2.5 THE PHYSICAL & THE NON-PHYSICAL

THE TWO BASIC MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SELF

"Man has no body distinct from his soul, for that called body is a portion of
the soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of soul in this age"
.....William Blake

"If only matter is real, then what is real in man is only matter. And matter is
essentially competitive. A basic law of matter is that two bodies cannot
occupy the same space at the same time. The more I eat, the less there is
for you. The more of my money  I give you, the less there is for myself.
Only spirit transcends this law. If spiritual things like love, truth and beauty
are real, I can give them away without losing anything. Teachers don't
lose knowledge when they share it with others. Lovers don't lose joy or
happiness or self esteem when they give their very self to each other.
But material goods like money, power, territory, fame and glory diminish
when shared, whereas spiritual goods like wisdom and love multiply when
shared. So if those things are not objectively real, and what is objectively
real in man is matter, then any two men are fundamentally competitive."
.......................TMS P. Kreeft

"What you see, I think is the morphogenetic field. The invisible world that holds
 everything together. Not the net of matter and light, but the net of casuistry
 — of intentionality, of caring, of hope of dream — of thought. That all is there, but
 it has been hidden from us for centuries because of the exorcism of the spirit
that took place in order to allow science to do business. And that monotonous
 and ill-considered choice has made us the inheritors of a tradition of existential
emptiness — but that has impalded to us to go back to the jungles and recover
 this thing. ... The question is, can we dream a dream that is sufficiently noble that
we give meaning to the sacrifices that have been made to allow the 20th century
 to exist ... I am convinced that if there were no shamanic pipeline, there would be
no higher life, as we know it, on this planet. ... We are all cells of a much larger
body, and like the cells of our own body it is hard for us to glimpse the whole
pattern of the whole of what is happening, and yet we can sense that there is a
purpose, and there is a pattern..."....Terence McKenna

"The connection between conscious and unconscious poses particular
problems in the dancer because the body is the soul of action."
......Marion Woodman

 

 

SELF (Dict.) One's total being. (This definition is used in the present context also)

BEING (Dictionary ) The state or quality of existing.

But for a more strict definition, the Self is defined in this work as a living being

having a finite existence, in space and time, from the moment of birth, ( before

which  a  'Self'   did  not  exist ), till the moment of death, after which the 'Self'

ceases to exist, and after which a 'Self" is no longer defined. Thus a 'Self' , in

this work is considered as a mortal being in its existence, but whose totality

or essence, if realized and expressed in form or actions, is immortal,

that is, transcends death.

"Such was the end of the man who I think was the wisest, most just and
the best man that I have ever known. I could not help thinking that the
gods would still watch over him on his journey to the other world, and
that when he arrived there, it would be well with him, if it were ever
well with any man".....Plato on Socrates

"The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction.
Men are mortal ; but ideas are immortal"......Walter Lippmann
 

Thus the experience of an individual living being, defined here as Self, is

a constituent of current reality, and the essence or totality of a

being is a constituent of ultimate reality.

" The poet gives us his essence, but prose takes the mould
of the body and mind entire. " .............Virginia Woolf


The Physical and the Non-Physical are directly related to

and correspond to the sensory and the non-sensory

perceptions.

 

2.5.1 THE DISTINGUISHING PARAMETERS

"The red man divided mind into two parts, -- the spiritual mind and the physical mind.
The first is pure spirit, concerned only with the essence of things, and it was this
he sought to strengthen by spiritual prayer, during which the body is subdued by
 fasting and hardship. In this type of prayer there was no beseeching favor or help.
All matters of personal or selfish concern, as success in hunting or warfare, relief
 from sickness, or the sparing of a beloved life, were definitely relegated to the
plane of the lower or material mind, and all ceremonies, charms, or incantations
 designed to secure a benefit or to avert a danger, were recognized as
emanating from the physical self"
.................Eastman ( The Soul of The Indian )

   Definitions for the purpose of this work:

PHYSICAL : That element of reality that is detectable, derivable and

definable in terms of sensory data is defined here as the Physical.

So the physical is the domain of the senses and their derivatives. This

definition is useful in order to clarify and distinguish the physical domain:

the domain where Time (or at least linear Time) and Space have meaning.

It is also the domain of the concepts of processes and functions as distinct

from the concepts of forces and fluxes that are more applicable to the

non-physical. These are crucial distinctions.

