Help with an evolving proposition

I’m looking for some help in creating a more concrete argument with this proposition I’m forming (perhaps some citations, similar thinking, more evidence, formation/wording of its current form etc). Beyond my limited observations and experiences of what seems/seemed to be duality and non-duality, I don’t have much of a education on the works of the many spiritual teachers, philosophers and scientists that have graced our earth with perhaps the stated ideas I’m about to put forth (although I do have some exposure, ken being one, although not indepthly).

Do all current models and opinions of reality (or perhaps anything for that matter) take their position based upon evidence that comes through human experience (since, well there’s only humans having these conversations on this planet). This can include experiences ranging from the subjective experiences of individuality, division, separation, distance, and time, to the mystical classifications of experiences, such as no-time, oneness, being, a sense of god or being god, or non-duality.

For example doesn’t science seems to make claims about reality based upon the 5-6 subjective senses of human experience or pose questions on the subject of something called “objective matter” based on such. A simple claimed given (experience) of up, down, left, right seems to require the subjective sense of such to make such a proposition and base further science on. Or doesn’t time require a agreed upon constant or measurement and subjective experience to point to and form a questions about or make a claim about. For example the statement I dropped a ball down the hole at 30 miles per hour seems to be coming from a unquestioned agreement that a “ball” went “down” a hole (subjective seen/felt experience) at “30 mph” (agreed upon seen/felt/labeled subjective experience). From my experiences of “non-duality/oneness” such a statement seems silly because there is nothing moving in any direction at any speed, all is one with no division, there are no moving parts, all is experienced as oneself. AND, the position of non-duality seems to be a experience of its own claim resting on “self/subjective experience” as proof of its own a statements (purists would argue neither subjective or objective, but a merger of the two). And interestingly at the same time, neither is invalidated, since both could hold the position of a possible actual truth.

Free will is another that can be looked through this lens. Isn’t free will only proven by the self/subjective experience of such. There doesn’t appear to be objective proof of this accepted notion. And same for determinism, no-free will, the everything is happening out of our control, a result of genes, determined by the brain, effected by the environment. None of these seem to have actual proof that is not arrived at from anything other then the subjective senses/experience or measurements coming from a subjective sense/experiences. And yet again interestingly, none of these can be invalidated.

Now I don’t want people to get the idea that there is no experience (because experience seems to be the only constant in this framework of comparison,and no I’m not saying there can’t be something without experience because its very real that the sun could exist without an experiencer, but thats a topic for another day), but the claim that materialism/individuality, free will/determinism, oneness/non-duality seem unprovable and rest upon a particular type of experience to prove their claim about reality and all further expressions from them. Experience seems to be whats most real, profound and an unknowable mystery, encompassing the very ability to feel and see everything so far spoken about as ones life, neither validating or invalidating the materialism or non-duality/oneness view.

This claim seems to have implications into the realms of psychology/morals/reasoning as well. A realm in which everything seems self referenced. Is this right or wrong for example, a question that for a materialist/individual appears to be asked to oneself and an answer appears, generally backed by reasons on a felt/believed sense and backed by life experience/conviction. The same question asked to a “evolving” individual/non-dual/more encompassing “realizer” is again answered from a self referenced experiential sense/experience using the words such as knowning, realizing, seeing, felt in the heart, etc (all subjective/self referenced)(and yes I’ve been here). Again experience seems to be the constant here in both, but the actual of the content remains a profound mysterious happening, that can take the many infinite forms between materialism, and non-duality/oneness, the yet created, the neither of these, and perhaps in alien unthinkable dimensional experiences incomprehensible by humans.

Also I’m not saying science is not useful or relevant here either since it obviously has some human benifit, which maybe needs some addressing in this piece (or perhaps not, I’m not sure)

If you’ve gotten this far, I hope your still alive, lol, and have something to say that can help form this into a piece of something…more sourced, cited, and perhaps elaborated…because i know I’m not the original thinker of such material.

One impression I have about “non-duality” is that it relates to abandoning the naive notion that one’s mind is of a different kind, or separate from, the rest of reality.

All that we can be certain of is that patterns of sensation occur within the space of awareness. We can’t be certain what the origin of the awareness or the patterns is.

