Enlightened wrote:The terms "nothingness" and "Something" are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the true formless state of what we are. The nothingness is in reference to the idea that there is NOTHING as opposed to SOMETHING. The relative reality that we see, feel and interact in that is constantly moving and changing and that IS subject to time and space...combined with.....the formless with is NOT subject to time and space are essentially one in the same. Therefore, in order for there to be a "Subject", there has to be an "Object", but there really are no objects, since the objects we perceive are all part of what we call the "Subject". Therefore, the subject can be more or less perceived as NOTHING. Therefore, it is said that there is NOTHING because it's all just that.....NOTHING. Yet, inside of that NOTHINGNESS, is EVERYTHING.
I suppose that these are just words and that it does not matter how you use them, it is the concept that you are referring to that matters most - the words themselves are a means to an end. However it seems to me that there is not a lot of clarity in this idea, in so far as it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense: the outside world, the object needs to exist for there to be a subject - 'the true formless state of what we are' that is 'not subject to time and space'. However the outside world does not exist and is part of the subject, therefore neither exists and the subject is 'nothingness' because it does not exist.
How can you be so certain the physical reality does not exist? This is pure solipsism. Why does there need to be a subject for there to be an object?
It seems to me that I did not invent the laws of physics which govern the world I have supposedly imagined because I, the great inventor, have no knowledge of these laws. Nor can I predict what is going to happen and yet it was I that determined it to happen. It is either that this is not the case, or the great I - the master mind that invented the universe around me - has deceived myself that I am not the inventor and everything that has come to be is a mystery, a logical impossibility.
Either way we cannot know for certain. It is rational belief that leads me to the conclusion that it is not so. So I am a solipsist myself but in a completely different sense of the word: experience of the physical realm leads me to the conclusion that the physical realm exists.
Jen wrote: is this necessary...
It depends what you mean by necessary. I would certainly suggest that it is an inevitability, however, that some pains will cause us to suffer. Perhaps this is of no fault of our own - the physical world is greater than we mortals, or perhaps it is simply because we are volatile in the choices we make - we will eventually slip up and our egotistic nature will return once again.
So if you are questioning whether it is necessary to believe this, then I would suggest that it is, after all if we believe we are invincible to suffering this will not help us on our quest to avoid it. One will become arrogant in the face of danger - 'I can overcome this car that is about to run me over'.
is this true...
There are no universal truths, or at least none that I know of - it is beyond my cognition to comment - and no philosopher has ever accepted the argumentum ad populum as valid. I would say that experience suggests it to be true.
is this kind
It is not a matter of kind or unkind, it is what it is. The physical laws we are dictated by do not seem to know of any notion of fairness, or kindness or justice, or hurricanes would not destroy orphanages and plagues would not infect the poor. Nor would humans act so unkindly to one another.
Interesting noticing there Sloth.
Look at the first notion of why a thing would not be socially acceptable ... since people expect....
...based on individual ethical codes.
Two things here, firstly expectation is not real.
What do you mean?
And yes 'people' may have resistance to something occurring that they don't expect, but when they realise the sky doesn't fall in it allows them to move from 'assuming' possibly to enquiring, possibly to understanding and possibly to adopting.
Could it ever be fine and socially acceptable to rejoice at the death of a loved one? Most people would suggest that compassion presupposes some kind of ornate attachment to the one you love, that were you to lose that person you would feel a great sense of despairing. Not just because of the loss of the object of your desire but out of loyalty and respect. So I speak of 'people' that believe in this and that but the reality is that there is always a reason for believing in such and such. It is still very much a subjective belief, one's morality but the reasons that inform those beliefs may be subject to rigorous debate. The point is that if you truly loved someone, all notions of right and wrong aside, it would be beyond your power not to suffer.
Academically ethics merely asks 'What ought I do?' in a situation.
