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Space6006
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Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:41 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That there is no experiencer of experiences - just experience. Experience is a bad word to use since (grammatically) it presupposes an experiencer, but I cannot think of any alternative. There is no discrete entity which exists to which the word "self" refers - rather, there is a fluid set of experiences some of which are identified with, some not.

What are you looking for at LU?
I want to reach a state where I feel clearly, as a matter of direct experience, that the self does not exist. Currently, I understand this in a theoretical way, but as a matter of direct experience still feel like the self exists - like any doubt I have about its existence is a delusion. I want it to be the other way around - to feel that the self is the delusion, not the doubts. I want this because it seems like stepping closer to reality in this way will allow me to end the suffering caused by this delusion - even though that will be a separate process.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be asked to look with the senses and report what exists in experience honestly, with no theorising or interpretation or attempts to rationalise. I expect a friendly commitment to participating in my thread regularly (daily where possible).

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I started meditating (mindfulness) about three months ago after reading the book Waking Up by Sam Harris, which approaches meditation in a secular way as a path to understanding the nature of the mind and its place in the universe. Before this, I had always been an atheist who had no interest in anything commonly considered 'spiritual', and never considered meditation as anything other than religious effluvia. My mind has been changed by my experience meditating.

I have always, however, had an interest in philosophy and had encountered the arguments against free will, finding them rationally convincing. Since staring mindfulness meditation, my understanding that there is no free will is not only conceptual, but a matter of direct experience. When not meditating, I still feel the same sense of freedom I did before I'd even encountered the arguments against it, but when I pay attention, it is certainly clear to me, without doubt, that the thing I call "me" (the nature of which I can't clearly perceive) gives no consent to any of my experiences, actions or thoughts.

I answered 10 to the question below since 10 is described as being "most ready", and as such, the answer "11" would have to refer to something less than "most ready", and I consider myself to be as ready as I'll ever be.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?:
10

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:07 am

Hi Space6006

Welcome to LU - My name is Xain, and I am a guide here.
Do you have a preferred name I can call you in our conversation?
That there is no experiencer of experiences - just experience. Experience is a bad word to use since (grammatically) it presupposes an experiencer, but I cannot think of any alternative.
You are right. As soon as we use any word, it presupposes things. Indeed, it also presupposes an opposite by which it is known by. With this said however, please feel free to use normal language through-out our conversation.
There is no discrete entity which exists to which the word "self" refers - rather, there is a fluid set of experiences some of which are identified with, some not.
Excellent. Yes. For the words 'discrete entity' I usually use the words 'inherent self', a separate self that has no real existence 'of itself'. Indeed, this guidance is for you to realise that - That there has never been a 'real I'. Even right now, there is no 'real I' . . . it is an illusion caused by unexamined circular thoughts and misperceptions.
I want to reach a state where I feel clearly, as a matter of direct experience, that the self does not exist. Currently, I understand this in a theoretical way, but as a matter of direct experience still feel like the self exists
I understand. Could you give me an example where for you it's clear that it is only a 'theoretical way'?
Let's say you fully realised 'no self'. How do you believe it would manifest itself to you different than you current experience? Do you expect anything to change or to happen? (For example)
I expect to be asked to look with the senses and report what exists in experience honestly, with no theorising or interpretation or attempts to rationalise. I expect a friendly commitment to participating in my thread regularly (daily where possible).
Sounds good.
There might be areas we have to discuss to get an understanding of what we are dealing with, but certainly the main guidance would be for you to examine your experience and see what you can find. Indeed, LU guidance isn't really anything special. It is just an extension of your own self-inquiry but 'guided' by someone who can get you to look in the right areas.
Before this, I had always been an atheist who had no interest in anything commonly considered 'spiritual', and never considered meditation as anything other than religious effluvia. My mind has been changed by my experience meditating
I was exactly the same (a hardened atheist) so you're chatting with a guy who's been at the place you are. I know Sam Harris, of course, but I haven't read his book. I like his style very much. He's the link/bridge between the hardened Atheists bunch (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett etc) and groups that explore non-duality and have some grasp of there being a lack of an inherent self . . . indeed at the sharp end, a lack of an inherent world!
I almost want to say 'Spiritual groups' here but that word is so packed with other connotations, I don't like to use it.
Since staring mindfulness meditation, my understanding that there is no free will is not only conceptual, but a matter of direct experience.
Excellent - Yes.
'Free-will' can only be applied to a 'thing'. So we would say 'this thing has it's own free-will'. But if there is no inherent self, no real separate 'me' . . . then the word has nothing to be applied to. In a sense, we could say that 'free-will' is just as illusory as 'separate self'. Indeed, you could even say it's part of the same illusion.

