The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

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lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:36 am

pegembara wrote:
lostitude wrote:
pegembara wrote: What you cannot perceive through the senses(not forgetting the mind or 6th sense) cannot be said to exist. For something to exist, you have to start conceiving it. That includes using formula and equations.
So you confirm that, say, Pluto did not exist until it was discovered in 1930?
It did not exist(for us) until you conceive that it does. Like discovery of previously unknown animal species. Or the discovery of electricity.

It is about what is real for us in our experience - not what is really out there if there even is such a thing.

Spiny explains it better.
Oh, I see, so you're using quite a specific definition of the concept of existence, not the conventional one, otherwise it would be absurd to say something doesn't exist because we are not aware of it.

lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:52 am

chownah wrote:but don't let this deter you, ask or comment away if you wish.
Thanks. I'm in no way trying to prove a specific argument because I'm a firm believer in it, I actually haven't made up my mind about this debate which I don't know enough about. But since you and other participants are upholding a specific view, I just wanted to poke at it and see if it could weather the most basic objections. I would have tried to contradict you too if you were defending the opposite view. So this really isn't a confrontation for me, it's just about testing the arguments given here.
Since the only mind which you have access to is your own, perhaps you have just shown the weakness of your mind.....or perhaps you have shown that your mind can think of things that it can not do. None of this need necessarily be in reference to anything external.
How does that make sense? A mind that could construct a perfectly coherent world with zero contradiction in it, and which yet is completely unable to influence it. I don't see how these two facts can be reconciled, except by postulating that the uncontrolable elements are external.
Why not just assume that external things don't exist and the mind can not manipulate it's internal model in many ways that you can imagine?
Because it would amount to saying that the mind controls everything yet controls nothing at the same time. How do you make sense of that?
In 2. you talk about 'nothing we perceive can be trusted'. I don't know where you got this but certainly not from me.
The difficulty in this thread is that several people hold several different views about what seems to be the same general argument. Apologies if I tend to mix all those up.

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:26 pm

lostitude wrote:
chownah wrote:Since the only mind which you have access to is your own, perhaps you have just shown the weakness of your mind.....or perhaps you have shown that your mind can think of things that it can not do. None of this need necessarily be in reference to anything external.
How does that make sense? A mind that could construct a perfectly coherent world with zero contradiction in it, and which yet is completely unable to influence it. I don't see how these two facts can be reconciled, except by postulating that the uncontrolable elements are external.
First I don't know where you got the idea that the world is perfectly coherent with zero contradictions......check out quantum science and you'll find contradictions to ususally accepted logic.....optical illusions are often visually contradictory....cognitive dissonance....mental illness.....
Second who talked about the mind being "competely unable to influence it"? I just said that the mind can think of things that it can not do....not that it was completly unable to influence things.
Third, why not postulate that the "uncontrollable elements" as you call them are internal?
lostitude wrote:
chownah wrote: Why not just assume that external things don't exist and the mind can not manipulate it's internal model in many ways that you can imagine?
Because it would amount to saying that the mind controls everything yet controls nothing at the same time. How do you make sense of that?
Here you just restate your reasoning which I have refuted above. Recap: It does NOT amount to the mind controls everything (nothing I have said indicates that the mind controls everything) yet controls nothing (nothing I have said indicates that the mind controls nothing).

In short...I don't know where you get "the mind controls everything" or that the mind constructs the world. I have not said these things and you have not brought any reason to believe that the mind has these abilities. (EDIT: I just noticed that I did say "the mind can not manipulate IT'S internal model in many ways that you can imagine". This might lead one to think that I am saying that the mind creates the model and I am sorry I wrote this in this way. I should have written "the mind can not manipulate THE internal model...."....thus making it clear that I do not postulate how the internal model is created....in fact why do we call it "internal" or even a "model"? Speaking this way presupposes the existence of something "external" which is being modeled and so it is presupposing the exact thing we are trying to delineate.....a logical error I think.)
chownah

lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:05 pm

chownah wrote: First I don't know where you got the idea that the world is perfectly coherent with zero contradictions......check out quantum science and you'll find contradictions to ususally accepted logic.....
Would you mind pointing me to simply one such striking case that you have in mind?
optical illusions are often visually contradictory...
Of course, but they never affect more than one sense, and all the others are there to rectify the misperception. Secondly, the sense at fault can usually rectify itself the misperception once the subject becomes aware of it. In this sense, the overall coherence of the system is perfectly preserved, including the fact that the illusion is explained and understood and leaves no room to incoherence.
.cognitive dissonance....
I'm not sure what your definition of cognitive dissonance is, but I don't see what it has to do with this topic?
mental illness.....
Which is full of incoherences...
Second who talked about the mind being "competely unable to influence it"?
I did, it was my point. How can one assume that the mind originates all our surroundings yet no one has ever demonstrated the ability to modify said environment at will. Which contradicts the assumption that the mind creates it. How would it be possible to create something that you can't modify?
Third, why not postulate that the "uncontrollable elements" as you call them are internal?
For the reason above.



Here you just restate your reasoning which I have refuted above. Recap: It does NOT amount to the mind controls everything (nothing I have said indicates that the mind controls everything) yet controls nothing (nothing I have said indicates that the mind controls nothing).
I didn't get your refutation, sorry. I interpreted your response as another proposition, but I don't see how it shows that my argument was baseless.
In short...I don't know where you get "the mind controls everything" or that the mind constructs the world. I have not said these things and you have not brought any reason to believe that the mind has these abilities. (EDIT: I just noticed that I did say "the mind can not manipulate IT'S internal model in many ways that you can imagine". This might lead one to think that I am saying that the mind creates the model and I am sorry I wrote this in this way. I should have written "the mind can not manipulate THE internal model...."....thus making it clear that I do not postulate how the internal model is created....in fact why do we call it "internal" or even a "model"? Speaking this way presupposes the existence of something "external" which is being modeled and so it is presupposing the exact thing we are trying to delineate.....a logical error I think.)
chownah
But then this becomes a completely different debate. Maybe we were just not on the same wavelength from the beginning. What you describe is simply the suppression of any distinction between internal and external, not the negation of anything external/assertion that everything is internal. If that's the case, then I can't see any reason not to accept this point of view, it's just a way of seeing things like any other I guess...
The only problem I still have is with the idea that the existence of an 'external world' can't be proven. It may not be proven mathematically, but so much evidence points to its factual existence that it seems (to me) unwise to discard it as a mere assumption.

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:24 pm

lostitude wrote: The only problem I still have is with the idea that the existence of an 'external world' can't be proven. It may not be proven mathematically, but so much evidence points to its factual existence that it seems (to me) unwise to discard it as a mere assumption.
Yeah, there is alot of evidence pointing to the existence of an external world. As I said it really really really does seem like there is an external world out there filled with stuff and this is basically what you are saying when you talk about this evidence. If there wasn't alot of evidence we would not be haveing this discussion.

Who said anything about discarding the external world....and what is it about an assumption the makes it "mere"? Calling an assumption a "mere assumption" is just stylistic denegration....and while I"m at it calling somethings "existence" as "factual existence" is just stylistic endorsement. The "mere" and "factual" add nothing to your arguements.....it's puted existence is not "factual" and the assumption is not "mere".

I can fully see that it is not possible for the human apparatus to prove the existence or the non-existence of an external world....do you think in some way that I have discarded it as a (mere) assumption? In my life I mostly don't even think about it....but....if I do think about it I easily remember that I don't know if there is an external world or not and that it really really really seems like there is an external world but I do not have the faculties to be able to determine that conclusively.
chownah

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:08 pm

Well if I can't find a subject and if there are no essences either (sorry, controversial?) then there's no need to think whether the world is "external" or not. Everything is just "experience"
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Bundokji
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:02 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:Well if I can't find a subject and if there are no essences either (sorry, controversial?) then there's no need to think whether the world is "external" or not. Everything is just "experience"
If the statement "everything is just experience" is true whether you think about it or not, then "every thing is not just experience" because the statement is true whether you experience it or not.

