Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

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Eugene I
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

Post by Eugene I »

personn wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:41 pm Why not simply say that consciousness is fundamental and every form of experience is an excitation of consciousness? Why do the excitations have to be mental, and, again, what does that even mean in the absence of anything material? I don't see to need to attribute some substance to relative experience on top of saying that experiences are excitations of consciousness.
That exactly and literally what BK said in many places and occasions, even though he often uses "mental" as a synonym for "conscious". I think you confusion is simply terminological.
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

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Eugene I wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 2:27 am
personn wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:41 pm Why not simply say that consciousness is fundamental and every form of experience is an excitation of consciousness? Why do the excitations have to be mental, and, again, what does that even mean in the absence of anything material? I don't see to need to attribute some substance to relative experience on top of saying that experiences are excitations of consciousness.
That exactly and literally what BK said in many places and occasions, even though he often uses "mental" as a synonym for "conscious". I think you confusion is simply terminological.
I know. My question is, why the need to call that consciousness 'mental' and what does it mean in the absence of anything material?
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Eugene I
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

Post by Eugene I »

personn wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 5:51 am I know. My question is, why the need to call that consciousness 'mental' and what does it mean in the absence of anything material?
I think it's just cultural heritage: both terms have been used in folk language, science and philosophy interchangeably/synonymously for centuries. I personally prefer and almost always use the term "consciousness".
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

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Eugene I wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:16 pm
personn wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 5:51 am I know. My question is, why the need to call that consciousness 'mental' and what does it mean in the absence of anything material?
I think it's just cultural heritage: both terms have been used in folk language, science and philosophy interchangeably/synonymously for centuries. I personally prefer and almost always use the term "consciousness".

Probably because it is points more directly to the average person's experience of mind than calling it "consciousness" or "psychic processes" or similar things. When we hear "mental", it conveys a bit more concrete meaning than "consciousness". I don't really like "mental" either, because that does seem to be a term mostly derived from dualism in contrast with "material". I prefer the term "ideating activity" within idealism or non-dual traditions, as it specifies the nature/function of that conscious activity more.
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

personn wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:41 pmWhy not simply say that consciousness is fundamental and every form of experience is an excitation of consciousness? Why do the excitations have to be mental, and, again, what does that even mean in the absence of anything material? I don't see to need to attribute some substance to relative experience on top of saying that experiences are excitations of consciousness.
I generally don't refer to the 'excitations' of consciousness, even though I understand it as metaphorical, just like referring to 'whirlpools', 'waves' and such, precisely because it tends to evoke images of some phenomenal vibratory substance, and why I tend to prefer ideations of consciousness. BK has responded to this quibble by pointing out that such 'excitations' can also be understood in the context of noetic excitement, like the excitement one might feel in thinking up a good poem. So perhaps it just comes down to some semantic preference. In any case, as helpful as such analogies and metaphors may be in getting across an idea, it's not so helpful to extrapolate them too far beyond the simple point they are intended to convey.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Re: Why is reality 'mental' + the questionable 'thing-in-itself' (two questions)

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 1:32 pm
personn wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:41 pmWhy not simply say that consciousness is fundamental and every form of experience is an excitation of consciousness? Why do the excitations have to be mental, and, again, what does that even mean in the absence of anything material? I don't see to need to attribute some substance to relative experience on top of saying that experiences are excitations of consciousness.
I generally don't refer to the 'excitations' of consciousness, even though I understand it as metaphorical, just like referring to 'whirlpools', 'waves' and such, precisely because it tends to evoke images of some phenomenal vibratory substance, and why I tend to prefer ideations of consciousness. BK has responded to this quibble by pointing out that such 'excitations' can also be understood in the context of noetic excitement, like the excitement one might feel in thinking up a good poem. So perhaps it just comes down to some semantic preference. In any case, as helpful as such analogies and metaphors may be in getting across an idea, it's not so helpful to extrapolate them too far beyond the simple point they are intended to convey.

Very well said, Dana. It is sort of like several people who takes pictures around Paris and then debate whose picture is more accurate in representing the true essence of Paris. There are all just 2-D pictures capturing one tiny 2-D fragment of the 4-D city of Paris. And, no matter how many 2-D pictures are strung together, they will always be missing the full interiority and temporal transforming essence of Paris. I am not only referring to the words used in the analogies as 2-D pictures, but the full range of concepts which the analogies evoke. On the other hand, taking this undeniable fact and saying "therefore we can never know the true essence of Paris", is like forgetting that we can actually imagine it, visit it, and live in it, thereby getting closer to that true essence.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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