The phenomenon of collective experience

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The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:00 pm

In another thread dealing with Nagarjuna's definition of existence and non-existence, I raised the question of collective/shared experience. I do not feel that I have received a fair, adequate answer to my concerns. Thus far there has not been one reasoned or reasonable answer. The answers I have received have sounded like dogmatic rote: "All is like a dream;" "All is illusion;" etc. I don't know why I or anyone else should pay attention to such wisdom when the logic behind that wisdom seems flawed. I am not saying that I am right nor wisdom wrong, but I have opened this thread so that persons with reasoned answers can respond to my concerns directly rather than have to work within the confines of a thread concerning Nagarjuna and Madhyamika. I am looking for "straight English."

What I was willing to concede there and what I am willing to concede here is that our apprehension of things and nonthings is solely through the mind.

What I fail to understand is how, if we experience all things through the mind, which I take to be the definition of "illusory," different persons can experience similar phenomena through different minds. Right now, you are reading this thread which I penned. In this fashion, you and I - all of us - share in the common experience of the phenomena called "Internet" or "discussion boards." If the you, me, the Internet, and discussion boards are all illusory, then how are we capable of participating in the same illusion? If this "never happened," then how can we each propose some history of what actually happened?

An example which I provided in the other thread is also worthy of mention here. A number of friends go swimming in a lake. Each of the persons jumps into the lake, and as each one does so, they each have a vivid recollection of themselves and the others jumping into the lake, and they each have a recollection of the wetness of the water and it's relative temperature. None of the friends says that any of the other friends were flying, or grew tentacles while jumping in the water, or even developed gills; likewise, no friend describes the water as melted cheese, leather, or dry. If these friends are each experiencing the "water" as illusory through the limited capacities of their minds, then how in blue blazes are they able to share in each other's illusion - and illusion which is not only the same for those involved in the lake itself, but for the other animals and insects present at that moment? If that moment "never happened," if those friends, animals, and insects "never existed," then how can they (the friends, at least) say that they each existed in that moment?

I recognize that neither the friends, nor the animals, nor the lake, nor you and I have inherent existence, as defined by the Madhyamika, but it seems to me that given the amount of cognitive reciprocity which is all phenomenal experience there is very little room for bumper sticker slogans like "All is a dream."
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby conebeckham » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:26 pm

Epistemes, If I told you that the external world, or objective referents, were somehow "real," but that all you have to work with are the more-or-less imperfect perceptions of them, mediated by your consciousness(es), would you feel better about Buddhism? :shrug:

I'm not trying to be snide. I'm trying to redirect you to the point of all this Madhyamika, etc., which is soteriological and not ontological.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Paul » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:30 pm

Epistemes wrote:What I was willing to concede there and what I am willing to concede here is that our apprehension of things and nonthings is solely through the mind.

What I fail to understand is how, if we experience all things through the mind, which I take to be the definition of "illusory," different persons can experience similar phenomena through different minds.


Because on the relative level our minds are conditioned with very similar karma. Because of that we have been born as members of the same species etc. so have the basis for a similar experience.

An example which I provided in the other thread is also worthy of mention here. A number of friends go swimming in a lake. Each of the persons jumps into the lake, and as each one does so, they each have a vivid recollection of themselves and the others jumping into the lake, and they each have a recollection of the wetness of the water and it's relative temperature.


Here, because they're all humans, they have comparable experiences. Fish would experience it much differently, and pretas etc. even more differently. As you can't ultimately establish any as being real, none can take a position of their interpretation of the water as being the actual way things are.

None of the friends says that any of the other friends were flying, or grew tentacles while jumping in the water, or even developed gills; likewise, no friend describes the water as melted cheese, leather, or dry. If these friends are each experiencing the "water" as illusory through the limited capacities of their minds, then how in blue blazes are they able to share in each other's illusion - and illusion which is not only the same for those involved in the lake itself, but for the other animals and insects present at that moment? If that moment "never happened," if those friends, animals, and insects "never existed," then how can they (the friends, at least) say that they each existed in that moment?


