2009.07.10 01:00 - Sharing a Shirt is Eating the Cone

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Pema, standing in for Wol, who was traveling. The comments are by Pema Pera.

    Pema Pera: Hi Vajra!
    Pema Pera: Let's wait a couple minutes to see whether others will join us
    Vajra Raymaker: Hi Pema; sure
    Vajra Raymaker: Someone mentioned to me that she may come
    Vajra Raymaker: scuse; I'll get a cup of tea
    Pema Pera: would you like to take a seat?
    Vajra Raymaker: back
    Pema Pera: well, a quiet time here, at 1 am it seems.
    Vajra Raymaker: Pema, I have a question for you, living in Japan
    Pema Pera: Yes?
    Vajra Raymaker: yes 1 is a bit late for many who may frequent these areas
    Vajra Raymaker: Do you get many things made with less refined rice, brown rice? Or is it as the sushi is here in North America?
    Vajra Raymaker: Or perhaps are there many different qualities of rice there
    Pema Pera: most Japanese eat white rice, generally a bit more sticky that what people eat in North America and Europe, or in China for that matter
    Pema Pera: brown rice is rather unusual, but not unheard of -- and never used for sushi :-)
    Pema Pera: sushi by the way is just one of very many different types of food in Japan, it's a kind of anomaly that people outside Japan tend to equate Japanese food with susshi
    Pema Pera: *sushi
    Vajra Raymaker: Well, I know that people can be quite traditional about sushi. but I thought perhaps in Japan itself there would be more possibility of innovation
    Pema Pera: like equating French food with crepes
    Vajra Raymaker: sure, I did not intend to equate it with sushi
    Pema Pera: oh, there is tremendous innovation, fusion of French and Japanese, Italian and Japanese, Spanish and Japanese, you name it
    Vajra Raymaker: nice
    Vajra Raymaker: Are you in Tokyo or a smaller city or the country?
    Pema Pera: just arrived in Tokyo
    Vajra Raymaker: ah
    Pema Pera: This month I'm based in Kyoto, but unexpected I was called to Tokyo this weekend
    Pema Pera: which means I'm now in an Italian coffee shop with not completely reliable internet connection and a finite battery life :(
    Vajra Raymaker: I am going to make Sushi this summer, dessert sushi
    Vajra Raymaker: eek
    Pema Pera: So perhaps we should continue our discussion about awareness and the role that subject and object play there?
    Pema Pera: oh, that sounds great, good luck!
    Vajra Raymaker: Sure; where would you like to start?
    Pema Pera: wherever you like, Vajra :-)
    Pema Pera: I have no preference
    Vajra kicked off our new round of no-self discussions.
    Vajra Raymaker: okay, well then I shall say that this is a very interesting topic to me, ever since I started dabbling in Buddhist literature, because before that time I held it as either gospel or as a mainstay assumption that the mark of the mental is that it is intentional, i.e. has an intentional object, i.e. has some object that it is about.
    Vajra Raymaker: So I am quite strongly pulled by the arguments on both sides, either that all mental states do have objects or that not all of them do.
    Vajra Raymaker: The latter being the buddhist idea, and also the yogi idea
    Pema Pera: usually that is the case, yes, the question is whether there are exceptions, and also whether the "usual" case is fully as it seems to be, whether there are no other ways to look at the seemingly appearing of subject and other (responding to your first longer sentence)
    Pema Pera: all mental *states* do have objects, I agree -- the question is whether there is more to the mind than "states"
    Vajra Raymaker: Well that comment is a bit mysterious to me. I think of a state of mind as a way that the mind is during a moment or duration
    Vajra Raymaker: However you could also set things up so that at any given moment the mind is in several states at once, if you somehow compartmentalized the mind, I suppose
    sophia Placebo: greetings
    Vajra Raymaker: Hi Sophia!
    Pema Pera: the whole idea of "no self" in Buddhism in connected with other ideas such as "no time" and therefore also "no state" . . . this is a big topic :-)
    Pema Pera: Hi Sophia!
    Sophia joined the two of us.
    Pema Pera: We are talking about the possibility of awareness that is not tied down to subject-object interaction
    Vajra Raymaker: Oddly enough, I came across an article today by accident that spoke to this. A great miracle of coincidence.
