Somehow I am bored by this discussion. I'll still post my reply (as I have
already written it), in case you are interested. I am unlikely to continue
the dicussion, though, so don't bother responding, unless you really want

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> >> >  The psyche can voluntarily control entire
>> >> >> > regions of the brain, and does so routinely.
>> >> >> I don't think so. The psyche is reflected in the brain, but I don't
>> >> see
>> >> >> how
>> >> >> it controls it. The brain doesn't do what the person want, it
>> reflects
>> >> >> what
>> >> >> the person want. For it to be control, the person had to have a
>> choice
>> >> in
>> >> >> which way the brain mirrors the state of the psyche, and from my
>> >> >> experience
>> >> >> this is not the case.
>> >> > What distinction do you make between reflection and control?
>> >> I see my reflection in the mirror, but I can't control it, since it is
>> >> not
>> >> an independent entity that could be controlled in the first place
>> >> (ultimately nothing is, so nothing can be controlled).
>> > Why can't you control it?
>> There is nothing to control. The reflection is no independent "real"
>> object
>> that can be influenced in the first place.
>> That's a good metaphor for everything, really. If there is just the
>> subject
>> / consciousness, and everything simply appears in it, there is no one
>> that
>> could control anything, so ultimately whatever control there seems to be
>> is
>> just a feeling that stemps from a distorted perspective.
>> I guess if you assume that there is a person and a world seperate from
>> it,
>> you can say it can "control" its mirror image, or its brain. However, you
>> could as well say that mirror image controls you (you may make strange
>> gestures, but only since the mirror is there!), or the brain controls
>> you,
>> then. To say the human control is merely an egocentric viewpoint (not
>> necessarily invalid, though). But if everything mutually controls
>> everything, the word control doesn't mean much anymore.
> I think control is still a viable word, it's just relative. Terms like
> up and down or forward and backward have no basis in an ultimate sense
> but they are quite useful and non-trivial in an ordinary proximate
> sense.
Yes, I basically agree. I just think we quickly get lost in delusions about
how important and powerful control really is, because we derive a lot of our
indentity and self-esteem/pride from it (if you had no control of
everything, what's there to be proud of), so I like to relativize it.
When we talk of control, we are often giving control the status of some
really important and powerful thing. In reality it's just a egocentric
sensation, like pride or self-pity or envy.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >>Even though you admit that control is not
>> >> necessarily fundamental, you talk as if it is. Just be realistic, we
>> >> can't
>> >> even control our own thoughts, or habits, why should we be able to
>> >> control
>> >> the way the neurons fire in the brain?
>> > Do you think that you can control whether or not you stand up?
>> No... It just happens, and a feeling of control appears. There is no
>> "actual" control to find, nor even an entity that could control anything.
> So if I tell you to stand up, it's actually a complete surprise to
> you, and all decision making processes are false memories implanted
> after the fact.
No it is not a suprise to me, as it is quite usual to stand up (especially
when I first think about it), like I am not suprised if I am hungry.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  Yeah, I used to think of it that way, but no. It's
> dumb. It's transparently tortured reasoning to prop up a pre-existing
> assumption to me. Why not just let reality be what it seems to
> actually be?
That's exactly what I am doing. What I observe is mainly that I just stand
up when I stand up, and this tends to happen when there is some reason to.
Whether there is a feeling of control is not really that relevant to the
process, just like the thought "I am listening to music" is not that
relevant to the process of listening music.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >  If so that means that you must control the firing of the neurons in
>> your
>> > brain which fire the neurons which contract the muscles which
>> > articulate your legs.
>> Or the firing is the simply a correlation of my feeling. It doesn't mean
>> that I cause it.
> In theory it doesn't, but in fact, what other reason could such a
> feeling have for even being possible? Not that every feeling has to
> accurately reflect the reality we think it does, but that possibility
> of fraud is no justification to doubt the existence of voluntary
> control in general. If nothing makes any choices really, why do
> experiences of making choices exist at all?
Because relatively speaking it is an accurate description of what happens to
say that a person makes a choice. But it is descriptive, there is nothing
more special about making choices than seeing a tree. Yet we tend to view it
as something that "we" do as opposed to something which just happens.
The feeling stems from a mistaken indentity as a person that intervenes in
reality. It is natural, since awareness evolves from a more narrow
perspective (I as person), to more broad and inclusive perspective (I as
consciousness that includes everything).