As I mentioned, they would describe it similarly as they are so similar when it comes to their sense organs etc. What occurs to them is due to dependent origination so occurs according to apparent causality.

However if you are going to try find any actual, real experience in any of this, after a thorough analysis you will be left empty handed. You cannot find any actual friends, jumping, water, past, future, memory etc. etc. as an actually existent thing. It only ever seems to happen, not actually happen. Madhyamaka does not deny that things seem to appear, just that any combination of the ideas of "is" and "is not" is logically incoherent. If you go for a thorough examination, it all falls apart irreparably. This does not deny its seeming appearance, though. As Rangjung Dorje said "Everything's not true, not false, like moons in water say the wise".

I hope that's a bit clearer.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:54 am

conebeckham wrote:Epistemes, If I told you that the external world, or objective referents, were somehow "real," but that all you have to work with are the more-or-less imperfect perceptions of them, mediated by your consciousness(es), would you feel better about Buddhism? :shrug:


I'm not campaigning for the real-ness of phenomena. I'm offering what seems like (to me) perfectly rational reasons for accepting some base, conventional reality. And don't act like you never had thoughts like this when you were learning this stuff. And if you didn't, then you're like every person who adheres to something by dogmatic rote. I think I'm wrong - but I don't know why, and no one will explain in perfectly clear English why that is. It's like I've walked into the meeting hall for the Yale Philosophy Club and everyone turns and sneers and says, "What's the 101 kid doing here? Go read a book." Guess what? I am reading a bunch of books and I have questions.

This isn't just another stupid, inane thread by Epistemes.

I'm not trying to be snide. I'm trying to redirect you to the point of all this Madhyamika, etc., which is soteriological and not ontological.


I generally find that irresponsible, but I accept that I've been conditioned to accept soteriological explanations which have their root in ontology as dogmatic rote. It's actually the latter which is irresponsible.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby el_chupacabra » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:01 am

Epistemes wrote:An example which I provided in the other thread is also worthy of mention here. A number of friends go swimming in a lake. Each of the persons jumps into the lake, and as each one does so, they each have a vivid recollection of themselves and the others jumping into the lake, and they each have a recollection of the wetness of the water and it's relative temperature. None of the friends says that any of the other friends were flying, or grew tentacles while jumping in the water, or even developed gills; likewise, no friend describes the water as melted cheese, leather, or dry. If these friends are each experiencing the "water" as illusory through the limited capacities of their minds, then how in blue blazes are they able to share in each other's illusion - and illusion which is not only the same for those involved in the lake itself, but for the other animals and insects present at that moment? If that moment "never happened," if those friends, animals, and insects "never existed," then how can they (the friends, at least) say that they each existed in that moment?

I recognize that neither the friends, nor the animals, nor the lake, nor you and I have inherent existence, as defined by the Madhyamika, but it seems to me that given the amount of cognitive reciprocity which is all phenomenal experience there is very little room for bumper sticker slogans like "All is a dream."


Like the other two respondents I agree that there must be an interaction with some form of external stimuli which when looked for later becomes impossible to find. There is not only the interaction between the water and the skin as sensory organ, but also the recording of that memory, so the mind is certainly central in that interrelationship. Maybe its because there are two or more sliding variables involved interacting with each other that there is nothing solid or concrete to grasp - there is no objective experience of water on skin outside of the subjective experience of the interaction of the two.

Although all the swimming friends may appear to have similar experiences, none of them have identical experiences. I wonder if one of those friends had a phobia of water just how different their experience would be, and whether it could be said that they even experienced the water at all, or rather did they only experience themselves in the face of the idea of a certain stimulus?
Another aspect to consider would be the filters on experience. Say that one person was thirsty, another was hot and dusty, and a third wanted to put out a fire, their perception of a body of water would be redefined in terms of their desire.
A small single droplet of water splashed from my sink the other day and landed on a tiny spider, and in the spilt second it took me to grab a tissue and dry it, being unable to break the surface tension on its own, the creature drowned. I wondered just what that experience would've felt like, and just how different the perception of water was to different beings.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:17 am

Hayagriva wrote:Here, because they're all humans, they have comparable experiences. Fish would experience it much differently, and pretas etc. even more differently. As you can't ultimately establish any as being real, none can take a position of their interpretation of the water as being the actual way things are.