    Pema Pera: :-)
    sophia Placebo: :)
    Vajra Raymaker: An argument as to why both analytic philosophers and phenomenologists are mistaken in following Hume
    Vajra Raymaker: in thinking that when you look inside you cannot observe a self
    Vajra Raymaker: but only perceptions
    Vajra Raymaker: e.g. perception of heat, perception of a chair
    Vajra Raymaker: Chisholm, Philosophy and Phenomennological Research, Sept. 1969
    Pema Pera: one big and tricky question is: when we talk about no-self, who is the you talking, observing, etc?
    Vajra Raymaker: Yes
    Pema Pera: can life live, can Being be, without necessarily reifying everything by positing living beings, or beings in general?
    Vajra Raymaker: A subject seems to be presupposed, when we report our observations. This may be an artifact of language though
    Pema Pera: Can we deal with appearances, phenomena, as they are given without positing anything more?
    Pema Pera: yes, a habit really
    Vajra Raymaker: Perhaps the issue is: What precisely is given.
    Pema Pera: absolutely, Vajra!
    Pema Pera: I would say: what is given is the presence of appearance
    Pema Pera: the only thing we can really be sure about
    Vajra Raymaker: [1:23] Pema Pera: Can we deal with appearances, phenomena, as they are given without positing anything more?" you ask . ButDo we know that the subject is not also given?
    Pema Pera: the appearance of a subject is given, but that does not imply a real subject
    Vajra Raymaker: Well, we need an argument here Pema, perhaps. Chisholm for example, thinks that a real subject is implied. It seems like one is NOT implied in that we can change the language from "I observe perceptions of heat and an itch and a feeling of longing to an itch is observed, leaving out the "I"
    Vajra Raymaker: whoops left out a quotation mark or two
    Vajra Raymaker: "I observe an itch" changed to "An itch is observed". The latter seems to do away with the subject.
    Vajra Raymaker: Or an itch is felt
    At this moment my internet connection dropped, and it took a while to get back in again.
    Vajra Raymaker: Whoops, he said that he had a bad connection.
    Vajra Raymaker: So Sophia, do you know this point of Hume's where he says "When I introspect, I do not find an impression of anything that is mySelf, but only various perceptions of other things" ?
    Vajra Raymaker: (not an exact quotation of course)
    sophia Placebo: no , but i heard some argue about
    Vajra Raymaker: okay so familiar to you maybe
    Vajra Raymaker: wb Pema
    Pema Pera: hi again!
    sophia Placebo: *:::* WELCOME BACK *:::*
    Pema Pera: sorry, as I mentioned earlier to Vajra, my internet connection is quite flaky
    Vajra Raymaker: yes
    Pema Pera: when I suggested this slot for a theme meeting, I didn't know I would be called to Tokyo, from my current home base in Kyoto, so I'm stranded in a coffeeshop now, with less than perfect connectivity
    Pema Pera: If I drop out again, I'll just give up (I had to try many times to get back in).
    Vajra Raymaker: Great that you could find a place to hook up
    Pema Pera: But before that, shall we pick a date and time to continue this conversation -- in case I drop out again?
    Pema Pera: How about a week from now, same day same time?
    Vajra Raymaker: okay, or perhaps the 7 p.m. slot?
    Pema Pera: sure, that's fine
    Pema Pera: on Thursday you mean, six hours earlier?
    Vajra Raymaker: I think I need to work at not staying up so late : -)
    Vajra Raymaker: yes
    Pema Pera: Thursday, July 16?
    Pema Pera: sure, that's fine!
    Vajra Raymaker: sure
    Pema Pera: where did the discussion flow to, after I left?
    Vajra Raymaker: Well, I was trying to repeat what Hume had said, and Sophia was saying she was somewhat familiar
    Vajra Raymaker: I 'll copy it
    And so Vajra did, but I'm not including the text here, since it is already shown above.
    sophia Placebo: had hume a theory about a self when he intospect , that he didnt found
    Vajra Raymaker: He wrote about everything that could be known by experience, and in the end realized that he had not accounted for the self as knowable by experience, not directly
    Vajra Raymaker: His theory was about empirical knowledge generally
    sophia Placebo: ok
    Vajra Raymaker: Is this feeling of heat, me? Is this itch, me? Is this sense of longing, me? Is this belief that Arizona is a state in the U.S., me? No, none of them. There is no impression of me -- htat's what he said
    Pema Pera: I like that kind of analysis! It's a great start
    Pema Pera: but I think we have to go further than Hume did, more radically questioning everything.