Although I asked before, please let me know any other expectations you might have about this realisation or 'what might happen after'.
Do you have any concerns or fears about this process or the goal?

I look forward to hearing from you
Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:55 am

Hi Space6006

Welcome to LU - My name is Xain, and I am a guide here.
Do you have a preferred name I can call you in our conversation?
You can call me Jake.
You are right. As soon as we use any word, it presupposes things. Indeed, it also presupposes an opposite by which it is known by. With this said however, please feel free to use normal language through-out our conversation.
Okay. I'll try not to over-complicate my language use or get hung up too much.
I understand. Could you give me an example where for you it's clear that it is only a 'theoretical way'?
Let's say you fully realised 'no self'. How do you believe it would manifest itself to you different than you current experience? Do you expect anything to change or to happen? (For example)
If I fully realised no-self in a non-theoretical way ... I suppose I don't expect any big or momentous changes. My model for this is based on my engagement with the Free Will issue. When I fully realised non-freedom in a non-theoretical way, it was just me noticing that, when the attention is brought to certain places (the moment a thought comes into consciousness, for example) I don't even feel free. I feel like only an observer, not an agent. Of course, when I go about my day to day life, I'm not permanently in this state, since my attention is not in the relevant places. But if ever anyone asks me, I'll answer with no hesitation or doubt that I don't have Free Will. Now that I've seen non-freedom I can't unsee it.

I expect a similar kind of thing might happen upon realising non-self. I'll go about my normal life just like I do now, but armed with new knowledge. The key, I think, will be the "cannot be unseen" stage. Right now, I'm full of doubt about the concept of no-self. Part of me feels like obviously there is a self, and all this talk about no-self is just confusion about something really simple and real. No such doubts exist about non-freedom.
Sounds good.
There might be areas we have to discuss to get an understanding of what we are dealing with, but certainly the main guidance would be for you to examine your experience and see what you can find. Indeed, LU guidance isn't really anything special. It is just an extension of your own self-inquiry but 'guided' by someone who can get you to look in the right areas.
:)
I was exactly the same (a hardened atheist) so you're chatting with a guy who's been at the place you are. I know Sam Harris, of course, but I haven't read his book. I like his style very much. He's the link/bridge between the hardened Atheists bunch (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett etc) and groups that explore non-duality and have some grasp of there being a lack of an inherent self . . . indeed at the sharp end, a lack of an inherent world!
I almost want to say 'Spiritual groups' here but that word is so packed with other connotations, I don't like to use it.
Yes, Harris was definitely a bridge for me. I'm still an atheist, but God (or the lack thereof) is of much less interest to me these days than the nature of consciousness itself, haha. Sam advocates using the word "spiritual" to refer to matters of exploring selfhood and practices like meditation, but I too fear the baggage and just refer to meditation and the study of subjective experience as what they are: meditation and the study of subjective experience!
Excellent - Yes.
'Free-will' can only be applied to a 'thing'. So we would say 'this thing has it's own free-will'. But if there is no inherent self, no real separate 'me' . . . then the word has nothing to be applied to. In a sense, we could say that 'free-will' is just as illusory as 'separate self'. Indeed, you could even say it's part of the same illusion.
Yes, I feel that the perception of Free Will is very closely tied to the perception of selfhood. I've gone from an agent to an observer, but suspect there might be another step to take?
Although I asked before, please let me know any other expectations you might have about this realisation or 'what might happen after'.
Do you have any concerns or fears about this process or the goal?

