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1435[gthomas] Re: The 'World' of the Lion.

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  • Michael Grondin
    Sep 3 8:47 AM
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      At 03:40 AM 09/03/99 -0500, Robert Tessman wrote:
      > I hope you can at least get the gist of what it is I am trying to
      >convey here because if I were to fully explain my use of "subjective" and
      >"objective", as they apply or do not apply to the figurative utility of the
      >term world in Logion 7, I would have to write far too much for the scope of
      >this discussion. This is, after all, quite a divergent topic as it is.

      Well, yes, in a way, but traffic is light and I really do want to
      understand the source of our disagreement about logion 7. It now appears
      that when you say that the world is a subjective experience, and I say it
      isn't, the source of our disagreement really is just terminology. Being a
      simple-minded guy, I don't have any special meaning in mind for the words
      'subjective' and 'objective', but it seems that you do - so the problem for
      me is to understand this special sense that you've obviously given a great
      deal of thought to.

      I said:
      >No one, ancient or modern, did or could seriously maintain that
      >"the world" was/is a subjective experience, like a hallucination.

      To which you responded:
      >I am unsure of what it is you are addressing here.

      The sense of 'subjective' that I was using is this:
      "Proceeding from or taking place within an individual's mind such as to be
      unaffected by the external world; particular to a given individual;
      personal." (American Heritage Dictionary)

      Paradigmatic examples of "subjective experiences" would be dreams and
      hallucinations. Such experiences are personal and private, and are
      contrasted with "objective experiences" caused by external stimuli. But you
      are evidently using these words in a different way, and so I wonder how you
      yourself would make this distinction. Is there anything that counts as
      "objective experience" on your view? How would you yourself characterize
      the distinction between a hallucination of a waterhole and the actual
      seeing of a waterhole?

      Turning to "the world" for a moment, what you seem to be talking about is
      not THE world, but rather MY world (or YOUR world). Of course, each
      individual's "world" is subjective, but that isn't what Xian ascetics or
      the Nag Hammadi monks meant when they talked about THE world. They were
      using that phrase in its normal sense, not in the special sense in which
      you're using it.

      >If [the world] were an objective reality, then anything it would evoke
      >in one person, it would evoke also in ALL persons and there would,
      >therefore, be no possible alternative to a person's reactions to it.

      Putting it gently, I see this as a really bad argument. To say that
      something is "objectively real" does NOT mean or entail that that thing has
      the same effect on all observers, only that it's the SAME THING that
      affects all observers (differently). One billiard ball hitting two others
      doesn't hit them both in precisely the same way, and they thus respond
      differently. But of course, that doesn't mean that the ball that hits them
      is not "real" or "objective". Not even Plato's eternal and unchanging
      "forms" created identical copies of themselves. So I'm at a loss to explain
      what you mean by "objective reality". Is there anything at all that counts
      as such within your theory? (I need hardly point out that if there's
      NOTHING that you would call "objectively real", then you're not entitled to
      use that term, because it has no meaning for you.)

      If you can respond somewhat more briefly than your previous two notes, and
      if you can address these questions somewhat more directly, it would be
      appreciated.

      Regards,
      Mike

      The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
      http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
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