 

NON-PHYSICAL : That element of reality that cannot be defined in terms

of sensory data,  rather the term data itself becomes invalid here and

alternate terms like will,  spirit, force, abstract, dynamic, flux, emanation,

etc. become as possible candidates for representing its presence. One

of the relevant terms use to describe the manifestation of the non -

physical is - instinct or the instinctual. The word metaphysical which

basically means 'beyond physical' also refers to this domain, and such

concepts like soul, spirit and will are metaphysical concepts indicating

that the reality to which these concepts refer to is not a physical

reality, that is, it is a non-physical reality which is not perceptible

through the sensory systems and also cannot be derived from the

concepts related to the physical.

"We explain in the same way the reappearance of complicated
instinctive actions in animals that have never set eyes on their
parents and therefore could not possibly have been "taught"
by them" .....C. G. Jung

 

 

COMPLETE DOMINATION OF THE PHYSICAL

 "A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally,
there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts.
Why should I be concerned?”― Alan Moore

The domination of the physical in all our thought today is complete because in a
science based education, the alternative assumptions are never taught. In science,
anything that cannot be accounted for by the laws of science does not and cannot
exist - this is the assumption in science that is never even acknowledged as an
assumption. Science is therefore blind to everything except the physical, but this
concise definition itself is not clearly made even among scientists.
I use a narrow definition of science because I try to stick closely to the definition
of definition, and that is because if you define something/concept of something too
broadly, then it tends to deflect from the true nature of that thing by being too
inclusive, and misleads us to the conclusion that there is no counter aspect
 to that thing.

In this case if we have too broad a definition of science, which I define as testable data
about physical reality, then we lose sight of it’s counter-aspect, which is non-physical
 reality. Because of the complete dominance of science based thinking, in the modern and
 post-modern era, hardly anyone even has any cognition or conception of non-physical reality
any more – which is synthesis-experience based, and not sensory based. The non-physical
reality which is a noumenal realm has been reduced to the physical by brain scientists insisting
 that these experiences are merely neurologically generated and thus hallucinations or
delusions.
This obviously contradicts all philosophers like Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer etc. but the
domination of science is so complete that even philosophy is now almost defunct.

Another similar example is that of the materialism (there is only matter) versus idealism (reality
 as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial.)
 Typically most people take one extreme and deny the other. I prefer to explore the limits
and the domain of applicability of each, as well as where they meet or interact or mediate.

Of course, language plays a very vital role in all our thinking, but in pure experiencing
mode, language is suspended. Language, properly understood and used, is a
tool for our thinking, and should not be used to substitute reality itself.

 

"The question Ponty observed is to "know what part freedom plays
 and whether we can allow it something without giving it everything."
 That sober remark summarized the issue neatly. What is the proper
 place of the human being in the material and cultural world?
 Against the materialists, specifically the dialectic Marxist materialist,
 existentialism argues that the human being is 'more' than the sum of
 physical, psychological and social forces. That 'more' is our conscious-
 -ness with which we can assess and respond to these forces. But against
 the spiritualists, (we had in mind the religious right, as we would say
 today) the existentialist emphasizes our situated-ness, beginning with
 our embodied ness that gives us our perspective and frustrates our
 every attempt to volatize existence into that of some free floating spirit
 hovering over the world.
 It is between these extremes that the existentialist tries to make sense
 of his or her existence."....Thomas Flynn

"M. Taine, in the introduction to his history of English
literature, has written: "Whether facts be moral or physical, it makes
no matter. They always have their causes. There are causes for
ambition, courage, veracity, just as there are for digestion, muscular
movement, animal heat. Vice and virtue are products like vitriol and
sugar." When we read such proclamations of the intellect bent on
showing the existential conditions of absolutely everything, we
feel--quite apart from our legitimate impatience at the somewhat
ridiculous swagger of the program, in view of what the authors are
actually able to perform--menaced and negated in the springs of our
innermost life. Such cold-blooded assimilations threaten, we think, to
undo our soul's vital secrets, as if the same breath which should
succeed in explaining their origin would simultaneously explain away
their significance, and make them appear of no more preciousness,
either, than the useful groceries of which M. Taine speaks.

