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1437[gthomas] Re: The 'World' of the Lion.

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  • Robert Tessman
    Sep 3, 1999
      I will address first the points at which I believe misunderstanding has
      arisen between, a) my use of "subjective" and "objective", and b) Mike's
      interpretation of my use of these terms.

      1. First and foremost, I am Defining the term 'world' as 'world' could
      ONLY be applied to Logion 7 as Mike's possible substitution for "lion." I
      do not know if this is understood. (from here out I will refer to this as
      'priority of #1')

      2. My definition of this possible 'world' for logion 7 has been confused
      with it instead being viewed as a philosophical interpretation of the
      'world' as the term 'world' is commonly understood today.

      3. The use of 'subjective' in my defining this 'world' has caused
      confusion because I have failed to define what I mean by a 'subjective'
      experience of the world or a 'subjective' world.

      4. My broadening this use of the 'subjective' 'world' of logion 7 to
      define the ontological reality of classical man's existence and even our
      own existence has been confused with the priority of #1 above.
      And it is here where:
      a) I am not trying to explain what is 'actual' but rather what
      is experienced in common man as what is 100% 'subjective'.
      b) And I have been using the term 'world' in this analysis not
      as it is usually defined but as I have defined it for
      purposes of #1 above.


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

      I replied:
      >>I am unsure of what it is you are addressing here.

      Mike then explained:
      >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)

      This would also be the sense I am using. However there are a few terms
      within this definition that are being taken for granted, and a few things
      you yourself, I believe, are taking for granted.

      1. "external world":
      here the AHD makes great assumptions. It contrasts "subjective" with
      "external world." This is of course the very crux of our misunderstanding.
      Because now with this definition it would seem that the "subjective"
      experience has nothing at all to do with the "external world" or "world."
      But this would be reading into the definition too much because the way it
      is using the term world is not how I have been using the term world. What
      does the definition here assume 'external' to be? Is it outside the body?
      If so then the existence of ones digestive tract in ones body, if it
      affected the mind because of dyspeptic reason could still be considered a
      subjective experience because it is not external to the body. Or does it
      mean external to the mind only? In which case, where is the Mind? Is it
      the brain? Is it the nervous system? are the perceiving organs a part of
      this 'mind' also (in which case the dermal tissue would have to be
      included). What does this 'external world' imply? [see 'the two heads'
      analysis of the mind below for further confusion].

      2. "..to be UNAFFECTED by the external world":
      since such subjectivity "proceeds" from the mind, surely the reverse is
      not true: that the subjective does not affect how the 'external world' is
      viewed. The subjective experience of the mind does affect the external
      world, or rather the interpretation of that world. If this statement were
      false think of the implications. Memory proceeds from and takes place
      within the mind and is a subjective event. Without memory we would not be
      able to to say what this thing is in front of us. It is a 'computer' but
      we would not be able to define it as such if we had no memory of what a
      computer is. All our linguistic definitions of the world around us are due
      to the subjective occurrence of memory within our mind. One could argue
      that memory is triggered by events in the external world but the external
      world does not cause the memory to occur, the mind causes it to occur
      because it 'subjectively' desires, constantly, to define the external world
      into linguistic thoughts. The external world in this case merely serves as
      a 'template' for the mind to proceed (like the blackness of our closed
      eyelids serves as a template for dreams to proceed). So I only disagree
      with, "unaffected by the external world" if, when the external world serves
      as this 'template', the definition means that the template affects the
      mind. I say this because if there were no 'template' at all, then the mind
      could not function at all (much less experience 'subjective' activity).

      A dictionary is helpful to understand the general meaning of a word but it
      is, of course, not the end all and be all of definitions. For instance if
      you looked up the meanings of the words "bad" and "evil" any contrast a
      dictionary could give between them will be irrelevant to the contrast
      Nietzsche makes. If you looked up "nothing" in even the OED, of all
      dictionaries, would you have then an understanding of the way Sartre
      contrasts it with "being"? No, because the dictionary defines one word with
      other words that are to be taken for granted in order to gain a general
      understanding of that word.

      The following is how I would alter the AHD's definition to suit the way I
      have been using the term 'subjective':

      "Proceeding from or taking place (within?) the mind such as to be
      unaffected by the 'actual' or the 'truth'; particular to a given mind;
      personal."