Perhaps all that a human can be aware of is mind stuff and perhaps we are all sharing a mental construct. How do you know that the sun exists even if there is no mind to observe it? Most materialist will accept that when they dream their mind creates elaborate forms and behaviors, some of which seem to be other minds. Also, when you use your imagination very complicated forms and behaviors may enter your mind’s eye. These direct experiences tell us that mind can create sensory impressions. Perhaps it is the only thing we can be certain has the ability to create sensory impressions. Why do we need any more evidence that the mind can account for all the complexity that we observe with our “senses”?

One roadblock to this worldview being accepted might be that injuries to our bodies result in the degradation of our ability to sense the external world. However, we might think of observing the “external world” as something like a memorized set of mental associations where our bodies sensory organs play a role in some pattern and if the sensory organ should be damaged then the way it participates in that pattern of associations may change.

I can’t be certain that the world is best thought of as a mental construct that we all share - where the “laws of nature” are something like deeply conditioned mental associations that we can’t escape through the power of our individual wills. However, I think it’s an interesting worldview that might have some utility.

Good luck in your intellectual adventures!

Really fascinating response. The first thing I’m struck by is your use of the word “mind” and can see I’m not exactly sure by what you mean. Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to be conveying something in your experience/awarness that you see as mind, or/and a belief that a something called a mind that is responsible for sensory impressions. I guess I don’t even go there, since mind to me just seems an imagination or an additional overlay in experiencing. Perhaps I should touch upon using the word Mind in this as well since it does seem to be a position of belief within experience that is widely held.

The roadblock you propose is something I’ll have to consider more as well. I personally believe that brain seems to have correlation with all sorts of subjective experience, but experience still remains for those damaged in many ways (I guess you could argue that without brain there is no experience/life, but the same could be said for the heart, or blood, or water).

Also the last thing you said is something I want to avoid and is not the point of the piece. Do you feel the piece is arguing the position that its all a mental construct? I’m arguing neither the viewpoint of mental construct (individualism/materialism) or all comes from a spiritual already there always has been presence (non-duality, oneness, god), but the mystery of it all and the experience of living we all find ourselves, which does not exclude (nor automatically include) the views/living experience of the latter.

By “mind” I mean that the phenomena that you think of as your “mind” may be a microcosm whose tendencies can teach you about the nature of the rest of reality - namely that we experience patterns of sensations where we know that mental processes can generate such sensations. Perhaps we all live in one big mind, similar to individual fingers on the same hand.

Keep in mind that when you dream you view dream objects with dream eyes. The sensory organs that you have during your waking life may also be mental constructs that play a role in particular patterns of sensation. Also, perhaps the brain is simply what a mind looks like to another mind given our current conditioning - where the conditioning may run much deeper than any single individual’s willpower is capable of overturning.

I wasn’t sure if you were going for a “mind only” interpretation of reality or not. It’s one of my favorite hypotheses :slight_smile:

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You might also want to checkout The Kybalion. It’s a free download.

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Howdy Mu1,

Depth, in my experience, changes the meanings of words and ideas. Lower on the scale there seems to be a great deal of separateness and egoity – even within the way we conceive of our most transcendental experiences. Higher (or deeper) along the scale there seems to be no separateness even in the dichotomy of self-other, no ego even in the hyper-individuality, no duality even between Duality & Nonduality.

All the growth and evolution involves integrating the different states of being. Science focuses on the integration of “causal” and “gross”. It does not base its understanding upon the mortal sensory “knower” but upon the principle of better and better, more complete and more specific, explanations. An explanation is an intersection between infinite, invisible principles and omnipresent (i.e. it could happen anywhere in space or time) data from the energy and information that makes up the physical universe. The experience of Oneness, likewise, is an intersection between the causal principle of infinite singularity and the specifically nondual reality in which all things are freed from the limiting power of conventional distinctions. Nonduality is neither this nor that. It is both Oneness and the Opposite of Oneness. But we call it Oneness when we are examining how it intersects with the causal. Or if we were interested in the flavor and flow of the subtle energy of nondual realizers then would, of course, be looking at the intersection of the subtle & nondual.

Each level must involved more and more integrations. Each level changes the profundity of what we mean by things like mind, science, knowledge, body, time, etc. Each level depressurizes the apparent opposites without cancelling the functional power of their opposition. Ultimately

So I think there is an argument to made here. Not a contrast between how all science and philosophy is based on the sensory ego and its finite concepts (vs. the mystical realization of oneness) but, rather, a contrast between the limiting assumptions that lower levels of integration make about their science and philosophy (including its difference from oneness) and the way that more profound levels of integration feel about these same processes and distinctions.