Perhaps the commonest expression of this assumption that spiritual
value is undone if lowly origin be asserted is seen in those comments
which unsentimental people so often pass on their more sentimental
acquaintances. Alfred believes in immortality so strongly because his
temperament is so emotional. Fanny's extraordinary conscientiousness
is merely a matter of overinstigated nerves. William's melancholy
about the universe is due to bad digestion--probably his liver is
torpid. Eliza's delight in her church is a symptom of her hysterical
constitution. Peter would be less troubled about his soul if he would
take more exercise in the open air, etc. A more fully developed
example of the same kind of reasoning is the fashion, quite common
nowadays among certain writers, of criticizing the religious emotions
by showing a connection between them and the sexual life. Conversion
is a crisis of puberty and adolescence. The macerations of saints, and
the devotion of missionaries, are only instances of the parental
instinct of self-sacrifice gone astray. For the hysterical nun,
starving for natural life, Christ is but an imaginary substitute for a
more earthly object of affection. And the like.......
--the effects are infinitely wider than the alleged causes,
and for the most part opposite in nature"
William James
 

Like common sense itself, Aristotle just can't make up his mind upon how
 important material goods of fortune are. On the one hand the materialist is
certainly wrong: the suicide rate, which is a spectacular index of happiness
 does have a definite relationship with wealth. Very poor individuals and nations
 have very low suicide rates. So material things don't make you happy. On the
other hand the Platonic idealist who discounts the body altogether, is wrong too.
The body is not a motel room or a prison house - it's part of our being - our nature.
So good or bad can happen to us beyond our control because of our body. Aristotle
does not agree with Socrates that the self is just the soul, and therefore no evil can
 happen to a good man by chance. .....TMS P. Kreeft
( Note of dissent: Nothing bad or evil can happen to a good man by chance, but it
happens by design, as a challenge to the good man and for the sake of his own
betterment depending upon how he tackles that bad or evil)

 

DISTINCTION TABLE :

PHYSICAL NON-PHYSICAL
SENSORY BEYOND-SENSORY, Extra Sensory
MATTER SPIRIT
INANIMATE ANIMATED
UNDERLYING ORDER UNDERLYING FLOW
HAS FORMS, SHAPES FORMLESS
DATA FLUX
PROCESS EVENT or Force that acts on the process or modifies process
RULES-LAWS, PROPERTIES, DEFINABLE NON-DEFINABLE
CONSENSUS Possible CONSENSUS not the rule but maybe exception
FUNCTIONS FORCES that effect functions
DEFINABLE CONCEPTS FUZZY CONCEPTS
SPATIAL LOCATION NO SPATIAL LOCATION
TIME LINEARITY TIME Not necessarily LINEAR
OBJECT WILL or INTENT
CONSCIOUS and SUB SUPRA CONSCIOUS
NEUROLOGICAL BEYOND NEUROLOGICAL
CONCEPTUAL MEMORY PERSONAL MEMORY
EMOTIVE or RESPONSIVE MOTIVE or WILL

 

It should be noted here at the outset that the non-physical has no

direct  physical  manifestation  as such, and is manifest basically

through a living being.  The non-physical should be understood

as that hidden attribute of reality that goes undetected by  the

sensory systems.  But it should be clear that although this split is

fundamentally important and clear cut, ( since the physical has

been clearly defined as related to the sensory systems and their

derivatives ), this split is, after all, only a split. Therefore every

"observed physical event" impacts the non-physical domain and

every non-physical happening has its impression or impact upon

the physical.

One extreme example of the distinction between the non-physical

and the physical is the glaring distinction between the emotions of

 love and lust. One of the heights of self-deception is to confuse

one with the other, and this is quite common.

Love is one of the most profound non-physical emotion that is also

transcendental, whereas lust is purely temporal, and is basically

negative (tends to deceive) but like any other negative (?) emotion

can be the trigger point for self-analysis.

I have used this distinction to illustrate that a higher emotion like

love is not sourced in matter nor can be attributed to physical

causation, but to non-physical causation, although it impacts

the physical, just as physical causation impacts the non-physical.

In other words, just as the physical reality has a reflection in the

non-physical realm,  the non-physical reality also reflects in the physical.

To make a hypothesis for the sake of explanation and simplicity it has

been presumed that the nervous system - the brain is the bridge, the

gateway, that connects, impacts, as well as reflects the the two domains.  

The reality of experience is where the domains  converge,  and neither

 is more important  than the other in the functioning of a being. Neither

is primary insofar as the functional value is concerned, although the

non-physical consciousness - the supra-conscious is primary

chronologically.

 

DEF in the CONTEXT of this work : For the purpose of this work , the

SELF of a being is defined as the totality of the being in terms of the

physical as well as the non-physical :

1) THE PHYSICAL manifestation of the being in form and material

substance and in time and space called the BODY of the being which houses :

A)THE BRAIN (or the Central Nervous System ) of the being , an

essential component of the body, through which the being controls, comm-

unicates and interacts with the rest of the body , the physical world , and also

possibly and potentially the non- physical world or worlds (if one so believes).

