Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

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Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by gen6 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:14 pm

Hello everybody and Happy New Year!

This is how it all started in another thread ,,What Am I - What Are You?,,
Here is the initial post of my friend and the answer from Ananda


In my second post you are going to see an actual proof that Monism/Nondualism in its absolute form is impossible and this is namely what the philosophy of enlightenment is based on.


Hello there! I read through most of your discussion with my friend here. What follows are just a few basic observations, which I jotted down in a hurry. I must also point out that I am but an amateur, a curious fellow fond of philosophy and logic with the most meager and basic background in both. Your(, Ananda,) posts clearly show that you are very well versed in both sciences, and please allow me to express my admiration! Interesting though this discussion is, I am afraid that this will also be a one-time performance on my side, since I am too busy with other things lately. Lastly, I hope you don't mind my intrusion on my friend's behalf. All that you say is very interesting and correct, I would just like to add my input, so here goes:

It seems to me that most of the debate you had seems to have been grounded on confusion of terminology.

If I understand correctly, by 'awareness' and 'the Self', you mean Subject (as opposed to Object). Furthermore, Subject - if I understand correctly - is equates to the Ontos (don't know if that's the correct Greek word for it), basically, 'being', 'existance' or 'reality', the universe itself (as you at one point, pointed out), the (philosophical) Absolute or even God, if you prefer. It's hard to pin it down, since the very use of words and the very discussion of the Subject, objectifies it.

The confusion was initially caused precisely by the use of the term 'awareness'. My friend understands awareness, in the context of the words more concrete meaning as 'self-consciousness', as the faculty of the (as we so far know only) human brain to identify itself with(/as) itself. And since most people understand the word 'awareness' in just that sense, I suggest we stick to the words 'Subject', 'existence' or the other words I mentioned above to refer to the a priori notion we discuss (which you term 'awareness', 'Subject' or 'the Self').
(by gen6 - actually I understand awareness not exactly as self-consciousness, but I understand it the way it's described in wiki - Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. Again that's much different from what you mean when you are using the word)

If we do so, then all would make perfect sense. If by 'awareness' is meant 'being, existence', then what you claim is perfectly correct: we all 'exist', the thing we (and I mean not only humans, but animals and objects) all share is 'existence'. It is impossible to exclude 'existence', it is not possible for there not to be a Subject, in other words. In this context, all of your reasoning is perfectly correct and the logic impeccable.

It seems though that you preach a 'return' (if I remember correctly, you never used precisely this term, but I mean it in the context of your opposition of the 'negative' Ego, to the 'positive' 'Self', or by saying that you identify yourself with the Subject) to the 'awareness' or 'the Self', i.e. 'returning' to the Subject or to existence. And here's the real problem. How is that even possible?

Here we can have two interpretations. If we first of all look at the more concrete meaning 'existence' (I remind, = awareness = the Self), then what's there to return to? We all exist - it's impossible to deny it, we just do. In other words, indeed, we all share 'awareness', but that's just it - it's a fact and nothing more, what's there to change about it? What's there to return to? I am afraid I might be slipping into category mixing here, but it seems to me, so are you.

On the more abstract plane, the Subject, as something a priori is - let's draw an analogy - a noumenon (or if we need to concertize - the thing in itself). But we always have a phenomenon (the thing as it appears to us). We can only know phenomenons - that which we verify through knowledge, direct experience, etc. The noumenon exists outside of us, a priori, but we ourselves can never look into it - you don't know the 'true nature' of, say, a sphere, you just know how it appears to you - white, with certain proportions, mass, colour, density, etc. The Subject is just that - the noumenon, we can never look into this 'true nature (of things)', as this nature is an eternal, infinite, inner essence, and we can't look into it, because we ourselves are finite, we are not it! We can never become without (i.e. outside of ourselves). So, how are we supposed to 'return' to it? How are we supposed to 'return' to the Subject, when we objectify everything? We can't even properly discuss the Subject, since we must needs objectify it, by doing so, thereby going against it's very nature.

It seems to my your 'appeal', so to call it amounts to some utopian monism. The Subject is 'the One', it's 'everything', and this would have been all fine, had there not been the Object (to oppose it). Monism is impossible because our reality is dualistic (and hence pluralistic) - the very fact that we can have both a Subject and an Object /finite vs infinite, etc, although the finite, I concede is part of the infinite/ proves it. In other words in order to return to 'the Subject', 'the awareness', 'the Self', we would have to completely exclude the Object (since they are incompatible, or to become ourselves infinite), which (excluding the Object or becoming infinite) is impossible. So back to my question: how can we reduce our 'objectiveness' in order to 'return' to the 'Subject'? How do we overcome our finiteness in order to merge with the infinite.

And I could add, why should we do it? Our very thinking is based on objectification, why should we deny it? That excessive obsession with Ego, fulfillment of bodily needs, etc, leads to decadence is certainly true. I just don't see what the 'Subject' (='awareness'='existence'='being'='Ontos'='God'='the Absolute'='Noumenon', etc) has to do with it! Rather we should not let ourselves become too preoccupied with bodily neers, etc, at the expense of our spiritual and intellectual growth. In order words, why behave (and reduce ourselves) to animalistic and primal instincts, when we have a mind capable of abstraction and rational thought :-)

All the best,
Severin.

P.S.
By 'two' interpretations arise from the fact that, as far as I understand, you equate the Subject with Existence, and they are, of course, not the same. That confusion on my part may have arisen due to my frivolous assumption that by 'awareness' (which you most certainly substitute for Subject), you mean (beside Subject also) 'existence', but I truly don't see what else it can be.. after all, what else is 'the universe', etc. Of course, I mean 'existence' as the very a priori notion for ontological grounding, not the more concrete meaning of there just being something, although I seem to have taken the more concrete meaning in my contestation of your theories, and hence made a minor flaw in my own argument... bah, it's confusing :-) but then again, I did warn I am an amateur. I still hope you got the gist of what I'm pointing at.


Ananda's ANSWER



Hello Severin,

Welcome to the forum :lol:
Interesting though this discussion is, I am afraid that this will also be a one-time performance on my side, since I am too busy with other things lately. Lastly, I hope you don't mind my intrusion on my friend's behalf. All that you say is very interesting and correct, I would just like to add my input, so here goes:
I don't mind at all, it's always nice to hear another voice when discussing things like this- not enough voices. :)
If I understand correctly, by 'awareness' and 'the Self', you mean Subject (as opposed to Object)
Yep.
Furthermore, Subject - if I understand correctly - is equates to the Ontos (don't know if that's the correct Greek word for it), basically, 'being', 'existance' or 'reality', the universe itself (as you at one point, pointed out), the (philosophical) Absolute or even God, if you prefer. It's hard to pin it down, since the very use of words and the very discussion of the Subject, objectifies it.
Yes, I equate the Subject with the existence or reality as it is, ie it's substance, as opposed to the form or appearance of objects which have only an apparent (or relative) distinction from the Subject itself.
by gen6 - actually I understand awareness not exactly as self-consciousness, but I understand it the way it's described in wiki - Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. Again that's much different from what you mean when you are using the word
Well, the wiki definition appears to make a distinction between the subject and awareness (thus turning awareness into an object of knowledge) by saying it's a state or ability. All subjective states are objects of knowledge to awareness itself, and awareness must a priori be assumed in order to have or know of any ability. Furthermore it says 'the state or quality of being aware of something' but i'd stretch this definition by saying you don't need to be aware of an object in order to be aware, it's not dependent upon any object of knowledge for its existence.

