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

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  • Michael Grondin
    I ve been trying to formulate a response to Robert Tessman s lengthy note under this subject, but there s so much to say, I m gonna hafta split it up. In this
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 1, 1999
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      I've been trying to formulate a response to Robert Tessman's lengthy note
      under this subject, but there's so much to say, I'm gonna hafta split it
      up. In this first part, the concentration is on what was meant by "the world".

      Robert wrote:
      >Some have suggested that the lion is a symbol for the world. I can agree
      >with this but the term 'world' is too vague. And the 'World' becoming
      >Human still doesn't make much sense. There is a far better concept for the
      >lion than the 'world'.

      I agree. In my last note, I indicated that, although the world was
      certainly considered *a* "lion", it may not be identical with "the lion" in
      logion 7. The better identification, in my current view, is either the body
      itself, or what may vaguely be referred to as "the beast within us". This
      is not far from your view that #7 speaks about (the self?) identifying with
      either the body or the soul. Nevertheless, there remain some disagreements
      about the nature of the world, and the place of the body in it.

      I wrote:
      > The body was [believed to be] part of the world, the soul was not.

      Robert replied:
      >Disagreed! I believe modern day thinking is leaking into this analysis
      >here when [Mike] writes that the "body was part of the world." I have
      >seen the body as being described as 'worldly' in texts, but to say it is
      >a 'part' implies an objective sense to the concept of world.

      There is no such implication that I can see, insofar as I even understand
      what is meant by "an objective sense to the concept of 'world'". Since your
      argument (below) depends on the claim that the world was thought to be
      "subjective" in some sense, it's necessary to spell out why you believe
      that a "subjective" thing can't have parts. Otherwise, the supposed
      implication you're arguing against is just a straw horse, and the argument
      itself is a non sequitor. Why does having parts imply "an objective sense",
      and what on earth does that even mean?

      >Such objectivity I believe to be almost inherently a product of scientific
      >and rationalist thought. To the classical mind the 'world' was very much a
      >subjective experience.

      Nonsense. No one, ancient or modern, did or could seriously maintain that
      "the world" was/is a subjective experience, like a hallucination. Descartes
      considered that possibility (at least rhetorically), but rejected it.
      Neither Plato nor Hume nor any other thinker I'm familiar with came to this
      conclusion. It's just untenable, cuz the world is the very paradigm of
      objective experience; if the world isn't the source of objective
      experience, then there's no difference at all between "objective" and
      "subjective" experience - no difference at all between a waterhole and a
      hallucination of a waterhole.

      >... Sure there was probably an intuitive sense of the 'objective',
      >but to someone like an early Christian ascetic who would have been
      >extremely contemplative about his or her place in the scheme of
      >existence, the perceived world--perceived only through the PHYSICAL
      >senses--would surely come to be viewed as a quality of the BODY.

      Surely not. There's no indication that ancient (or modern) writers made the
      mistake of reasoning that because (1) everything we experience in the world
      comes thru the body, it follows that (2) the world doesn't exist apart from
      the body - which is what you seem to be suggesting here. "The world" wasn't
      thought to cease to exist when any individual (or even all humans) died, so
      how could it be thought of as a "quality" of the body? Certainly, the world
      would come to an end, but not because there were no bodies to experience
      it. So the conclusion you suggest cannot be attributed historically to
      these folks (or anyone, that I know of).

      > The Body would not only be viewed as the soul's gateway to the
      >world but the body would also be seen as that which discerns the world.
      >Furthermore, when emotions and thoughts come into the scenario, the
      >ascetic would be convinced of an invisible realm that cannot be seen,
      >touched, or heard by the body ...

      It's true that ancient writers (including Paul) contrasted "this aeon" (the
      world) with "the other aeon" (heaven), the former being transitory for the
      individual, and non-eternal overall, but this didn't lead them to the
      erroneous conclusion you suggest above. In fact, the reasoning seems to
      have been that the body was able to experience the world precisely BECAUSE
      it was part of the world. In the same way, the soul would be able to
      directly experience the "invisible realm" of which IT was a part.

      (If anything, it would be the *eternal realm* that would seem to be
      "subjective" from our point of view, because it would be immediately
      accessible to the subject of experience - i.e., the soul (or mind). But
      then again, these concepts of "subjective" and "objective" are probably
      just leading us astray, since we appear to be using them in different
      senses in different parts of the discussion, so I suggest we abandon them
      as being counter-productive to resolution of these issues.)

      Mike

      The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
      http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
    • Robert Tessman
      ... Yes, Perhaps the use of the terms objective vs. subjective can cause difficulties especially when they concern consciousness. I should have been more
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
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        Mike Wrote:
        >But
        >then again, these concepts of "subjective" and "objective" are probably
        >just leading us astray, since we appear to be using them in different
        >senses in different parts of the discussion, so I suggest we abandon them
        >as being counter-productive to resolution of these issues.)

