No more than darkness conditions lightness. Initially, in experiential terms, the experience of enlightenment (or a moment of enlightenment) would be defined dualistically. That is our habitual mode of definition. Just because we define it dualistically does not mean that it is dualistic. We also define sensory experience as a dualistic process (object of sensation, subject that is sensing) but its not. So...
You can define it, but the definition misses the mark. The true condition of all reality has neither genus proximum nor differentia specifica, thus being beyond conceptual extremes and as such is unthinkable. So our habitual mode of definition collapses if we try to define enlightenment in a positive way. It labels, but doesn't describe. So we talk of different things. Anyhow, I prefer the darkness/lightness simile to the cold/heat. Go figure...
I agree with you here, I did not say though that one cannot experience cold without having expereienced heat, but that the experience of the difference becomes more distinct if one has experienced both. Buddhas that were never unenlightened? Some examples please.
Hum... becomes more distinct, you say. I'm not so sure if that would be the better expression. I believe you say that because you are putting experiences in opposition. Seeing the sea doesn't influence seeing a mountain. Seeing an ocean influences seeing a pond. Seeing black influences seeing white. In the second you have an opposition (small vs large) and in the third a contrast. The shift from ignorance to enlightenment doesn't seem to be a matter of quantity or contrast, but a whole different mode altogether. It's not that what you are saying is without sense, but I think it introduces a subtle hindrance which, in my opinion, would be a sort of expectation related to quantity or contrast. You may not mean this and it may be my interpretation of your idea that went awol.
But the expereince of wakefulness is understood as different from that of dreaming because of its different qualities. Even here there is a point of comparison.
This is the problem of metaphors and similes. Now you are deriving qualities from the metaphor to the state of enlightenment, qualities that are not shared. There's a point of comparison between sleep and being awake because both are deluded states.
I am aware of this, thgat is why I do not consider ignorance as a curse!
Well, surely you don't consider it a blessing either!
I am not willing to make a statement like that, because, as long as I can remember i have been trapped in dualism (hell, I'm there now too), so I really can't say if your statement is true or not. And everything that I have described thus far has been through the limited prism of my own experience. In my experience it is like the blissful nature of mediative absorption becomes even more "appealing" when I compare it to the shallow drudgery (broken up by periods of emotional eruption) of daily existence.
We can enjoy and describe bliss and so on and can compare it to our ordinary deluded experience. But bliss, calm, meditative stabilization and what have you are not enlightenment. They are road signs that we need to know how to read. Otherwise they'll become traps. See, that's my point all along. One has meditative experiences (heat) and somehow they can be described, even quantified in some sort of ordinal categorization. Enlightenment is not a variation on this scale. It's a "paradigm shift".
Didn't say it was, but it is definitely the starting point for everybody that I know. This is our current situation. This is the materials that we have to work with right now.
Well, I'm not sure sure ignorance is the starting point. I guess suffering is, but not always either. It depends of each individual past. Some see suffering and want to escape it and find a solution in Dharma practice. Others are born with a natural interest as a result of previous practice. I depends. Few start by realizing their ignorance, especially because avidya is not mere lack of knowledge, as you are aware.
Aren't all beings in samsara ripening the fuits of unfavourable karma?
At some extent. But one is also ripening results of favorable karma. The fact that we are discussing Dharma is a proof of that.