Bound by Ignorance

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
binocular
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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:15 pm

SDC wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:03 pm
Your presumption that I could fall back on those things and accept a normal mode of understanding without being broken and distraught could not be more wrong.
I don't assume you wouldn't be broken and distraught. Maybe you would be, maybe you wouldn't be. Unless you have attained stream entry, your current attainment is still reversible.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:37 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:15 pm
I don't assume you wouldn't be broken and distraught. Maybe you would be, maybe you wouldn't be. Unless you have attained stream entry, your current attainment is still reversible.
If I were to die without attaining it then, yes. In the next life I'd have no knowledge of my past disenchantment and in a sense it would have reversed. But that is absolutely irrelevant right now. I think anyone who has made a serious effort for any number of years would not be able to reoccupy a position they have worked to undercut - with or without stream entry it is no longer stable or comfortable. You cannot just pull the eject button and go back there.

This all goes back to stakes and what one is willing to risk.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm

SDC wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:37 pm
I think anyone who has made a serious effort for any number of years would not be able to reoccupy a position they have worked to undercut - with or without stream entry it is no longer stable or comfortable. You cannot just pull the eject button and go back there.
Oh, the things one can live with miserably!
This all goes back to stakes and what one is willing to risk.
Usually, this is how this is conceived, yes: in terms of the stakes and the risks. But this is usual thinking. I could quote back to you what you said to me earlier about doing things the usual way.

I don't think risk or the willingness to take risks has anything to do with the Dhamma (even if there is a sutta talking about the "safe bet").
Just like the idea of being fed up to the point where one is willing to go to great lengths to make a change; or the idea of "hitting rock bottom".
Esp. a risk analysis leaves one in the same position and with the same prospects as the analysis of the pros and cons.

The very concept of risk taking is one based on bad faith. It's the conviction the one cannot move on, make a change in some rational, intelligible way, but instead has to take a leap of/to faith. Based on my readings of the suttas, I see no reason to think that any risk taking or leaps to faith are necessary in terms of the Dhamma. It's for the ordinary world that one has to take risks and leaps to faith (and even gets praised for doing so). This includes the preaching strategies of many religious/spiritual apologists.

Why would the suttas talk about generating desire and understanding things properly, if the actual epistemic method is supposed to be risk taking and leaping to faith?

You talk about starting where one is, and moving on from there. For this, I see no need for taking risks and leaping to faith. Because I believe there are things there in one's present situation that allow for the next step, and they allow for it in a rational, intelligible way, not in terms of some risk-taking contrivance.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:32 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm
SDC wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:37 pm
I think anyone who has made a serious effort for any number of years would not be able to reoccupy a position they have worked to undercut - with or without stream entry it is no longer stable or comfortable. You cannot just pull the eject button and go back there.
Oh, the things one can live with miserably!
Trying to repress knowledge would indeed be misery. Embracing it is sometimes the only solution.
binocular wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:36 pm
...
You talk about starting where one is, and moving on from there. For this, I see no need for taking risks and leaping to faith. Because I believe there are things there in one's present situation that allow for the next step, and they allow for it in a rational, intelligible way, not in terms of some risk-taking contrivance.
Most people assume that religion and spirituality are things you couple to your life, your mode, in order to improve both. So the risk isn't immediately evident. Why would it be? It is seen as something that is going to improve "me". For this person they think, "At worst, I'll quit if things don't pan out", i.e. if things begin to mess with their bottom line, they recoil. They don't know the stakes - they haven't "measured the task". The practice of the Dhamma is meant to displace the foundation upon which "self improvement" stands. When contemplations begin to destabilize the mechanisms within which you once assumed the change would be, the risk will be deafeningly apparent.

Faith is a part if the practice. I really don't know what else to say on the matter. If someone comes upon the suttas, it is nothing but promises. The reader has to want them to be true. If they are inspired enough they will go on trust and take a chance that the promises are real.

If you can see things in your present situation that allow for the next step, it leads me to believe that you have done more prep work than you care to admit. You have worked it out enough to proceed. That is literally what I have said repeatedly when I have talked about progression. I really can't grasp what is holding you back at this point - or rather, how anything could hold you back. Feel free to say it all again, but a part of you is clearly prepared to move.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:38 pm

SDC wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:32 pm
Most people assume that religion and spirituality are things you couple to your life, your mode, in order to improve both.
Yes, I never understood that. Given that religion/spirituality contextualizes one's existence in every way (in that it gives a mandatory narrative about one's provenance, one's ontology, and gives a mandatory narrative about one's epistemic and ethical processes) -- there is no escape from it and there's nothing left. It is precisely because of the nature of religion/spirituality that one cannot just add it to one's life.
So the risk isn't immediately evident. Why would it be? It is seen as something that is going to improve "me". For this person they think, "At worst, I'll quit if things don't pan out", i.e. if things begin to mess with their bottom line, they recoil. They don't know the stakes - they haven't "measured the task". The practice of the Dhamma is meant to displace the foundation upon which "self improvement" stands. When contemplations begin to destabilize the mechanisms within which you once assumed the change would be, the risk will be deafeningly apparent.