In logic, this is called "reductio ad absurdum". Arguments that use universals such as "Everything", "always", "never" ...etc can usually easily be reduced to absurd conclusions.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

lostitude
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:39 pm

chownah wrote:
Who said anything about discarding the external world....and what is it about an assumption the makes it "mere"? Calling an assumption a "mere assumption" is just stylistic denegration....and while I"m at it calling somethings "existence" as "factual existence" is just stylistic endorsement. The "mere" and "factual" add nothing to your arguements.....it's puted existence is not "factual" and the assumption is not "mere".

I can fully see that it is not possible for the human apparatus to prove the existence or the non-existence of an external world....do you think in some way that I have discarded it as a (mere) assumption? In my life I mostly don't even think about it....but....if I do think about it I easily remember that I don't know if there is an external world or not and that it really really really seems like there is an external world but I do not have the faculties to be able to determine that conclusively.
chownah
Mere and factual, yes, because not all assumptions have the same degree of likelihood. And here it's not a 50-50 chance. More like 99,999 to 0,001% chance. Based on what we can see, to me it really looks absurd do believe that it is just as likely that there's nothing than that there is something out there. The evidence is overwhelming in favor of an external world. Maybe not fully conclusive, but still overwhelming. That's the problem I see with your line of thinking. Refusing to declare that you are certain is one thing - saying that both hypotheses are equally likely is another and that we can't favor one over the other really looks exaggerated to me. Isn't it? In advance, sorry if I'm distorting your explanations.

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aflatun
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by aflatun » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:07 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:Bravo aflatun and SN. Watching and learning ... so, so much to learn, so little time.

Btw "Kant as Buddhist" has always been the Silk Road which has been worth exploring to me. At the moment this has led to Schopenhauer, Jakob Fries, Leonard Nelson, Rudolf Otto, Karl Popper.

Pretty stodgy stuff. But I'm digging it.

:redherring:
All wonderful stuff! I'm guessing you're familiar with the writings of Kelley Ross?

Kant was so close in many ways, sometimes I wish I could just slap him: "Dude you're RIGHT THERE, just JUMP."

As was Schopenhauer, for some similar, and some different, reasons.

Not to be pedantic, but don't let anyone tell you Wittgenstein doesn't belong with this crew. If you ignore everything the nit wits we know as logical empiricists have heaped onto the interpretation of Witt, it becomes glaringly obvious to what extent he's entirely assumed a Kantian-Schopenhauerian framework without explicitly telling us he's done so. Have you checked out Bryan Magee? The chapter on Witt is mind blowing.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

SamKR
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SamKR » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:48 am

Saying "there is something outside of experience" is very analogous to saying "there is something outside of the physical universe".
(Here the word "universe" is used in the sense of "everything" physical.)

Can there be certainty about something physical being outside of physical everything? This question is absurd. If there is something outside of the universe then by definition that something is already included within the universe (everything physical), it's not outside of the universe.

Now let's replace "physical universe" with "experience" and ask: Can there be certainty about something outside of experience? Whatever we may imagine as certainly being outside of experience is already included within the experience (since that very imagination or concept or whatever is cognized is already an experience). Nothing can be certain out of experience; only uncognized or non-conceived experience in the experience is certain. Remaining in that certainty of experience is an important aspect of meditation.

chownah
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:03 am

lostitude wrote:
chownah wrote:
Who said anything about discarding the external world....and what is it about an assumption the makes it "mere"? Calling an assumption a "mere assumption" is just stylistic denegration....and while I"m at it calling somethings "existence" as "factual existence" is just stylistic endorsement. The "mere" and "factual" add nothing to your arguements.....it's puted existence is not "factual" and the assumption is not "mere".