The point I'm trying to make isn't based on the quality of the experience. I have no doubt that humans differ from fish and fish from prawns in their experience of water. What I'm saying is that, if I'm not real, if my friends aren't real, if the lake isn't real, if the fish aren't real, how can we experience one another and the lake with a degree of reciprocity?

Am I misunderstanding "real"? When you deny the real-ness of a thing or nonthing, what I think you're saying is that a thing isn't "real" due not only to its emptiness of a self but also because the the thing or nonthing can only be known through mind which itself is empty of self and potential "real"-ness. What I am positing is that this definition of non-realness is undercut by collective experience/cognitive reciprocity/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If I were the last man on Earth, I might more readily accept that I am not real, but because I live in a world where my existence is confirmed by hundreds of different phenomena ranging from social security cards, credit cards, friends, relatives, colleagues, this discussion, it's to hard to just swallow that and say, "OK, what do I know? The 1st century Indian philosophers were right. I'll accept that I am not real."

I'll grant you that there's a possibility that my whole world is a virtual reality constructed by my mind. All of the things that confirm my existence only confirm my existence because it is actually a play of the mind. But you confirm my existence and I can confirm yours. If we're all part of some non-real illusion, explain that.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:19 am

el_chupacabra wrote:Although all the swimming friends may appear to have similar experiences, none of them have identical experiences. I wonder if one of those friends had a phobia of water just how different their experience would be, and whether it could be said that they even experienced the water at all, or rather did they only experience themselves in the face of the idea of a certain stimulus?
Another aspect to consider would be the filters on experience. Say that one person was thirsty, another was hot and dusty, and a third wanted to put out a fire, their perception of a body of water would be redefined in terms of their desire.
A small single droplet of water splashed from my sink the other day and landed on a tiny spider, and in the spilt second it took me to grab a tissue and dry it, being unable to break the surface tension on its own, the creature drowned. I wondered just what that experience would've felt like, and just how different the perception of water was to different beings.


See my post above. Again, I'm not talking about the quality of the experience for each person. I'm talking about reciprocity.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby el_chupacabra » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:01 am

Epistemes wrote:Am I misunderstanding "real"?


Yes and no. You're right that there is something rather than nothing, some kind of stimulus, but because all things are changing and in a relationship with each other, the interaction of which causes them to change too, there is nothing permanent or concrete to be found there.

Epistemes wrote:If we're all part of some non-real illusion, explain that.


Have you ever tried going to the bank and pointing out to them the writing on the paper which says something like "I promise to pay the bearer X amount" and then asking them for it? Actually, don't try this as it usually leads to some form of incarceration, either that or you'll just get the same note back again indefinately until the bank teller loses patience! :tongue:
Joking aside, money rules most peoples' lives and yet what is it? Some purely imagined/constructed thing that we all consent to, based simply on a promise to "pay" - yes, it can be exchanged for goods and services, and there is ususally a gold reserve (which is never adequate to the amount of money in circulation) - but what actually is it? Five dollars is an equivalent to this or that, but outside of any agreed upon equivalent, it is a purely empty symbol.

When you go watch a movie the internal logic of that movie is undeniable - there's some guy from an alien planet in a cape who wears his underwear on the ouside who can fly - its a non-real illusion, but nevertheless we live in that world for the duration of the movie. No one stands up and says "What!?! He can fly!?!" because they buy in to that virtual world as virtual, and proclaiming it as a non-real illusion doesn't cause it to vanish into nothingness - you can still partake of it fully.

So imagine you've just died and can look back at your life - it would be exactly the same as the moment of stepping out of the movie theatre and realising that what went on there was illusory, but of course its slightly different because when we leave the movie theatre we think we have returned to reality, whereas in "real life" there is no baseline reality underneath that illusion, just an infinite series of equivalents.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby ground » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:43 am

Epistemes wrote:In another thread dealing with Nagarjuna's definition of existence and non-existence, I raised the question of collective/shared experience. I do not feel that I have received a fair, adequate answer to my concerns. Thus far there has not been one reasoned or reasonable answer. The answers I have received have sounded like dogmatic rote: "All is like a dream;" "All is illusion;" etc. I don't know why I or anyone else should pay attention to such wisdom when the logic behind that wisdom seems flawed.


