Wednesday, February 6, 2002
- ED ARRONS
DO ANIMALS HAVE COMPASSION?
Thanks for the link... The question is, whether the
potential for compassion can unfold or not. For my late
brother's pets, that potential was developed to the full
and the cat could see from a distance if someone was
depressed. He would immediately start petting the
distressed one and even when rejected, wouldn't give up but
continue with the effort until the down mood was forgotten.
The dog didn't have such strong visual clues but relied on
the emotional voice content. When hearing someone getting
defensive, she would come to aid in defense by barking
loudly and growling to the supposed offender.
On the island here, the other side of the coin can be
observed: animals, not taken care of, develop a rather
opportunistic behavior. When having one owner that shows as
almost slave-like obedience which is misinterpreted as
gratitude. Both the company-dog and -cat have at least 4
human caretakers (read touch operated food machines) and
the behavior is one of permanent alertness on the best
offer, whether food or entertainment. Observing that has
been both amusing and insightful as it shows what has been
known for quite a time: all mammals share the same
can enlightenment be lost?
so, it is not enlightenment,
because enlightenment is permanent.
but nothing is permanent.
or everything is unchanging,
so there can be no achieving of any state.
love the particular,
but don't surrender to it.
unless you want to be a clown.
then BE A CLOWN!
don't worry if it's right or wrong,
or utterly conventional.
worship only nothingness
take a lover
be a student
but don't mistake your teacher
don't mistake your lover
* witness beautiful, powerful teachings
that degenerated into "us" and "them",
persecution complexes and the guru talking only about himself.
Any mentality can always be used in the service of
bolstering egos. A "non-dualistic" mentality is no
exception. It is up to you to decide for yourself whether a
particular person claiming enlightenment has the goods
and/or may actually be of service to you on your path to
nowhere. The basis of your decision will always be
subjective, and therefore limited by your preconceptions.
However preconceptions are not necessarily all bad. They
need only be looked at. Some of them may actually be of
tremendous service in steering you in the appropriate
direction, eg if you are looking for a master these
preconceptions -- which may change! -- can help guide you
to the one you need right now. This may also change.
It may not be applicable, either to your situation or to
this discussion, but perhaps... When i first went to my
master Osho he wasted no time i divesting me of the reason
i thought i had gone to him, ie to "get" a method of
meditation, suitable to my personal configuration. Within
days he was talking about how methods do not work, bringing
up so much conflict in me i had to ask him about it. In
answer, he reassured me that methods do not work and
explained the process he was going to put me through. He
would give me this method and that method, and this and
that process -- none of which would "work"! -- but just
being around him and going through these hoops i would come
to trust him.
This in fact has happened. I feel trust is more valuable
than any method. I trusted him enough at the beginning to
give him permission to "work on me" and thereby the trust
And if you don't trust your "particular lady," stay away.
No problem. She doesn't want you in her forum? No problem.
Your needs and desires are not in conflict with hers.
I actually have an opinion similar to yours about the
particular lady but so what? There are no objective
criteria that can be applied. I also agree with Jan's
implied preconceptions -- he phrased them as questions --
but my understanding is that in applying them as criteria
the best we can achieve is statistical success, ie we can
say that if someone exhibits such characteristics, they are
probably not enlightened. But even Jerry Falwell, who
knows? With his first name, he is halfway there.
Life has beginning and end
Strange insn't it?
Everthing within life is that way.
But how can there be a beginning?
What comes before, and from where?
And what comes after the end?
This is what seems to preocupy us most.
How long have I waited to "become"?
How long will I wait when... I die?
But it is not possible to quantify,
this time before and after.
Like looking at infinity.
Can't be, but it IS.
The shrowd of "time"
Sheds a misty wall
Back there is where it starts,
and there, well don't go there.
So I must eat to stay alive.
I must work to feed and shelter.
There is much to worry about
Why must it be so?
It was so easy before!