I suggest we stick to the words 'Subject', 'existence' or the other words I mentioned above to refer to the a priori notion we discuss (which you term 'awareness', 'Subject' or 'the Self').
Sure.
It seems though that you preach a 'return' (if I remember correctly, you never used precisely this term, but I mean it in the context of your opposition of the 'negative' Ego, to the 'positive' 'Self', or by saying that you identify yourself with the Subject) to the 'awareness' or 'the Self', i.e. 'returning' to the Subject or to existence. And here's the real problem. How is that even possible?
Awareness is the Self, ie the being, the real substance which one is (and of everything). It is also the subject, or seer, or knower, by which all objects are known. I talk of a return or Self-realization because the subject, ie the awareness, is mistakenly conflated with an object of knowledge, be it the whole body itself, mind (ie intellect, memory, imagination, perception, thinking etc), or as some individual concept of a soul or spirit.

The cause of this apparent conflation is ignorance of the fact that what one is is alone the subject, the awareness, and nothing else- no object of knowledge is identical to or equivalent to the subject awareness. Lack of inquiry into this fact is ignorance, whereby false views in the mind are superimposed onto the Subject and identify it with some object of knowledge, thereby creating a sense of individuality (or ego) which is false but appears true due to ignorance.

The sense of ego is what claims ownership of the body, claims to be thinking, claims to be a self-conscious being, claims to have free will and control experiences and creates for itself self-image by identifying with the body. The result of this is that incidental attributes of the body, as well as intrinsic attributes of the body, are equated falsely with the Subject itself, therefore comes statements such as 'I am old, I was born on this year, I am blind, I am fat, I am hungry, I am in pain, I am here but I must go there, you are not me, I am different from you etc'. Basically, all of the qualities of the body are falsely equated with the Subject which is only of the nature of awareness or existence (it does not share any of the qualities of the body, it is only that by which such qualities are known).

I speak of Self-realization as a re-cognition of the basic fact that the nature of the Subject is never identical to or even affected by the presence or absence of objects- therefore it is not limited by them. It's freedom from false views and the apparent effects caused by them. Liberation, enlightenment, two terms you might be familiar with.
Here we can have two interpretations. If we first of all look at the more concrete meaning 'existence' (I remind, = awareness = the Self), then what's there to return to? We all exist - it's impossible to deny it, we just do. In other words, indeed, we all share 'awareness', but that's just it - it's a fact and nothing more, what's there to change about it? What's there to return to? I am afraid I might be slipping into category mixing here, but it seems to me, so are you.
We forget our nature as the subject and associate it purely with objects of knowledge. We all know we exist, it's self-evident, never can be refuted- but we don't all know that we are awareness. The Self in the noumenon is just awareness, it is not anything that it is aware of. Ignorance of this binds us to objects, it traps us in a relationship with the body that excludes it from all other objects in the universe and creates an individual identity out of it, creating a sense of separation that's not really there. The product of this is all the mental suffering that humans face in life, although of course I can only generalise about that here.

On the more abstract plane, the Subject, as something a priori is - let's draw an analogy - a noumenon (or if we need to concertize - the thing in itself). But we always have a phenomenon (the thing as it appears to us). We can only know phenomenons - that which we verify through knowledge, direct experience, etc. The noumenon exists outside of us, a priori, but we ourselves can never look into it - you don't know the 'true nature' of, say, a sphere, you just know how it appears to you - white, with certain proportions, mass, colour, density, etc. The Subject is just that - the noumenon, we can never look into this 'true nature (of things)', as this nature is an eternal, infinite, inner essence, and we can't look into it, because we ourselves are finite, we are not it!
Lovely :)

The phenomenon of the Subject is objects- the noumenon is the Subject as that which is aware of and by which objects are known to exist. The 'thing as it appears to us' is everything that falls into the category of seen/known. The 'thing in itself' is the seer, or knower, which shares none of the qualities of its phenomenon but has the same substance. The noumenon doesn't exist outside of us, because it is identical to the subject itself, ie one's inherent existence or being.

What I am saying is that you are it, but due to ignorance we superimpose finite qualities of objects onto it, and mistake the noumenon to be some phenomenon (and therefore try to reunite with it on the assumption we are different from it). The Self (ie you) is awareness, but it is taken to be something else- something that appears to awareness instead, such as the body. The true nature of the Subject is eternal, and infinite, and you are the subject- the word 'you' applying not to any object of knowledge- but that by which objects are known, awareness.
So, how are we supposed to 'return' to it? How are we supposed to 'return' to the Subject, when we objectify everything?
Through direct experience, negating (or discriminating) all objects of knowledge from the Subject itself (apperception) until the Subject alone remains. It is 'recognised' when one's being is no longer being conflated with objects- it remains as partless, formless and non-dual awareness, pure subjectivity. That is the noumenon, the infinite and eternal substrate or substance out of which all form takes its appearance.

Another nice way of putting it;
In order to realize that we are Awareness, we must first look inward, away from all phenomenal objects. Awareness is not an object and therefore cannot be described conceptually or perceived as an object. My true nature as Awareness can be realized only by looking away from both the conceptual and the perceptual. After we realize this, we will be able to see that Awareness is All that is.
It seems to my your 'appeal', so to call it amounts to some utopian monism.
I am indeed talking about monism, non duality, but it's not a utopian ideal. :)
The Subject is 'the One', it's 'everything', and this would have been all fine, had there not been the Object (to oppose it).
The Object has no independent existence apart from the Subject, the substance is the same, it only takes on relative differentiation during the subjective experience of the human body.
Monism is impossible because our reality is dualistic
Reality has only the appearance of dualism, that is its phenomenon. The noumenon itself has no duality or second nature to it, and it alone is real, infinite and eternal. The noumenon is itself the substance by which phenomena appear, and phenomena are impermanent, finite, therefore can only be considered real in a relative sense. In the absolute sense there is no duality in reality at all, and nor is the non-dual nature of the noumenon (as the Subject) ever affected during the appearance of objects.
In other words in order to return to 'the Subject', 'the awareness', 'the Self', we would have to completely exclude the Object (since they are incompatible, or to become ourselves infinite), which (excluding the Object or becoming infinite) is impossible.
It is possible to transcend the subjective experience of the body and realize one's nature as that non-dual Subject, and it is very possible because it is always true already, but for delusion, ignorance of it. Turning one's awareness onto awareness itself negates all objects of knowledge- remaining alone with one's nature where the distinction of seer, seeing, and seen collapses. All ignorance pertaining to the body and false views of individuality are burned off, and Self-knowledge is the fruit.
How do we overcome our finiteness in order to merge with the infinite.
There is no merging, only a recognition of what is always true. False views never produce real results, only delusory ones. The Subject is never identified with any object, awareness is never conflated with the body, it is free always, but false views make it appear otherwise. False views make individuality seem real, make our finite identity seem real, but what is false never at any time existed. But we don't see this until we remove our ignorance through Self-enquiry, through actually trying to find out what I am, instead of assuming we know already. Through enquiry, discriminating the Subject from all objects of knowledge, discerning the seer from all objects seen, reveals pure objectless awareness. This is the Self I speak of here, this is what is to be aimed at to remove ignorance.
And I could add, why should we do it? Our very thinking is based on objectification, why should we deny it? That excessive obsession with Ego, fulfillment of bodily needs, etc, leads to decadence is certainly true. I just don't see what the 'Subject' (='awareness'='existence'='being'='Ontos'='God'='the Absolute'='Noumenon', etc) has to do with it!
I'm not saying we should deny anything, i'm speaking only in terms of Self-knowledge- not telling people how to live or what to think. The fruit of Self-knowledge is a contentment not dependent upon any object or thing, happiness and freedom that comes from nowhere but oneself- so why shouldn't we be able to access and live from this peace? :)
Rather we should not let ourselves become too preoccupied with bodily neers, etc, at the expense of our spiritual and intellectual growth
I agree, and for those who are ready to take the plunge, the apex or goal of spiritual growth is Self-knowledge. I'm all in favour of intellectual pursuits and growth, it's just that none of those things are relevant to the topic at hand.