        Yes, Perhaps the use of the terms "objective" vs. "subjective" can cause
        difficulties especially when they concern consciousness. I should have
        been more specific by pointing out that our modern world view consists
        mostly in the "idea" of an objective external world, even if the reality of
        a true objective experience is hidden to most people by a thick, almost
        impenetrable, veil of constant psychological phenomena. Such phenomena
        distorts the world into what then becomes a fully subjective interpretation
        (distorted by the influence of the observer) of external events that are
        still assumed to be objective (that is, occurring beyond the influence of
        the observer).
        The modern (and "western") human tends to think of him or herself
        as an 'absolute' or separate entity from the world that he or she exists
        within. This of course is not the reality but it is the belief. I am
        almost certain that Christianity inspired this trend in modern development
        with its emphasis on the "private." This "detachment" FROM the world in
        the modern person's sphere of self-identification has created a sense of
        the "objective" OF the world. It is this idea of the "objective" that was
        absent in the classical interpretation of the world.
        The person of antiquity was never 'detached' from the world. He or
        She experienced a full immersion in the world and would see anyone who
        tried to be 'separate' as, sort of, 'wrong-in-the-head'. The same type of
        mentality can be found today only in the most remote 3rd World villages and
        countrysides or in Iowa. The result of this "full immersion" mentality is
        that the observer, not at all distanced from friends or family, would be
        CONSTANTLY affected by the world. (apathy for instance would be unknown).
        The world would always 'happen' about the observer. The feeling of
        'helplessness' would be rampant. Their thoughts and emotions would alter
        what they perceived but they would not believe that they could escape from
        the 'happenings' of the world like a modern person would. The man of
        antiquity would have lived in a much more emotional world than the man of
        the modern age. They would be at the mercy of the world. This is why I
        say theirs was a subjective experience.
        But the ascetic would not have 'distanced' him or her self from the
        "world" the way the modern man has. He or she would not have separated
        from the world of society to maintain an "idea" of some sort of special
        individuality, but would have done so for 'divinely' driven concerns. They
        would surely have realized the helplessness of their position in life and
        would have sought in the divine a stability that could only be found by
        means of internal inspection in order to find that 'one' thing that is not
        ever affected by 'cosmic' events. And if a thing is unmoved by the world
        it cannot be of the world and must therefore be of God.
        I suggest that the early Christian movement consisted of a wide
        range of people but that the fuel behind most of its doctrines was offered
        mainly by the ascetic who understood the life of the 'common' person (of
        THAT time). And the common man of that time dwelt in the eye of the
        hurricane (where everything happened about the person), not as a 'part' of
        the hurricane (where the IDEA of "objectivity" comes into the scenario and
        one would have to, somehow, step out of the frame of their life in order to
        see this as a possibility--and the 'common' man of antiquity did not step
        back from his life as an 'outside' or 'separate' observer. That sort of
        thinking verges upon the philosophical, and the common man was not
        philosophical).
        Which brings me to philosophy.

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

        I am unsure of what it is you are addressing here. I hope you are not
        trying to disprove my logic by what the "experts" say or fail to say
        (without understanding their logic). I am hoping that you are referring to
        philosophers in order to find evidence of a different way of thinking, in
        which case it would be irrelevant to mention anyone from the late middle
        ages on. But anyway, *I* seriously maintain that the 'world' was/is a
        subjective experience. Therefore you now know of ONE who seriously
        maintains this. However in saying this I am defining the term "world" as
        it would apply, I am not attempting to explain "reality" as a philosopher
        would. But this definition, I am saying, is the only one that could fit a
        "world" which equates with the "Lion" in Logion 7.
        You yourself agree with me on this point because what matters about this
        "world" of Logion 7 is that it necessarily would cause occurrences in the
        'body' (sexual desires, the urges for power and money, etc.) that would not
        occur IF the "world" were an objective reality. If it 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. True we Could define the 'world' as a mixture of
        objective and subjective experience but this definition would render it
        unequal to the "Lion" in Logion 7. It is precisely because the "world" is
        a subjective experience of the body that it is equatable to a "Man Eater."
        But if you still insist on defining this world as it applies to the GT
        saying as consisting of distinct objective realities too, then what, of its
        objective nature, could be experienced as a "Man Eater" (if we exclude the
        literal Lion and the literal Man)?
        What we disagree upon is not so much the definition of the term
        "World" as it would apply in Logion 7 of the Gospel of Thomas, but rather
        what is a more 'all-embracing' term: "World" or "Body"
        You suggest that it is the world that is a more embracing term because the
        body is a "part" of the world. I suggest that the "Body" is a more
        embracing term because the only world that could be a "Man Eater" is a
        subjective one and thus a product of the "animal" rather than producing the
        animal (which it does only when one considers the objective reality)
        This is a good point at which to illustrate the difficulty in
        distinguishing the "objective" from the "subjective" in figurative speech.
        When I said, "...rather than [the world] producing the animal" above, I was
        speaking literally and the idea relies therefore upon an objective
        understanding of the world. But if I said,"...the world producing the
        animal" in a figurative sense, I would then be applying a definition of
        subjectivity to the term "world"--the world would be a subjective influence
        upon the individual (otherwise it could not figuratively "make him an
        animal".
        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.
        But allow me to throw in the possibility that, in the case of the
        Man eating his completely subjective world, the effect of such a world
        becoming human would be that the world would become fully an objective
        reality and the man would thus no longer be at the mercy of the world
        because that man would no longer identify with the subject.
        Still I think the term "body" is far less confusing to the modern
        man and far more encompassing to the man of antiquity.

