Author Topic: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves  (Read 1164 times)

Offline dadio

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2018, 10:03:11 am »
Going back to your initial question...

So the outer world we perceive is a reflection of our inner world and not just objectively true...ie that spiders are inherently scary etc.
Is there a name for this understanding or insight?

For clarification:
- 'outer world', you mean the perception we have of the physical world?
- 'inner world', you mean our fantasy (imagining/being convinced the spider is icky), emotions, thoughts and so on?

Or do you mean: the outer world we perceive is a reflection of our inner world = how we perceive the outer world is a reflection of our inner world ???

Anyway, I guess you're investigating further into the 4 latter items of the traditional 5 aggregates.
  • Body
  • Vedana (inital feeling of good, neutral, bad) (the reaction 'spider is icky' definitely fits here)
  • Perceptions ('perception of the outer world' fits here?)
  • Metal formations ('inner world' fits here?)
  • Consciousness (a bit of both in here maybe...)

I think if you continue with you analysis, you'll end with the conclusion all of them are 'empty'.

So I guess 'the five aggregates & emptiness' is the indirect answer you're looking for? (tough stuff btw: understanding this intellectually <=> really getting it.)

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2018, 06:28:41 pm »
Going back to your initial question...

So the outer world we perceive is a reflection of our inner world and not just objectively true...ie that spiders are inherently scary etc.
Is there a name for this understanding or insight?

For clarification:
- 'outer world', you mean the perception we have of the physical world?
- 'inner world', you mean our fantasy (imagining/being convinced the spider is icky), emotions, thoughts and so on?

Or do you mean: the outer world we perceive is a reflection of our inner world = how we perceive the outer world is a reflection of our inner world ???

Anyway, I guess you're investigating further into the 4 latter items of the traditional 5 aggregates.
  • Body
  • Vedana (inital feeling of good, neutral, bad) (the reaction 'spider is icky' definitely fits here)
  • Perceptions ('perception of the outer world' fits here?)
  • Metal formations ('inner world' fits here?)
  • Consciousness (a bit of both in here maybe...)

I think if you continue with you analysis, you'll end with the conclusion all of them are 'empty'.

So I guess 'the five aggregates & emptiness' is the indirect answer you're looking for? (tough stuff btw: understanding this intellectually <=> really getting it.)

I'm reminded here of the old philosophical problem, 'If a tree falls in a forest where there is no human or animal in the vicinity, within hearing distance, does the tree make a sound as it falls?'

From a scientific perspective, the answer is no. The tree clearly doesn't make a sound because a sound is defined as an auditory perception which occurs only in the mind.

However, if one rephrases the question along the following lines, 'If a tree falls in a forest where no-one is present, does the falling of the tree produce vibrations which travel through the air for some distance, and through the ground for a shorter distance?' then the answer is, yes.

A similar conundrum relates to the situation of sight. Are leaves generally green, and roses red? No.

The external objects that surround us have no color. Color is purely a sensation in the mind. Different objects have the property of reflecting and absorbing different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is the mind that interprets, through our sensory perception of sight, those frequencies of light which the object reflects, and produces the sensation of a particular color within our mind.

The sensation of color exists only in the human mind. In common language we then project those sensations onto the objects we perceive, and ascribe the properties of our mental sensations to those external objects, and describe a leaf as green, or a rose as red, and so on.

At a fundamental level, this ascribing or projecting of our own sensations onto the object we perceive, is delusional, from both a Buddhist perspective and a scientific perspective.

However, there's no harm in sharing the joy in the sight of a red rose, or the spectacular greenery of a landscape after some good rain.  :wink1:


Offline dadio

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2018, 10:13:04 pm »



However, if one rephrases the question along the following lines, 'If a tree falls in a forest where no-one is present, does the falling of the tree produce vibrations which travel through the air for some distance, and through the ground for a shorter distance?' then the answer is, yes.
Quick response on this one. Here your answer should also be no (in your logic)...

Vibrations is just like color, a clasification in our mind... if a vibration has a very long wavelength, we perseve it as a static state.
So even 'vibration' is a concensus...

But 'tree' also... and 'air' and 'traveling' and...

Isn't the point of such questions that there is no 'yes' or 'no' answer? Or maby both yes and no? Or maybe... damn, I just got enlightend!

Just kidding ;-) Could it be so easy, right...


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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2018, 03:03:28 am »
So if we agree that the world as we see it and understand it is really a construct of our own minds, then we can work on our minds to see things in different ways. The next question becomes "What is it that you want to see?"
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline dadio

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2018, 04:45:57 am »
Good one...
Does it matter what we want?

