School of Economic Science
Consciousness
Goto page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    School of Economic Science - Study Forums Forum Index -> Advaita and Modern Western Philosophy
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Brian,


<<Kant called essence 'transcendental' i.e not objectively perceptible. He regarded what he termed 'the thing in itself' to be of this nature and this seems very akin to the idea of essence and also to Plato's ideas. It is open to question whether the 'thing in itself' is differentiated or whether it is only subject to differentiation through the perception of the observer, which Kant analysed and categorised very fully.>>

I described the essence as a drawing together, towards what is itself. That is its transcendent nature in operation. Yet it must have something to draw in, and that would be those things that, by themselves, are not its nature. In certain circumstances we might see this as a kind of light, but in normal circumstances we note it by habit. This is not enough but it’s how I would begin to look afresh at essence.

I think Plato had a twofold approach. There is the Form (eidos) and its many copies (eidola) which partake in that Form. These might be found in bodies or in the more ephemeral environment of reflections, shadows etc. But the eidei themselves were able to blend while still maintaining their distinction with other eidei. So the Form of the Equal (isos) blends with the Form of Justice, but perhaps not with injustice, and things like this. More prosaically, the blending and non-blending of Forms allows the arising of discourse. This, as you probably realise, is a thumbnail sketch and doesn't do much justice to his philosophy, but there is a tremendous potential in this system.

I don’t believe that Kant was particularly enamoured with Plato’s vision thinking he had ‘taken leave of his senses.’

Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If succinctness is to be preferred then does anything better describe Essence than it is the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. holon nods towards the One and the parts (merai) towards the many. What think you, is that the net to catch the tiddler? This is certainly how both both Socrates and Aristotle saw it, and it also has a touch of advaita about it.
Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"
is a principle to reflect with held by many individuals.
I am surprised you didn't put this principle in quotation.>>

Mebbe - but how would that change its significance? It comes from gestalt psychology, I believe, which uses ‘other’ rather than greater. It seems perfect as an opening gambit on essence.

<<The idea of "tidler" needs to be explained as this open to
a variety of effects and artistic effects.>>

A tiddler is often used to describe something small and elusive, like a small fish. It would easily escape through coarse netting, so I analogize between a fishing net and a definition or account. A fine or subtle account is needed to ‘catch’ a fine and ‘wriggly’ concept such as essence. By the way, Plato used a fishing theme when he attempted to trap down the wily Sophist in the Dialogue of that name.

<<I am not so sure that western philosopher have understood
the significance of this aspect. And that it the individual is closer to
the divine than it is generally thought.>>

That might well be so, it is hard to say seeing that they kept their spiritual disciplines to themselves, Eleusinian, Zoroastrian etc. It would be very interesting to know, but I doubt we ever will. One of Socrates great techniques was to induce a state of perplexity in his interlocutor. He considered this vital for the overcoming of ‘glibness’ or assuming without considering. It was part of the process of catharsis – purification of the soul - and although, in a dialogue which, shall we say, has a certain exoteric gloss, (I hope you understand me here and don’t think I’m criticizing – far from it) he recommends the exercise of the dialectic as the way to churn up glibness and open the possibility of fresh thought. However, I know that the Eleusinian mysteries also had an ‘outward’ ceremony for purging and purification of the soul. Whether they had a corresponding esoteric or inner discipline nobody ever told us. This ceremony, by the way, took place on the sea shore, where they had a ceremonial ‘baptism’ as it were. It was supposed to have taken place on the 2nd day of the Greater Mysteries.

It’s an interesting question, and I believe was brought up by Michael Reid on the Plato Forum. As an addenda, I have often wondered whether Socrates guru was not a hierophant of these Mysteries. Her name, Diotima, corresponds closely to Demeter, the goddess to whom they were dedicated. There doesn't seem to be any other reference to her apart from this.

A Contributor wrote: -
<< Yes, Dear Peter we agree in many respects.
I do not put myself as authority higher than anybody else,
and I do not feel superior or inferior than anybody else.>>

Dear Contributor, I have never assumed you to be superior of inferior to any of us. Isn’t it enough for you to just be yourself?

Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Paul Douglas



Joined: 27 Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Location: West London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read some of the contributions on this topic with interest, but we do seem to have wandered a long, long way from the original topic which is 'consciousness.' Maybe we are experiencing a few of the many forms of consciousness!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said! - Let's get a dialogue going which tries to hold to the initial impulse.