    Pema Pera: what I tried to say, when I dropped out, is that the sentence you quoted just before has all kinds of assumption in it, for example the assumption that everything we deal with plays out in a linear past-present-future time line -- that is one thing I think we have to drop, when we really want to talk about the notion of "no-self"; that notion only really makes sense within the vantage point of a fourth kind of time, a different orientation to time . . . .
    Vajra Raymaker: okay
    Vajra Raymaker: that is very important I imagine. So much of our experience involves an experience of time
    sophia Placebo: hello pila
    Pila Mulligan: hi
    Vajra Raymaker: Well the act of observation or experiencing seems to occur in time
    Vajra Raymaker: "in time" whatever that means
    Vajra Raymaker: Greetings Pila
    Pema Pera: seems to, yes, exactly; there is the presence of appearance of the flow of time . . . .
    Pila Mulligan: greetings
    With Pila joining in, we continued the conversation.
    Pema Pera: Hi Pila!
    Pila Mulligan: please don;t let me interrupt -- being so late arriving
    Pila Mulligan: in time :)
    Vajra Raymaker: The flow being, that what was once now becomes past: it is as if the series of nows moves back behind us?
    Pema Pera: no, nothing exists . . . . we really have to start from scratch, there is no something "that was once"
    Pema Pera: I mean, we can of course talk in every-day terms, and it is important to be able to do that too
    Vajra Raymaker: yes, but is it okay to use those indexical words to describe the experience even if they do not describe actual time?
    Pema Pera: but *if* we want to really talk about no-self and no-time, we have to drop almost anything we normally take for granted, and we have to be very meticulously critical about hidden assumptions
    Pema Pera: we have to use words, yes, and that is fine as long as we don't take the words to reify the notions they point to -- quite hard to do that
    Vajra Raymaker: But we can't talk about no-self until we have a reason to believe that there is no self, no subject of experience
    Pema Pera: well, we can explore the assumption of "no-self"
    Pema Pera: what would the world have to be like, for such an assumption to make sense
    Vajra Raymaker: Pema, I thought you were wanting to bring up the experience of time, and then it seemed you shifted to the reality of time.
    Pema Pera: at first it doesn't seem to make any sense, so we then critically investigate our assumptions
    Pema Pera: sure, I'm happy to talk about the experience of time
    Pema Pera: but as long as we couch that experience in terms of past-present-future, we have also introduced a kind of self, traveling through that linear time
    Pema Pera: there is a kind of experience that is different
    Vajra Raymaker: I mean... it seemed to come in because we were asking about the nature of experience generally, did it imply a subject
    Pema Pera: "fourth time"
    sophia Placebo: hi berturm
    Vajra Raymaker: greetings Bert
    Pila Mulligan: hi Bert
    Bertrum Quan: Hi everyone
    Pema Pera: hi there Bert!
    And then Bert appeared as well, so we were forming a growing crowd.
    Vajra Raymaker: This may be true, what you say, that if we couch the experience in terms of past, present , future, we have introduced a self. This is point to attend to
    Pema Pera: btw, the good thing is that my internet connection is holding up here in the coffeeshop, but alas now my battery is near empty, and there is no electric outlet in sight, sigh . . . I may disappear any moment, but we can continue talking till I do :-)
    Vajra Raymaker: But I wonder whether there is the flow of time way of conceiving past present and future and also a second way of conceiving past present future that does not suggest movement, but only locations
    Vajra Raymaker: oh you are valiant for making the effort with the connection, Pema!
    Pila Mulligan: isn't tme usualkly assoicated with a place (Space)?
    Vajra Raymaker: So that we can get identity over time whichever way time is conceived
    Vajra Raymaker: I don't know; just wondering
    Vajra Raymaker: Does that work Pila. Can you speak of things having extension in time even if temporal locations are spatialized?
    Pila Mulligan: well, I was just thnking how history is a when and where story
    Pema Pera: well, we can speculate about many ways of possibly dealing with space and time, but when I go with my own experience, combined with what I have read and recognize in various traditions, such as Buddhism, for example, as well as other traditions, then there is a rather specific kind of "fourth time" or "zeroth time", a kind of "eternal presence" you might want to call it, and I'm happy to talk about that -- not as a speculation but as something for which we have both experiential evidence and theoretical ideas.
