Feel like I'm close but need a push

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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:51 am

Hi Vivien,

Apologies for the later replies than usual recently. On top of a few other things, I'm currently moving home, so there's a bit of disruption going on. All that should be out of the way by the weekend though.
Do you see that it’s only an assumption that since one follows the other (A: seeing the dog or reading the text to think of a car – B: sensations labelled ‘happiness’ arising or visual thought of a car appearing)?

Do you see that it’s coming only from logical thinking that A caused B?
Yes. In fact it's very similar to how logic is often explained.
But where is the experiential link between the two?
Is there any actual, observable link?
No. I recall experiencing a gap between 'A' and 'B' in which nothing could be observed.
So there is a choice (even if just a little) in selecting the car’s characteristics?
It didn't feel like a choice at all. It appeared without any direction from me.

So imagine a car again.

HOW do you chose the characteristics of the car?
Describe the choosing itself… is there ANY choice what to choose?
Aside from a thought that appeared and forbade the appearance of my own car this time (and this thought came of its own accord), there was no choice in the appearance of the car. This time it appeared like a very old (1970s perhaps), brown Ford Cortina. On observing the thought forming, I noticed that it appeared in an instant, then quickly faded, then reappeared slowly taking the form of the car described above. The initial flash was strong and unbidden and appeared to maniest completely of its own accord. The second, slower of that image was more akin to a slow rebuilding of the initial flash in a way that could be more closely observed. THis second thought had no rational choosing behind its appearance either.
What is choice? How does choice itself appear?
In this exercise, choice was not a factor. The thoughts appeared to happen with no decision making process other than that which went with the instruction that a car be made to appear rather than a horse or an aeroplane.
Aside from aligning your suggestion to sit and think of a car with the act of doing those things, I didn't do anything to make that happen.
OK, do the imagination again.

HOW do you ‘align with the suggestion of imagining the car’?
HOW do you do it exactly?
So, on reading the instruction to imagine a car, I sat on my bed and closed my eyes and observed a thought arising that a car must be formed. I did not, however, construct the thought of a car with any true volition. When I examined how the thought of a car was actually created, there seems to be a strange anomaly in which nothing is happening one moment and a car just appears the next. At no point is there a creative act in which a car is created by myself.
Is there anything in that process that you are doing?
Or every single aspect of it is just happening on its own, even the aligning?
This question makes a lot of sense after writing what I did in the last answer. I'm not doing anything as an agent of change at all. Not even the aligning. I am aware of the suggestion, but what choice did I truly ave in committing the act? None, it seems.
What is it exactly that is acted upon on the suggestion?
What is making the ‘acting upon’ to happen?
Nothing. I can't rationally explain it. In terms od what is making the 'acting upon' happen, I truly don't know.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:19 am

Hi Dave,
Apologies for the later replies than usual recently. On top of a few other things, I'm currently moving home, so there's a bit of disruption going on. All that should be out of the way by the weekend though.
That’s all right, thank you for letting me. Hopefully, after the move you will have more time to inquire.
Nothing. I can't rationally explain it. In terms od what is making the 'acting upon' happen, I truly don't know.

But is there anything doing it? Or the doer is just assumed?


Let’s look into this more. Here is an interesting exercise for you.

Here is an interesting exercise for you.

1. Place both hands on a table in front of you, palms down.
2. When you have done that, rest for a moment and then raise one hand in the air but not the other.

Don't go to thoughts, examine your experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

What is it exactly that is choosing which hand to raise?
Can you find a self/me or anything that is doing the choosing?

Is there a me/I controlling and moving the hand?
Is there a ‘I’ controlling which and to raise?
Is there a controller? Where?

How is the decision made?
Is the decision is made by an I/self?
Is there a decision maker? Where?


Repeat this many times before replying.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:06 pm

Hi Vivien,
Nothing. I can't rationally explain it. In terms od what is making the 'acting upon' happen, I truly don't know.
But is there anything doing it? Or the doer is just assumed?
I don't associate the actions with a doer particularly. It feels more like a process with an unknown origin. Like a thing that is happening without explanation.
1. Place both hands on a table in front of you, palms down.
2. When you have done that, rest for a moment and then raise one hand in the air but not the other.