In order words, why behave (and reduce ourselves) to animalistic and primal instincts, when we have a mind capable of abstraction and rational thought
All of my abstract and rational thinking in this thread are not in conflict with - but a product of, spiritual insight and Self-enquiry, so no issues there.


Nice to speak to you.


:)
Last edited by gen6 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by gen6 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:17 pm

And here is my friend's answer, which I think proves that the Monism/Nondualism in its absolute form is impossible

Hello again, Ananda, and Happy New Year!
Hope you remember me, I had joined your discussion on behalf of my friend gen6 back in November. Thanks to the holidays I finally had some time to not only read your reply to me, but also write a reply myself. I'm afraid I haven't read through the discussions that have followed, not even those you had with gen6, and I hope I aren't missing out anything of consequence. I just couldn't restrain myself. Your post clarified even more of the views you hold true. I would like to do likewise and clarify my own position, by presenting you to a few counter-arguments.

As far as I see it, it seems we could summarize the discussion so far in the following 2 opposing theses.

You contend for Absolute Monism, i.e. everything is one, the plurality of the world and its properties is the product of false appearances, conventions and illusions due to ignorance. The contention that only the noumenon is real.

I contend for what we could call Relative Monism (in fact, Dualism), i.e. everything shares a certain 'property' (not in the objectivistic sense of the word, of course), namely that it 'exists' (in other words, Subject is common to all Objects, and is only one), but that's that and nothing more. Beyond this fact we have endless diversity and plurality. The various objects and properties of the world are not false, but simply the other side of the coin; they are a derivative substrate of the Object, as opposed to Subject. In other words, we have an absolute and general dichotomy of Monism vs (Dualism), from where pluralism is born. Or, in other words, both noumenon and phenomena are real, albeit the noumenon lies at the core of everything.

Off-topic: we do not consider here other interesting theories, such as certain forms of Nihilism, which postulate that the world is made up only of particles, and that a table is, in fact nothing more than 'particles arranged tablewise', which is also consistent with scientific views, etc.

We do not consider the very interesting philosophy of phenomenology either. Although, bearing in mind it does away with the noumenon completely, I guess you would brand that one as complete heresy, eh? :P But, back to topic...

Let me try to apply our opposing positions to the discussion of the Subject and Object alone, in the absolute sense.

According to your Asbolute Monism, Objects would be practically non-existent (indeed, false appearances as you call them). They are all aspects (?) of the one, absolute Subject. In other words, Dualism (and hence pluralism) is an illusion; a derivative and necessarily subordinate substrate to the Subject. Dualism is subject (in the sense of subordinate) to Monism.

What is fundamentally wrong with this view is that it contradicts its own nature. How can you even discuss Obejcts, illusionary or not, when they already postulate something different, or at least a different aspect of the Subject? How can you have aspects of the Subject? The very fact theat there could be anything beyond one (1), beyond the Subject, would be impossible according to Absolute Monism. The very possibility of addition and plurality, even as something illusionary and false, excludes Absolute Monism.

What I claim is exaclty the opposite: Monism is subject to Dualism. True, we still have one monistic property common to absolutely everything, namely its existence (which you term 'awarness' and 'Self'), but this property is only part of the whole picture, beyond this single common property we have a self-derivative, nigh on endless plurality. Even if we claim that when things come down to it everything is composed only of atoms (in the philosophic, or rather, lignuistically correct sense of an indivisible unit, whether it be an actual atom in the physical sense, or an electron, or a quantum, or string or whatever) and here you may say, 'there you have it! Monism!' But still there are many of these atoms that build up objects, aren't there? You may say we differentiate b/n an apple and appear because of our false objectification and categorizations in thinking - both apple and pear are the same, since they are both composed of the same atoms. But these atoms build structures, do they not? Subatomic particles build (phisical) atoms, atoms build molecules and molecules differ from one another and that is why although composed of atoms apple and pear are unlike in appearance, taste, etc. And although every such object is unique in itself and although it is hard, if at all possible, to differentiate objects from one another, it cannot be denied that they are conglomerates, complex structures, and such structures are possible only because atoms, or whatever indivisible particle lies at the basis of everything, arrange themselves differently. They exhibit differentiation and variety - the seeds of pluralism, which only shows that although we have a monistic principle in the core of things, it is but the primum movens and apart from this singular honour is of no consequence whatsoever to the plurality and diversity that reigns in the the Universe.

Dualism, although derivative of Monism, is just as real and, indeed, the predominant feature of our reality. If you agree with me that Dualism is derivative of Monism, then we already refute Absolute Monism, in which Dualism is impossible.

Note that I do not say that Subject vs Object is a dichotomy, I contend currently for Relative Monism, where most principles of the Absolute Monism are true, except the possibiliy of duality, to which this Monism is, so to say, underimposed (and that's why it's relative and not absolute). Subject vs Object cannot be a dichotomy, because, all Objects share the one property of the Subject (we could non-rigorously state that all finite objects partake of infinity), and therefore something belongs simultaneously to both parts, and the dichotomy would be rendered false.

What I say is that the very concept and possiblity of duality and plurality is the product of a dichotomy of Dualism (and pluralism) against Absolute Monism. And the fact that we can have a dichotomy proves the Dualistic principle underlying everything. For example, true, all finite objects partake of infinity, but if we were adherents of Absolute Monism, there would be nothing apart from infinity. Infinite vs finite, while not a dichotomy, is nevertheless a dualistic opposition, which on a grander scale is the product of the absolute, primary, a priori Dichotomy of Absolute Monism vs Dualism (and Pluralism), and in other words, the product of a dualistic principle.

It would be a fine example of sophism and, of course, unrelevant to say that since the concept of dichotomy itself exists, it is subordinate to the monistic principle.