The brain has built in programs or instructions for basic survival and a

hardware structure with built in general purpose goals and faculties

of organising and learning through the sensory inputs .

(Under exceptional circumstances through non - sensory inputs also)

BODY(Dictionary)The entire material or physical structure of an organism

especially human beings or animals.(This def. is used in the

present context also).

B)The sum total of all memories, programs, control programs (goals),

beliefs & concepts is labeled as the MIND of the being . 

Some programs are inbuilt, other programs, beliefs and concepts are learned,

acquired or created and linked with each other to form a complex construct or

sort of structure that models or generates  paradigms of the  world

perceived by the being primarily through the sensory system and as a logical

consequence models oneself also as part of the overall model.

The construct of the MIND of a being is included here as a physical component

of the SELF, since the construct of the mind is fundamentally built through

interactions with the physical world.

MIND (Dictionary) The human consciousness that originates in the brain and is

manifested especially in thought, perception, memory, emotion, will & imagination.

urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)The difference in this work is that a consciousness is presumed to be primary to

the physical perception organ, the brain, which is presumed here to be the data

processing organ, whether this data is processed through the sensory systems

or synthesized from the abstract. The Mind's consciousness is presumed to be

secondary to the primary consciousness : the supra-conscious, or the non-

physical consciousness. ( see assumptions....art 2.5 ) urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)

C) The peripheral , motor and support systems (vital organs) are the

other parts of the physical body that provide the primary perception organ,

the BRAIN with the resources needed to operate. ( Again a simplification has

been made here in order to be concise.)

2) THE NON-PHYSICAL manifestation of the being , having no form

and material substance and unspecific in time and space , and whose existence

can only be realizable through direct personal experience which however can

said to be the vital but intangible essence of the being is labeled here as the

NON- PHYSICAL SELF , also analogous to the concepts of the SOUL (essence)

of or the SPIRIT ( animating force )  of a being.

SOUL( Dictionary )The animating and vital force in human beings often conceived

as an immaterial entity that survives death. The central or vital part of something .

Embodiment of  an intangible quality : a persons emotional and moral nature .

SPIRIT( Dictionary) The animating force within living beings ; soul .The part of a

human being associated with mind, will and feelings . A mood or emotional state .

The actual though unstated sense or significance of something .

SPIRITUAL (Dictionary) Relating to or consisting of spirit. Synonym of

immaterial: having no material body or form .

The difference here in this work is that in this non -physical self also

includes that part of the mind that has been created from non-sensory

inputs from essentially unknown sources as well as other non-physical

aspects which are essentially un-definable and unknown (to be

potentially knowable through experience).

Instinct is anything but a blind and indefinite impulse, since it proves to be attuned
 and adapted to a definite external situation. This latter circumstance gives it its
specific and irreducible form. Just as instinct is original and hereditary, so too, its
form is age-old, that is to say, archetypal. It is even older and more conservative
than the body’s form. ~Carl Jung

 

ASSUMPTION ! : The physical self connects and communicates with

the physical world and with other beings through the sensory systems

and the non-physical is also connected but through modes and means

that are as yet unknown in general scientific terms, analysis and

probing, and will  probably forever have to remain so since a certain

essence or core of nature must remain inaccessible to general abuse.

"Plato cannot and does not prove that materialism is false and that
there is a non-material intelligible reality. Plato believes that the
philosopher must over and over again take up the challenge that
materialists present, and invite them into dialog and see what
happens. In my view, in addition to the enormous and obvious
historical influence that Plato has had on western philosophy,
this is his greatest legacy - that sophistry and materialism are
very basic and powerful intellectual options ( insofar ) as they
can't simply be dismissed, for they will always be adopted by
someone.
Plato teaches us how to argue against such opponents and the
many strategies he uses, but even these strategies are limited.
We cannot once and for all simply dismiss or refute these
opponents. History seems to confirm Plato fully as both the
sophists and materialists are still here ( and stronger
than ever). The dialog therefore is perennial."
.....TTC..  D. Roochnik

2.5.2 Significance of the non -physical self :

“I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch.
It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having.
We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never
let them take it from us.” ― Alan Moore

One may as well question the rationality in assuming about a supposed part

of the self that has no form and substance and  has no physical attributes

of its existence that are verifiable, about which one can barely even

conceptualize for oneself, let alone for others,  and whatever experiences

of which one may have are ultimately only of symbolic value (for the over

critical minded) !

This is the domain where rationality falters . The excellent and seemingly

infallible tool no longer works ; for the non physical self is not confined in

space and time and therefore independent of cause-effect relationships !