What about that one?
"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Paul » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:44 am

Epistemes wrote:
Hayagriva wrote:Am I misunderstanding "real"? When you deny the real-ness of a thing or nonthing, what I think you're saying is that a thing isn't "real" due not only to its emptiness of a self but also because the the thing or nonthing can only be known through mind which itself is empty of self and potential "real"-ness. What I am positing is that this definition of non-realness is undercut by collective experience/cognitive reciprocity/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If I were the last man on Earth, I might more readily accept that I am not real, but because I live in a world where my existence is confirmed by hundreds of different phenomena ranging from social security cards, credit cards, friends, relatives, colleagues, this discussion, it's to hard to just swallow that and say, "OK, what do I know? The 1st century Indian philosophers were right. I'll accept that I am not real."


I linked to this set of teachings by Thomas Doctor in the other thread (https://dharmasun.org/index.php?dharmas ... &flag=BUDC at the bottom of the page). They deal with exactly the kind of questions you are raising, and importantly Thomas shows why the statements of Nagarjuna are not using complex logical tricks, but very simple questions.

You should also listen to this talk by Phachok Rinpoche "View, Meditation, Conduct, Fruition Part 1 - April 2009" which can be found here: http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org/library.htm

To quote him: "I have a funny master in this book telling me "I am not myself" and "whatever you are thinking is wrong". So should I believe this crazy master's book or should I believe my right feeling or right seeing? " I'm sure you can empathise with that sentiment...
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All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
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The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby conebeckham » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:23 pm

Epistemes, sorry if I put you off. Your question is a good one, and not a simple one.
Shared experience, in light of madhyamika, is a thorny issue. As I said earlier, in the other thread, I think abhidharma systems have something to say about this, but I can't find you an easy, clear answer. Also, Maitreya's "Five Treatises" deal with collective experience from more of a Yogacara doctrinal view.

The thing is, your question belongs to the realm of "conventional truth," and how it appears to function.....I'll keep trying to find an answer for you-but my point was that, even if and when we can answer the question, the main thrust of the Dharma, including Madhyamika, is as Lord Buddha says at the beginning of the Dhammapada-to paraphrase, "All that we are is a result of our thought."
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:11 pm

Isn't the simplest answer that beings have grown up with similar habits?
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby el_chupacabra » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:09 pm

conebeckham wrote:"All that we are is a result of our thought."


Indeed. We are surrounded by things that started as thoughts, the table, sofa, laptop that I'm using to write this, they all started as ideas. Children are socialized - taught to speak, along with all the concepts that go along with that - what is good and bad, clean and dirty, all the language and concepts come under the general heading of mental contents.
So what about the natural world? Well even a child raised by wolves would still develop a view of a tree, possibly as a place to urinate to mark territory. Other animals view the tree as a home, a source of food, a place of refuge from predators - all this is mind.
If a tree is destroyed and an animal loses its home - its "karma", the loss - is defined in terms of its relationship to the view it has of the tree/home thing.

Its quite a different idea that everything is just a figment of one individual's imagination, and although one person cannot directly perceive another's thoughts, we nevertheless live immersed in a world conditioned by thought.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:39 pm

conebeckham wrote:Epistemes, sorry if I put you off. Your question is a good one, and not a simple one.
Shared experience, in light of madhyamika, is a thorny issue. As I said earlier, in the other thread, I think abhidharma systems have something to say about this, but I can't find you an easy, clear answer. Also, Maitreya's "Five Treatises" deal with collective experience from more of a Yogacara doctrinal view.

The thing is, your question belongs to the realm of "conventional truth," and how it appears to function.....I'll keep trying to find an answer for you-but my point was that, even if and when we can answer the question, the main thrust of the Dharma, including Madhyamika, is as Lord Buddha says at the beginning of the Dhammapada-to paraphrase, "All that we are is a result of our thought."


