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3964Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Book Recommendation

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  • Thomas Mether
    Dec 4 8:30 AM
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      You wrote:
      One advantage that the Buddhist approach has is that it does not appear
      to be concerned with physical v. non-physical dualism to any great
      extent (if at all).
      My reply: That is because, at least Mahayana Buddhism is a type of absolute idealism coupled with a phenomenalistic idealism. For the latter qualification, a close western equivalent would be Berkeley's subjective idealism where the objective world is just appearances based on your subjective karma. Part of Yogacara meditation is not just to believe that but deeply and existentially realize that experientially. Then the next phase of meditation, moving from Yogacara to Madyamika meditation is the experientially realize through meditative experience that the subjective pole of phenomenal appearances also has no indiependent reality apart from appearances. This is the move beyond the subjective idealism construal of Berkelyan idealism. B. Allan Wallace (an interesting person, a Buddhist, philosopher, and theoretical physicist) says the resulting phenomenalist idealism is a neutral monism, although the neutral monism is not neutral between mental and
      physical reality, rather it is neutral between the subjective pole and objective pole of experience as the phenomenal field. Buddhism neutral monism absolute idealism, he compares to William James' radical empiricism. Mind and its phenomenal experiential correlates are interdependent poles of a single reality, namely, experience. The intentional and teleological unity of experience recognized in the phenomenological tradition (although only a functional unity and not a substantive one) of experiencer-experiencing-the-experienced-in-contextual-horizon in James' radical empiricism and Buddhism just is reality. There is nothing outside or beyond these interdependent experiential factors. In fact, as several Buddhist scholars have pointed out, one of the correct translations of one of Mahayana's philosophical self-descriptions is "Experience-Only" absolute idealism. B. Alan Wallace is attempting to argue, btw and somewhat apart from his strictly Buddhist
      scholarly work, that this is also the worldview of quantum mechanics after the Aspect EPR experiments that put empirical realism to the experimental test and found that realism is experimentally disconfirmed. Or as Geshe Sopa put it, Buddhism resembles Berkeley's fully developed version of idealism except one does not need God about in the quad; instead of God, it is all of us as sentient beings, as subject poles in a collective experience-only reality that fulfill together what Berkeley's God did. Since we are all inescapeably interdependently related to each other, how we treat each other karmically creates our shared reality or the nature of our experiential loka (context, world, realm).
      --- On Fri, 12/3/10, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:

      From: Curt Steinmetz <curt@...>
      Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Book Recommendation
      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, December 3, 2010, 11:05 AM


      On 12/3/10 10:53 AM, gregshaw58 wrote:
      > Curt,
      > Thanks for the references, Buddhist, Stoic, and Plotinian. The notion of interpenetration of subtle bodies is one that intrigues me. I checked Gerson's "Plotinus" and found your reference on page 133, not 114. Perhaps I have a different edition.

      One advantage that the Buddhist approach has is that it does not appear
      to be concerned with physical v. non-physical dualism to any great
      extent (if at all). Physicalism is an interesting issue, but one that is
      easily over-emphasized in a "can't see the forest for the trees" sort of
      way, in my opinion.

      As far as the reference to Gerson goes, I was using the 1998 Psychology
      Press edition, which is the one that can be perused on googlebooks:

      Strangely, the index of that edition states that mention of the "Stoic
      doctrine of total interpenetration" is to be found on page 133. Even
      stranger is the fact that this index (in the googlebooks version) is
      clickable, and if you click and go to page 133, there is no mention of
      Stoicism or interpenetration at all.

      I am definitely going to be checking out the works that you, Thomas and
      others have mentioned. I have to admit that I am very unfamiliar with
      Myers and with this more recent crop of non-materialist psychologists
      like the Kellys.

      > gshaw
      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz<curt@...> wrote:
      >> On 12/3/10 12:06 AM, Thomas Mether wrote:
      >>> <snip>
      >>> Basically, what I remember is that, for More, a body is by definition simply a volume. A volume does not have to be solid. Also, a body can be organic (have functional parts - organs) without being a solid body. So, More argued, there can be a spiritual organic body.<snip>
      >> The ancient Stoic view was that anything that exists must be a "body",
      >> while at the same time, they held that all bodies everywhere throughout
      >> the Cosmos interact with all other bodies at all times. The Stoic
      >> explanation of how this works is very similar to what is called
      >> "interpenetration" in Mahayana Buddhism, a concept especially associated
      >> with the Hua Yen (Avatamsaka) Sutra.
      >> In his book on Plotinus, Lloyd Gerson refers to what he deems "the truly
      >> bizarre Stoic doctrine of the total interpenetration of bodies. This is
      >> the doctrine that there can and do exist certain mixtures of bodies [of
      >> which the Cosmos itself is an example] such that each part of the
      >> mixture is coextensive with each other. All parts are present in any
      >> part, regardless of how small. The principle point of this doctrine
      >> seems to have been to explain the presence of active soul-body or pneuma
      >> everywhere in the type of body that is the passive recipient of the
      >> active principle." [p. 114]
      >> Gerson takes Plotinus' side, however, and presents the Stoic view only
      >> in the context of explaining how Plotinus' rejection of it is convincing
      >> (to Gerson). A view more sympathetic (if you will) to the Stoic position
      >> is found in "Senecan Drama and Stoic Cosmology" by Thomas G. Rosenmeyer,
      >> especially his chapters 4& 5: "Body, Tension, and Sumpatheia",&
      >> "Krasis, The Flame and the Moist".
      >> Curt Steinmetz
      > ------------------------------------
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