Right, of course I had no
way to know anything.
No point of reference.
And after, well,
I think I'm looking at it,
Just ain't all too clear
Love and Light,
Yeah, that brain-belief is a tempting one. The pull of
scientific realism, to believe that experience is in the
brain, when all the evidence points in the other direction!
The brain stands to experience just as for Nisargadatta
consciousness stands to awareness. --Greg
I'm confused. Please clarify. You say that the "evidence"
points "in the other direction!"
Here's my question to you: Two weeks ago, you drove your
car, let's say, to the store for some smokes, and the clerk
scowled at your fumbling for the cash, and you got short
with his disrespectfulness. Ok? Got the setup?
Where is that memory? Just the memory, of how you told him
"What are YOU looking at? I'm getting the money for you,
keep your shirt on!"
If you say the memory is NOT in your brain, then how can
you say that? If you suffer any kind of brain injury where
the memory is stored, I don't care how 'conscious' you
think you are, you've lost the memory. This has been quite
There are lots of ways to look at this. Great question!
OK, let's examine the two claims realists' claim (R), and a
possible nondualist's type claim (N):
(R) All experience is in the brain.
(N) There is no evidence for any brain outside of
I'll be pointing out the difficulties with (R) and the
plausibility of (N).
First, (R) All experience is in the brain.
The burden of proof is on the claimant, but I'll show you
how hard their job will be. Their proof is a story line
linking certain kinds of physical observations of other
people with their reports. That is, remove their brain, and
they will no longer report anything!
To prove (R) however, that gruesome demonstration is not
enough. The claimant must actually establish the existence
of the brain outside the realm of all experience. To do
this, there must be access to the brain outside of
experience. And this is not possible.
No experience can be "in" the brain. Think of what you had
for dinner yesterday. The present appearance of this event
is a memory. The memory (or any thought, feeling,
sensation) is nothing other than an arising. As an
appearance, an arising, it has no color, no shape, and no
location. You might say the brain has location, but you
cannot locate a memory in space. That is to say, the memory
has no physical characteristics. Experience illustrates
this, anyone can check it. So the memory, not being
physical, cannot possibly have a physical or spatial
relationship with something like a brain.
So (R) looks impossible to prove. It makes more sense to
simply stop believing in and looking for objects outside of
Now let's reverse it and look at (N): There is no evidence
for any brain outside of experience.
Taking the burden of proof here....
Think of the brain, your own or anyone else's. Or think of
the body or any other physical object. Even a coffee cup
will do. All the evidence you have about the cup is based
on sensations of touch, sight, sound - in short, any
evidence is based on experience. This even includes hearing
and reading about the cup. There is no cup independent of a
cup-touch, a cup-sight, a cup-feeling, a cup-sound, or
cup-thought. And the same for the brain as for the cup. No
object of any kind outside of experience.
You might say that certain experiences point to an object
which exists outside experience, but which occasionally
sends data into the world of experience. I think this is
the common-sense, unexamined view. But any evidence for an
unexperienced object depends on some kind of experience
referring to that very object. The very suspicion that X
exists unexperienced actually provides experience of it. In
other words, any demonstration of the existence of
unexperienced objects is self-defeating. There is
absolutely no evidence for such objects. This is what I
meant by all evidence pointing the other way.
Jordan Gruber of enlightenment.com has produced a 2-CD
audio interview with Ken Wilber entitled Speaking of
Everything. Jordan says, "This is the first time Ken has
agreed to have an interview released to the public. For the
first time people have an opportunity to hear his voice and
learn about what he has to say through a channel other than
his books. Ken himself has said that we did a terrific job
with the interview, and many others have been delighted by
this lively and entertaining interview in which Ken speaks
about personal matters, theoretical matters, and at times
is very spiritually provocative. You can see more about the
interview, and even listen to sound clips at
feedback we are getting tells us that people are learning,
enjoying and becoming more invigorated by it."