    Pila Mulligan: how about that concept of zeroth time being an enduring place Pema?
    Pila Mulligan: abstracting place
    Pema Pera: like in physics, it seems best to start with experiments and then try to figure out how to find a reasonable theory to talk about what you've found.
    Pila Mulligan: since presence also can refer to both this time and this place
    Pema Pera: as for enduring place
    Vajra Raymaker: Sure. So the question is can't there be identity over time=temporal duration = temporal extension, consistent with conemporary physics
    Vajra Raymaker: I don't quite get zeroith time
    Pema Pera: in fourth time there is no temporal distance, and correspondingly no spatial distance either, and no duration of the type we are normally used to
    Pila Mulligan: except absolute duration
    Vajra Raymaker: interesting
    Pema Pera: yes, Vajra, we'd have to say a lot more about fourth time to make any sense at all :-)
    Pila Mulligan: as in always
    Vajra Raymaker: oh there is absolute duration? That is interesting
    Pema Pera: well, my battery is hitting 0% -- I'll bail out and I'm looking forward to continuing on Thursday 7 pm next week!
    Vajra Raymaker: okay
    Pila Mulligan: a victm of electrons
    Pema Pera: bye for now, and thanks for the fun discussion, y'all !
    Pila Mulligan: bye Pema-san
    Vajra Raymaker: thanks for the discussion Pema
    sophia Placebo: bye pema
    Bertrum Quan: bye Pema
    I had to leave, for lack of battery power, so I will leave the rest of the conversation uncommented.
    Vajra Raymaker: So Pila, would you be able to distinguish between being in time, but eternal (lasting forever) and being outside of time?
    Pila Mulligan: I think so
    Vajra Raymaker: lol
    Vajra Raymaker: I meant with the tools that are allowed when one disavows the idea of time as something that flows
    Pila Mulligan: perception of course is inescapably subjective, no matter how much we ascend the ladder, it seems
    Pila Mulligan: I cannot perceive all the nuances of anyone else's expereince
    Vajra Raymaker: Well, sure. Do you think of this as a practical impossibility or as a logical impossibility?
    Pila Mulligan: probably both
    Pila Mulligan: but let's clairfy the this of your question :)
    Pila Mulligan: Do you think of [what?] as a practical impossibility or as a logical impossibility?
    Vajra Raymaker: The this is "one guy not being able to perceive all the nuances of another person's experience", say of enjoying a delicious pear, or walking to work
    Pila Mulligan: that's what i thoguth you meant :)
    Vajra Raymaker: It might be merely because you do not have that person's body, which I would call a practical impossibility
    Pila Mulligan: probably both logical and practical
    Pila Mulligan: we can be very empathetic to the pont of losing ourselves
    Pila Mulligan: but not quite be someone else
    Vajra Raymaker: If you think you cannot even conceive of one person physically replicating another person's perspective, by e.g. having taste receptors all oriented int he same way and having the same shape and etc. etc., then
    Vajra Raymaker: in that case logically impolssible
    Pila Mulligan: yes
    Pila Mulligan: so we are each stuck wit some uniqueness in personal expereince
    Vajra Raymaker: You really think that?
    Pila Mulligan: yes
    Vajra Raymaker: Isn't a Star Trek machine that encodes ALL the information about the arrangement of a person's molecules, down to smaller particles if necessary, and then duplicates the person conceivable?
    Pila Mulligan: sure
    Pila Mulligan: but it does not expereince the person it replicates
    Vajra Raymaker: Neat idea... so the experience is itself a something?
    Pila Mulligan: distinguish or idenitfying what we refer to as time, be it eternal or diplaced or mundane, is therefore limited in some part according to each perosn's expereince
    Pila Mulligan: yes, expereince is something unique
    Pila Mulligan: like chcolate ice cream
    Vajra Raymaker: : -)
    Pila Mulligan: this is the best solution to the atman dilemma
    Vajra Raymaker is getting hungry
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Vajra Raymaker: What is the Atman dilemma, Pila?
    Pila Mulligan: well, Hindu atman -- the idea of a great or collective soul shared by everyone
    Vajra Raymaker: yes...?
    Pila Mulligan: isn't Vajrayana the Diamond Way?