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >  Just because we can't control all of our
>> > thoughts or habits doesn't mean that we have no control over anything.
>> > If that were the case the idea of control itself would be
>> > inconceivable.
>> That's not true. We can imagine to be in control, even if there is no
>> substantially real control - just as you can imagine a unicorn, which is
>> only real in so far as it is an appearance that "really" appears.
> That's a false equivalence. When we imagine a unicorn, we don't
> believe that it exists. The fantasizing is intentional. We don't
> imagine that we have the ability to imagine though. There is no doubt
> that we can imagine something. Imagination is a pure form of will or
> control. Imagination is the only evidence we need that will is
> legitimate and causally efficacious.
Then take dreaming, where we are actually feeling like what is happening is
real (sometimes).
In dreams, we take some dream situation as substantial reality, in the same
way we can take control as substantial reality in waking life, until we see
that it's not really more substantial than a dream.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> > We could have no laws or courts.
>> These could simply function to show the consequences of certain action
>> and
>> enforce compensation in terms of eg money. There is no necessary relation
>> to
>> control, just psychlogically there may be.
> Any time someone says the word 'simply' they are 'simply' wrong.
> That's one of my red flags. There is no point of showing the
> consequences of certain actions if nobody has any control of their
> actions. You're just holding onto this idea that it could
> theoretically be that way because you want to be right. But me saying
> that has no effect on you I suppose since you have no control over
> your own opinions anyways and reading this may as well be the label on
> a vitamin bottle.
I don't see any argument here that what I say is wrong. Of course it is
useful to show consequences of actions in the absence of control. It is
useful to learn about the consquences of other thing happening as well, when
there is clearly not control. Or are you going to argue that there is no use
in learning that rain has the consequence that the ground gets wet? What's
the difference?

And that I have no control over my opinions doesn't make it worthless to
speak about, just like it isn't worthless to speak about anything other that
I have no control over.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> >> >> >>Honestly I that we think that we
>> >> >> >> >> have "free", independent will is just the arrogance of our
>> ego
>> >> that
>> >> >> >> feels
>> >> >> >> >> it
>> >> >> >> >> has to have a fundamentally special place in the universe.
>> >> >> >> > I used to think that too, but now I see that it's every bit as
>> >> much
>> >> >> of
>> >> >> >> > an egotistical arrogance to De-anthropomorphize ourselves.
>> It's
>> >> an
>> >> >> >> > inverted, passive aggressive egotism to perpetually look to
>> other
>> >> >> >> > processes above and below our native level of individual
>> cohesion
>> >> to
>> >> >> >> > give credit or blame, while all the while hiding invisibly
>> behind
>> >> >> the
>> >> >> >> > voyeur's curtain.
>> >> >> >> I understand where you coming from, but I don't see the
>> necessary
>> >> >> >> relationship to will. We can be the genuine free source of our
>> >> >> actions,
>> >> >> >> whether our will is free or not.
>> >> >> > Sure, it's never free in the sense that our will is only a
>> >> >> > relativistic means to an end which is already defined by sense.
>> We
>> >> are
>> >> >> > presented with 'the good choice' and 'the bad choice', so there
>> >> really
>> >> >> > is no free choice about it. We will choose whatever we think is
>> >> better
>> >> >> > (even though determining that isn't always easy - sometimes we
>> >> prefer
>> >> >> > what might be seen as the 'bad choice') or more appropriate. But
>> the
>> >> >> > fact that we experience this formality of decision shows that the
>> >> >> > universe is not mere automation.
>> >> >> Not really if it is just a meaningless by-product, which makes
>> sense
>> >> if
>> >> >> the
>> >> >> universe is meaningless in the first place.
>> >> >> This is a sad way of viewing the world, but I don't see our
>> experience
>> >> >> shows
>> >> >> something here in any rationally arguable way.
>> >> >> We can only directly appeal to experience, but there is not much to
>> >> argue
>> >> >> about in this case. "But you experience it that way!" - "So what?
>> It
>> >> is
>> >> >> an
>> >> >> illusion." - "But how can it be an illusion if it is direct
>> >> experience!
>> >> >> Just
>> >> >> look, it is here!" - "Direct experience an illusion." - "How can it
>> be
>> >> an
>> >> >> illusion if it is direct?" - "It isn't really direct, it just
>> appears
>> >> to
>> >> >> be." etc... We can do that for an abitrary long time, it most
>> likely
>> >> >> won't
>> >> >> have any effect.
>> >> > That's why I have organized the two extremes into a continuum:
>> >> >
>> >> > You can see the universe from a purely objective perspective, and it
>> >> > will make one kind of sense, or you can see it from a purely
>> >> > subjective perspective and it will make the opposite kind of sense.
>> >> > Both extremes I think, if taken seriously, are pathological.
>> >> Hm, I would take a radical trans-personal subjective standpoint (only
>> the
>> >> absolute subject, God, exists). This doesn't really fit with any
>> category
>> >> (it certainly has nothing to do with superstition and imagination, but
>> >> neither with matter). But it is also not really a middle ground, but
>> more
>> >> an
>> >> extreme of both sides (total subjectivity and total absoluteness; no
>> room
>> >> for interpretation).
>> > That is what I call the profound meridian. (
>> > 11179599552) The extreme ends of the continuum meet in the opposite
>> > way that they do at the mundane meridian (ordinary naive perception of
>> > the outside world as exterior to oneself). The profound meridian is
>> > the most masculine-abstract orientation along the continuum, seeing
>> > the cosmos as logos and both physical and subjective containers as
>> > illusory.
>> It is not abstract at all, and not really masculine (except for the fact
>> that it is radical, but it is also "feminine" as it is non-rational).
> Masculine in terms of being monastic and solitary, typically of
> interest to males.
That's just a stereotype. It is true that males are pursuing achieving that
perspective more, because they are generally more striving towards high
But that's not what it is about, that's just what it is made into.