Don't go to thoughts, examine your experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

What is it exactly that is choosing which hand to raise?
Can you find a self/me or anything that is doing the choosing?
There is no detectable presence of an I that is doing the choosing or any way to really ascribe the action of raising the nad to anything specific. The more this exercise was done, the more the inability to discern the actual cause of raising the hand became disconcerting. I tried to focus in on it with more attention by examining the moments before during and after raising a hand and found that it was still impossible to attribute the act of making choices to, whether it was wich hand to lift, when to lift it, how far to lift it, when to stop and when to return it onto the table again.
Is there a me/I controlling and moving the hand?
Is there a ‘I’ controlling which and to raise?
Is there a controller? Where?
Certainly not in anyway that I can detect or experience.Putting aside the illusion that such a choice is made in the head, there is also no way to attribute where any kind of 'controller' could be located.
How is the decision made?
Is the decision is made by an I/self?
Is there a decision maker? Where?
When I examine the point where the hand is waiting to be raised closely, there is a clear feeling of tension and suspense, as if I'm waiting for an event to occur, like waiting for the gun to go off at the beginning of the race. Then, it seems that one of my hands chooses to raise itself without any conscious thought or decision attributable to it. There is no 'I' or decision maker apparent when one looks for it and it is difficult to attribute where the action actually comes from.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:22 am

Hi Dave,

You did a nice looking :)
Putting aside the illusion that such a choice is made in the head, there is also no way to attribute where any kind of 'controller' could be located.
“Putting aside the illusion that such a choice is made in the head” – please tell me more about this.

Please repeat the exercise several times and then look into…

How does the illusion of choice being made in the head appear? Please describe it as precisely as you can, but without using any analogies, theories or speculations.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:37 pm

Hi Vivien,
How does the illusion of choice being made in the head appear? Please describe it as precisely as you can, but without using any analogies, theories or speculations.
The illusion of choice being felt in the head feels chaotic. Like a confusion. Like hitting an obstacle that there's no way to overcome. There is nothing actually there, but there is the illusion that something should be. Yet when one looks for that thing, there is a great void where it's meant to be. Thoughts rail against this exposure, causing what feels like the root of a negative or ambiguous emotion rising. A sense of being lost or seeing something forbidden. No thought or decision is detectable and it is impossible to actually pinpoint anything except there. Seeing this makes even a simple task feel like an impossibility when it's being conducted, but then the decision is made anyway, without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:41 am

Hi Dave,
A sense of being lost or seeing something forbidden.
Is there a ‘sense’ of seeing that the self doesn’t exist, it’s only imagined is forbidden or not allowed?
If yes, where does this restriction coming from?
Is there a resistance or a fear of seeing this?
Seeing this makes even a simple task feel like an impossibility when it's being conducted, but then the decision is made anyway, without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks.
“without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks” – so what does the word ‘one’ point to in this sentence?

What is it that is assuming that there is a real mind? What is making the assumption?
WHERE is the one, who/what is making this assumption?


It’s important that you don’t think through these questions, don’t try to figure out the answers, but rather investigate experience/reality, and literally search for the ‘one’.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:58 pm

Hi Vivien,

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:49 am

Hi Dave,

I think you wanted to post more than 'Hi Vivien' :) could you please check your previous post?
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:10 am

Hi Vivien
Is there a ‘sense’ of seeing that the self doesn’t exist, it’s only imagined is forbidden or not allowed?
If yes, where does this restriction coming from?
Is there a resistance or a fear of seeing this?
What I found when looking for an 'I' was an absence of anything to observe. The reaction to this was what felt like a mild emotional response, though I suppose the labelling of that feeling could be deemed an imagining. Stating that it felt forbidden was a descriptive of the closest feeling I could express, but yes, I suppose that does involve an element of imagination. The feeling of restriction doesn't have a perceivable source either, so could only be assigned to a creative construct when being described. It could also be described as a sort of fear at finding that there was nothing to observe, but it didn't explicitly feel like that. The fear wasn't strong or well defined enough to give it a definite cause either.
Seeing this makes even a simple task feel like an impossibility when it's being conducted, but then the decision is made anyway, without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks.
“without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks”


– so what does the word ‘one’ point to in this sentence?
I guess it points to the same sense of identity with a 'self' that has been built up by thought over a lifetime of not questioning the illusory nature of thought.
What is it that is assuming that there is a real mind? What is making the assumption?
WHERE is the one, who/what is making this assumption?