I look forward to hearing from you
Xain ♥
I expect no 'enlightenment', and suspect that the more grandiose things people mean by the term probably don't happen. Some special 'click' after which everything is blissful and the problem of life and death is solved? No, I don't think so. A permanent LSD trip? Nah. I feel lucky that I haven't been 'seeking' for decades like some others, since it's allowed me to keep my expectations sort of modest. It's been a constant thing in the back of my mind not to let myself get swept up in the more 'religious' aspect that some people bring to this sort of thing. I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that 'enlightenment' will give life meaning or purpose or solve anything. The temptation of equanimity is strong, but I remain sceptical of the sort of profundity claimed by lots of spiritual 'gurus' who seem carried away in what they preach.

As I wrote earlier, I'm mostly seeking a clearer knowledge of my own mind and experience. Fewer un-examined assumptions and less being carried away. More precision. A subtle change that will re-contextualise what I already know and live through. Does this make sense? I want the chance to be shown where to place my attention, and make up my own mind whether or not I have a 'self'. Maybe you could say I'm approaching this more like a philosophical issue as opposed to a 'spiritual' one?

Looking forward to our conversation. :) I don't know where you want to start. A lot of my confusion on the issue right now is to do with language, I think. I've come across the concept of 'labelling' and have been trying to observe my emotions in particular with this in mind. Emotion words, such as 'anger' and 'sadness', seem to refer to discrete objects or sensations - as if anger were a sensation as clear as yellowness or the taste of orange juice. But, where yellowness and the taste of orange juice get clearer and more interesting as I bring the attention closer to them, anger - and other emotions - only get more vague and seem to slip away when I bring the attention in closer.

I'm suspecting that though certain labels might refer to things which are discrete or 'whole' in experience, other labels refer to things which are not like this, but fluid and dynamic instead, made up of many parts. If 'anger' is such a thing, perhaps 'self' is, also? Anger seems to be made up of bodily sensations - tightness around the heart, a lump in the throat - which never fail to present themselves when I try to find the anger.

But surely these aren't all anger is? I know there is something more. The whole point of 'emotions', after all, is that they're other than bodily sensations - purportedly mental in character. But where is this other component to the emotion? Where would it be, and with what sense (taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing) would I perceive it?

I've also noticed language patterns which come up; the inner monologue actually sounds angry (altered intonation etc) and says things like "I'm angry", "noticing anger", "f**k off" (if I'm angry at something in particular). Even pictures of my face with angry expressions might dissolve in and out of my minds eye almost without me noticing.

Is this the "story" I've heard about? Is anger perhaps nothing more than vaguely unpleasant bodily sensations combined with a story told by my inner monologue? This would be an huge chokehold of language. Could language be that powerful? Could mere words, when not paid attention to, feel like something? Is the story of the self something similar?

Please help. :)

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:50 pm

Hi Jake
I feel like only an observer, not an agent.
Ok. Just as a sideline, it would be wrong to expect 'experience' to change.
RIGHT NOW there is not a real separate self observing. The only thing to be done is to realise that.
Of course, when I go about my day to day life, I'm not permanently in this state, since my attention is not in the relevant places. But if ever anyone asks me, I'll answer with no hesitation or doubt that I don't have Free Will. Now that I've seen non-freedom I can't unsee it.
Ok, you mention 'state'.
This might bring up the idea that right now, you are in one state and when no-self is realised you will switch into another state. This would be the wrong way of approaching this. It's still linked to the idea of a self going from one state to another.
What I can tell you is that it will be clear that there is no inherent self, and therefore, no inherent self with free-will.
That both a self and free-will are ideas only. Just beliefs . . . as real and true as the belief that there is a Santa Claus who has free-will to choose who gets presents on December 25th.