        >(If anything, it would be the *eternal realm* that would seem to be
        >"subjective" from our point of view, because it would be immediately
        >accessible to the subject of experience - i.e., the soul (or mind).

        If this were true than the *eternal realm* would be nothing more than sheer
        fantasy. Your assuming that there would still be a subject of experience
        rather than understanding that the Mind *IS* Experience and when the body
        itself becomes an object (including the head) like every other object of
        the world only then would the eternal realm be objective and real (and
        Living).

        on-guards,
        Robert Tessman
      • Michael Grondin
        ... 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
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
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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
        • Robert Tessman
          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
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
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            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.
          • Michael Grondin
            I m afraid we re going to have to break this off, Robert. I had thought that it might be possible to make a brief excursion to clarify terminological
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 5, 1999
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              I'm afraid we're going to have to break this off, Robert. I had thought
              that it might be possible to make a brief excursion to clarify
              terminological differences, then return to the subject at hand (GTh #7),
              but it's now become evident that the number of terms you're using in a
              non-standard way is just too difficult to deal with on this forum. Perhaps
              we can continue our conversation off-list.

              You wrote:
              > 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')

              and again:
              >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.

              I have two comments on this:
              (1) You are ignoring the fact that, not once, but TWICE, I wrote that I was
              backing off from the lion=world identification. So why are you pursuing it?
              In point of fact, my original remarks were intended to point out that "the
              lion" must encompass ALL bodily desires, not just sexual desire, as you had
              suggested.

              (2) Even if I STILL held to "lion=world", what would be the point of your
              defining 'world' in a non-standard way? To help me out? But you're OPPOSED
              to "lion=world", so it would seem that the only purpose of your defining
              'world' in a non-standard way would be for you to then turn around and say,
              "This is the only way that lion=world can be defended, but this defense
              depends on a non-standard sense of the word 'world', therefore lion=world
              can't be defended." That would make sense, I say, but that is precisely
              what you DIDN'T do! Instead, you did the opposite - you've DEFENDED this
              non-standard sense of 'world' - which amounts to (on your own admission
              above) a DEFENSE of lion=world, not an attack on it! So the non-standard
              sense of 'world' which you have put forward is NOT, as you claim, part of
              an effort to make sense of the notion of lion=world - it's something else
              entirely. What it is is an expression of YOUR OWN theory about the nature
              of the world, which has nothing to do with the claim that lion=world.

              I wrote:
              >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)

              You responded:
              >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'.

              Dictionaries express the meanings of words as used by ordinary folks. These
              ordinary meanings embody all sorts of assumptions, esp about mental
              phenomena. These assumptions may be false, but we assume in our discussions
              here that everyone is using words in an ordinary - albeit intellectually
              elevated - way (absent explicit declaration to the contrary). So when
              anyone uses the words 'subjective' or 'world', and does not SAY that
              they're using these in a non-ordinary way, then we're entitled to assume
              that they're NOT using them in a non-ordinary way. I'm sure you can
              appreciate that violation of this assumption leads to endless confusion.

              Interaction between the holder of a special theory and other scholars
              requires that the holder of the special theory be able to express himself
              in terms understandable to others. Suppose, for example, that whenever
              someone asked Kant what time it was, he responded, "Well, you know, time is
              a function of the mind." Pretty soon, folks would just stop asking him for
              the time of day. Not only would his response be considered irrelevant, but
              false to boot. As the holder of a special theory, you need to be able to
              suspend it for the purposes of normal discourse - suspend it by avoiding
              the special meanings which are attached to certain words within that
              theory. Otherwise, folks'll stop asking you for the time of day.

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

              Wilson's "paradox", as well as much of your own reasoning, is caused by the
              same erroneous analysis of "experience" that led Locke, Berkeley, and Hume
              astray. This line of reasoning, originating on the continent with Descartes
              and extending back onto the continent with Kant and his successors, is a
              product of "modern" philosophy, not of the philosophy of the ancients.
              Wilson, for example, makes the mistake of taking for granted that
              "experiences" occur only in the mind, which is an error the ancients
              wouldn't have made, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their more-limited
              conceptual apparatus. (The best recent rebuttal I've seen to this whole
              "empericist" line of thinking is in Mortimer J. Adler's "Ten Philosophical
              Mistakes" (1985), subtitled "Basic Errors in Modern Thought - How They Came
              About, Their Consequences, and How to Avoid Them", esp. Chapter 1,
              "Consciousness and Its Objects". Adler, BTW, is a reputable philosopher.)

              Other than the above, I won't respond any further to your theory onlist.
              Although I disagree with almost every major aspect of it, I'm gonna hafta
              bite my tongue, since the only thing that's relevant is whether the texts
              we're analyzing give any evidence of the authors' (1) accepting your
              theory, or any major part of it, or (2) using any key terms in the way you
              use them. As far as I can see, they don't.

              Regards,
              Mike
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