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Hi Layman_Pascal,

Thats quite a response, some of which I’m not sure I fully follow due to language, but I think I get where your coming from in your first 3 paragraphs. Although when you speak of levels do you mean knowledge of some sort?, I’m not sure exactly what your saying (I probably should read ken again, its been almost 10 years), nor what exactly you mean by subtle energy and intersection of subtle and nondual in your second paragraph.

I like what your propose about the piece becoming a type of contrast between limiting assumptions, however the piece to begin with was not intended to be a contrast. Its more of a piece showing that science camps and spiritual camps use the same mechanism to make anything out of experiencing (One camp can broadly be classified as, beings that see itself from a view of space, time and seperation with convictions of its solidity, as grounds to form “solid and objectifiable” claims 2. The spiritual camp whos experience and claims of oneness or non-duality, is validated in the the subjective experience, just like the science camp), while at the same time trying to transition the reader into the recognition of “experience and its inherent worth outside of definitions and labels” plus imparting values of not rejecting science or spirituality on the grounds that one or the other is more informed because subjectively accepted/self proved reasons. In a way its a sleight of hand proposition to get people stuck in materialism camps and spiritual camps who believed they understand it all, to open up more and at the same time see that each side is equal in their supposed arguments to define reality.

Just out of curiosity what do you mean by sensory organs that also may be mental constructs?

Scientific materialists usually accept that when they dream they interact with dream objects using a body their mind constructs. Maybe when you are awake your body is also a mental construct that you use to interact with other mental constructs - where these waking mental constructs are something we all share. Perhaps even what we think of as the “laws of nature” are deeply ingrained mental associations that all sentient life participates in maintaining on a subconscious level.

Dreams may also be shared in ways that scientists typically don’t acknowledge. However, the dream state seems to be more malleable than the waking state, since a consistent set of physical laws don’t seem to apply and changes don’t always persist from dream to dream.

I have an idea I call the “Empathetic Leap” that I think is relevant to this discussion. Even though we may not be able to prove that other minds exist, we can choose to act as though they do. Please don’t take my suggestions as justifying doing anything you like to others since “the world is just a mental construct”. Suffering is still real and the actions we take seem to affect how much we all experience.

Those are some fascinating idea’s, I particularly like what you said “Maybe when you are awake your body is also a mental construct that you use to interact with other mental constructs” its very much what ego in many spiritual traidtions is dsecribed as. I don’t know if you meditate or have had experiences where you see what feels like a form that you’d general call yourself from a vaster view, but in my experience in life that is literally what I found to be happening, some of these constructs don’t seem to benefit the life experience, and others seem neutral and others appear to maybe be helpful.

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I like to identify with raw awareness. The sensory patterns that enter my awareness, including those that constitute my body, I think of as constantly changing and not a source of a fixed identity.

From the way you are interchanging “science camp” and “materialism camp”, it sounds like you might think science = materialism? @pretiare shared a useful link on a different thread that seems to pertain to this, perhaps you can find more resources for your proposition there:

In my growth experience, where I am on the growth ladder (what level or stage I’m at in consciousness and ego/self-identity - two of the developmental lines) limits the connections I can see between science and spirituality… it is as @Layman_Pascal more eloquently describes:

If a person thinks they “understand it all” as you describe, then it’s possible that their ego is interfering with their ability to see opportunities for further growth. In my experience, providing an intellectual argument is rarely effective in helping an unwilling ego grow, even for highly intellectual folks who find self-value in their cognitive skills.

I have found really talking to the person about their ego/self-identity limitations, asking questions about how it serves them, pointing to current and past situations in which is has not served them particularly well, asking about their adaptation ideas and suggesting additional possible ways to grow which might serve the situations better, and then providing a bit of emotional support and validation through this process to be most effective. Or at least the most effective process I’ve been able to enact. It takes a lot of energy, time, willingness on behalf of the person who you are attempting to inspire growth in and usually the person will revert back to their old way of seeing things if their situation hasn’t changed permanently and the new perspective changes don’t serve them particularly well or better than the old perspective. It might take years for you to see noticeable self-identity or perspective growth in the person, or they might be changed after one encounter.

I personally have had folks (sometimes strangers) say something to me that stuck in my craw (possibly evoking anger or confusion at the time) and which took me a full 5-10 years before I was able to digest and understand their wisdom.