Then again I have so far limited myself with an axiomatic definition of existence (awareness), namely, that it is the only possible state, common to everything. But what about non-existence?! The concept of nothing, or the lack of something is all too well known to us (especially as far as money go after Christmas/New Year shopping!). so why not extrapolate it to an absolute and a priori level, as we have done with the concept of existence? They are, after all, on par. To say that non-existence exists would be paradoxal, just as to say that non-existence does not exist.

There we have it, then! Another dichotomy - one between existence and non-existence, Subject (and subordinate, but not less real Object) and Lack of Subject; Anti-Subject, if you will. Who's to say and prove that the Universe always existed? Why shouldn't it have suddenly emerged out of nothing, which it very probably has?

It is difficult to speculate on concepts such as non-existence, or infinity, because both are dichotomically (I've really taken a liking to that word, haven't I?) alien to us. This leads us to the conclusion that they might be of the same or similar nature, and - you would probably point out - this only means that they are intrinsic to the Subject. But even though existence (infinity) and non-existence seem to be the same, they still stand in opposition to us, that is, they are dichotomically alien to us, because our senses are finite and we can neither properly imagine, nor measure or perceive them. All that is done with such speculation, therefore, is shifting the dichotomy existence vs non-existence to infinite vs finite, which is redundant, not to say conflating.

In the end, we always have some absolute dichotomy, and dichotomy in itself presupposes dualism, and from there also pluralism, ergo absolute monism is impossible.

Such is my summary and argument. Now please just bear with me a while longer, while I address some points of your post in particular.

Don't perceive me as nagging or cavilling at you, but you certainly have no right to deny wiki's or any dictionary's definition of awareness. Their definitions may be false according to you, but they are not false according to 99% of the population, which is also why I suggested we altogether avoid the problematic term of 'awareness' - precisely because of its multitude of connotations. You can talk about awareness in the context of your theory and simply capitalize the word in order to differentiate it from common people's understanding of the term. Or call that common understanding 'corrupt awareness' or something, if you want to, but there's certainly no grounds to refute a linguistically accepted definition of a word. Besides, even in your theory there must be something in the way of the common understanding of awareness - whether it would be called a focus of the Self or something, or even false (objectified) ego-oriented perception of the world. Why confuse terms? My suggestion is to drop usage of the term altogether - speak of Self or Subject and there should be no problem.

1) One thing that bothers me in particular. You say:
We forget our nature as the subject and associate it purely with objects of knowledge. We all know we exist, it's self-evident, never can be refuted- but we don't all know that we are awareness.
but you had already agreed with both my statements:
If I understand correctly, by 'awareness' and 'the Self', you mean Subject (as opposed to Object)
and:
Furthermore, Subject - if I understand correctly - is equates to the Ontos (don't know if that's the correct Greek word for it), basically, 'being', 'existence' or 'reality', the universe itself (as you at one point, pointed out), the (philosophical) Absolute or even God, if you prefer. It's hard to pin it down, since the very use of words and the very discussion of the Subject, objectifies it.
The conclusion drawn from my statements (I don't claim it makes sense, it's just what I understood from you previous posts and you yourself agreed to it) is that 'awareness' = 'the Self' = existence = Subject

And now if we apply the equivalence, you practically say:
We forget our nature as EXISTENCE and associate it purely with objects of knowledge. We all know we EXIST, it's self-evident, never can be refuted- but we don't all know that we are EXISTENT.
Isn't that kind of contradictory? Please, elaborate on the difference between 'awareness' and existence or, if you prefer 'the Self' and the Subject.

2) Back to the discussion of Subject (Noumenon) vs Object (Phenomenon), you say:
Yes, I equate the Subject with the existence or reality as it is, ie it's substance, as opposed to the form or appearance of objects which have only an apparent (or relative) distinction from the Subject itself.
The phenomenon of the Subject is objects- the noumenon is the Subject as that which is aware of and by which objects are known to exist.
Reality has only the appearance of dualism, that is its phenomenon. The noumenon itself has no duality or second nature to it, and it alone is real, infinite and eternal. The noumenon is itself the substance by which phenomena appear, and phenomena are impermanent, finite, therefore can only be considered real in a relative sense. In the absolute sense there is no duality in reality at all, and nor is the non-dual nature of the noumenon (as the Subject) ever affected during the appearance of objects.
So, in any case, you recognize the existence of both Phenomenon and Noumenon, but why do you claim that phenomena are false?! I am not saying that they have a separate reality, separate existence from the noumenon. They are no less real than the fact of their existence, but they do exist, which in itself grants dualism and pluralism. Once more, Relative Monism wins the day, but Absolute Monism is certainly not possible and nothing more than an illusion. Postulating that only the Noumenon exists is false - phenomena exist as well. Subordinate, perhaps, to the Noumenon, intrinsic to each and every one of them, but they do exist.

3) And finally, forgive me, but I still don't see how can one become completely 'aware' in your sense of the word and why that is needed at all. How can one deobjectify oneself so totally that one remains Subject alone? How is it done in practice? I suppose through some kind of meditation, right? You clear your mind of everything, and, say, you manage to actually not think about anything (since any thought is objectification in action, you mustn't think at all), you would still feel it when someone pinches you, right? Your subconscious mind is still working, and thank god, because otherwise, you'd stop breathing at all and die.

Or, perhaps, you mean that in real meditation you'd slip into some trance, indeed, even lose consciousness. Okay, but how does that help once you wake up again? You'll be back into the old world with people who objectify everything and have their false egos, and you yourself - if you want to live among them and interact with them - have to get back to thinking, to your 'false' personality, in other words to objectification and ego. Sure, I do not deny that you'd be feeling better afterward the meditation, but only for a short while, until your mind gets clogged again, which in our dynamic world would happen in less time than it took you to actually do the meditation, so what's the point? You hardly learn anything from the nothingness you had slipped into, right? Even if you can temporarily achieve being Subject alone, you still live in a world where the Object dominates and you have to play by its rules.

Come to think of it, in order to completely 'become one' with the Subject alone, you basically have to stop existing, at least for a moment. And since you people view this 'being Subject alone' as the ultimate truth and bliss and so on, it's logical that one would desire to be in that state forever, right? And - unless you are religious or believe in reincarnation - the easiest and surest way of achieving this, is, in fact, simply killing yourself, isn't it? Then you will surely have no objectifying thoughts at all, since there would be no thoughts at all. And the state of being dead - as far as is scientifically verifiable - is irrevertable at this point, so there you have it! Don't think I'm making fun of your beliefs - not at all! It's just the logical conclusion. Like I said, our whole life, whether we like it or not, follows the dictates of the Object and the Ego and 'achieving' the Subject is just a chimera.

God, in the philosophical sense (perhaps even in the religious), is the Subject, the Seer vs the Seen - god is infinite, god is the primum movens, but god is also impotent, since the first two characteristics are completely exhaustive of him and he is nothing beyond them. Achieving god, becoming him - although uncontestedly, the ultimate good, the ultimate goal and the ultimate bliss - is impossible for us mortals, except, perhaps, upon death. That is for the simple reason that we are finite, and not the deepest meditation can change that.
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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by Plorel » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:08 pm

Hey Severin

You say
How are we supposed to 'return' to the Subject, when we objectify everything?
Come to think of it, in order to completely 'become one' with the Subject alone, you basically have to stop existing, at least for a moment.
I think there is a basic misunderstanding. We are the subject, we are existence and there is nothing else. Therefore you cannot become one with the subject or return to it because this implies that you were or are at some point in time seperate from it.

