Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Perfect Disorder, Nov 7, 2016.
From whence did it come? Has it always existed? Is it a constant of duality?
In Buddhism the self is composed of five aggregates:
Form, perception, sensations, consciousness, and mental formation.
Form being the exterior formation thereof, I assume, due to mental formation finding separation in this list. Is that correct?
Buddhists like to talk about the world of differentiation where we distinguish between this, that, and the other thing including our own view of ourselves and the world around us as separate and distinct. Personally, I see it as simply the fact that a context without any content is both mentally and physically impossible. Our unconscious mind will search for what's missing from this picture by merely comparing different patterns without requiring our neurons have any clue what they are looking at, while our conscious mind attempts to fill in the picture with meaningful content including our self-image. The less the two agree upon the more pronounced our ego can become and Groucho Marx is a classic example in comedy of a raging ego maniac who views himself as greater than anything else in existence, but that comes at the expense of being able to readily detect what's missing from this picture which is exactly why it makes for great comedy.
When we no longer make distinctions between who we are and what we are doing we value our ignorance as much as any knowledge, thus, becoming poetry in motion where who we perceive ourselves as becomes less important than merely being and becoming who we really are. Or, as Lao Tzu humorously put it, "Habits are the end of honesty and compassion, the beginning of total confusion!" Frank Zappa said something similar, "You are what you is and dat's all it tis!"
One thing leads to another and nowhere does it begin.
I would say it sprang from the first division into existence and non-existence.
I would posit that our seeking to always discern the missing in reality is due to our decision to seek order in the midst of chaos. We are part of the balance that the universe seeks to maintain
Balance is meaningless without harmony which neither acts nor reasons. What the universe seeks is the lowest possible energy state of the complete system.
Hippies like to say "Whenever harmony is lost, balance will be restored" ensuring that harmony will inevitably be regained. It can also be thought of as the initial creative impetus of the Big Bang somehow paradoxically continuing to expand for eternity despite everything contracting locally due to gravity and possibly ending up in a Big Crunch or Heat Death. Taoists often say "Gravity is the source of lightness", with, two pendulum clocks hung on a wall being a more common example in physics for how this works. The pendulums will vibrate the wall coercing one another to eventually swing in harmonious unison as they occupy the lowest possible energy state where they share more of their individual identities with the wall and each other forming a self-organizing system. If I bump one clock the wall will help to absorb some of the energy helping to ensure all of them return to the lowest possible energy state that much sooner while, during an earthquake, they will swing wildly out of sync absorbing some of the energy, thus, helping to preserve the wall as well as themselves. By their identities and behavior becoming more humble and indistinguishable from that of the wall all three endure longer displaying the resilience, efficiency, and creativity of a self-organizing system.
The concept of existence and non existence is a mental formation.
Something does exist outside of time and space but what I am referring to is the form given to this unknowable something by our mental formations due to our experiences.
Perception is the contact of the senses with the unknowable agent of change. Perception arises when consciousness of the unknowable occurs due to the sensations generated by the contact of the senses with that agent of change. When consciousness acknowledges the perception of the senses it forms mental concepts of what it has experienced. These mental concepts are then taken to be reality, or form.
But the senses are just one more mental concept formed as consciousness learns to differentiate between the arising unknowable agent of change. In addition human consciousness arises due to the mental concepts that form from the senses sensing.
In other words each of the five aggregates are interdependently reliant on each other.
Existence and non existence have no meaning at this level as the only thing that determines existence, or form, is the complex interaction of the five aggregates.
The self is merely one more mental formation caused by these interactions. If can't be finally said to exist or not exist as it is only a mental formation and all mental formations are real only in that we are the ones who define what reality is.....and we are part of the reality we define. So as we define the self, it is just as real as we are...or aren't.
While I find understanding with the concept of the Five Aggregates I feel as though it is too singular. However I have not studied it myself. I did just start looking at Buddhism recently and have yet to devote myself wholly to it. The roots continue deeper and I must follow. Teach me of unity and of unique if you wish. The water seeks a channel as the channel embraces the water
Check out the Bibliography in the Buddhist section.
