Is There Existence Without Consciousness?I don't want to dismiss the possibility of something simply because I don't experience it. I'm not conscious in deep sleep. So...does existence stop when I'm not conscious?
I’ve skipped a lot of bits that we exchanged ideas about, either because I understood them and didn’t need to talk about them, or because I didn’t understand them and couldn’t talk about them.
Here’s what’s left: You say, “Well, you refer to an experience called ‘sleep.’ If sleep is an experience, Consciousness must be there to know it. If it is not an experience, let’s not talk about it.”
Mmm…I don’t want to dismiss the possibility of something simply because I don’t experience it. I’m not conscious in deep sleep. So…does existence stop when I’m not conscious? I doubt it.
Same idea, different focus: I don’t want to reduce everything to consciousness. Consciousness might be what I am, but I must ultimately be far more than just consciousness. I mean, consciousness is just consciousness, right? Even though it’s a miracle, there’s far more than consciousness, right? So why limit the enquiry to consciousness?
You say, “If it is our experience that Consciousness is not always present, something must be there to claim the experience of its absence. This ‘something’ would have to be both conscious and knowing, in other words…...you guessed….!”
Like I said, there must be far more than just consciousness. But I have no idea what it is, because what I know is all I know.
You say, “Yes, Paul, keep going. The only difference between our two views is that I am staying with childlike simplicity to my direct experience, whilst you are mistaking your concepts and beliefs about experience, for experience itself.”
Even if I abandon my concepts and beliefs about experience, I’m still left knowing nothing other than the experience itself. So here’s me with nothing more than my experience, and here’s you staying with childlike simplicity to your direct experience. It sounds the same, but I don’t reduce everthing to my experience (even though my experience is the only thing I have, the only thing I know, the only thing (for all I know) that I am. If I’m more than my experience, I infer it. How about you?
Yes, I am glad that you skip anything that is not relevant. These words are just here for the taking. I certainly don’t imagine that everybody is going to read all that is written. Sometimes just one sentence in a long response is all that is needed. In fact it is usually like that. But it will always be different for different people and for the same person at different times…..
Paul: I don’t want to dismiss the possibility of something simply because I don’t experience it.
Rupert: There is no personal ‘I’ that experiences. These words, the computer, the room, the body, the thoughts, the apparent ‘I,’ that are all being experienced at present are limited and private, but it is a presumption to believe that whatever it is that perceives them all is limited and private.
It is also a presumption to believe that there is something outside of experience. Nobody has ever or could ever experience such a ‘something.’
After all, experience is the test of reality. We have no evidence that there is a world outside the experience of it. Such an experience may not be appearing in THIS mind, but to exist, it must be known.
Paul: I’m not conscious in deep sleep.
Rupert: How do you know that? Who is the ‘I’ that is present there in deep sleep, apparently not conscious? In order to assert the presence of this ‘I’ that is not conscious in deep sleep, which you do, you must be aware of it. In order to be aware of it, something must be there aware and present. What is that?
If there is no such ‘I’ there, then my next question is, what is the experience of deep sleep? You refer to it as an experience, so it must be something. What is it and what is aware of it?
If you say it is nothing, then I will ask, who is aware of this ‘nothing?’ Whatever is aware of it must be both aware and present. ‘I’ is the name we give to that which is aware and present, that is, Awareness.
And if you reply that there is no experience of deep sleep at all, then why mention it? It is like discussing a pink elephant. If deep sleep is an experience, you as Awareness, must be there to experience it. It is not possible to have an experience without Awareness.
So you, as the mind, are not present in deep sleep but why infer from this that you, as Awareness, are not present there, simply enjoying your own being? After all deep sleep is peaceful. We look forward to it…why? Perhaps because the simple Knowing of our own Being in the absence of objects is the experience that is called Peace.
Paul: Does existence stop when I’m not conscious? I doubt it.
Rupert: Why do you doubt it? Have you ever had the experience of Consciousness without Existence or Being? No!
In order to assert the presence of Existence or Being something must be there to know it. Whatever that ‘something’ is must be conscious. Whatever it is that is both conscious and present is what is referred to as Consciousness.