Becoming enlightend in this sense only means that a clear seeing takes place that there is only the One and you are IT. The indiviual, the seperate entity you take yourself to be is only a mirage, appearing in counciousness (the Subject). It has no fundamental existence.
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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by James » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:20 pm

I don't know of anyone that was able to apprehend or discern reality with the mind. Though it's been tried by the brightest, most logical, philosophical and scientific minds throughout all ages. The mind is a beautiful instrument as an avenue of awareness, but the best it can do is point or bring one to the threshold of the absolute, it is the jumping off point into the unknown mystery of Being. The experiential knowing of reality is beyond mind, there are relatively true thoughts in one's experience and that is useful, but in the absolute sense there is no such thing as a true thought.

Mind is reluctant to give up it's grasp or interpretation of reality; which in a circular pattern seeks to confirm to be true what it already holds or perceives as reality; what it believes to be reality. In other words the mind sees what it believes and believes what it sees. It is the dream maker. Not that there is anything wrong with dreaming, it's just that it ultimately is not true.

I would suggest to try leaving behind the heavy, abstract, intellectual concepts or preconceived beliefs; put them aside for awhile, (one can come back to their concepts later if they choose); leave behind mind for a moment and plunge into the depths of one's own Existence.
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"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by runstrails » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:40 pm

Well said, James. I am learning the hard way that one needs to get off the treadmill of minds interpretation and exploration of reality. Mind wants everything tied- up and wrapped- up neatly (including non-dual interpretations of life), otherwise it won't be satisfied or silent. Of course, this is it's perfect recipe for keeping it endlessly active. Let go of it all, reality is a big mystery that no mind has figured out (not Buddha, not Jesus). They dived into the unknown and stayed there, not understanding logically, yet 'knowing'.

I also have trouble with conceptual aspects of non-duality sometimes. I mean, we don't know the exact substrate of reality. Even saying that reality is "all one and non-dual" is a mental concept, isn't it?. So let all the concepts go and remain in the moment. All there is, is reality, whichever way you parse it (non-duality, duality, God, Spirit, whatever). And what a magical, glorious, amazing, delightful mystery it all is, every single bit of it. Stay with that!

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by Ananda » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:31 pm

Hello Severin :)

According to your Asbolute Monism, Objects would be practically non-existent (indeed, false appearances as you call them). They are all aspects (?) of the one, absolute Subject.
Objects aren't non-existent, as they clearly appear to us in subjective experience. I say dualism is false because the appearance of objects, or the subject-object division, is only relative reality, or modifications (expressions) in the Subject, absolute reality.
How can you even discuss Obejcts, illusionary or not, when they already postulate something different, or at least a different aspect of the Subject? How can you have aspects of the Subject? The very fact theat there could be anything beyond one (1), beyond the Subject, would be impossible according to Absolute Monism.
Yes, quite true what you are saying. The distinction between Subject and Object is apparent because of subjective experience- that is, the 'private' experience of each individual, separate body. It is a distinction that is apparent but not real - it has a further basis, a further substrate (that is, the Self ie the real nature of the Subject). See from my previous post;

The Object has no independent existence apart from the Subject, the substance is the same, it only takes on relative differentiation during the subjective experience of the human body.

I'll post a few quotes from various non-duality texts which say clearly what i'm getting at;
Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything.

The Yogi of perfect realisation and enlightenment sees through his “eye of wisdom” the entire universe in his own Self and regards everything else as his own Self and nothing else.

Nothing whatever exists other than the Self: the tangible universe is verily the Self. As pots and jars are verily made of clay and cannot be said to be anything but clay, so too, to the enlightened soul all that is perceived is the Self. - Atma Bodha
What this quote is saying is that the universe of objects is non-different in substance to the Subject, or Self, which appears in subjective experience as the Witness, Seer, or Knower- of things seen and known ie Objects. That is, the distinction we make between Self and Other is apparent but not real. The appearance of multiplicity and variety is in name and form and not in essence;
Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into various ornaments, we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the ornaments gold. The one is real, the many are mere names and forms.- Ramana Maharshi
The appearance of diversity and multiplicity is just that - an appearance, it has no independent existence from the substratum of the appearance. The world is not non-existent, i'm not saying that, I am saying the world is the Self- its cause is the Self, its substance is the Self. I can say the world is unreal only in the sense that it is relative to the Subject and constantly changing. The world of objects is relatively real, but not absolutely real- its reality is imparted by the Self, and appears within the Self.

Even if we claim that when things come down to it everything is composed only of atoms (in the philosophic, or rather, lignuistically correct sense of an indivisible unit, whether it be an actual atom in the physical sense, or an electron, or a quantum, or string or whatever) and here you may say, 'there you have it! Monism!' But still there are many of these atoms that build up objects, aren't there? You may say we differentiate b/n an apple and appear because of our false objectification and categorizations in thinking - both apple and pear are the same, since they are both composed of the same atoms. But these atoms build structures, do they not? Subatomic particles build (phisical) atoms, atoms build molecules and molecules differ from one another and that is why although composed of atoms apple and pear are unlike in appearance, taste, etc. And although every such object is unique in itself and although it is hard, if at all possible, to differentiate objects from one another, it cannot be denied that they are conglomerates, complex structures, and such structures are possible only because atoms, or whatever indivisible particle lies at the basis of everything, arrange themselves differently. They exhibit differentiation and variety - the seeds of pluralism, which only shows that although we have a monistic principle in the core of things, it is but the primum movens and apart from this singular honour is of no consequence whatsoever to the plurality and diversity that reigns in the the Universe.
Your example doesn't work because atoms, whilst indivisible, are not non-dual, they are multiple. The monism I am talking about is not 'one kind of thing' as 'kinds' still admits a multiplicity of objects as the basis of the universe, which, as you rightly say, would hardly be of any consequence.
For example, true, all finite objects partake of infinity, but if we were adherents of Absolute Monism, there would be nothing apart from infinity.
That is correct. Finiteness (and objects) are an appearance within the infinite Subject and are unreal.
That supreme Brahman is infinite, and this conditioned Brahman is infinite. The infinite proceeds from infinite. Then through knowledge, realizing the infinitude of the infinite, it remains as infinite alone. - Mundaka Upanishad
What this quote is saying is that the universe, ie 'conditioned Brahman' has for its basis 'supreme Brahman' ie the Subject, or Self, which is infinite, and that through 'knowledge' ie Self-realization, one knows that change and finiteness are ultimately unreal, as the universe is non-different from the Self.
Then again I have so far limited myself with an axiomatic definition of existence (awareness), namely, that it is the only possible state, common to everything.
We say something 'exists' only on account of our objectification, our knowledge, of it. I'd put it that everything that 'exists' does so because of the apriori existence of the Self, that is, because the Subject exists first in order to objectify and know anything. Existence is an instrinsic quality of the Self, other things appear to exist only on account of the necessary existence of the Subject.
The concept of nothing, or the lack of something is all too well known to us (especially as far as money go after Christmas/New Year shopping!). so why not extrapolate it to an absolute and a priori level, as we have done with the concept of existence?
Well, you answered your own question. The absence of objects, the lack of something that we call nothing is known to us. We objectify and know even the absence of objects when we say 'nothing'. We cannot posit an absolute 'nothing' precisely because an absolute nothing would also require an absence of the Subject and therefore an absence of knowledge regarding absolute nothing. Since the Subject does exist and the concept of an absolute nothing can be discussed it is automatically rendered impossible.
There we have it, then! Another dichotomy - one between existence and non-existence, Subject (and subordinate, but not less real Object) and Lack of Subject; Anti-Subject, if you will.
It's not a dichotomy because Lack of Subject simply isn't possible. If lack of Subject were true then there can be no knowledge regarding existence or non-existence of anything and the concept of Lack of Subject could never be formulated. One can never escape the Subject, only in theory.
In the end, we always have some absolute dichotomy, and dichotomy in itself presupposes dualism, and from there also pluralism, ergo absolute monism is impossible.
Remember that this is just a discussion, using ideas, concepts, thoughts. The word 'Subject' is an object, that is, it is the mind's attempt to objectify (know) it's own knower, which is impossible. Dichotomies are groups of separate ideas, and all ideas presuppose a dualism between Subject and Object. Therefore, if you end your inquiry with a philosophical discussion, then quite right, you will always have a dichotomy- because you are only ever working with objects, things known. Self-enquiry takes us beyond philosophical discussion, which, while useful, will not remove ignorance regarding the Self.

