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By Stephen 1 month 1 week ago

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In the last few years, I've looked for a greater understanding of our Consciousness by reading abut Consciousness Studies. It is an endeavor to feel what is deeper than only conceptualizing what can be called "Consciousness at large". I have an intuition of what fully arises in that effort, that intention. This is my intention even though it is an exercise of personal will I have concluded is an illusion, not an illusion in a pejorative sense but simply as part of being human. At the outset, there is no question that Consciousness is fundamental to our experience of ourselves and of the entirety of how and what we know. So a study of Consciousness is a study of ontology. I agree with the assertion in some schools of Idealistic ontology: brain evolution and subsequent cultural conditioning results in humanity feeling alienated, a disassociation from Consciousness at large, especially as individuals being separate from others. My intuition is this state of disassociation is in opposition to a more natural human state of Consciousness that is all-inclusive, not alienated from others and the world.

From a condition of alienation, this more natural condition is best conceived as described long ago in the Upanishads as "the one without a second". I also agree with the view that the conceptualization of the apparent paradox, here described as a disassociation from Consciousness at large, has been an important conceptualization in the course of history. I refer to both objective and subjective forms of Idealism in Western schools of philosophy. More important, I think, is the study of Consciousness since the 1990s blossoming in the context of neuroscience. This is particularly significant for me and others with a long interest in philosophical Idealism because it has opened a confrontation between schools of philosophical materialism, specifically physicalism, as an ontology, versus ontology in schools of Idealism. Central to this confrontation is what in neuroscience has come to be defined as "the hard problem of consciousness". Simply put, this problem is one of measurement, there is no way to quantify what it is like to be a conscious being. All that can be done is to measure neurological correlates of Conscious activity in the behavior of the brain, in the electro-chemical changes taking place in brain cells.

Theoretical approaches to the "hard problem" necessarily require a choice of ontological presupposition. Physicalism can rather easily be argued to be inadequate as an ontology for this theoretical approach. To say so I should review the contradictions to the internal logico-conceptual structure of the physicalist ontology. For the present preamble, I just need to ask that it be believed that physicalism could be an inadequate ontology to address the "hard problem" despite it being the overarching belief of humanity that has emerged from brain evolution and subsequent cultural conditioning.

The recognition among many scientists and philosophers of the inadequacy of a materialist theory to approach study of Consciousness is evidenced by a range of ontological theories that have gained some traction in addressing the gap between the immeasurable subject of experience, of "being like someone", and the internal objects of knowledge generated from the sensory experience of the external world. The key difference between these alternative ontological theories and physicalism is that the latter posits a physical universe of elemental components that are devoid of Consciousness. It is the prevailing view at this time that Consciousness emerges as a result of the combination of elemental components of the physical world. All such materialist ontologies, however, share a basic flaw: internal perceptions and sensory perceptions provide no conclusive evidence regarding Consciousness. Denial of the possibility of Consciousness at large by materialists can only be an unsubstantiated inference made by physicalists. This is the definition of the "hard problem of Consciousness". This problem can be ignored but not dismissed. However, any other conception of Consciousness at large contrary to physicalism must address the common human experience of perception of our internal and external world that for materialists gives rise to the notion of a "hard problem'.

There are many alternative ontologies to materialism that attempt to address the "hard problem". Problematically, alternative ontologies predominant in Consciousness studies publications share a common fault with physicalism. I won't go into these in detail in this preamble except to say that unlike the philosophical Idealism I will begin to outline, the alternative ontologies I have mentioned, just like physicalism, reduce Consciousness to abstractions that are in Consciousness only as explanatory models of Consciousness. I am speaking about the Idealism of a specific objective-subjective genre that asserts all existence as entirely phenomenal. This Idealistic ontology exceeds being only an explanatory model.