Thanks - and I apologize for the combative reply earlier.

It appears that my question is one that involves serious study and meditation. However, there are a number of learned practitioners here on the forum who seem to be dodging this thread or this issue. Why? Is it because it must be something I figure out for myself? That seems somewhat absurd as the more compassionate action would be to help lead me to right view. Or is it because nobody knows the answer? I am leaning towards the latter. Most of the answers I have received thus far have curcumambulated the question, but haven't actually engaged it head on.

Again, I have no problem accepting the primacy of mind, but it just seems strange that in 2500 years Buddhism hasn't dealt with the question of shared experience head on. Of course, if you start with the reasoning that there are no sentient beings to share an experience with, there's no need to address the question. But that logic seems horribly flawed.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby el_chupacabra » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:24 pm

Epistemes wrote:Most of the answers I have received thus far have curcumambulated the question, but haven't actually engaged it head on.


As far as I can see, everyone has given quite direct and insightful responses, but words can only point to something - we're all coming from slightly different angles and all pointing at the same thing, but you have to join the dots for yourself, study and meditation will benefit, not so sure about the "serious" part though - clinging too tightly to conceptualizations can be a hindrance.

Epistemes wrote:...in 2500 years Buddhism hasn't dealt with the question of shared experience head on.


The obvious answer is that its not really an issue, if anything the issue for Buddhism is how to extract yourself from culturally conditioned assumptions.
"If you were shot by a poison arrow, and a doctor was summoned to extract it, what would you do? Would you ask such questions as who shot the arrow, from which tribe did he come, who made the arrow, who made the poison, etc., or would you have the doctor immediately pull out the arrow?" (Majjhima-nikaya, Sutta 63)
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Epistemes » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:09 am

el_chupacabra wrote:
Yes and no. You're right that there is something rather than nothing, some kind of stimulus, but because all things are changing and in a relationship with each other, the interaction of which causes them to change too, there is nothing permanent or concrete to be found there.



This is precisely the sort of thing that I'm trying to establish - namely, that there is some "base" within which we are all acting. However, I realize that even asserting that much is seen as dangerous. Taking right view to its uttermost limit is to assert that there is no base anything within which we all play a part. And because such a view asserts the negative view of reality, there apparently is no reason to have to defend such a view. Clever...and safe. As an relative explanation of why and how a person can remove themself from conditioning, it's relatively sound, no doubt, but, like I've said already, if you're going to tell me that I'm not real, that I'm an illusion, and that there is no "base" within which you and me operate, then prove it to me. I've offered a number of examples already rooted in reciprocity that amply demonstrate that I exist on some level; otherwise, for all its practical sotieriology, Buddhism is little more than a cold, thoughtless philosophy.

So imagine you've just died and can look back at your life - it would be exactly the same as the moment of stepping out of the movie theatre and realising that what went on there was illusory, but of course its slightly different because when we leave the movie theatre we think we have returned to reality, whereas in "real life" there is no baseline reality underneath that illusion, just an infinite series of equivalents.


I have considered the possibility that, from the standpoint of mind, everything is an illusion - in the real sense of illusion. Perhaps what exists "out there" is transparency or non-transparency. Perhaps it's like in Philip K. Dick's "Ubik" where the deceased are hooked up to machines that sustain their "half-life" and they continue to function in what appears and senses to be the "real world" but, in reality, they're dead and everything they experience is rooted in mind. "Ubik" is a fascinating example since it touches upon shared, collective experience between minds; however, even "Ubik" states that there is something "out there" beyond mind.