And the Resources.
I will I have looked at them before but I am the kind of seeker who invests my thoughts into one part at a time. Full devotion to the singular. I find it assists my overall thought process and complements it best.
I am currently working through Thich Nhat Hanh's book The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
Very good book, one of my favorite authors.
What exists within and without that has no inherent opposition? I can think of only one possible answer. Pure spontaneity.... When measured by acceptance (perception) even answers against spontaneity are inherently spontaneous are they not?
For example a being sets out upon a journey to a determined destination. No matter how pre-planned this being's journey is was not their perception of the journey inherently spontaneous? Certainly causality could lay presuppositions upon the driving forces behind aforementioned journey and it's conceptualization within the being. Yet the determination of action is (at least to my perception) a spontaneous action in and of itself. Only the being can determine the conceptualization of the journey. Once a course is set then the being must make adjustments to said course in order to interact with the chaos both within and without. Yet again these reactions are likely caused by presuppositions within the being yet are not the acting out of these presuppositions in relation to the chaos spontaneous?
I'll leave my musings there for now. One step at a time.
A containerless vacuum filling itself with regurgitations of its own emptiness, perceived as a tactile and sensory chamber defined by lineations of the mind.
As per Eastern philosophy, the self as ego emerges through thinking of past pleasures due to discontentment with the present as it is (which again is due to ignorance of the fact of its essential reality). The thinking of past pleasures and also pains ( as they both go together) results in
likes and dislikes, which intensifies as cravings and aversions.These lead to a sense of seperate existence or seperativeness from existence as it is.
But since one is intrinsically connected with existence or the whole, the sense of limitedness stemming from the ego comes across as unnatural along with a sense of discontentment.
This is also the reason why discontentment is experienced even if one is surrounded by all sense-pleasures brought in by wealth and power, as the
sentient being which is related to the whole cannot be fully satisfied and content just as a limited being, separated from the rest of existence through
barriers created by the separative ego, in its pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain.
Very interesting and informative.However a striving for pleasure over pain is one of the formative and defining successes of humanity.Can you imagine a World without anaesthetic,canned food or running water at your fingertips? Also any search for spiritual fulfilment is predicated upon a desire for freedom from pain,is therefore a search for pleasure,to enjoy life as it is,so your conclusion contains this paradox.It is natural and imperative to avoid pain.It is one of the most important driving forces in evolution.Just check this the next time you get a toothache and need to see a dentist.
Pleasure is not happiness or even bliss for that matter, though people make this mistake often.
There are legitimate needs and there is also greed as well where one seeks more than what he really needs.
Taking care of legitimate needs are a part of one's duties, but this is not so with respect to greed which can bring about imbalance in the system, individually and in the whole as well.
As said before , pleasure is not happiness, or even bliss as well. Where there is pleasure , there is bound to be pain as well.
Happiness has an opposite in unhappiness, but bliss which stems from an expanded consciousness through Awareness or Love or other spiritual exercises has no such opposite.
I am not suggesting to avoid pain but to avoid the constant reminescing of painful events or experiences as also of pleasurable ones,creating aversions and cravings, and thereby missing life at the present.
Discontentment at the spiritual and mental-emotional level is also a source of pain and suffering which no amount of sense-pleasures can eliminate even if obtained with great exertion.
You get a toothache, you see a doctor and follow his instructions.There it ends. Recollecting the pain and agony of toothache through thinking about it constantly and creating suffering for oneself in the present is what is wrong.
Recollecting the pleasure in eating delicious food such as pizza, caviar or fried chicken or other foods, and creating likes and intensifying it to the point of cravings where one forgets the present through greed, is also wrong.
Hope you follow what I am pointing out to here.
You can find a similar pattern in all other aspects of life.
I appreciate you taking my post seriously Ajay and concede that you do make some valid points.I like to to use Freud's concept of the "pleasure" principle and the "reality" principle as a reference point,if you are aware of those or would care to look them up.
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