empirical realities whereas a rock etc. do not ( or so it seems to me).

    When you perceive another human being, you perceive him in your human empirical reality and not in reality in itself, hence what you perceive is a phenomenal human being. Similarly when you sit in meditation and still your mind then whatever comes to you is also in empirical reality. It makes no difference whether you perceive externally or internally. What ever experiences are coming to you in that state are also in your human empirical reality. Of course you can get deep insights and feelings of peace and transcendental visions etc sometimes, but all this is still not in reality in itself ( or so it seems to me).

    You wrote, “Is it fair to say that a difference in our respective views is that you don’t think that a human being can know reality in itself, because they can only form empirical perceptions, while I believe humans can (know reality in itself)?”

    Yes. But mind you I always have an open mind. I know that I do not know everything. And also that whatever I think that I know, may also not be so.

    Now let me ask you a question:

    Do you know reality in itself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello OR,

      It’s a good question, and my answer is yes. This is not a profound accomplishment though, or anything I would say differentiates me from anyone else in any particular way. I think we all know, or can know, reality in itself. It is even inevitable that we each will do so I think. Now, do I live by this knowing in every moment? I can’t say that I do. But I’ve contacted it, and each time that I return to the knowing of it, I realize with joy that I never really left. (I just thought I did… because how could you actually depart from what you are?)

      Now the difficulty here is that I’m not sure there is any real room for agreement between the way in which you think of this matter, and the way that I do. I certainly could be wrong, but my sense is that the starting points of our systems are simply different.

      To be open-minded is a wonderful thing, but it typically extends only up to the point at which a thought reversal becomes fearful. So, let’s say that you believed me and wished to understand whatever it is I’m talking about. To do that would not be a simple matter of correcting faulty logic within the context of what you find logical, it would require a revision to what you find logical in the first place. For each and every one of us, this is difficult, and quite often frightening. To make a change at the very bottom of the structure literally entails undoing one’s very identity. That’s uncomfortable.

      Why would you entertain such a notion? I certainly wouldn’t encourage you take on such a task for everyone you meet, assuredly. For me, I have entertained such notions principally when conditions in my life were difficult, and proceeding in the direction I was going was untenable. If you are happy, fulfilled, and at peace, and naturally of good will to others, then there would be no obvious reason to take such an action. But if you desire knowledge of a particular sort, and you discover another has that knowledge, then you may decide to undertake the effort to try and modify the root of your thought system.

      A related point is that complete open-mindedness without open-heartedness can be difficult because what results is nihilism essentially–a truly level playing field between a vast ensemble of potential starting points. Since a starting point cannot be selected from the available alternatives logically, the mind flounders. For me the heart provides the necessary starting point, the orientation. For some, the choice is made to make the sensory input of the body primary, and and work outwards from there. I sense this is what you are saying: the body’s sense can only perceive a perception filtered by that particular mechanism. That’s certainly true, but it’s only one level or mode or way in which perception can occur. So these are very different beginnings with predictably different outcomes. My point is simply that complete open-mindedness without the guidance of the heart can be very difficult as well. I wouldn’t advocate anyone attempting a complete renovation of their thought system without help or guidance.

      Lastly, while it may seem there are many thought systems to choose from, and a great many philosophical positions one might take, at the root we are either indissolubly joined, or we are truly separate. I think we are truly joined. I think reality in itself is knowable.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Hello OR,

      When I speak of knowing reality in itself it is not that I think I can convey any facts to you about it, or that I think I can give you a concise description or definition of it. If that is what you are asking, then I will have to disappoint. The best I could do, I think, is to offer you a copy of one of my poetry books. If you would like to read it, or even a piece or two from it, in print or electronic format, e-mail me at the address given in the contact page and I can send you a copy. It is, at this moment, the best I can do… Reality in itself cannot really be talked about for as soon as we talk about it we are forming a construct in which reality in itself is a concept that we are outside of and observing. I think that reality in itself can only be known, and communicated from one to the next as the most sublime content of our being.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Hello OR,

      Sorry for the delay here in responding. It was a busy week of travel for me the last few days. As to your question, what I would say is that I do have moments of delusion, as well as moments of seeing truly. So the short answer is yes. As I think I may have said above, I do at times find myself responding at times to perceptions that are based on one form of unreality or another.

      The great lie of our time, I think, is that a purely conceptual approach to understanding ourselves, when coupled with an empirical-rational synthesis, can reveal what is ultimately so. I simply do not think that is possible. As I think I may also have said above, reality can only be known directly, and not thought about. So I still find myself on the outside looking in at times–thinking about what is so. It’s the common, culturally-approved norm for our time I would say. When I’m not suffering from such delusions, I feel aligned with my heart, and in contact with reality directly.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  11. Hello Michael,

    ” The great lie of our time, I think, is that a purely conceptual approach to understanding ourselves, when coupled with an empirical-rational synthesis, can reveal what is ultimately so. I simply do not think that is possible.”

    I have no problem with your reply above. .

    To my question, “Do you have any delusions?
    You replied, “As to your question, what I would say is that I do have moments of delusion, as well as moments of seeing truly.”

    My meaning of ‘delusion’ (which I think is also the generally accepted meaning in English language) is:
    “something a person believes and wants to be true, when it is actually not true.”

    So, to repeat my question, Do you have any beliefs which you want to be true but which actually are not true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello OR,

      I’d say the crux of the accepted definition of delusion is that it involves a person adhering to a particular take on “reality” despite there being evidence to the contrary. In this sense, my answer is no. Another way to say it would be that I am no more delusional than the next person. There are a great many views that can be supported by the relatively limited amount of information we can process at any given time–a great many interpretations that may be consistently applied to a set of facts or observations. So who is to say who is delusional? Do we each “want our beliefs to be true”? Of course we do. Does that make us delusional? Not in my opinion. Certainly not in the medical sense at any rate.

      But let me stop here and say that I’m not sure of your intent with this latest line of questioning. It doesn’t feel to me as though we’re having a fruitful conversation. Are you enjoying this exchange? And am I clarifying anything for you in the sense that you are developing a greater understanding of me? I don’t feel as though I’ve learned anything new about you in these last few rounds of communication, with the result being this has begun feeling more like a deposition than a dialogue. And I’m not interested in proceeding further in that manner. So if you do wish to continue I’d ask that you respond in a more meaningful way and help me understand what it is you’re driving at.

      Thank you,
      Michael

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.