According to Buddhism, everything is relative. I understand that you and other people here are saying that no two minds will ever remember and event the exact same way. Not only will they not remember an event the exact same way, but the things in that event will always be perceived differently. This lack of same-ness or foolproof concensus is what undermines there being a base reality. Reality looks different for you precisely because you're not me (thankfully), nor I you, etc. Everybody participating in this thread has some different perception of "what transpired" that ultimately no "happening" can ever be said to have occurred. For Buddhism, consensual history is futile. There can be no guarantee that what happened actually happened due to the nature of mind. While I understand this, I look at something like jouranlism and our reaction to it. While establishing what "actually happened" is an exercise in fuility, there still exists some framework within which the largest percentage will agree to as having some merit of truth. It's that framework that makes me question the way I do.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby el_chupacabra » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:59 am

Epistemes wrote:I have considered the possibility that, from the standpoint of mind, everything is an illusion - in the real sense of illusion. Perhaps what exists "out there" is transparency or non-transparency. Perhaps it's like in Philip K. Dick's "Ubik" where the deceased are hooked up to machines that sustain their "half-life" and they continue to function in what appears and senses to be the "real world" but, in reality, they're dead and everything they experience is rooted in mind. "Ubik" is a fascinating example since it touches upon shared, collective experience between minds; however, even "Ubik" states that there is something "out there" beyond mind.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_Trilemma - "If we ask of any knowledge: "How do I know that it's true?", we may provide proof; yet that same question can be asked of the proof, and any subsequent proof. The Münchhausen Trilemma is that we have only three options when providing proof in this situation:
- The circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other (i.e. we repeat ourselves at some point)
- The regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof, ad infinitum (i.e. we just keep giving proofs, presumably forever)
- The axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts (i.e. we reach some bedrock assumption or certainty)

The first two methods of reasoning are fundamentally weak, and because the Greek skeptics advocated deep questioning of all accepted values they refused to accept proofs of the third sort. The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options."

The third and stronger option relates to your comment about journalism. Buddhism provides a way out of this infinite regress by placing the locus of truth on the side of knowing rather than knowledge, the form of mind itself devoid of any substantial contents.
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby tobes » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:38 am

I think it's a great question Episteme. Don't stop asking them!

I don't really like the line that Madhyamaka is ostensibly soteriology, and thus, these kinds of ontological questions are misguided or off the mark.

Actually, I think that the most profound implication of the Madhyamakin view is what it procures, both ultimately and conventionally: the immanence of an experience which is categorically relational.

In this respect, I think you've honed right into a very important point.

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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby ground » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:00 am

TMingyur wrote:
Epistemes wrote:In another thread dealing with Nagarjuna's definition of existence and non-existence, I raised the question of collective/shared experience. I do not feel that I have received a fair, adequate answer to my concerns. Thus far there has not been one reasoned or reasonable answer. The answers I have received have sounded like dogmatic rote: "All is like a dream;" "All is illusion;" etc. I don't know why I or anyone else should pay attention to such wisdom when the logic behind that wisdom seems flawed.


What about that one?
"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards


As to "question of collective/shared experience"

eye of humans
ear of humans
nose of humans
tongue of humans
body of humans
mind consciousness of humans


kind regards
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Re: The phenomenon of collective experience

Postby Acchantika » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:56 am

As an relative explanation of why and how a person can remove themself from conditioning, it's relatively sound, no doubt, but, like I've said already, if you're going to tell me that I'm not real, that I'm an illusion, and that there is no "base" within which you and me operate, then prove it to me. I've offered a number of examples already rooted in reciprocity that amply demonstrate that I exist on some level; otherwise, for all its practical sotieriology, Buddhism is little more than a cold, thoughtless philosophy.


You haven't established that you exist on some level. You have stated that you believe there to be a publicly accessible aspect to reality. But you haven't acknowledged that this perception is one you experience. So your basis for asserting something that is non-experiential is based on experience. Therefore, if such a thing existed, you could not experience it and would therefore have no reason to assert it. This is simply not logically coherent.

While establishing what "actually happened" is an exercise in fuility, there still exists some framework within which the largest percentage will agree to as having some merit of truth. It's that framework that makes me question the way I do.


Buddhism doesn't say reality is a homogenous blob without order and predictability, but that it is fractal, with each point referencing every other point. We can only describe things by referencing other things within self-imposed limitations. You can't describe what "actually happened" without being in a continual state of description for all time unless you impose some kind of boundary. But that boundary itself only applies to other boundaries and so on.
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