This realisation is a paradox.
On the one hand I can say 'You will realise there there is real self' . . . at the same moment it is completely clear that 'no real self ever realised anything'.
Right now, I'm full of doubt about the concept of no-self. Part of me feels like obviously there is a self, and all this talk about no-self is just confusion about something really simple and real. No such doubts exist about non-freedom.
Well let me explain it like this.
Right now, this discussion includes the belief in a self to a certain degree . . . that there is a self here called 'Xain' who is guiding another self called 'Jake' there. It's this construction (caused by language) from which we will engage our conversation.
The thing is . . . it is clear to me that the word 'Xain' doesn't point to anything. It's just a convenience. There isn't a real 'Xain' typing this message or choosing what words to say . . . BUT . . . purely as a convenience for the conversation I can use these words and way of expressing.
Your task in the guidance is to use the words 'I', 'Me' and 'Jake' as normal . . . but see if the words actually point to something inherently real (something which you can find using the senses). That would be your task.
I expect no 'enlightenment', and suspect that the more grandiose things people mean by the term probably don't happen.
Good - And very wise.
The main goal here is for you to come to a place where it is 100% clear to you that there is no inherent self.
Anything else should be put aside - In fact, grand ideas about 'Bliss', 'Permanent peace', 'No more negative thoughts' or 'Becoming a special person' might even hamper or prevent the realisation all together. All these ideas are for 'a self that gets something or becomes something' - We are here to show there is no such real entity.
Emotion words, such as 'anger' and 'sadness', seem to refer to discrete objects or sensations - as if anger were a sensation as clear as yellowness or the taste of orange juice. But, where yellowness and the taste of orange juice get clearer and more interesting as I bring the attention closer to them, anger - and other emotions - only get more vague and seem to slip away when I bring the attention in closer.
I understand - This is something slightly different than we will be exploring here in the guidance, but might be something we can tackle later on . . . or perhaps the realisation of 'no self' might bring some new perspective for you in this area that you had not yet previously considered.
made up of many parts. If 'anger' is such a thing, perhaps 'self' is, also? Anger seems to be made up of bodily sensations - tightness around the heart, a lump in the throat - which never fail to present themselves when I try to find the anger.
I understand. Yes. Seeing how something is 'Dependent on it's parts' is a common Buddhist pointer and is very useful to deconstruct things. We do a similar thing here at LU.
Is this the "story" I've heard about? Is anger perhaps nothing more than vaguely unpleasant bodily sensations combined with a story told by my inner monologue?
Yes. You can deconstruct it to show it like that.
This would be an huge chokehold of language. Could language be that powerful? Could mere words, when not paid attention to, feel like something? Is the story of the self something similar?
Yes it is.
Language and thoughts are dualistic.
The model of language and thinking is based on the idea that the world is set of separate objects each with it's own inherent qualities and properties. From this basis, of course 'I' must also be one of those objects in the same way.
Hence there is a 'me' here (object) interacting with a world 'out there' (objects).
This is how language and thought operate.

Throw any more questions or comments to me if you wish to, and we can begin if you are ready.

Oh . . . in order to reply 'in quotes' like I have done, a guide for that process is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ
In short, you highlight the section of text that I have written that you want to quote (drag across it with the mouse pointer), and then you click the little speech-mark button found at the top-right of the block of text.

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:30 pm

Hi Xain. :)

Thanks for your answers. Yes, I'm ready to start.

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:52 pm

Hi again Jake

Great!
Sorry, I gave you some pointers on how to 'quote' at the end of my last reply . . . and then realised you'd already been using that facility :-)

And I made a mistake with my paradox description .