Religion/spirituality both conceptualizes the proverbial rug and pulls it from under one.
Faith is a part if the practice.
Sure. It's just that in Buddhism, "faith" has a specific definition and reference frame. "Faith" in the context of Buddhism is something quite different than, say, "faith" in the context of Christianity.
That's what I'm pushing for. We're on a Theravada forum. We shouldn't have to hold on to Christian or commonsensical definitions of faith.
If someone comes upon the suttas, it is nothing but promises. The reader has to want them to be true. If they are inspired enough they will go on trust and take a chance that the promises are real.
I don't see them that way at all.
I already take for granted that every statement made anywhere is true within a particular context. This is a kind of epistemic trivialism (for the lack of a better word); or more, generally, epistemic relativism. (It's that stance that postmodernists get dissed for a lot.)
If you can see things in your present situation that allow for the next step, it leads me to believe that you have done more prep work than you care to admit. You have worked it out enough to proceed. That is literally what I have said repeatedly when I have talked about progression. I really can't grasp what is holding you back at this point - or rather, how anything could hold you back. Feel free to say it all again, but a part of you is clearly prepared to move.
Well, there's quite a bit going on in my private life that I'm not talking about here at the forums, but which occupies a lot of my attention and concerns. So you're having an incomplete picture, along with us having quite different vantage points. I realize this is rather tedious.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:31 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:38 pm
If someone comes upon the suttas, it is nothing but promises. The reader has to want them to be true. If they are inspired enough they will go on trust and take a chance that the promises are real.
I don't see them that way at all.
I already take for granted that every statement made anywhere is true within a particular context. This is a kind of epistemic trivialism (for the lack of a better word); or more, generally, epistemic relativism. (It's that stance that postmodernists get dissed for a lot.)
This is probably an entirely different topic. I'm not going to deny that context is critically important when it comes to grasping the meaning. Indeed it is paramount in the translation process to bear in mind that contemporary usage of a word or phrase does not guarantee that the origin language has been fully exposed. What really matters is that the renderings be leading in the direction of that correct meaning as opposed operating with the premise that the translation is absolutely direct/literal.

But even if you were to take truth for granted, that very act is a measure of trust - trust with intent to understand. Knowledge is by no means complete at that point, nor would it be even you were a Pali expert. Again it comes down to application of information within experience to identify where it corresponds - when you take meaning in that context and see if applies to You.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am

SDC wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:31 pm
This is probably an entirely different topic. I'm not going to deny that context is critically important when it comes to grasping the meaning. Indeed it is paramount in the translation process to bear in mind that contemporary usage of a word or phrase does not guarantee that the origin language has been fully exposed. What really matters is that the renderings be leading in the direction of that correct meaning as opposed operating with the premise that the translation is absolutely direct/literal.
I don't mean merely textual/verbal context here, but context much more broadly, including social context, the context of each particular communication.

For example, you could tell an epistemic trivialist that 2 + 2 = 5, and the epistemic trivialist would conclude that your claim is true in the context of your specific intentions for making that claim. The epistemic trivialist wouldn't argue with you about the truthfulness of your claim.
But even if you were to take truth for granted, that very act is a measure of trust - trust with intent to understand.

Not at all.
Epistemic trivialism is actually a way to put things aside, to not concern oneself with them.
An epistemic trivialist takes for granted that every statement is true within a particular context, and that as such, everything makes sense and we're living in a meaningful universe. For him, this counteracts the usual human obsession with proving things and knowing whether one is being told the truth or lied to, and it counteracts the paralysis of analysis and the paranoia and the judgmentalism that come with always being on the lookout for the truth. Epistemic trivialism is a way to say "Well, others have their reasons for saying what they're saying, and I'm not familiar with those reasons, so I''m not going to concern myself with their words". And only if the context is relevant enough to the epistemic trivialist, would he explore what others are saying, otherwise not. This is in stark contrast with the usual person who obsessively judges each statement as to whether it is true or not, and who obsessively judges every person as to whether he is a liar or not.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:54 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:15 am
An epistemic trivialist takes for granted that every statement is true within a particular context...
But you would say you place trust in the epistemic trivialist's mode of operation? Is the mode itself trustworthy?