Now what about Consciousness. Have you ever experienced Consciousness without Being? For Consciousness to be known, it must be present. The reason we can say ‘I am,’ is because we know that ‘I am.’ And that which knows ‘I am’ is by definition, present, that is, being.
Look closely and you will find that Knowing and Being are inseparable. They are not two.
Paul: I don’t want to reduce everything to consciousness. Consciousness might be what I am, but I must ultimately be far more than just consciousness. I mean, consciousness is just consciousness, right? Even though it’s a miracle, there’s far more than consciousness, right? So why limit the enquiry to consciousness?
Rupert: I don’t like ‘must be…’ I like ‘is!’
See clearly first of all, there there is no evidence that there is anything independent of Consciousness. A distant galaxy, a sub atomic particle, an intimate thought, everything….when it is present it is known by Consciousness. When it is not present or experienced we cannot say that it exists.
And if we look more closely at the appearance of any object of the body, mind or world, we find that Consciousness is not just that which knows it, but is also that out of which it is made. That is, Consciousness is the substance of all things, not just the knower of all things.
In other words, Consciousness’ only mode of knowing something is to be that thing.
It is only the mind that divides Consciousness and Existence into two apparent things. Such a division has never been experienced.
Paul: ....there must be far more than just consciousness. But I have no idea what it is….
Rupert: I don’t even know what Consciousness is, let alone what anything that appears in it is! However, I know that it IS, and so do you.
Try to look for something that could be known or experienced in the absence of Consciousness? Would such an experience be possible? No! What would be there to know it! Consciousness, of course!
But why say ‘just’ Consciousness? Consciousness is Peace, Happiness, Love, Freedom, Beauty…it is our Self. It is also everything that appears, houses, cars, thoughts, everything….That is quite a lot!
Paul: ....because what I know is all I know.
Rupert: But the ‘I’ that knows it runs throughout all experience. We could just call it knowing. It is present now and now and now….It is ever-present. Objects are limited, mind is limited, but that does not mean that Consciousness, ‘I,’ Knowingness, is limited.
Paul: Even if I abandon my concepts and beliefs about experience, I’m still left knowing nothing other than the experience itself. So here’s me with nothing more than my experience, and here’s you staying with childlike simplicity to your direct experience. It sounds the same, but I don’t reduce everything to my experience (even though my experience is the only thing I have, the only thing I know, the only thing (for all I know) that I am. If I’m more than my experience, I infer it. How about you?
Rupert: You are saying that all you know is objective experience. Objective experience is of course is limited. But you know more than objective experience. You continually refer to an ‘I’ that is present there as the knower of your changing experience.
The ‘I’ that is seeing these words was present experiencing your breakfast this morning. Every appearance of the mind, the body and the world that was present during breakfast has disappeared and yet you remain over. This ‘you’ therefore cannot be a mind, a body or a world.
I agree that there is more than ‘my’ experience if by ‘my’ experience we mean just the appearances that constitute this mind. But if we take ALL experience, all the appearances of all the minds that have ever been, can we say that there is anything outside of that? In what form could it appear? All appearances are made of mind (in the broadest sense of the word, to include all thinking, imagining, sensing and perceiving). What sort of an appearance could there be outside of that. And if there is another form of mind that as humans we do not know about (and there may well be) then when this other form is known, it must be known by something that is both knowing and Present. That is, it could only be known by Consciousness.
The reason this is so hard to understand is because we think that when an object is present it is made out of something other than Consciousness, that is, that it is made out of mind or matter. If we believe this then it is of course impossible to consider that, when for instance we close our eyes, the world we were looking at, disappears.
However, once it becomes clear that there is no other substance to our experience other than Consciousness then it becomes equally obvious that nothing ever disappears.
The only substance that is present during our experience of the world or anything else for that matter is Consciousness and that is ever-present.
Another name for it is ‘I.’ It is the substance of all appearances. It never goes away. It just changes colour like a chameleon. One Being, many colours.
This absolute oneness of Consciousness with Existence is known as Love. That is what the experience of Love is, the experience that the Consciousness that we are is one with the Existence of the apparent other. We are the other. The same experience, when known in relation to an object rather than a person is known as Beauty.
We are the substance of all things and all these words refer to that.
With kind regards,