A question to which the answer depends on a person's outlook on life: what it is he believes based on what he has experienced and what conclusions he has come to based on those experiences. Some people have no problem performing a live vivisection on another human being. The Nazis didn't and neither did the Japanese scientists in Unit 731.
It includes the niggly realities and natural consequences of an action rather than demonising or fearing the reality.
Those consequences are as much subject to individual judgement as the intent behind the deed to begin with. From the universal perspective you speak of, the consequences of an action simply are. This is because such a perspective is indistinguishable from death: a rock does not possess judgement, thought, feeling or intent, it simply is. Perhaps this is why when Tolle speaks of 'nothingness', it is a misleading concept, because people only think nothing of nothingness.
It's relative to the situation, pain is real, physical needs are real, relational interactions are real, situations requiring choice and/or action are real. Aware responses respond I guess more ethically, rather than morally.
If your hand is in the fire, best response - remove it!!
But it doesn't make sense, if we were truly indifferent to pain there would be no cause for us to do anything, in the same way a rock does not move if you chip it with a hammer. When you say 'best response', the 'best' part seems to indicate that it is in our interests to do this to avoid the cognitive dissonance of suffering - which indeed, from a biological perspective, it seems to be so.
Suffering can also be the resistance in the distance between expectation and reality, it can also be in overstepping the (relative) boundary of what is 'yours' to work through and what is not. Take the 'person' upset at the way someone else is grieving - is this upset necessary? Will it change anything - this upset - will it change anything? Is it necessary?
If being upset is more in line with their own moral code, perhaps it will relieve their own conscience to disprove of the way others conduct their lives. We could be talking about judging someone who is not grieving properly but we could also be talking about judging someone who is a mass murderer or paedophile. Does being upset then change anything? And yet, people who experience compassion seem to care about these things and people that violate their principles will cause them pain and upset, suffering, even. (But then so do people who are overly judgemental and disapproving but for the wrong reasons).
Let's take it a step further let's say they make assumptions about that person who is grieving and the 'way' they are grieving, why and how it is 'wrong', what it means about the person and/or their relationship to the one they are grieving for - is it true? Is there a universally 'right' way to grieve? Is what they are telling themself and 'upset' about true? Is it universally true?
Again, there is never any universal validity to ethical beliefs, but in so far as the judgement they pass is more in tune with their own individual nature, it is 'right' for them. Perhaps if you can make these people realise that their assumptions were not valid, that their intentions have caused more harm than good, then they will change their mind. You could say the suffering they endured because of that initial perspective rendered it 'wrong'.
Interesting that you should post this since my own distinctions, based on what I have personally read about ethics, was one that ethics is a social construct while the moral compass is something that digs deeper into the roots of subjectivity. In essence being ethical is not always moral if social norms violates an individual's notion of what is right and wrong. Nor is an individual necessarily moral if they do not take the time to fully contemplate the implications of their deeds, for they may do something now, which they may regret later. (Coincidentally, this is also an interesting argument against always living in the present.) So while ethics 'just are' - social norms that can be represented by societal institutions (the vote, the courts of law, the markets, expectations, etc.) - moralities are derived from our own philosophising.
In conclusion, I have certain scepticisms about the whole concept of enlightenment. I personally have no experience of such and only have the words of others to believe. I am not saying it is a false concept, however. There are truths to be found in Buddhism and what spiritual teachers like Tolle write about. Sometimes I wonder if it is words like 'nothingness', 'acceptance', 'suffering' that are the culprit. Perhaps it is more practical advice in how to conduct one's life - ethics - that a person needs. Wisdom and concentration should follow this. No abstract words of philosophy can convey the experience that life itself can bring. So if one truly wishes to experience mindfulness, they should immerse themselves in their life, their passions, their loves, their joys and know when to face up to pain. As for mindfulness, what is it? Is it simply a recognition that I live and breathe? If so, I did not even need to know the word mindfulness to know this for it is already instinctively my knowledge that what I experience is what I am and what I experience can change and therefore I change as well.