It’s important that you don’t think through these questions, don’t try to figure out the answers, but rather investigate experience/reality, and literally search for the ‘one’.
It is the impression of passing thoughts that give the impression that there is a real mind. Every time I try to locate it I become aware that every outcome of making these attempts are just more and more thoughts being generated and nothing that is beyond them. On searching for this common source or 'one' that these thoughts suggest however there is nothing real to be found. There is nothing to look at.

Dave

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:52 am

Hi Dave,
The fear wasn't strong or well defined enough to give it a definite cause either.
If stronger fear or resistance comes up during our investigation, please let me know, so we can have a look on it.
V: “without any need for that imaginary mind that one had assumed did such tasks”– so what does the word ‘one’ point to in this sentence?
D: I guess it points to the same sense of identity with a 'self' that has been built up by thought over a lifetime of not questioning the illusory nature of thought.
Guessing is thinking, speculating. When I ask you a question, I never ask you to try to figure out the answer by thinking. Every single question I give you is a pointer for you where to look. So please always investigate experience with every question. And never rely on a memory of a previous looking, always look afresh.
There is nothing to look at.
Yes :) and yet I will repeatedly ask you look for the same thing again and again. Since it’s the continuous and repeated looking and looking and searching that brings about the realization.

Here is an exercise for you.

Please put some chocolate (or something you think you shouldn’t eat or drink) in front of you. Look at it. Inspect it closely. Smell its delicious fragrance. And pay attention to emerging desire to eat it.

When the desire is there, pay close attention to the thought process.
See how thoughts list pros and cons why you should or shouldn’t eat the chocolate.
These opposing thoughts might even try to argue or convince each other what to decide.

What is it that is considering these options?
Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully


Now, make a decision, but whatever you decide, don’t eat the chocolate (yet). Rather just pay very close attention when the decision is made. Particularly pay attention to thoughts, as the decision is made.

Let’s say a thought appear: “I decided not to eat the chocolate”
So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
How exactly the decision is made?


Now, act according to the decision. (Either eat or don’t eat the chocolate.)
What is it that performed the chosen action?

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:15 am

Hi Vivien,
Here is an exercise for you.

Please put some chocolate (or something you think you shouldn’t eat or drink) in front of you. Look at it. Inspect it closely. Smell its delicious fragrance. And pay attention to emerging desire to eat it.

When the desire is there, pay close attention to the thought process.
See how thoughts list pros and cons why you should or shouldn’t eat the chocolate.
These opposing thoughts might even try to argue or convince each other what to decide.
Because I didn't think I should do it, I decided to do this exercise with a can of beer and decide whether or not I should take a long drink from it. I opened it and waited for the desire to drink it to come. Pros and cons did indeed come and seem to convince each other, with the principles of pleasure (it would be enjoyable and give me a light buzz) pitting themselves against those of pain (it would cause my stomach to bloat, would feel uncomfortable to drink it quickly)
What is it that is considering these options?
Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully.
In this context it seemed to be the body itself that was considering these options, because all of the pros and cons related to whether I would find the experience pleasurable or uncomfortable. Writing this, that answer didn't seem right, so I decided to try and look again. This time I noticed that the sensation of slight heartburn from the last swig provided the con and the desire to drink the beer seemed diminished and a bit of a chore. The main pro was the idea that I should finish it off an not leave it half emptied. It still seemed the case that the body was at the root of the thoughts that were appearing, with its various feedback influencing the nature of the thoughts that followed. What was actually considering those options though felt like a balance of the physical body, its desire for pleasure, or its desire to avoid discomfort. It felt like desire, then, was causing the formation of the thoughts. What was considering the options just felt like my body responding to what it wanted to satisfy it.
Now, make a decision, but whatever you decide, don’t eat the chocolate (yet). Rather just pay very close attention when the decision is made. Particularly pay attention to thoughts, as the decision is made.
When the decision was made there was an emotional response that felt like mild elation. Coming just after that was a feeling of slight guilt, but it was far weaker that the feeling of gladness. The thought atop of these emotions was one of affirmation, as though the desire all the time had been to drink the beer and that the cons were never rally going to be taken seriously. The pros, on the other hand, just verified the things the bodily desire wanted.
Let’s say a thought appear: “I decided not to eat the chocolate”
So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
How exactly the decision is made?
As above, it felt like it was the desire for sensory satisfaction. The decision felt like it had already been made the whole time though, like the desire was there the whole time just waiting to be approved.
Now, act according to the decision. (Either eat or don’t eat the chocolate.)
What is it that performed the chosen action?
It felt like a mechanical action that had been waiting for thought to end its debating so that sensory desire could be fulfilled.