The origins of the word are obviously in knowledge (scio) but it seems to have gained a life of its own. You can’t see it, can you? But it’s hard to imagine where it could not be. One obviously thinks of the term awareness, but there must be something already a priori to be aware of. There is another difficulty in that man, as a being, obviously is aware, but in many different ways. For example, on the point of understanding, say, a geometric theorem, there is a different experience of consciousness to say looking at the Grand Canyon. Yet does this mean there are different consciousnesses or just different ways of experiencing the one consciousness? According to Kant space is a singular thing that exists ‘outside’ while time is a singular inner intuition. Consciousness seems both outside and inside, and yet neither. Is there truly a subject which is predicated of all these many things or could it simply be a catch-all term that lassos many different things together? Paul, what are your own thoughts?
Pete

PS. The interesting thing about Shri Shantananda Sarawati's remark is that you do not see the light itself merely that which is lit.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Stocks



Joined: 28 Jul 2012
Posts: 601
Location: Wood Green, London

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One Formula

MS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Contributor wrote:

<<It is worthwhile to note that consciousness doesn't
change but the forms of knowledge can.>>

but here surely you do not arrange like with like. Forms of knowledge are not knowledge itself. A carpenter knows how to make a table, but knowledge is not limited to carpentry. Consciousness can also be individualized in the same way. Consciousness of is not consciousness per se. Tell me how being conscious of something is different to knowing something. I would consider it is but how would one specify? By asking such simple questions, which are the essence of philosophy, we at least put ourselves on the path to comprehending consciousness, or knowing whether it can be comprehended. Giving multifarious examples of consciousness is the path to the many - an interesting path if one already knows what consciousness is. If one doesn’t, or if the dialectic hasn’t delivered any satisfying fulfillment (telios) the question seems to be begged even more urgently.

Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets take some of the things a Contributor has said: -

Quote:
<<Knowledge in the normal run of the world can be known
as knowledge of things taught and transferred from one
person to the next. (Through questions and answers).>>


Here I presume that the Contributor is agreeing with what I said, that such 'knowledge of' is no more informative than 'consciousness of'. A good investigation into this aspect of knowledge occurs in THEAETETUS quite near the beginning [145d].

Quote:
<<The giving of attention and staying on the point of work
and guided by learning of skills comes from inner self.
This inner guidance may be akin to wisdom.>>


This is what we are trying to do, isn’t it? But if knowledge was merely giving attention that implies we have it readily available, whereas I see it as the other way round, we give attention in order to come in contact with knowledge. What we may have is what the Greeks called techne, or ‘know how’. Such is merely 'knowledge of', acquired by the experience of giving attention.

Again a Contributor wrote: -
Quote:

<<So yes, in your question about the carpenter he/she
has specialist skills to do the job and perhaps the love for
the job. The agent of this skill may in turn play another role,
say a musician. Here also the attention finds the love of sound
making and he/she may use another turn of attention to turn
inwards and find their Greater Self that which knows itself and
the turns of mind and intellect.>>


Here’s the thing: we can come in contact through attention and love of what we have a natural affinity with, and what you call ‘an inward turn’ may or may not occur. But when the attention strays we no longer have such contact which I’m sure is the essence of advaita, and we are merely left with our assumptions that we ‘know’ and which we may become quite possessive about. ‘I know this Greater Self'; 'I can talk about it and show others where they go wrong', and all this sort of stuff which I’m sure you, as an experienced student, know only too well. It is exactly at this point where it becomes unuseful to take a didactic approach. People come upon this knowledge intuitively, and in their own way. So aphorisms can actually keep a person away from this knowledge that we call self knowledge, especially if they are sprayed around indiscriminately. There must be a knowledge, do you not think, in choosing just the right aphorism that causes a light to arise. Generally though I find caution is needed in the area of dispensing knowledge one has heard or read from elsewhere. At best it is know how, and at worst it is irrelevant.

Now, lets see if we can move the discourse on.