Therefore,  even   the  mention  of anything  non-physical takes it outside

the domain of Science, but does not immediately imply that it falls in the

domain of Religion or even faith.  The  problems  stem  from  trying  to

classify experiences of the non-sensory type into a domain where these

can be proven scientifically, or established as faith and worshiped.

Science has ensured that whatever cannot be verified and agreed upon

under controlled conditions is rejected as irrational or faith. Thus the

entire reason of man has been seized by science, to the point that

for anything to be reasonable, it must be scientific.

"We put [young children] into kindergarten where their reasoning
powers are ruined; or, if we can afford it, we buy Montessori outfits
. . . or we send them to outdoor schools and give them prizes for
sleeping"......
Katherine F. Gerould

"Material fundamentalists use terms that are loaded with prejudice like 'it's all speculation'
 in an attempt to debunk any expression of non-physical reality. Incidentally, the so called
 'pure speculation' of Thales is what led to a series of speculations and arguments based
  on them is from which science emerged.
 But the activity that can give us some sense of the non-tangible and abstract is imagination
  and intuition, but I would not rule out reason. However what trumps everything else is direct
  experience of the non-tangible, which however still needs to be processed into
  language for it to be expressed.
 This is what poets, writers, myth makers, story tellers, meta-physicians like Plato, Kant, Hegel,
 Schopenhauer etc. do. And some of them have presented explanatory principles about these
  hidden non-tangible realities. Although all these also do not present the complete picture,
 they never the less provide valuable snapshots.
 Myths, fables and stories is very empowering human activity that promotes consciousness
 of what it means to be human as well as promote imagination from which all knowledge,
 including scientific emerges.
Materialists ask "What evidence do you have that such supernatural causation occurs? ” To
which the answer is: You have to stretch your logic and reasoning beyond the current
assumptions on which your reasoning is based - and that is to consider that there are intangible,
 hidden realities to which Metaphysicians refer to such as Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and
many others (according to the materialist's assumptions these all are deluded people) as also
many writers and almost all poets - but materialists have a vested interest to disregard all these
poets and philosophers because they did not show 'evidence' or proof, and therefore fatally
for themselves the materialists will never find any.
They take the stand that only science is a reliable method of  establishing 'evidence'  to
know anything. Everything else is rejected because 'it is not science'. This itself proves
the point I am making - that the materialist denies any reality 'because it is not science' - this
itself is a myth they fanatically believe in and perpetuate without even knowing it.
Their terms have definitions are forced upon others, and so I find them incapable of
comprehending any viewpoint other than their own self serving logic and the religious
 community they belong to ( that of Materialism or Naturalism) with its dogmatic and
dangerous myths.
They choose to remain in one unreal-reality - the so called objective one. I keep my choices
open and explorative - not eternally fixed as theirs is."...Eudamoniac


“Reality, at first glance, is a simple thing: the television speaking to you now is real.
Your body sunk into that chair in the approach to midnight, a clock ticking at the threshold
of awareness. All the endless detail of a solid and material world surrounding you.
These things exist. They can be measured with a yardstick, a voltammeter, a weighing scale.
These things are real. Then there’s the mind, half-focused on the TV, the settee, the clock.
This ghostly knot of memory, idea and feeling that we call ourself also exists, though not
within the measurable world our science may describe.
Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all,
though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can
 ever know. The Here-and-Now demands attention, is more present to us. We dismiss
the inner world of our ideas as less important, although most of our immediate physical
reality originated only in the mind. The TV, sofa, clock and room, the whole civilisation
that contains them once were nothing save ideas.
Material existence is entirely founded on a phantom realm of mind, whose nature and
 geography are unexplored. Before the Age of Reason was announced, humanity had
polished strategies for interacting with the world of the imaginary and invisible:
complicated magic-systems; sprawling pantheons of gods and spirits, images and
names with which we labelled powerful inner forces so that we might better understand
them. Intellect, Emotion and Unconscious Thought were made divinities or demons so
that we, like Faust, might better know them; deal with them; become them.
Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which,
when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a
mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and
the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably exist, wielding tremendous
 power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the
crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love’s name? If Christ were only ever fiction,
 a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy
wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred?
The world of ideas is in certain senses deeper, truer than reality; this solid television
less significant than the Idea of television. Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish.
They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden,
savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map.
Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.”
― Alan Moore

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I
will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange
these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."....Charles F Brannan

 

 

2.5.3 THE RATIONAL TRAP

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter
if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own
common sense ..... Buddha.

