The Absolute and the RelativeIt seems to me that you 'explain' things mostly from the standpoint of the Absolute without giving due attention to the relative.
It seems to me that you ‘explain’ things mostly from the standpoint of the Absolute without giving, imo, due attention to the relative. After all, the relative is also the Absolute :-) (Samsara IS Nirvana). To study Samsara (the world, the relative) IS studying the Absolute (Brahman, God, whatever). Hawkings once remarked that science studies the mind of God.Thus science and philosophy have their place in our becoming aware of the true nature of the relative. The finger pointing to the moon is useful in finding the moon though we should not stop at the tip of the finger!
Science has found that this world is a process: it is not a static ‘something’ but is constantly evolving. And this evolution seems to be the evolution of consciousness. If this is true (and I believe it is) than there must have been a state of unconsciousness. Mind you, I do not equate consciousness and awareness. I do believe that awareness is universal and is a ‘quality’ of Ultimate Reality just as ‘being’ and ‘happiness’ are. You mentioned the same a few times and it is also in the Vedas: Sat-Chit-Ananda. But this Awareness can be both conscious and unconscious. (Unconscious awareness sounds silly to those who equate the two. To make things worse, in England and the USA the two terms seem to be reversed :-(. In England, awareness is viewed as being always conscious. In deep sleep we are unconscious but yet aware. Without awareness we would never wake up when the alarm bell rings or when somebody calls our name. To me, awareness is shown to exist whenever there is a reaction to a stimulus. But this reaction does nor have to be conscious; many processes (as those within our bodies) happen unconsciously yet without awareness there wouldn’t be (couldn’t be) any reactive processes.
I like the idea from Hinduism that talks about the day and night of Brahman. The ‘day’ being the involution/evolution of the Universe and the ‘night’ the resolution of this Universe. This is similar to our day (awake) and night (asleep) cycle. A 12th Century Spanish mystic (Ben-Al-Arabi) put it this way: God sleeps in a rock, dreams in a plant, stirs in an animal and awakens in man. For ‘God’ we would now say: ‘Awareness’ and ‘sleeping in a rock’ would mean that that awareness is unconscious, gradually becomes conscious and with man starts to become self-conscious. This human self-consciousness is, at first, limited to a body but then slowly increases and ends with being All-inclusive.
At least this is my view. Hopefully, it makes some sense to ‘others’ as well….....
Jelke: It seems to me that you ‘explain’ things mostly from the standpoint of the Absolute without giving, imo, due attention to the relative.
Rupert: I am surprised you say that. On many occasions in these conversations I have given the relative person and the relative world provisional credibility in order to proceed from the level of appearances to a level of understanding that is closer to the reality of our experience.
Jelke: After all, the relative is also the Absolute…
Rupert:That’s true but it (the relative) doesn’t know it!
Jelke: To study Samsara (the world, the relative) IS studying the Absolute (Brahman, God, whatever).
Rupert: If we go deeply into the study of an object or the world, we find that there is no object or world. The idea that Nirvana and Samsara are one is a stepping stone which replaces that idea that Samsara is something different from Nirvana, with its own independent reality. However, once this has been understood, this idea is also seen as only relatively true, and is itself abandoned in favour of the understanding that Consciousness is all there is.
Jelke: ....science and philosophy have their place in our becoming aware of the true nature of the relative…
Rupert: I am not a scientist and do not therefore want, nor am I qualified, to speak on its behalf. However, as far as I know, science at present limits its research to phenomena alone and cannot therefore tell us anything about the true nature of the relative, which is by definition, noumenal.
Whereas philosophy (if by philosophy we mean the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence) is precisely what we are engaged in, in these discussions.
Jelke: Science has found that this world is a process: it is not a static ‘something’ but is constantly evolving.
Rupert: Yes, that is true of all phenomena, objects. Science has yet to discover than Consciousness is changeless and, if it doesn’t admit the noumenal within its scope, it never will.
Jelke: And this evolution seems to be the evolution of consciousness.
Rupert: We are not concerned here with how things seem. We are concerned with how things are, that is, with their reality. Objects evolve. Consciousness does not. That is our experience. To put it another way…what we are conscious of, evolves, but Consciousness itself, having no objective qualities cannot move, change, evolve, become, appear or disappear.
Jelke: If this is true (and I believe it is)....
Rupert: Likewise we are not concerned with beliefs here, but only with the facts of our experience. Instead of building theories based on your beliefs, why don’t you question your beliefs?
Jelke: ....there must have been a state of unconsciousness…..
Rupert: All states come and go. They start and end. As such they must have objective qualities, because only an object can be observed to have a beginning and end. So, please describe your experience of unconsciousness. In order to legitimately claim unconsciousness as an experience, you must have been there, present and conscious, to experience it.
Jelke: I do not equate consciousness and awareness.
Rupert: I do, for the reasons given in my response no. 13 (reproduced below).
Jelke: But this Awareness can be both conscious and unconscious…
Rupert: Please describe an experience or an object which you are aware of but not conscious of. You will find it impossible. Furthermore, you will find that your consciousness of an object is the same experience as your awareness of that same object.
Likewise, please describe your experience of being aware of unconsciousness, not as a memory but as an actual experience. In other words, please describe your experience of unconscious Awareness.
If Consciousness is something that comes and goes, it must have objective qualities. Please describe these objective qualities of Consciousness….not what we are conscious of, but the objective qualities of Consciousness itself which distinguishes it from Awareness.