Some alternative ontologies to physicalism circumvent the "hard problem" by positing Consciousness as the irreducible property of ultimates. Consciousness does not need to be explained by anything else according to this conception of our subjective experience. However, this requires the unique combination of Conscious ultimates that emerges as an individual human being. This is an explanatory model of humanity which is merely an inference, not based on observation of how a multiplicity of Conscious ultimates combine to form an individual Conscious person. In contemporary philosophy, this is known as "the subject combination problem" and is just as much an enigma as the "hard problem".

Other abstract theories posit a dual aspect to existence that is also only an explanatory model within Consciousness. Such ontologies. rather than a bottom-up construction of human Consciousness from more primitive combinations of Conscious ultimate particles, infer a top-down emergence of humanity. The unexamined inference is the unsubstantiated claim that Consciousness at large in some way decomposes into our psyches, the phenomenality of personal experience. So just as physicalism infers a duality of a physical world separate from phenomenality, theories of Consciousness beyond human phenomenality manifesting human Consciousness also employ infer a dual aspect to existence.

The ontology of subjective-objective Idealism I am introducing asserts pure phenomenality as Consciousness at large. This differs from other confrontations to materialism because subjective-objective Idealism asserts human phenomenality in Consciousness being constituted of phenomenality at large. I want to unpack this particular Idealistic ontology. I accept it as the best ontology even though paradoxically this ontology has no explanatory power.

I can only notice I am alienated as a human being from Consciousness at large. My search for insight in the field of Consciousness study is action undertaken by a disassociated individual, a fabricated personality identified with and limited to my particular body-mind complex. My brain activity, thought, provides self-reflection based on my memory. This apparent fragment of existence is experienced as a disassociation from Consciousness at large as the product of brain evolution naturally supported by thousands of years of culture, more recently by the scientific revolution (a result of which Idealism seems counterintuitive to physicalism).

If an insight, a mutation, or so-called illumination were to occur such that disassociation from Consciousness at large was to end, it would nonetheless happen through a human body-mind. So being disassociated from Consciousness at large is paradoxical as it should be. Maybe it is surrender to that inevitability that allows any end of disassociation! My conclusions are concepts, are things, maybe things that are philosophically valid for what value that may have. My brain is also a thing. My body and its sensory apparatus are things. The objects of the world that is "not me" are things. The overwhelming consensus of our culture is that the physical world is not conscious, while sentience and particularly self-reflective sentience denotes consciousness. However, both conceptions of "me" and "not me" are inferences of "conscious" and "not-conscious". We experience only inferred concepts about consciousness, not Consciousness at large. This statement is also a conceptualization, a conception of disassociation from Consciousness. We are led to conclude there is nothing we can do through any exercise of our will!

Let me share this line of conception as a metaphor of the union of Shiva and Shakti, well known in the Upanishadic tradition. Understanding the metaphor begins with Shiva, ever in deep-sleep, Absolute Consciousness, one without a second. Shakti is a dream of multiplicity, a world composed of that which is oneself and that which is not oneself. Shakti is an infinity of conceptions, a dream of multiplicity taking place as activities in (or metaphorically as a dance of Shakti on) the inconceivable body of Shiva. Significant is that Consciousness is the field of this dance, the fragmented world of beings are not individually conscious, they are in Consciousness. We are in Consciousness at large experiencing but inferred concepts about Consciousness.

If indeed "the one without a second" (that which experiences) is Shiva and the dream of Shakti is Shiva-Shakti, then all that we conceive is the extrinsic appearance of Consciousness in our state of disassociation. It means that there is no "unconscious" physical world as inferred from sensory experience or personal inner world that is inferred as "conscious" that is put together by thought in the material configuration of the brain in some miraculous way. Culturally, that is the miracle we buy into.

What can be truly miraculous is if that Shiva-Shakti manifests as human beings that are, or no longer are, disassociated in Absolute Consciousness. This is a possibility I could ignore, but amazing would be to encounter such a human being, I think. If I were to suppose that Consciousness at large includes such human beings I could not explain how that it was so. This person would be human as me and all that entails. It would have to be a non-conceptual intuition that this person is not in the same state of disassociation as myself.