"Reason enslaves all whose minds are not strong enough to master her."
.......G B Shaw

In  a science and reason based educational system, we are made to believe

that whatever is  not generally accepted as rational has to be irrational

and unscientific and not worth going into. Once such a logic is accepted,

we then fall into the very trap we would wish to avoid - the rational trap

Therefore  anybody who gives expression to an experience that cannot be

repeatedly  verified under controlled conditions  by other 'trained' people

(scientific ), is treated as a nut who utters nonsense.

The entire domain of a very powerful tool of reason has been reduced and

limited to only the narrow domain of general agreement.  Reason is taught

rather than exercised. People have stopped reasoning on their own, it is

given readymade to them. And what is taught as reasonable is never to be

questioned - the very antithesis of reasoning and inquiry.

Its like a workman throwing away the tool and giving up work just because

  he has been taught to use it only in a prescribed way, and in any new  or

seemingly alien situation it is not supposed to work.

The failure of  science to tackle reality beyond atoms, particles and

equations is an example of the rational trap. The rational trap says that

whatever cannot be put into a generally verifiable and testable cause-

effect relationship, exists only in someone's imagination.

“The familiar phrase for the rise of the modern world was ‘The Enlightenment’
– a movement that wanted to free the human mind from superstition and dogma,
 from the adherence to prejudice. This is the goal of enlightenment – beautifully
 stated by Kant as: dare to use your own reason – have the audacity to reason
for yourself. The enlightenment, by the rise of capitalism also fuelled a terrible
increase in the power of science and its ability to fuel technology.
The attempt to de-mystify the world - to make it transparent to reason carried
with it a strange dark side with it. The more we cleared the fields of the traditional
religious views, the more we became convinced that science or as Marcuse
uses the term - 'instrumental reason : reason used as an instrument for changing
 human beings and nature'. The more the enlightenment project progressed, its not
that we became less afraid in the face of the unknown - now the unknown became
more terrifying than ever. It's not the case that we became less dogmatic, as a
matter of fact now that the sciences have branched into so many areas that the
only way anyone can believe any of them is dogmatically since no one has the
time to study them all. so in a paradoxical way, the enlightenment builds up a kind
of intellect that is intelligent enough to see through the mystification, but such an
 intellect then becomes totalitarian ( without knowing it ).
The flip side of enlightenment has been to give up before the overpowering force
 or power of technology - an abject surrender beyond any than that was called for
 in religion. Given the current state of the powers of technology - they far surpass
the characteristics we associate with God. In the Bible, the apocalypse is a
magnificent myth, but long ago it became in our society a technologically
achievable reality. We didn't need any longer to conjure up ten headed beasts
 to be afraid of - now we had systems - 'rational' systems whose outcome is
not rational but paradoxically irrational.
Because the enlightenment focused upon reason as individuated, they didn't
see the overall effects of the workings of reason that might themselves
prove to be irrational. Ironically reason itself became a force of mystification.
The enlightenment did not kill the myth, but carried it along with it ( in different
form), and this entwinement of enlightenment and myth is most important to
understand the situation that we are in now, for now the technologies are
themselves quasi-mythological - like virtual reality.”

….Rick Roderick ( TTC Self Under Siege )

In the domain of the non-physical, 'taught reasoning' fails to work, only a

flexible, self- developed  reasoning works. This is so because beyond the

physical is the realm of a "world" that has no direct relation or interaction

or  similarity of  rules and laws with the physical world . The only relation

that is possible is through individual living beings.  Some elements of this

world can be  sensed  by not-knowing all that is known about the physical

world,  in  other words  through our  faculties that do not operate from our

construct of existing beliefs and concepts, ( the intuitive, imaginative) since

our learned and operating beliefs and concepts themselves tend to block

experiences that are alien to them.

Let us ponder boldly - 'tis a base
Abandonment of reason to resign
Our right of thought - our last and only place
Of refuge ; this, at last, shall still be mine :
Though from our birth the faculty divine
Is chain'd and tortured -cabin'd, cribb'd, confined,
And bred in darkness, lest the truth should shine
Too brightly on the unprepared mind,
The beam pours in, for time and skill will couch the blind.
..........Lord Byron

2.5.4 THE SPIRITUAL- EXPERIENCE TRAP

So this realm indeed is difficult to access and perhaps rightly so - for

just to blindly enter this realm without knowing or at least attempting

to know one's physical self and mind, its unique attributes, limitations

and purposes, the journey will only turn out to be an exercise in self

indulgence and  at  best " high  quality  mystical   entertainment ".