Please, elaborate on the difference between 'awareness' and existence or, if you prefer 'the Self' and the Subject
Certainly.

In this sentence;
We forget our nature as the subject and associate it purely with objects of knowledge
Subject is the knower, objects is the known.

We all know we exist, it's self-evident, never can be refuted
In order to say 'I don't exist' one must have knowledge regarding one's own non-existence, which is impossible. Nobody says 'I don't exist' unless they are insane or stupid. Everybody admits they exist, this is not questioned. But, however, this existence is then equated to the body or the mind, 'I am a man' , 'I am old', 'I am intelligent'. The knowledge of existence 'I am' is conflated, superimposed onto objects of knowledge, the body the mind etc. And this is why;
but we don't all know that we are awareness
The Subject is awareness, that is, the witness, seer, or knower, in all states of experience. Awareness is the Subject, whatever you are aware of is the Object.The body and mind both constitute objects of knowledge, things one knows, one is aware of. We all know we exist but this knowledge is then identified and equated with objects that we know, ie the body, and not seen for what it really is, ie the Subject, the only thing that is never an object of knowledge. In short, what I am saying is that the Self exists, we all know we exist, but we then wrongly equate our existence to things that we, as the Self, are aware of, instead of correctly perceiving that we are awareness only, the witness only.
why do you claim that phenomena are false?
I say phenomena are unreal, not false;
The noumenon is itself the substance by which phenomena appear, and phenomena are impermanent, finite, therefore can only be considered real in a relative sense. In the absolute sense there is no duality in reality at all, and nor is the non-dual nature of the noumenon (as the Subject) ever affected during the appearance of objects.
The universe is relatively real, not absolutely real. I can say phenomena are false in the sense that it is not absolutely true, or not always true, but I cannot say that phenomena do not appear as then I would be lying and an idiot.
Postulating that only the Noumenon exists is false - phenomena exist as well. Subordinate, perhaps, to the Noumenon, intrinsic to each and every one of them, but they do exist.
There does not need to be a conflict in postulating that the Noumenon alone exists, and that phenomena are unreal- as phenomena have no independent existence apart from the Self- the Noumenon appears as both Subject and Object, as Object finitely, as time, space, and causation, and as Subject infinitely, as eternal, secondless being. The former is a statement that can only be partially true, the latter a statement that is always true, hence absolute monism.

For the rest of your post, I would like to deconstruct it and show why you have reached the conclusion that you have.

Your argument is founded on fundamental unquestioned assumptions about yourself, and as such your conclusion is circular;

Firstly;
Achieving god, becoming him - although uncontestedly, the ultimate good, the ultimate goal and the ultimate bliss - is impossible for us mortals, except, perhaps, upon death. That is for the simple reason that we are finite, and not the deepest meditation can change that
.

Here you make two assumptions:

1) We must achieve and become God from a state of not being God.

and

2) You are mortal, and finite, and can die.


What I will do is show more of these assumptions, and then make my response to them from the viewpoint of non-duality.
Like I said, our whole life, whether we like it or not, follows the dictates of the Object and the Ego and 'achieving' the Subject is just a chimera.
Your assumption here is:

3) The Subject must be achieved.
Come to think of it, in order to completely 'become one' with the Subject alone, you basically have to stop existing, at least for a moment. And since you people view this 'being Subject alone' as the ultimate truth and bliss and so on, it's logical that one would desire to be in that state forever, right? And - unless you are religious or believe in reincarnation - the easiest and surest way of achieving this, is, in fact, simply killing yourself, isn't it?
Your assumptions here are;

4) One must 'become one' with the Subject (perhaps from a state of no being the Subject?).

5) You can kill yourself.


We must achieve and become God from a state of not being God.

Presumably this is referring to some kind of deification whereby one becomes immortal from a state of mortality. If, according to non-duality, reality is one without a second, then there is no question of becoming into one state from a prior state of being. There is no becoming God, no not being God, there is no process whereby one becomes God from a previous state of mortality. This relates to;

You are mortal, and finite, and can die.

The reason why you assumed the former is because of the latter. When you say 'I am mortal, I am finite, I will die' then you are identifying yourself with the body- therefore you see yourself different from God, or the Subject. This is your error, your ignorance to which self-enquiry is reccomended. Are you the body? You unquestionably assume you are, be it directly or indirectly.

From the previous thread with gen6;

I said:
By identifying the Self as the body we claim ownership of every action, of every reaction, of every thought and feeling. We try to control the experience, desire is the result, disappointment is the result, clinging to experiences and anticipation of future ones is the result, greed is the result, hatred of (perceived) others is the result, a feeling of lack is the result, self-image is the result, misery is the result. This whole cycle of results is the inherent suffering in egoic existence
He replied;
It's just a fact. You are not me, I am not you, I know this as a fact
I replied;
What does 'I' refer to in the statement? The body? The mind? It can only be referring to an object here, since it is objects which are distinct and different from other objects. You've confused yourself with objects that you experience therefore your statement seems factual and perfectly sound to you. It does not refer to yourself as you actually are, ie awareness, because awareness has no disctintions or separateness within it. So I put it that you haven't adequately inquired into this individuality you think is factual, otherwise you'd know that your statement is false due to reasoning and experience of yourself as formless, non-dual awareness. Your statement is only factual if it (falsely) equates the Self with some object, therefore it is true according to ignorance, but not true according to Self-knowledge.
He replied;
What means bodily identification?
Me;
It means conflating the subject, or Self, with the body. Getting them mixed up due to lack of inquiry.
gen6;
I personally do not know a single person and I am sure that no person on this planet will ever say that he/she is his body?
Me;
Well, this is demonstrably false. First of all, when you say ' no person on this planet' you are already indirectly implying that the Self is synonymous with the body, because it is the body that is on this planet, bound by space -and made distinct from other bodies. You also say 'he/she', again equating the sex of the body with the subject itself, though I know this is a linguistic convention so it can be overlooked.
gen6;
Do you think that when I say - I am fat, I am thin, I am clever this equals bodily identification?
my response;

Yes, of course it does- even if it is not asserted directly (ie I am my body). Fatness and thinness are incidental attributes of the body- the subject is never fat, only the object (body) is fat, and it also can become thin- the subject never changes, therefore the statement 'I am fat' or 'I am thin' is falsely superimposing incidental attributes of an object onto the subject itself. Furthermore 'I am clever' refers to the intellect or the mental capacity of the brain, it has no bearing or weight on the subject (awareness) at all, as stupidity and cleverness are also incidental attributes, being changeful and not representing the subject in any way. This is extremely common and is the basis for all discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation, appearance and the insatiable appetite for looking younger and dreading old age and death.