This . . .
> 'On the one hand I can say 'You will realise there there is real self''
Was meant to be (fully)
> 'On the one hand I can say 'You will realise that there is no real self' . . . at the same moment it is completely clear that 'no real self ever realised anything'.

As you may have found out, you cannot go back and correct errors on this forum.
Once you click 'Submit', it's out there.

Some pointers to assist the guidance before we begin:

> Be completely honest with me, and yourself.
> Most of the guidance I will ask you what you can FIND, not what you THINK might be going on.
If you find yourself analysing or thinking what the correct answer is, you are not answering from what you can find.
> The more determined you are to see this through, the more likely you are to achieve it.
> Put aside all non-dual beliefs, spiritual and religious knowledge. Even scientific and medical knowledge needs to be put aside here too. Approach this whole thing as simply as possible from basic principles (or if you prefer, with the minimum of mental clutter).
> Please try to reply at least once per day - This maintains a momentum in the guiding which is important. If you know you won't be able to reply for a few days, just let me know beforehand - It's ok.

Ready to Rock?

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:00 pm

Sorry, I gave you some pointers on how to 'quote' at the end of my last reply . . . and then realised you'd already been using that facility :-)
That's okay :)

Pointers noted; ready to rock!

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:08 pm

Good.
Ok, just as a preliminary thing let's begin by getting established what we are referring to when talk about 'I' or 'myself'.
That way we know what we are dealing with.

As mentioned in the last reply (and I won't harp on about this) but the guidance isn't about fancy non-dual beliefs or spiritual stuff - This is very much 'grass roots' level - A really simple basic level of what it is that you believe that 'you are' right now.

For example, right now is it clear to you / do you believe that you are a person looking at a screen and reading these words off it? As simple as that. No fancy stuff. Does that ring true for you?

Perhaps 'I' refers to the body - The body performs the sensing of the outside world - The body is doing the seeing . . . the body is hearing sounds around it . . . the body is feeling the chair or seat that it is sat in.
Perhaps 'I' refers to a controller over the body. 'I move my arms', 'I move my hands when typing'.
Perhaps 'I' chooses and decides - 'I chose to begin guidance at LU', 'I will be deciding what to type in a reply to you'.
(Perhaps not, after what you mentioned regarding 'free-will'?)
Perhaps 'I' thinks and experiences those thoughts - 'I am thinking what to say', 'I had an idea yesterday', 'Right now I am seeing an object in my imagination'.

Those are a few pointers which I believe most people would agree with. Maybe they ring true for you?
What do you think? Feel free to elaborate on any aspect if you need to.

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:29 pm

For example, right now is it clear to you / do you believe that you are a person looking at a screen and reading these words off it? As simple as that. No fancy stuff. Does that ring true for you?
Yes, that rings true.
Perhaps 'I' refers to the body - The body performs the sensing of the outside world - The body is doing the seeing . . . the body is hearing sounds around it . . . the body is feeling the chair or seat that it is sat in.
I don't feel like I am my body, but rather like I own it. I own it but it's a part of me at the same time - not just a possession. I feel, however, that I could still be me without my body. My body is not a necessary condition for self as I can imagine still feeling like me even with a different body, or no body at all.
Perhaps 'I' refers to a controller over the body. 'I move my arms', 'I move my hands when typing'.
Perhaps 'I' chooses and decides - 'I chose to begin guidance at LU', 'I will be deciding what to type in a reply to you'.
(Perhaps not, after what you mentioned regarding 'free-will'?)
Whether these ring true or not depends on whether or not I'm meditating. When I'm not meditating or being mindful at all, they ring true. For example, I can relax my mind totally right now and go on 'auto-pilot' and agree with these points. But when I am being mindful, they don't ring true (at least not clearly). Yes my body moves, and my mind makes decisions, but I'm just not sure if 'I am' moving my body or making my decisions. Certainly, nobody else is doing it, but it is hard to clearly see that it is really 'me' moving my body and making decisions. There's some sort of 'me-ness' that seems excluded from those processes, as they happen out of the control of some part of 'me-ness'.
Perhaps 'I' thinks and experiences those thoughts - 'I am thinking what to say', 'I had an idea yesterday', 'Right now I am seeing an object in my imagination'.
Certainly 'I' experiences thoughts, and everything else. 'I am' the centre of experience; the point of consciousness; that which notices; and that for which there is "something that it is like to be". 'I am' is true just by virtue of being conscious, and it feels like as long as I am conscious, some sort of 'I' will persist to exist.