      *-Two Head Theory-
      To understand the ambiguity of an external world as it contrasts with the
      mind, I will here refer to a paradox which Robert Anton Wilson has raised
      concerning this issue:
      Here, Wilson locates the mind (psyche) to be where the brain is (as
      many of us tend to). The brain is located within our 'head' (obviously)
      and is the receptor and processor of all external stimuli including but not
      limited to light (vision will be focused on here).
      Now if the brain is indeed the mind then everything that is
      experienced external to the head (which contains the brain) is actually
      experienced within the brain as it is the processor of the stimuli.
      Therefore everything that is seen outside of the head is actually occurring
      inside the head (where the neurological experience takes place). Thus the
      head that we experience as our own at the nexus of our sight is actually a
      head that is experienced within our head (thus the 'two-heads' of the
      paradox). And There must then be a head or cranium that surrounds
      everything we can see since what we see is experienced inside the head
      (making two heads into three, ad infinitum).
      So if the whole of everything we experience daily is being
      experienced within our head, what is outside our head? Is it an even
      greater head?

      Internal and External are thus a paradox when they concern the nature of
      consciousness.

      2. Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find.
      When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will
      marvel, and will reign over all.

      89. Jesus said, "Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don't you
      understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the
      outside?"



      Mike wrote:
      >Paradigmatic examples of "subjective experiences" would be dreams and
      >hallucinations.

      The only difference between dreams and ordinary daily experiences is that
      with dreams there is no 'external' template with which the mind must mold
      its subjective phenomena. But the common man is still equally as self
      absorbed in his ordinary daily experiences.
      With hallucinations, the mind is no longer molding to the 'external' the
      way it normally does.

      Such experiences are personal and private, and are
      >contrasted with "objective experiences" caused by external stimuli.

      "Experience" will occur in a common man based upon his fears, desires,
      memory, etc. External stimuli will only serve a symbolic purpose for the
      mind to activate these subjective events of the mind (and we all know how
      subject symbols are to interpretation). What is 'objective' will not be
      symbolic, and symbolic includes language. How much of our "external" world
      remains undefined linguistically?

      >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?

      The hallucination of a waterhole requires no 'objective' template of a
      'thing' that could be named 'waterhole'. The ACTUAL seeing of a waterhole
      would not depend on the word 'waterhole' and would not be influenced by the
      meaning of a 'waterhole', but would be experienced as it is, uniquely its
      own 'thing' with purposes and meanings that do not exist, with no
      distinction between 'myself' and that 'thing' ever made, and with
      absolutely no memory that renders one in now in the past rather than the
      present moment.
      Try observing something, wherever you are, for a whole minute
      without being distracted by any thought that should cross your mind and
      without being distracted by the thought or idea that you are observing that
      thing. If you cannot, than you cannot live in an objective world for even
      a minute.

      >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.

      I beg to differ. What do you think this logion implies about ascetic
      knowledge of the 'world'?

      80. Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the
      body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not
      worthy."

      I could take this to mean that the world can only be fully understood if it
      is understood as a subjective experience of the body (see the Two-head
      paradox again if you have forgotten 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).

      It is each observer who is affected by their own subjective
      interpretations, of an objective occurrence, differently. The objective
      occurrence is just a catalyst of thought that unique, and subjective, to
      each person.

      >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".

      No. But each billiard balls' position on the table, if they were conscious,
      would dictate how they would react to the billiard ball hitting them. One
      ball would think, "I hate this white ball because he is obviously racist to
      blacks and must be hitting me because I am black. I am going to bounce back
      and hit him." While the other ball might be thinking, "I'm yeller, I'm
      scared of everything, this ball hit me because I am such a coward and so
      pathetic, I'm going to go into this hole over here and hide." The white
      ball on the other hand might try to be very apologetic to the other two
      balls because it did not mean to hit them in the first place. It meant to
      get that other ball.
      These are all subjective understandings that arise from an
      objective reality but no ball understood that these things happen, that
      everything just happens. All the balls are living in their own subjective
      world and react to it because they do not understand the 'objective'
      reality.

      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.)

      Yes there is an objective reality but it does not consist of "Things" and
      so I AM entitled to use the term even it consists of No-thing.

      >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.

      I laugh.

      regardless,
      Robert Tessman.
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