The abuse of hallucinogenic drugs is ample indication of this tendency

for a "quick-fix spirituality and mysticism".

We should not rise above the earth with the aid of “spiritual” intuitions and run away
from hard reality, as so often happens with people who have brilliant intuitions.
 ~Carl Jung

For we are also now in a realm where there is no general meaning or

significance of anything - there is only personal meaning and personal

significance of one's experiences of the realm of the non physical self.

Agreements and generalities are important and have great significance

when we conceptualize about the physical world relating to our sensory

perceptions,  so that we have working and testable models on how we

live  together (with minimal conflict) and communicate in a social

system  and share physical resources.

urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)Specifically seeking agreement and generalities to support a conceived
significance and meaning of one's highly personal experiences of the
non- physical however only helps to demean and downgrade the
potential value of these for oneself.urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)
urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes) Such experiences, in any case, may or may not get appropriately trans-
lated, interpreted or rationalized for oneself in the world of physical senses
in time and space, depending upon how well the two selves (or types of
operations)  have co-related with each other.urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)

The  spiritual  trap is the trapping effect of a 'high'  or 'out of this world'

experience that the mind cannot appropriately rationalize, and ends up

overvaluing the experience, thereby rejecting the intellectual and

rational translation or significance of the experience.  It  also leads to

erroneous conclusions about the  physical world like 'the world is all

an illusion'. What is worse is that such people induce others to believe

in them as a matter of 'faith' that the 'experience of ultimate reality'

is all there is to life.

"When the primitive world disintegrated into spirit ( non-physical ) and
nature ( physical ), the West rescued nature ( physical ) for itself. It was
prone to a belief in physical nature and only became more entangled
in it with every painful effort  to make itself spiritual. The East, on the
contrary, took mind for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere
illusion ( Maya ) , continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery.".....Jung

 

2.5.5 THE INTERPRETATION TRAP

It is important to understand here that any conceptualization arising  from

experiences that are non-physical based ( non-sensory, or transcendental or

mystical  to  use some alternate terms here), are only symbolic, or vaguely

representative of any  non-physical  elements of  reality,  since these are

ultimately  expressed  or conceived  in  sensory terms only.  The sheer

intensity or strangeness of the experiences that are non-sensory  based

makes most people present these in their  expression  as   Reality or

even  Ultimate Reality,   without realizing that these expressions are

interpretations of their experiences.

urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes) This  is  the   most  critical  trap  that  most  people  fall   into: that any

understanding, or any symbolism, or any conceptualization or any meaning

is only a processed  interpretation of  an abstract or non-sensory

experience,  that has been translated and interpreted by our

existing set of concepts and beliefs.urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)

The interpretation trap has been entered when someone insists that what

they are saying is 'the truth' or 'ultimate reality' or some such assertion

without  realizing  that they are only expressing, in  language,  an

experience that has been interpreted and evaluated by their mind.

"We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts
we make the world."............Buddha

2.5.6 THE RELIGION TRAP

The natural tendency of the mind of man is to attribute the strangest of

one's experiences to entities beyond one's own self. This leads to the

religion trap :  the conclusion  that  the  source of everything is in an

entity ( God ),  or  entities  that is/are beyond self, the self is itself

an illusion, or only a manifestation  of this entity ( God ).

This is the most fatal flaw in all religions, namely that they conceptualize

non-physical elements or entities in a fixed manner and present them as

generally valid for everybody for all times with such a conviction that they

end up fooling even themselves, without realizing that there can be no

fixed and  generally valid concepts in the non-physical domain. Even

more disastrous is the fact that most of these people do not even

realize or admit that what they are presenting are concepts describing

elements of the non-physical, rather these are presented as irrefutable

truths about   "ultimate reality"  that are absolutely applicable for all

and sundry for all times to come.

The Religion trap has been entered when someone insists or emphasizes

that an entity or entities beyond the living beings in the world is/ are the

source,  and therefore the controller/s of all that occurs.  This is usually

presented as valid for everyone.

 

2.5.7 PRIMARY and SECONDARY CONCEPTS

It is of utmost importance to distinguish between primary concepts that

are derivatives of sensory systems, having been acquired and learned from

interactions in the physical: family, teachers, peers, society, books, school

etc and those that are derived as a synthesis from non-sensory based

experiences, since both are finally expressible in the primary concepts

and sensory terms only.

The secondary concepts are thus a combination of both existing

primary concepts and synthesized from non-sensory experiences.