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:18 pm

I feel, however, that I could still be me without my body. My body is not a necessary condition for self as I can imagine still feeling like me even with a different body, or no body at all.
I have to ask . . .
What would life be like for you without a body?
What do you imagine it would feel like?

You suggest later that 'I am the point of conciousness' - Without a body, would you still be that?
For example, I can relax my mind totally right now and go on 'auto-pilot' and agree with these points. But when I am being mindful, they don't ring true (at least not clearly).
That's fair.
Yes my body moves, and my mind makes decisions, but I'm just not sure if 'I am' moving my body or making my decisions. Certainly, nobody else is doing it, but it is hard to clearly see that it is really 'me' moving my body and making decisions.
Perhaps if we just take the simple tack that 'I am doing these things / Choosing these things' and explore from there - Things might become clearer as we go.
Certainly, nobody else is doing it
When you say 'nobody else' are you referring to other physical bodies?
Or something else?
What are 'other people' exactly (in comparison to what you believe 'you' are)?
Certainly 'I' experiences thoughts, and everything else. 'I am' the centre of experience; the point of consciousness; that which notices; and that for which there is "something that it is like to be".
Good. That's pretty straight-forward.
'I am' is true just by virtue of being conscious, and it feels like as long as I am conscious, some sort of 'I' will persist to exist.
Right now examine your experience. What is it that is conscious? I mean what can you FIND that is the 'I' that is conscious (or whatever you believe that it is)?

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:08 am

I have to ask . . .
What would life be like for you without a body?
What do you imagine it would feel like?

You suggest later that 'I am the point of conciousness' - Without a body, would you still be that?
Now that you mention it, I suppose without a body it would actually be physically impossible to be conscious (given the assumption that consciousness is dependent on the brain and the sense organs feeding it.) What would it feel like not to have a body? Well, assuming that you don't need a brain and sense organs to feel anything, it might feel exactly the same as having a body. If you don't need eyes to see, how would I know that me seeing anything entails that I have eyes? If you don't need nerves to feel, how do I know that me feeling stuff entails that I have nerves? etc. The difference between having a body and not would sort of dissolve.
Perhaps if we just take the simple tack that 'I am doing these things / Choosing these things' and explore from there - Things might become clearer as we go.
Yep, okay.
When you say 'nobody else' are you referring to other physical bodies?
Or something else?
What are 'other people' exactly (in comparison to what you believe 'you' are)?
I meant ... If I'm not moving my hand, at least I can know that Barack Obama isn't moving my hand. My sister isn't moving my hand. If I'm not moving it then it's being moved by something which is not a 'self', but instead is just physical processes without self-hood - some unconscious process of atoms that are only as much a 'self' as a table is.
Right now examine your experience. What is it that is conscious? I mean what can you FIND that is the 'I' that is conscious (or whatever you believe that it is)?
None of the contents of my consciousness appear to be conscious themselves. My left foot does not appear to be conscious, and therefore does not appear to be the 'I' that is conscious. My thoughts themselves ("I'm hungry", "This fridge door is p*****g me off") do not appear to be conscious, and thus do not appear to be the 'I' that is conscious. Then again, this is what I would expect, right? Nothing appears to be conscious just by observing it. How would my desk appear to me if it was conscious? Presumably it would appear to me exactly as it does now.