If assumptions do not get in the way, there must be a knowing contact that makes a One, not of two, but of three. One and three are more intimately bound together than one and two, which the Greeks call the indeterminate dyad. But it is interesting what this third might be. Perhaps by giving attention truly, no easy matter as I’m sure you will have found out, this contact arises of itself. It might be called a sense of unity, however I think it is more than mere unity, it must be the One itself. In such a state there is neither three, nor even less the indeterminate two. Such a state will last as long as it is necessary, is ‘greatly to be desired’ yet not to be hankered after.

The Contributor wrote: -
Quote:

<<I think at this stage it would be wise to
let readers to have their say, and hold the
the Peter/Contributor roles under observation.>>


That is not for you to say, is it? Do you think we have achieved so much? I am that poor perplexed one who, as long as the scent remains, finds the pursuit a thing of light. So far we are only tipping our toenails into the waters of Brahman. But delete yourself from the discourse if you must, my friend.

Pete

Excuse the excessive length of this post. Believe me when I say that I am attempting to forestall the inevitable 'cascade' by attempting to turn things back to a single point (of consciousness?).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<Discussions in groups in flesh would probably be better.
as the dimension of this internet equipment has limits on our senses
mind, reasoning, and other meditative techniques.>>

Mebbe, but it is not impossible even under such circumstances to stick to the point and stop worrying about your readers concerns.

That means we have to address advaita in a practical way. Let me give an example. You are asked to mend a wall. All the tools are available but is there not something that should precede the habitual? You don't just go trundling off to the tool shed. Is it not important to regard this body, this mind, fall quiet and see what arises as the first duty to perform? In this way 'first' relates to One for this is the advaita discipline.

Then the body follows the simple instruction in a natural way. You are relaxed in the world about you, because you rest in your duty and there is the knowledge that there will be another first instruction when this has been completed. No Indian or Greek terminology is necessary - that's for experts.

The practical thing is, we begin in duality - we can't seem to help that, but we don't look for the One. Instead we seek maybe the third point , the link between ourselves and the task ahead. From that advaita may arise. I think the Greeks saw this as mesos - the mean between. Ficino considered we should attend to the harmonic mean, as that relates to soul. But this is for study and won't particularly help you in the practical situation.

Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Contributor wrote: -
Quote:
<<"No Indian or Greek terminology is necessary - that's for experts"
But then you display constantly your referral to their philosophies.
Therefore the argument doesn't stand. You constantly refer to looking for
systems of thought and place your arguments.>>


This is the crux of my argument. One doesn't stand in front of the toolshed flicking through one's memory for aids. The comportment is simple. Systems of thought arise from reflection upon the practical experience of daily life. Mind seeks Kosmos - the well ordered beauty, which subtle systems of thought place not arguments but experience.

I think I agree with the rest of your post.

Pete(r)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Brian Joseph



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: West London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pete
In your last posting you speak of consciousness necessarily being of another
To my mind this would suggest that consciousness implies duality and I don't think this can be true.
In The world as Will and Representstion, Schopenhauer suggests a way in which this may not be so. He says that, ordinarily speaking, all experience is a representation in the mind.
Alongside this, there is Will, which governs all activity of all creatures. The human being alone amongst all creatures is enabled to be conscious of this Will within himself. Schopenhauer is careful not to suggest that it is, in any way, a representation.
I think this is a way of suggesting that consciousness is not necessarily 'of' and therefore need not only apply in a situation of duality. What do you think?
Brian.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Blumsom



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1093
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn’t realise I actually said that, Brian. If I did I’d probably disagree with myself. I took the form ‘of consciousness’ in the intentionally loose way that Paul expressed it his post. I was trying to be tight when I said << there is a different experience of consciousness>> and also when I emphasized the preposition ‘of consciousness is not consciousness per se’. The last I believe is my own view.

I don’t know much about Schopenhauer, so what he means by mind and will escapes me. Does he define them as terms? However I do touch upon animals and man in my reply to Joseph today.

Plato recognizes two levels of mind, dianoia, which is the problem solver, the judge, etc. and noesis which does not move (with the mover). When we get both in place we are on a happy road.
Pete
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    School of Economic Science - Study Forums Forum Index -> Advaita and Modern Western Philosophy All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
This forum is sponsored by the School of Economic Science for use by its members; members of its branches; members
of affiliated schools worldwide and by all other Internet users interested in the study subjects presented.
Powered by phpBB Copyright © FSES, 2007. All Rights Reserved