It must be noted that non-sensory experiences are processed and sensed

in different ways, depending upon the sensitivity or development of one's

faculties, namely these can be a) visual (Vision) b) sound (hymn)

c) string of words (poetic) d) emotional ( sadness, terrifying,

elating or ecstasy) e) intellectual ( a new idea, abstraction,

concept or solution)

Again this is not to say that an expression of the abstract non-sensory

is an undesirable affair, since all creative expression emerges from the

abstract that emerges from the non-sensory. On the contrary, humans

are beings of diverse creative expressions, and it is in our nature to do

so in order to realize and develop our potential, but the two points that

are pertinent are that a) any expression derived from the non-physical

has essentially a personal validity and only non-essentially (if at all)

does it have general validity. b) This expression when given a definite

form only has transitory or temporary value. That is, form given to

any expression derived from the non-physical has by nature, only

a temporary value having a limited span of validity even in the

personal context.

Failing to understand this basic distinctions has disastrous results

as can be observed from the failure of various religions to provide

for a sustainable social system.

So it is summed up here that although a very significant aspect of our

existence as human beings is manifest in terms of whatever we create,

or give form to, from our experiences, this self-expression must firstly

be  enriching,  harmonizing   and  enhancing  to  one's  own  self, and

secondly  should  preferably   also  co-relate  meaningfully  with  our

social environment. It can be concluded that those expressions that

have both personal as well as a wide general or social validity are

of the highest value.

urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)One's self expression in any form (without the need to seek agreement)
that provides value to oneself and /or other beings will be the testimony
and witness to the meaning & purpose of one's being and existence.urbbul1a.gif (627 bytes)

 

2.5.8 Summary : The need for

Conceptual Differentiation

In this article I have tried to show that the assumption of a non-

physical self as well as a non-physical reality is indispensable

not only for self - exploration and expression but also for any

meaningful discourse or understanding or ( metaphysics )

modeling  of Reality.

From this comes the differentiation of concepts into :

1. Experiential concepts : These are concepts that are meaningful

only in the experiential domain, and any usage of these concepts

for analysis, discourse or even expression is usually frivolous,

redundant and misleading. For example the concept of God.

These are useful insofar as they signify entities that one encounters

in one's deepest personal experiences.

These  have   personal  validity  limited  to  their usage for internal

cohesion,  stability,   faith etc.  These  have  been  highly abused in

religions and cults,   where  a  leader  who  develops  the  concept

through  ' a revelation ' then induces the followers  by first giving

vivid descriptions of the concept through a script, and then finding

methods by which a similar experience  can  be  recreated in the

subjects,  so as to have  a  general  agreement  that  binds  the

subjects in a bond of ' faith '.  Most eastern religions follow this

pattern.

2. Non - Physical or metaphysical concepts : These are secondary

concepts which can only be useful and meaningful if there is some

experience  to which they can relate to,  or else their usage is

likely to be misleading and deceptive . These have very limited

general  validity but are important for expressing elements of reality

that are independent of physical phenomena. By nature, these cannot be

defined or their characteristics agreed upon, and their usage demands a

minimum creative imagination, both in expression as well as

comprehension of the expressions of others.

These concepts represent the 'forces' or 'fluxes'  that act upon a

being or that emanate from within a being

  For  example,   Spirit,  Soul,  Moral force, Power, Consciousness, Intent etc.

However, in any discourse the context and usage should be in proper order

and the general limitations of its usage understood.

3. Physical concepts : are those that describe or symbolize physical entities

or attributes  are the usual concepts like body, earth, atoms, energy, light,

sound, time, space, etc.

 

Proper  distinction   and the usage context or domain is essential in order

to  retain   clarity  of  mind and  purpose,  or else one is likely to fall in one

trap  or  another :  the  overvaluation  of  experience  trap,  the  trap   of

getting  mired   into  the  reasoning  taught  by  others  and   thereby  the

paralysis  of one's   own  reasoning  power,  the  trap  of  not treating the

interpretation of experience as one of the many possible interpretations,

the religion trap where one starts believing in an entity as ultimate

and finally the trap of improper usage of concepts and language.

"To avoid the various foolish operations to which mankind are prone,
no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you,
not from all error, but from silly error.".................Bertrand Russel

With this crucial distinctions in mind, the next article deals with the

foundations of knowledge : what it is, what does it mean to know

something, and most important of all : the validity of knowledge

in its formation and application, and how knowledge "moves"

towards a higher order of coherence, or towards destruction of

existing order, by its counterpart - power.

 

NEXT PAGE 09 : 2.6 Knowledge and Power

 

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