So no, there is nothing that I can observe or notice or find in my experience that I can confirm to be the thing that is conscious, or even that seems conscious. All there is are sensations that themselves may or may not be conscious - I have no way of knowing, but I assume they aren't.

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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:46 pm

I meant ... If I'm not moving my hand, at least I can know that Barack Obama isn't moving my hand.
The CIA could be doing it using a wire tap ;)
Ok - We'll take the tack that 'I am moving the hand - I am making the body move'.
None of the contents of my consciousness appear to be conscious themselves. My left foot does not appear to be conscious, and therefore does not appear to be the 'I' that is conscious. My thoughts themselves ("I'm hungry", "This fridge door is p*****g me off") do not appear to be conscious, and thus do not appear to be the 'I' that is conscious. Then again, this is what I would expect, right? Nothing appears to be conscious just by observing it. How would my desk appear to me if it was conscious? Presumably it would appear to me exactly as it does now.

So no, there is nothing that I can observe or notice or find in my experience that I can confirm to be the thing that is conscious, or even that seems conscious. All there is are sensations that themselves may or may not be conscious - I have no way of knowing, but I assume they aren't.
Good thinking.
So could 'I am conscious and that table is not' . . . be anything other than just a belief? An idea?
Maybe you would disagree?
But if you do, and you believe 'I am conscious but the table is not' . . . what exactly IS the 'I' that is conscious?

Here we have the distinction between what can be FOUND and what is merely imputed by thoughts (or if you prefer, what we get from thinking).
We could say 'Brain is conscious' . . . but right now do we witness a brain that is conscious?
We could say 'I am conscious' . . . but again, can an 'I' be found that is conscious?

You did mention 'others' / 'other people' . . . would this distinction be relating to bodies?
So 'I am this body' and the other people are 'the other bodies I experience'?

Chew over that, but I think that's probably enough to be getting on with for the moment - We'll start the guiding in the next reply.

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:03 pm

So could 'I am conscious and that table is not' . . . be anything other than just a belief? An idea?
Maybe you would disagree?
But if you do, and you believe 'I am conscious but the table is not' . . . what exactly IS the 'I' that is conscious?
There's a sort of easy distinction between the table and me, in that I am this collection of atoms and the table is that collection of atoms; this doesn't exactly answer the question you asked, though, does it? You asked what is the 'I' that is conscious, and I already established that the 'I' I think I am is not my body - I said "I don't feel like I am my body, but rather like I own it", and I stand by it. So, the 'I' that I think I am is not distinct from that table by virtue of this 'I' being this collection of atoms and that table being that collection of atoms. I am separate from the table as a matter of experience , not just from a detached third-person perspective, but from a first-person perspective, also.

If the 'I' doesn't feel like a collection of atoms, then the 'I' must feel separate from the table in some other sense than the "collection of atoms" sense. But I don't know how, now that I think about it. I feel that the table is separate from me in an absolute sense; it's nothing to do with me. I can bite the bullet and say that the 'I' which is conscious is just this collection of atoms, but then I have to say that the collection of atoms which is conscious is identical to the 'I' that I feel. At first this seems objectionable, as it appears to me that I don't feel like a collection of atoms. But this reminds me of the thing Richard Dawkins (I think) said about geocentrism. People thought the Sun revolved around the Earth because it looks, from Earth, like the Sun revolves around the Earth. But what would it look like for it to look like the Earth revolved around the sun? Presumably the same, since that is the actual state of affairs!