    Vajra Raymaker: yes, it is a branch of Tibetan buddhism
    Pila Mulligan: I am not up to snuff on Buddhism, but I think they embrace the traditional atman view -- like Dr. Broneer, we are all one
    Pila Mulligan: other branches of Buddhism did ont so embrace the term
    Pila Mulligan: but if you do, then you have to somehow distinguish yourself as a being, if you like
    Pila Mulligan: that is the dilemma
    Pila Mulligan: am i me or am I atman
    Pila Mulligan: so the easy answer is you are nothing :)
    Pila Mulligan: but I like i am my expereince
    Pila Mulligan: my ice cream
    Vajra Raymaker: Yes, that would be another answer I suppose.
    Vajra Raymaker: But what unifies your various experiences/
    Vajra Raymaker: ?
    Vajra Raymaker: Why are they all yours, and not some of them Sophia's, for example?
    Pila Mulligan: they can be shared of course, and they have their own continuity to the degree that we accurately preceive them
    Pila Mulligan: but there are those tiny nuances that are not really collectively perceived
    Pila Mulligan: except by emnpathy
    Vajra Raymaker: But suppose you are eating icecream right now. And it tastes delicious. Why is that taste sensation one that is part of YOU and not something that is a part of Sophia?
    Vajra Raymaker: What makes it a part of you?
    Pila Mulligan: no doubt to the degree that she can perceive it the ice cream expereinceis part of ther also
    Pila Mulligan: but if she is not perceiving it she is not epxer3eincing it
    Pila Mulligan: consciously
    sophia Placebo: i dont like choclate ice cream
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: vamnilla?
    sophia Placebo: sure :)
    Pila Mulligan: or mango?
    Vajra Raymaker: lol
    sophia Placebo: no not the mango
    Pila Mulligan: mango is yummy
    Vajra Raymaker: Mango is my favorite
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: mango vanilla -- see we can sahre some of it
    Vajra Raymaker: Vanilla is good too
    Vajra Raymaker: Now let's say you have the cone and Sophia's body is no where near. Do you want to say that it is an experience that is part of you but not part of Sophia?
    sophia Placebo: we can share the preceptions but not like sharing a shirt i guess
    Pila Mulligan: that question involves a lot of aspects, Vajra
    Pila Mulligan: in a pre-conscious kind of sensation, Sophia may be just as much involved in the cone as I am
    Vajra Raymaker: How do you mean, Soph?
    Pila Mulligan: but only I am actually ingesting it
    Pila Mulligan: yes
    Pila Mulligan: sharing a shirt is eating the cone
    Pila Mulligan: sharing perceptions is seeing the shirt
    Pila Mulligan: or feeling the cone sensation
    sophia Placebo: hmm , how should i know what is it like to be in brain surgery awake while surgeon is cutting throiugh my brain ?
    Pila Mulligan: expereinif you havenot done it?
    Pila Mulligan: pardon the typo
    Pila Mulligan: if you have not done it how can you know
    sophia Placebo: the one who experience that may not give me his experience like he is giving me his shirt
    Vajra Raymaker: that would be hard to imagine if not experienced ! : -)
    Bertrum Quan: bye everyone
    sophia Placebo: bye bert
    Vajra Raymaker: I see what you are saying I think Soph
    Pila Mulligan: bye Bert
    Vajra Raymaker: bye Bert
    Pila Mulligan: expereince is usually bothto some degree shared and to some dgree unshareable
    Vajra Raymaker: I should be off too
    Pila Mulligan: bye Vajra, nice to share with you
    Vajra Raymaker: I have to wake up in a few hours
    sophia Placebo: bye vajra
    Pila Mulligan: the coach is about to turn into a pupmkin here
    Vajra Raymaker: Oh very nice meeting you and I enjoyed this conversation with all
    Vajra Raymaker: That would be a good avatar that I have not yet seen on SL
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Vajra Raymaker: avatar or vehicle
    sophia Placebo: nice meeting you too vajra :)
    Pila Mulligan: I've seens ome cinderellas though
    Vajra Raymaker: I meet see you at PH, Soph?
    sophia Placebo: i guess :)
    Vajra Raymaker: Yes, I guess cinderella dresses are around. Hmmmm. part way there
    Vajra Raymaker: : -)
    Vajra Raymaker: bye
    Pila Mulligan: bye bye
    Vajra Raymaker: see you next time I hope
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    sophia Placebo: gotta be off too
    sophia Placebo: bye pila
    Pila Mulligan: bye Sophia, nice to see you
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