Dave.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:04 am

Hi Dave,

You might not see it, but your replies are intellectual. You are taking the content of thoughts as something real, and not seeing that what you are writing about is not experience, but thought interpretation of experience.

It is essential to see the difference between a thought as an appearing phenomenon, and its content, what the thought is about.


Without seeing the distinction, it’s very difficult to see through the self-illusion.
In this context it seemed to be the body itself that was considering these options,
This reply is not coming from looking at experience directly, it’s a thought only.
because all of the pros and cons related to whether I would find the experience pleasurable or uncomfortable.
This is a thought explanation only.

Thoughts are about the body, and you take the thought content as ‘truth’ without investigating experience, and you accept what thoughts conclude, that it’s all about the body, the body is considering the options because it’s about pleasure an uncomfortable. This reply is purely intellectual, meaning the content of a thought, and not seeing being only just a thought/imagination.
Writing this, that answer didn't seem right, so I decided to try and look again. This time I noticed that the sensation of slight heartburn from the last swig provided the con and the desire to drink the beer seemed diminished and a bit of a chore. The main pro was the idea that I should finish it off an not leave it half emptied. It still seemed the case that the body was at the root of the thoughts that were appearing, with its various feedback influencing the nature of the thoughts that followed.
This is a thought interpretation only.
What was actually considering those options though felt like a balance of the physical body, its desire for pleasure, or its desire to avoid discomfort.
This is also an intellectualization. You are trying to figure this out intellectually.

These investigations are not about thinking. It’s quite the opposite. It’s looking at experience directly, while INGROING EVERYTHING THOUGHTS HAVE TO SAY ON THE MATTER. And just describing the raw, unadulterated facts of reality, and not our theories or speculations about it.
It felt like desire, then, was causing the formation of the thoughts. What was considering the options just felt like my body responding to what it wanted to satisfy it.
This is coming from logical thinking.
When the decision was made there was an emotional response that felt like mild elation. Coming just after that was a feeling of slight guilt, but it was far weaker that the feeling of gladness. The thought atop of these emotions was one of affirmation, as though the desire all the time had been to drink the beer and that the cons were never rally going to be taken seriously. The pros, on the other hand, just verified the things the bodily desire wanted.
This is also an intellectual reply. Especially, the last concluding sentence… “bodily desires wanted’.

All of these confusions are coming from what I mentioned above, not seeing what is real, what is actually happening, and what is just a thought content, a thought interpretation ABOUT what is happening.

So, we have to go back to the basics. Are you up for it?

I would like to ask you to do the spoon exercise again very carefully. And do it not just once, but many times before replying.

Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine its shape, size, weight, temperature, color. Now keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.

Then, open your eyes:
Is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or it never existed?


Now go and get a spoon from the kitchen and hold it in the same way that you imagined it.
Feel the spoon’s form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Close your eyes and feel the spoon for a while.

Now open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
Are a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
How does imagining and experiencing differ?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:19 pm

Hi Vivien,

You might not see it, but your replies are intellectual. You are taking the content of thoughts as something real, and not seeing that what you are writing about is not experience, but thought interpretation of experience.
There certainly is an interpretation involved. Without that interpretation though, it doesn't feel like there is an answer that can be given to questions about what it is that is considering options. All that was felt in the last exercise was the awareness of the thoughts arising, without any way of expressing what it was that was considering options. The only other answer I could give would be that it was only more thoughts that were considering the options.
It is essential to see the difference between a thought as an appearing phenomenon, and its content, what the thought is about.
So would it be right to say that the options being considered were illusory because they were just the contents of thought?
These investigations are not about thinking. It’s quite the opposite. It’s looking at experience directly, while INGROING EVERYTHING THOUGHTS HAVE TO SAY ON THE MATTER. And just describing the raw, unadulterated facts of reality, and not our theories or speculations about it.
Thanks, that adds some more clarity.
So, we have to go back to the basics. Are you up for it?
Yes.
Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine its shape, size, weight, temperature, color. Now keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.