Likewise, I don't think I feel like a collection of atoms, but what would it feel like to feel like a collection of atoms? I have to admit I don't really know, but if Dennett is right, perhaps it would feel just like it does now. In that sense, the 'I' that is conscious could be nothing more than "this collection of atoms". The feeling I have of being an 'I' is just the feeling of being this collection of atoms (which feels like anything that happens to arise in consciousness). The important thing here, I suppose, is that the 'I' is not a ghost in the machine, but purely a way of parsing the matter in the universe.
Here we have the distinction between what can be FOUND and what is merely imputed by thoughts (or if you prefer, what we get from thinking).
We could say 'Brain is conscious' . . . but right now do we witness a brain that is conscious?
We could say 'I am conscious' . . . but again, can an 'I' be found that is conscious?
The ghost in the machine cannot be found if the ghost is the machine. Indeed, the ghost cannot be found. Does this mean it's true that the ghost is the machine? Is there a difference between the ghost being the machine and the ghost not existing?
You did mention 'others' / 'other people' . . . would this distinction be relating to bodies?
So 'I am this body' and the other people are 'the other bodies I experience'?
I think it's the same case as with the table.
Chew over that, but I think that's probably enough to be getting on with for the moment - We'll start the guiding in the next reply.
My post here has been largely theoretical, I admit. I hope it's not straying too far from the path we're supposed to be treading.

Looking forward to hearing back. :)

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:26 pm

Hi once more Jake
My post here has been largely theoretical, I admit. I hope it's not straying too far from the path we're supposed to be treading.
It's good that you notice this; That we are just philosophising and theorising rather than LOOKING / Being Guided at the moment, but this discussion had brought some important considerations and seems useful for the guiding about to follow.
There's a sort of easy distinction between the table and me, in that I am this collection of atoms and the table is that collection of atoms;
Ah ha! So 'me' is a collection of atoms . . . i.e. 'This body' - It is this that we will now focus on.
The ghost in the machine cannot be found if the ghost is the machine. Indeed, the ghost cannot be found. Does this mean it's true that the ghost is the machine? Is there a difference between the ghost being the machine and the ghost not existing?
Your consideration is excellent.
I think I know where you are going with this . . . you are addressing some big 'I' . . . some all encompassing phenomena.
I would put this kind of consideration aside just for the moment, and concentrate on the small 'I' of the 'self'.

The MAIN reason why we think 'I am this body' is that there is the belief that the body is sensing the outside world - That the body 'performs' the senses, so we get 'I (this body) sees', 'I hear', 'I feel' etc

Let's look into this with a series of exercises.
I will focus on one sense at once. Please focus only on the sense we are considering, rather than adding in material / answers found with the other senses (we'll do that later).

We'll begin with 'seeing'.
Address this very simply - The 'Seeing' sense only for the moment.

With eyes open, a world of objects appears . . . a room . . . a computer screen . . . some things moving . . . some things static etc
What you can specifically see right now isn't of interest here, and whatever it is I am simply going to refer to it as 'what can be seen'.

1) With eyes open, can you confirm that what is experienced in 'seeing' is 'what can be seen' as I mentioned?
2) Is there anything else in 'seeing' other than 'what can be seen'?
3) Can what is witnessing 'what can be seen' be found in 'seeing'?
4) Can a pair of eyes, an 'I' / 'me', a Person be found that is assumed to be witnessing 'what can be seen'? Or is there just simply 'what can be seen' to be found?

What do you find?

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:00 pm

1) With eyes open, can you confirm that what is experienced in 'seeing' is 'what can be seen' as I mentioned?
Yes.
2) Is there anything else in 'seeing' other than 'what can be seen'?
No. Unless you open up 'seeing' to include the process of interpreting the visual data that happens automatically. It's really hard to 'just see', and see raw data without interpreting it, but that sort of thing can be done more or less. I think by 'seeing' you probably mean to exclude this interpretation process, right?
3) Can what is witnessing 'what can be seen' be found in 'seeing'?
No
4) Can a pair of eyes, an 'I' / 'me', a Person be found that is assumed to be witnessing 'what can be seen'? Or is there just simply 'what can be seen' to be found?
My body can be seen, but as it is seen it is simply 'a' body, not 'my' body. It's not even really 'a' body, since the recognition that it is a body requires the processing after the seeing. Seeing is just raw data with no 'objects', so to speak.


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