See;

the limitations we impose upon it (awareness) are due to conflating and superimposing the body and its attributes (such as sense perception etc) onto it- which is fallacious because the body and its attributes, including the mind, are all objects of knowledge to awareness itself, not the other way around.


The subject (awareness) does not age or undergo change. It is distinct in nature from the attributes of the body and therefore can not be considered equal to or possesive of the body nor its defects- it is pure and without parts, consisting of a homogenous nature only, there is really nothing like awareness at all- nothing comparable or equatable with it.
Here you have done the same. You assume you are the body and then base all of your conclusions upon this assumption. I said this already in our previous exchange;
There is no merging, only a recognition of what is always true. False views never produce real results, only delusory ones. The Subject is never identified with any object, awareness is never conflated with the body, it is free always, but false views make it appear otherwise. False views make individuality seem real, make our finite identity seem real, but what is false never at any time existed. But we don't see this until we remove our ignorance through Self-enquiry, through actually trying to find out what I am, instead of assuming we know already. Through enquiry, discriminating the Subject from all objects of knowledge, discerning the seer from all objects seen, reveals pure objectless awareness. This is the Self I speak of here, this is what is to be aimed at to remove ignorance.
The basis of self-enquiry is to look into this apparent truth and question it with logic, discrimination and meditation. As Shankara puts it;
"Compounded of skin, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, excreta, and urine, it is most filthy...cease also to associate the Self in any way with the body of skin, flesh, and bones. Make every effort to root out this error and holding fast to the knowledge of reality as the absolute Brahman, destroy the mind and obtain supreme peace. Then you will have no more births. Even a learned scholar who perfectly understands the meaning of Vedanta has no hope of liberation if, owing to delusion, he cannot give up the idea of the unreal body as the Self."
If you question the assumption that you are a body, then your other objections will fall down. As Vivekananda puts it;
"...This is the basis of all ignorance that we, the immortal, the ever pure, the perfect Spirit, think that we are little minds, that we are little bodies; it is the mother of all selfishness. As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate. As soon as the idea of separation comes, it opens the door to all mischief and leads to all misery."
If you are not the body, then there is no question of 'achieving' the Subject, no question of dying. Your objections are only valid from a position of ignorance. We can never become one with the Subject because we are finite, mortal people. No, says non-duality. You are not the body, not the mind. You are 'not this, not that' not any object of knowledge. You are the Self only, the witness, the knower. Stop identifying yourself falsely with objects and then your questions are resolved and all ignorance regarding the Self is wiped away. From our previous exchange;
I talk of a return or Self-realization because the subject, ie the awareness, is mistakenly conflated with an object of knowledge, be it the whole body itself, mind (ie intellect, memory, imagination, perception, thinking etc), or as some individual concept of a soul or spirit.

The cause of this apparent conflation is ignorance of the fact that what one is is alone the subject, the awareness, and nothing else- no object of knowledge is identical to or equivalent to the subject awareness. Lack of inquiry into this fact is ignorance, whereby false views in the mind are superimposed onto the Subject and identify it with some object of knowledge, thereby creating a sense of individuality (or ego) which is false but appears true due to ignorance.

The sense of ego is what claims ownership of the body, claims to be thinking, claims to be a self-conscious being, claims to have free will and control experiences and creates for itself self-image by identifying with the body. The result of this is that incidental attributes of the body, as well as intrinsic attributes of the body, are equated falsely with the Subject itself, therefore comes statements such as 'I am old, I was born on this year, I am blind, I am fat, I am hungry, I am in pain, I am here but I must go there, you are not me, I am different from you etc'. Basically, all of the qualities of the body are falsely equated with the Subject which is only of the nature of awareness or existence (it does not share any of the qualities of the body, it is only that by which such qualities are known).

I speak of Self-realization as a re-cognition of the basic fact that the nature of the Subject is never identical to or even affected by the presence or absence of objects- therefore it is not limited by them. It's freedom from false views and the apparent effects caused by them. Liberation, enlightenment, two terms you might be familiar with.

What I am saying is that you are it (Subject), but due to ignorance we superimpose finite qualities of objects onto it, and mistake the noumenon to be some phenomenon (and therefore try to reunite with it on the assumption we are different from it). The Self (ie you) is awareness, but it is taken to be something else- something that appears to awareness instead, such as the body. The true nature of the Subject is eternal, and infinite, and you are the subject- the word 'you' applying not to any object of knowledge- but that by which objects are known, awareness.
How is it done in practice?
By first asking these questions which I have raised for you. This is the start of Self-enquiry. In the previous thread, I elucidated more on this;
Negation of immediate objects reveals the self-evident awareness synonymous with one's nature.

Awareness illuminates all objects, makes all objects known - no object illuminates awareness. No object makes awareness aware- it is the opposite, all things are known by and through awareness, the subject. No object is conscious or has consciousness, all objects are known through and by consciousness. Negating all objects of knowledge, including the instruments and means of knowing such as senses mind etc reveals the self-evident and self-shining pure awareness that is directly identical to what one is. This can be tested and experienced right here, right now.

In Self awareness, or samadhi, the distinction between the seer and the seen ceases, there is no object apart from the subject- only the subject itself. Because the subject is of the nature of awareness it is illuminated by itself and knows itself as the subject. You know you are the subject because all objects appear to you and you are aware of them - that awareness is of the nature of the subject itself, which is why I keep saying it is self-evident and needs no object to know it.

I experience myself as awareness because I am the subject by which all experience happens- when I shine, all shines after me. I know my shining, my nature, because it's identical to what I am. It is self-knowledge, self-realization and self-awareness, knowing my own nature by my own nature.
And from our previous exchange;
Through direct experience, negating (or discriminating) all objects of knowledge from the Subject itself (apperception) until the Subject alone remains. It is 'recognised' when one's being is no longer being conflated with objects- it remains as partless, formless and non-dual awareness, pure subjectivity. That is the noumenon, the infinite and eternal substrate or substance out of which all form takes its appearance.

Turning one's awareness onto awareness itself negates all objects of knowledge- remaining alone with one's nature where the distinction of seer, seeing, and seen collapses. All ignorance pertaining to the body and false views of individuality are burned off, and Self-knowledge is the fruit.