Returning to the metaphor, a person manifested free of disassociation from Consciousness at large in the dance of Shakti would in the Upanishadic tradition be the manifestation of the feminine aspect to the male aspect of Shiva. That freedom She manifests would be non-conceptual in contrast to the multiplicity She has manifested in the activity of thought in the human brain. That person would be a demonstration of what a human can be. She is a lighthouse of the impossible, the unknowable Shiva-Shakti.

By Stephen 1 year 4 months ago

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Consciousness is the fabric of existence, of Being, and the more I realized this, the more my participation with the infinite joy of life.

When lost in the mundane I think of myself as occupying the space of my body and in possession of Consciousness. How did that happen? Apparently, in this state, I think there is some unknown I need to know about my existence and the existence of the world I encounter, there is dissatisfaction. I am aware human beings have proposed countless questions and devised systems of thought, belief and practice in response to this basic dissatisfaction. Dispensing with speculation about some future understanding, however, I can notice the immediate potent immensity of Being.

I have an intuition of the immeasurable attending the infinite scope of existence in space. Always portending is the power of all possible action in relationships between an unlimited manifestation of multiplicity. Potent or manifested, it is Consciousness. Counter-intuitive is the notion that Consciousness emerges as an element among the manifested multiplicity of entities, the measurable entities. Intuitively, however, I know Being as Consciousness, as manifested in space, occupied or not by the multiplicity.

Consciousness, when, tasting the awakened heart is experienced as the breath of all the elements, the entities, of manifested multiplicity. Consciousness alone manifests, breathes, it is not brought about by a process. My body obtains sensory input from the world that it retains and utilizes while generating output to its environment. This process takes place in the fabric of Consciousness.

The most refined action of my body occurs in the brain. Raw sensory input is retained as memory in cellular structures maintaining a physical correlate for experience. Memory is output expressed as names and forms associated with the material structures accessed. Thought is this expression of the past, is it not? Thought is happening in the medium of Consciousness.

Thought is a decent into the past. I know nothing new is created by thought. The future I imagine, being rooted in thought alone, can produce nothing new; yet this modality for taking action in the world is the habit I perpetuate in the mundane state. In that I am joined by the vast majority of humanity at the current stage of evolution. A novel stage of evolution emerging initially in a small minority of humanity is literally happening now. This is what I taste.

I can notice the immediate potent immensity of Being as Consciousness. This potency is not restricted by the conception of non-existence, that is, that it did not exist and then did – or that it will exist later only when some conditions are attained or maintained. The more I realize this the more participation with the infinite joy of life. I taste this Bliss in the clarity of Consciousness, thereby as Being, as one without a second, as no one who will be someone. My folly or yours would be to ask if this is our direct experience.

By gabriel5779 1 year 5 months ago

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I love the changes to the website. Love you David!

By Imayami 1 year 6 months ago

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I am love in love
inside divine mother love
I am attached to Her
i love to love
more and more fully
to fall into the fullness of love
I am at ease
with spiraling clouds and swaying grass
inviting me deeply into relationship
my innocent need
to belong
to be in a relationship
of Real Love
With you I find all that
here and now
together with me everywhere
a miracle is present, unfolding for me
sliding, flowing and vibration in all angles of my perceptions
How can I explain this -
I am alive inside a divine body of the universe
always alive, always...
an untiring love
full of such a pleasurable energy unfolding everywhere all the time
the entirety of Divine Love
always together
I merge my fingers so sweetly with yours
to feel you so intimately close
at the depth of my core
I belong with you forever

By Imayami 1 year 6 months ago

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Growing by the nurture and nature
inside the womb of Mother
surrounded by moon dust
luminous nectar
at ease
deep within your protection
breaking free
bursting open
into the entirety
of your soft, soft moonlight
your body grew whole inside the Divine Mother
to carry forward the mystical light and life
by the glow of your innocent, radiating being
at night and by day
I find you in every flash of my perception