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:37 am

SDC wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:54 pm
But you would say you place trust in the epistemic trivialist's mode of operation? Is the mode itself trustworthy?
I think this is undecidable, as one cannot directly choose one's meta-epistemic approach.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:51 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:37 am
SDC wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:54 pm
But you would say you place trust in the epistemic trivialist's mode of operation? Is the mode itself trustworthy?
I think this is undecidable, as one cannot directly choose one's meta-epistemic approach.
Agreed, you do not choose it, but you most definitely can alter it once you have become aware that it is determined by other things. This brings us back to indirectionality.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:57 pm

SDC wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:51 pm
Agreed, you do not choose it, but you most definitely can alter it once you have become aware that it is determined by other things. This brings us back to indirectionality.
What problems do you see with epistemic trivialism as I sketched it out above?

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:10 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:57 pm
SDC wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:51 pm
Agreed, you do not choose it, but you most definitely can alter it once you have become aware that it is determined by other things. This brings us back to indirectionality.
What problems do you see with epistemic trivialism as I sketched it out above?
With the topic of "bound by ignorance" at hand, it seems as though epistemic trivialism, like most any view, would keep the loop closed. It isn't particularly faulty, but if one were to remain loyal to any view, i.e. deliberately engage with its nature in order to operate, it is essentially impossible to open the loop and allow for a more fundamental order of things to emerge through discernment. Epistemic trivialism appears as though it would always apply to a positive, assumed structure within a context that is agreed upon. In other words, it could only apply to holding (upādāna); to an assumed nature of reality. The direction of Dhamma is the field of manifestation upon which holding distorts the actual order of things - if the field is discerned, assumption can not apply.

Whether that is agreed upon within a particular context is irrelevant, agreement is not the same as knowledge. It would have to be known, not assumed, not proposed, it would have to be known in the most fundamental context of one's own experience in order to come to fruition, in order to be in-fruition.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:30 am

SDC wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:10 pm
With the topic of "bound by ignorance" at hand, it seems as though epistemic trivialism, like most any view, would keep the loop closed. It isn't particularly faulty, but if one were to remain loyal to any view, i.e. deliberately engage with its nature in order to operate, it is essentially impossible to open the loop and allow for a more fundamental order of things to emerge through discernment.
/.../
In other words, it could only apply to holding (upādāna); to an assumed nature of reality.
On principle, this is true for any meta-epistemic view.
Epistemic trivialism appears as though it would always apply to a positive, assumed structure within a context that is agreed upon.
No, agreement is what is characteristically not required for epistemic trivialism.

Epistemic trivialism is a defensive-protective heuristic to cope better when living in a world where people by default don't care about eachother, where there is no time to discuss things in detail or to one's satisfaction, and where it's each man on his own.

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by SDC » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:10 am

binocular wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:30 am
No, agreement is what is characteristically not required for epistemic trivialism.
Are you using the epistemic trivialist's approach in order to assess the grounds of epistemic trivialism? Sounds ridiculous and redundant doesn't it? But the mode is shaping your entire world view - at some point you would have to point it back on itself. I'm just curious whether or not you apply it in assessing yourself. Where's the cutoff?

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Re: Bound by Ignorance

Post by binocular » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:25 am

SDC wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:10 am
Are you using the epistemic trivialist's approach in order to assess the grounds of epistemic trivialism? Sounds ridiculous and redundant doesn't it? But the mode is shaping your entire world view - at some point you would have to point it back on itself. I'm just curious whether or not you apply it in assessing yourself. Where's the cutoff?
Like I said:
binocular wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:30 am
Epistemic trivialism is a defensive-protective heuristic to cope better when living in a world where people by default don't care about eachother, where there is no time to discuss things in detail or to one's satisfaction, and where it's each man on his own.
In other social settings, other epistemic strategies are more feasible.

It's because traditional communal epistemic strategies (which focus on trust, honor, common decency, mutuality) give such a dismal result when one is living in a world where people by default don't care about eachother, where there is no time to discuss things in detail or to one's satisfaction, and where it's each man on his own, that it is better to work toward a different meta-epistemic approach, one that makes one less vulnerable to others.

Is that really so hard to understand and relate to?

It's not like epistemic trivialism was committed to by default, prior to any experience with a particualr community.

Or would you, too, have people persist in all social settings with some epistemic strategy that makes them vulnerable to abuse?

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