If you try sincerely to do this you will find that you are mistaking a lack of objects, for a lack of Awareness. That is you are superimposing the characteristics of objects onto Awareness and presuming, as a result, that when objects are not present, Awareness is not present.
Jelke: In deep sleep we are unconscious but yet aware.
Rupert: Please describe the experience from which you make this assertion.
Jelke: .. awareness is shown to exist whenever there is a reaction to a stimulus…
This contradicts your previous statement above in which you assert the presence of Awareness in deep sleep where there are no objects and therefore no stimuli.
How can an object, as such, prove the existence of Awareness (or Consciousness)? How can the limited prove the unlimited? Awareness (or Consciousness) is its own evidence. It knows itself by itself, not through any other agent.
Jelke: I like the idea from Hinduism that talks about the day and night of Brahman. The ‘day’ being the involution/evolution of the Universe and the ‘night’ the resolution of this Universe.
Rupert: So do I! However, I interpret it differently from you: the day of Brahman (the mind/universe) does not last for eons but rather for moments, and appears in the ever-present and underlying reality of Brahman’s night (that is, in the light of Awareness, that is only considered to be night, dark or non-existent from the point of view of ignorance). At no point does Brahman sleep. It is that mind that sleeps (ie. that is sometimes not present).
Ignorance mistakes a lack of objects for a lack of Awareness and therefore considers this state (night) to be one of darkness. From the point of view of Awareness itself, it is light there. In fact it is the waking state, which from the point of view of ignorance is considered to be real and therefore ‘light,’ which is in fact ‘dark.’ That is, from the point of view of ignorance, in the waking state objects are considered real and awareness unreal, non-existent or ‘dark.’
In fact what is darkness to the mind – Brahman’s night - is (from the point of view of Awareness) light itself. That is, it is that into which the universe (the mind) dissolves at every moment.
Awareness is, from the point of view of the mind, darkness – Brahman’s night - that is, it is without objects and therefore considered to be non-existent.
Brahman’s day is the mind or the universe, which arises out of, abides in, is made out of and is dissolved into Awareness at every moment.
Therefore there is no day and night for Awareness. There is day and night for the mind only.
Jelke: This is similar to our day (awake) and night (asleep) cycle.
Rupert: Yes, but it is also a metaphor for a deeper understanding that the universe arises in, abides in, is made of and dissolves into the light of Awareness, not just every 24 hrs, let alone every eon, but at every moment.
Jelke: A 12th Century Spanish mystic (Ben-Al-Arabi) put it this way: God sleeps in a rock, dreams in a plant, stirs in an animal and awakens in man. For ‘God’ we would now say: ‘Awareness’ and ‘sleeping in a rock’ would mean that that awareness is unconscious, gradually becomes conscious and with man starts to become self-conscious. This human self-consciousness is, at first, limited to a body but then slowly increases and ends with being All-inclusive.
Rupert: That is very poetic and fine as long as we are granting separate and independent existence to objects/ the world. It is a relative truth which, like all ideas, has to be abandoned in time.
You see, it is so arrogant to say that God awakens in man! On the contrary all things, including man, awake from time to time in God, that is, all things appear (as mind) in God, Presence, Awareness. God is eternal wakefulness that knows no sleep and that certainly does not need man’s puny mind in order to know itself. (I am not suggesting that you or Ben-Al-Arabi are arrogant – far from it – it is the idea not the apparent person that is arrogant).
Place your hand on a rock. What is there? A sensation made of nothing other than Awareness, shining only as that light and aliveness of Awareness. There is no dead inert matter there…nothing is asleep there….there is only Presence there…only God…..
Rupert (Response no.13) Ask yourself: Is Consciousness present now? Another way of saying this would be: Is there ‘something’ (whatever that ‘something’ is) that is both present and conscious which is, for instance, seeing these words?
Now ask yourself: Is Awareness present? Is there ‘something’ that is aware of these words?
Now ask: Am I conscious? In other words, is it not ‘I’ (whatever exactly ‘I’ is) that is conscious of these words?
Now ask: Am I aware? Am ‘I’ aware of these words?
And finally, this ‘I’, whatever it is…is it not present?
I trust that the answer to all these questions is ‘Yes,’ and that the certainty of your ‘Yes’ comes from direct, intimate, immediate experience. We cannot find the place from which this ‘Yes’ comes as an objective experience but nevertheless it still comes from an unmistakable, albeit non-objective, experience.
Now, go through these questions again and in each case take note of this non-objective experience to which you refer when considering the question and from which you derive the certainty of your answer, ‘Yes.’ In other words ascertain for yourself that answer comes from first-hand knowledge/experience.
Is it not, in each case, the same non-objective experience to which you go in order to answer ‘Yes’ to the question as to whether or not Consciousness, Awareness, Presence, ‘I,’ is present?
Again, I trust the answer is ‘Yes.’
In other words, it is because we refer to the SAME intimate experience when affirming the presence of Consciousness, Awareness, Presence (or Being) and ‘I,’ that the words, Consciousness, Awareness, Presence, Being and ‘I’ are used synonymously.
In other words, that which is aware is also conscious and that which is conscious is also aware. Or, our awareness of an object and are consciousness of that same object are one and the same experience. Thus the two words refer to the same experience. This also happens to be in keeping with dictionary definition of the words and is therefore in line with common parlance.