I can fully see that it is not possible for the human apparatus to prove the existence or the non-existence of an external world....do you think in some way that I have discarded it as a (mere) assumption? In my life I mostly don't even think about it....but....if I do think about it I easily remember that I don't know if there is an external world or not and that it really really really seems like there is an external world but I do not have the faculties to be able to determine that conclusively.
chownah
Mere and factual, yes, because not all assumptions have the same degree of likelihood. And here it's not a 50-50 chance. More like 99,999 to 0,001% chance. Based on what we can see, to me it really looks absurd do believe that it is just as likely that there's nothing than that there is something out there. The evidence is overwhelming in favor of an external world. Maybe not fully conclusive, but still overwhelming. That's the problem I see with your line of thinking. Refusing to declare that you are certain is one thing - saying that both hypotheses are equally likely is another and that we can't favor one over the other really looks exaggerated to me. Isn't it? In advance, sorry if I'm distorting your explanations.
Your mention of probabilities is not appropriate.

You say, "The evidence is overwhelming in favor of an external world. Maybe not fully conclusive, but still overwhelming."

I said, "it really really really seems like there is an external world but I do not have the faculties to be able to determine that conclusively."

This is what I have been saying all along......seems that we are in agreement.....yet you keep dueling. I know that you don't see it as dueling but I have been saying the same thing from the beginning and now that you even admit that you agree you misrepresent what I have said and keep on with your dueling. The latest example: "saying that both hypotheses are equally likely is another and that we can't favor one over the other really looks exaggerated to me". I never said this and did not even imply it. This is totally your fabrication.....I think this is what is called a strawman arguement. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man)
chownah

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Circle5
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Circle5 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:05 am

SamKR wrote:Saying "there is something outside of experience" is very analogous to saying "there is something outside of the physical universe".
(Here the word "universe" is used in the sense of "everything" physical.)

Can there be certainty about something physical being outside of physical everything? This question is absurd. If there is something outside of the universe then by definition that something is already included within the universe (everything physical), it's not outside of the universe.

Now let's replace "physical universe" with "experience" and ask: Can there be certainty about something outside of experience? Whatever we may imagine as certainly being outside of experience is already included within the experience (since that very imagination or concept or whatever is cognized is already an experience). Nothing can be certain out of experience; only uncognized or non-conceived experience in the experience is certain. Remaining in that certainty of experience is an important aspect of meditation.
But what if there is a physical world and beings can experience it due to consciousness. Maybe form is not there because of consciousness, but through consciousness you can experience form.

And if you die or get reborn somewhere else, other beings will be able to experience the city you live in through their consciousness even without SamKR consciousness being there in the city.

At least this is the Buddhist position regarding the problem. Try disproving this. You do the disproving this time.

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Bundokji
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:47 am

SamKR wrote:Saying "there is something outside of experience" is very analogous to saying "there is something outside of the physical universe".
(Here the word "universe" is used in the sense of "everything" physical.)
The problem is in the meaning and our use of language. In fact, the whole confusion is related to meaning. You cannot know everything at once, but you can know one thing at a time. Imagine you are thinking about ice cream, then what happens to the notion/the meaning of "everything is experience" while you are thinking about ice cream? If the meaning is relevant or exists only when you think about it, then you are falling into the same problem you are trying to avoid, that is, giving existence to something that does not exist, which is experience. For instance, when someone wants to argue that a self exists, you can simply ask them: what happens to the self when you go to sleep?

To know something, you have to make it into a "thing", and if you have ever observed how your mind conceives a "thing", it is conceived as something that has "objective existence", and this includes the notion "experience is everything" you are making a statement which conveys a meaning whether you are thinking about it or not, or in other words, whether you are experiencing it or not, which is self defeating
Remaining in that certainty of experience is an important aspect of meditation.
In a previous post, i explained the utility of such a thought for introspection, because thinking of existence in terms of experience helps you become aware of your experience (which you have to make effort to remind yourself of it all time, which shows its limitation), but once you turn it into certainty, you cease to know what you are doing.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:53 am

I would add that any attempt to explain the ultimate nature of reality by using language is futile and false.

Silence tells no lies, silence does not deceive
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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BasementBuddhist
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by BasementBuddhist » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:06 am

The idea of a debate on the ultimate nature of reality among Buddhists makes me smile. :clap:

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