Happy new year.

:)

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by erbeeflower » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:31 am

Agree to disagree?!
I'm still enjoying thinking and exploring too much to get stuck here :-)

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by James » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:18 am

Thanks runstrails, some good points you make. There are lots of ways mind keeps itself active, trying to figure it all out is one of those ways; it's another form of seeking. But perhaps it is a necessary step for most of us, that is until we grow tired of it, and are able to see through it.
The yearning for truth or awakening is an "irrational impulse."
-
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by randomguy » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:27 am

runstrails wrote:So let all the concepts go
Exactly. Not one concept has anything to do with truth, including truth.
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by enigma » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:24 am

It's not really concepts about Truth that are the problem (not that this was said). At worst, those concepts just kinda sit there as some kind of symbolic representation of stuff that isn't experienced or really realized and so may not be true. The problematic ones are those that are taken to be common knowledge and are reinforced on a daily or moment-to-moment basis and cannot be let go of. The mind doesn't work that way. If it looks for all the world like there's a person here doing stuff and making choices, then that's what it looks like. Telling yourself you're just a concept is just playing with concepts.

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by James » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:31 pm

Yes the concepts of truth are useful just as a roadmap can be useful. The misunderstanding is taking the roadmap for the territory.
In the truth seeking game there are a lot of different roadmaps, and they're not all useful to everyone, yet that does not necessarily make the pointers wrong if we don't find them to be useful.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

goldieflower
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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by goldieflower » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:00 pm

gen6 wrote:Hello everybody and Happy New Year!
Hello gen6 and Happy New Year back to you!!!! The sweetness within you shines through. :D


gen6 wrote: ...you are going to see an actual proof ...
:shock:

:lol:

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gen6
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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by gen6 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:58 pm

From Severin:

Well, the way I see it, Ananda, we have now closed the circle. I could reply to your post by paraphrasing my arguments, then you would reply to my paraphrased arguments with a paraphrase of your own arguments and thus unto infinity.

The way I see it you (that is, nondualism) take(s) the Cartesian method of doubt and his principle of cogito ergo sum and then strip it of the cogito and ergo parts, leaving only sum - existence, the only real thing, the absolute truth, beyond which everything can be doubted and everything is unreal, or 'real only in a relative sense'. You take existence as the absolute premise and relish in it, but I still fail to understand what enlightenment can be gleaned from that. In my opinion it leads to little more than stagnation. Still, that is only my opinion, of course.

That your knowledge of logic is excellent and far superior to my is beyond doubt. And you use logic in exactly the same way as I, except for that premise you make about existence, which is why you are entirely right in your criticism of my example in item 3. Nonduality places itself beyond logic, it relies on some initial and (I hesitate to say) subjective experience, and that's why it can't be refuted by logic.

From the standpoint of you theory my conclusion in item 3 is circular. From the standpoint of my theory your conclusion is circular. I really do make a 'fundamental unquestioned assumptions about myself', just as you do in your theory. The premise you make is the one about existence, which does make a whole lot of sense, I must concede. Still, I could easily turn into the nasty skeptic and put into question even existence. (Why should existence be beyond reproach? Is not the indubitable truth the cogito part, and not the sum? It could be that only thinking is beyond true doubt). But, don't worry, I won't. Even I aren't that much of a skeptic or nihilist ;-) My assumptions are dualistic, yours are monistic. In order for there to be any logical argument, some assumption need be taken for granted, otherwise we can't do anything.

Just to clarify though, by speaking of 'achieving God' and 'meditation' I meant exactly practices like 'negation of immediate objects', 'self awareness or samadhi' and 'direct experience'. I just used layman terms which did, I concede, create a confusion for which I apologize. I also apologize for my rash definition of phenomena as false. I did mean unreal, as you rightly conjectured. Back to my example, by 'achieving' or 'returning to' God - or more rightly said - the Subject or the Self, I meant the deobjectification necessary for one to remain Subject/Self alone. Not to become it again, but to remain it (perhaps I should have said 'remaining God', now that I think of it.). That is, attempting to exclude bodily identification, negating (or discriminating) all objects of knowledge from the Subject itself, overcoming the Ego and the ignorance caused by objectification, etc. Take my 'achieving God' to be synonymous with 'negation of immediate objects', 'self awareness or samadhi' and 'direct experience'

You were right to take my proposition of 'achieving' to be inadequate, since we already are that which I (seemingly) mistakenly claim need be achieved. It becomes circular, just as you point out, but the same applies to you, as well. What need is there of 'negation of immediate objects', 'self awareness or samadhi' and 'direct experience', when the Subject is within us as it is. In other words, in order for you to be consistent, you can't answer to my question of 'How is it done in practice?' You can only answer that it is already done, so for me, your reasoning is no less circular. It's just that, as I said, we take on different standpoints.

Then again, the whole question of the practical implications of nonduality is largely off-topic, since the need for its verification would fall off should either your or my theory be disproved. The main discussion was about Nonduality (or as I dubbed it, Absolute Monism) vs Dualism and I am by now reaching the conclusion that neither of these thoeries can be disproved. It's all just a matter of a point of view. Outside of these discussions I am a fan of Nietzsche, Sartre and Husserl. What point is there in speculating on the noumenon and trying to 'achieve it' (please, note the quotation marks, indicating the arbitrary off-hand use of the word!), when we have a whole world of phenomena to explore. For you phenomena are unreal, only the noumenon is real. For me phenomena are real and the noumenon (after applying Occam's razor) of no consequence whatsoever. It may be real, it may not for all I care. I prefer (dealing with) the appearances of things even if they are unreal or false. Indeed, just as with the primum movens, as proof of god. Why should there have been a god to create the Big Bang, when it could well have happened by itself?!

Thus, my friend, I suggest we end our discussion, each retaining his views. On a side-note, I am truly interested what books of (Western) philosophy do you hold dear, for you are obviously versed in it. Either that, or you're simply some genious of a thinker ;-)

Lastly, that will be (probably) truly be my last post, so I wish you all the best!

Severin
Live as if nothing and everything matters at the same time.

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by gen6 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:13 pm

goldieflower wrote:
gen6 wrote: ...you are going to see an actual proof ...
:shock:

:lol:
I apologize for the brave wording, I cannot have a proof that this is impossible, what I meant is another thing.Since the whole philosophy of enlightenment and nondualism is based on something that cannot be proven, on some experience, on something so subjective,..it's up to you to believe in it, just as it's up to you to believe in religion or God or some flying invisible unicorn.
I cannot disprove it but why should I believe in it... :) Just as I won't believe in flying unicorns , I won't believe in this...for the exact same reasons :)
Live as if nothing and everything matters at the same time.

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Re: Why absolute Monism (Nonduliasm) is impossible

Post by James » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:32 pm

Gen6
The teachings are not about belief, faith or following a religion. You have misunderstood, which is easy to do, many people do that. The teachings are merely pointers, an invitation to look or explore your own experience, to discover the nature of your own existence. I remember reading in your earlier posts that some of the pointers such as living Now were helpful. Why not stay with whatever you find to be helpful or satisfying? Why worry or be concerned about the other pointers that don't make sense to you or aren't helpful?
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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