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Offline Chaz

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2018, 07:12:58 am »
So if we agree that the world as we see it and understand it is really a construct of our own minds, then we can work on our minds to see things in different ways. The next question becomes "What is it that you want to see?"

No, not really.  The next question is, "what is there to see?".

Offline dadio

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2018, 08:02:21 am »
The nature of things (Dhammas)

If you agree, then the next question is: how do we see the nature of things?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 01:36:32 pm by dadio »

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2018, 07:59:54 pm »
The nature of things (Dhammas)

If you agree, then the next question is: how do we see the nature of things?

Isn't that topic addressed by Philosophy and Scientific inquiry, as well as Buddhism at a philosophical level?

Philosophy has been around for a long time and predates what we now know as the 'methodology of science', which involves repeated experimentation under controlled conditions, often changing just one variable at a time, and devising experiments in an attempt to falsify a particular theory.

If we fail to falsify a particular theory, despite our best attempts, and the predictions from the theory always turn out to be as predicted, then we accept the theory as being true, until such a time arises when certain predictions are not consistent with the theory. Scientists then have to inquire if some unknown factor is influencing the results, or whether the theory needs modifying.

The ancient Greeks are famous for their Philosophical inquiries, including some basic scientific inquiries, but they didn't really formulate a methodology of science along the lines I've described above. That came later.
The Moslem astronomer/physicist, Ibn Al Haytham, is sometimes considered to be the first 'true' scientist because he successfully debunked some of the ancient Greek theories by applying a methodology of experimentation and falsification. He lived around a thousand years ago.

Buddhism, at the philosophical level, can appeal to those with a scientific education, because of its rationality and reason, as expressed in the Kalama Sutta, for example. However, there are certain concepts, such as Karma and Rebirth, which might seem unscientific, and too much a part of the mystical, mumbo jumbo aspects of religion.

How does one deal with this? Well, my advice is, one should try to put oneself in the shoes of those wise and thoughtful people who lived around 2,500 years ago and who didn't have the knowledge of modern science. Because such people, such as Gautama, were thoughtful and inquiring, they accepted what they understood to be the best explanations of the times, just as some of us, who are thoughtful, do that today.

As Idlechatter has mentioned a couple of times, it's our bad habits that are reborn, rather than a personal identity. However, such a statement seems too one-sided. Why should only our bad habits be reborn and not our good habits? It seems to me more rational to say that 'habits and tendencies in general' are reborn, whether good or bad.

The process by which this transfer of tendencies occurs was called Karma, thousands of years ago, well before the concept of the gene was articulated. Now that we have a moderate degree of understanding about evolutionary processes and the transfer of tendencies through genetic processes, it seems a bit naive to believe there could be some invisible, undetectable spirit, transferring habits and tendencies from one individual, upon death, to a new fetus in someone's womb, and even to the fetus of another species of animal.

However, in the absence of any alternative theory, such as Darwin's Theory of Evolution and modern theories of genetics, which can be confirmed through the application of the methodology of science, the theory of Karma was perhaps the best explanation available at the time, thousands of years ago.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2018, 02:43:51 am »
So if we agree that the world as we see it and understand it is really a construct of our own minds, then we can work on our minds to see things in different ways. The next question becomes "What is it that you want to see?"

No, not really.  The next question is, "what is there to see?".
Maybe what there is to see is so complex and chaotic that we could only ever see part of it, and that part still constructed by us. Are we, by following the path, seeing what following the path is designed for us to see? Maybe we don't need to see everything, just those important elements.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2018, 02:52:47 am »
The nature of things (Dhammas)

If you agree, then the next question is: how do we see the nature of things?
If you are a Buddhist, rather than just a philosopher, the question can become do we want to see into the nature of things in the way that the Buddha intended, or do we extend that, taking in wider areas of human activity since that time? My current thinking is that insight experiences are pretty universal, but the interpretation of them is open to later interpretation. We then see into the nature of things in the light of Buddhist teachings, adapted maybe by current views of science, philosophy and so on.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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Re: Our worlds are reflections of ourselves
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2018, 04:44:27 am »

Maybe what there is to see is so complex and chaotic that we could only ever see part of it, and that part still constructed by us. Are we, by following the path, seeing what following the path is designed for us to see? Maybe we don't need to see everything, just those important elements.

Probably not complex and chaotic.

We're taught that "the way things are" is shunyata or emptiness.  Phenomena perceived without inherent characteristics.  Naked awareness.

Nothing to complicated or chaotic about that, just difficult to realize.

 


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