Then, open your eyes:
Is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or it never existed?
There is no spoon in real life. It was seen that there is no spoon by looking at what is really there in front of me. The spoon never existed and was only a construct of thought.
Now go and get a spoon from the kitchen and hold it in the same way that you imagined it.
Feel the spoon’s form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Close your eyes and feel the spoon for a while.

Now open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
Are a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
How does imagining and experiencing differ?
The spoon is still there in my hand every time. The visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon are not the same thing. The difference between the two is that when being imagined, the spoon cannot actually be seen or felt, whereas with the real experience of the spoon, it can.

Dave.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:55 am

Hi Dave,
So would it be right to say that the options being considered were illusory because they were just the contents of thought?
I would rather not answer this question, since that would add just more intellectual knowledge, something to accept (or not) and believe in. Rather, we are going to do a serious of exercises in the following days, and hopefully that will help seeing the answer for yourself.
There certainly is an interpretation involved. Without that interpretation though, it doesn't feel like there is an answer that can be given to questions about what it is that is considering options. All that was felt in the last exercise was the awareness of the thoughts arising, without any way of expressing what it was that was considering options. The only other answer I could give would be that it was only more thoughts that were considering the options.
And that’s the whole point of this investigation. To see what is there (what is left) when all thoughts about what is happening is ignored.

The whole illusion of the self is being created mainly by thoughts.

So what we are doing here is to compare our BELIEFS ( = THOUGHTS) about how things are to how things ACTUALLY ARE (EXPERIENTIALLY).

So we are comparing thoughts (assumptions, theories, imagination) to experience (reality).


This investigation is very simple, you don't need your intellect at all :)

Now, please take an object into your hands, you can start with a spoon, and later experiment with other objects.

In what ways the spoon can be experienced?
How do you know that the spoon is experienced and not imagined?
How do you know that the spoon is real?


Now take a book into your hands.

How is the book experienced?
How do you know that the box is real and exists?


Experiments with several different object throughout the day.

After, please tell me in your own words, what is the difference between experience and imagination?

And how do you know that a cup is real?
How do you know that the ‘tooth fairy’ isn’t real?
And what is the difference between imagination and thought?


If you want to prove if something really exists (and not just a fiction), like proving there is such thing as chair, what characteristics you have to look for? How would you prove that chairs exist?

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:58 pm

Hi Vivien,

Unless directed otherwise, I'm going to try keeping my answers shorter. I think over-explaining certain things may be an intellectual stumbling block of mine, so I'll make more of an effort to keep my answers brief and to the point.
Now, please take an object into your hands, you can start with a spoon, and later experiment with other objects.

In what ways the spoon can be experienced?
How do you know that the spoon is experienced and not imagined?
How do you know that the spoon is real?
The spoon can be seen and felt. If dropped, it can also be heard.
From the fact that it can be directly perceived by the senses.
By consistently experiencing it with the senses and without the need for thought or imagination.
Now take a book into your hands.

How is the book experienced?
How do you know that the box is real and exists?
It can be felt with the hands and its weight is also noticed. It can be looked at and read. It can even be smelled and, if I chose to, tasted. By flicking its pages, I can hear it.
Experiments with several different object throughout the day.

After, please tell me in your own words, what is the difference between experience and imagination?
The difference between experience and imagination is that experience informs us about things that provably exist as they have been perceived by the senses, and that imagination exists solely within the realm of thought, so its contents have no existence.
And how do you know that a cup is real?
How do you know that the ‘tooth fairy’ isn’t real?
And what is the difference between imagination and thought?
I know a cup is real because I experience it with the sense of sight and touch.
The tooth fairy is not real because I have never seen it with my own eyes. All I know of it is from imaginary stories.
Imagination and thought are essentially the same thing. Imagination is just another type of thought.
If you want to prove if something really exists (and not just a fiction), like proving there is such thing as chair, what characteristics you have to look for? How would you prove that chairs exist?
I would have to be able to perceive it directly with one or more of my senses. I would prove a chair existed by sitting on it.

Vivien


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