It is just a very simple recognition of the fact that we are just
consciously there and that's all. You don't have to be in a monastery or in
solitude to see that. That we call that "trans-personal" view and the
subject "God", may be a charaterstic of male abstraction and boldness, but
the perspective is not defined by how we call it. If a female says that
everything is just love that's the same perspective in other words.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>>It is
>> directly experiencable, and in that way the opposite of abstract. Right
>> now
>> you are simply conscious. There is no real world outside of that to find,
>> and neither a real subject aside from that (who posses consciousness).
> The idea of 'simply conscious' is completely abstract.
>  Conscious of what?
It doesn't matter. That's why it is not abstract at all. You don't even have
to be able to say what you are conscious of, or even being able to
conceptualize being conscious of objects (eg when you are deeply asleep).
Just being aware that there is awareness (anything is experienced at all).

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>  Of course there is a real world, all around me and within me.
> The real subject is me, Craig Weinberg.
These are abstractions. The "real world" as being directly perceived has no
label that states "this is real". It is just a perception. The same goes for
the subject. What happens when we cease to insist that they are real?
Nothing, just that it doesn't seem to be that real anymore, and instead what
seems to be real is just the direct actuality of experiencing.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> >  Tounderstand what is really going on, we need to see the
>> relationship
>> >> of
>> >> > the extremes and that they both need each other to make any sense.
>> >> > Fact is a kind of fiction, fiction is a kind of fact, but also they
>> >> > are opposites to each other as well. It is an involuted continuum.
>> The
>> >> > inside becomes the outside but the two topologies remain separate
>> >> > also.
>> >> That's kind of a mish-mash vague perspective. I like it more radical
>> and
>> >> clear. I doesn't seem to me like reality is like cocktail of different
>> >> things, but one unified absolute.
>> > It's both a cocktail of different things and one unified absolute.
>> > It's only our limited participation in this specific form that sees a
>> > difference between the two.
>> I agree in a relative sense (our relative everyday reality is certainly
>> is a
>> mish mash of many different things), but ultimately reality can't be a
>> cocktail, as there are no different things it could be a cocktail of.
> It doesn't have to be different things, it's just a mixture of the one
> thing and the pantomime of the absence of that thing. That's why I say
> the Big Diffraction. It pretends space to divide into an objective
> topology and it pretends time to multiply into a subjective experience
> of that division. Think about it. They are really the same thing, one
> spacetime void, but we are not an object, so we are biased in our view
> of what perception is. Our being conscious perceivers cleaves us to
> one phenomenology, leaving the other by definition, to be perceived as
> the opposite of what we are.
That may happen, but it is not inherently so. It is just the case if we feel
ourselves as subjects, that are not the object. But in reality we may be
neither, or both.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> I am not saying what you write is worthless. But it is not a description
>> of
>> the "extreme edges of possible worldviews". You just compiled some of the
>> poles into stereotypes.
> No, it works for all stereotypes I think. It is *the* meta-stereotype.
> All significant dualities can be described in it's terms.
I think you just mistake your meta-stereotype for "the" stereotype. It may
be a common pattern, but so may be other stereotypes.

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> We really can't touch the reality of "everything" with words. I am not
>> critizing your attempt (I think what you write is fun and somehow
>> poetic), I
>> am just trying to open you to a broader perspective. If we "think it
>> through" we miss SOOO much, especially if we think we "get really close".
>> And as you use words like "extreme edges of possible worldviews" I am a
>> bit
>> worried you get lost in your map of what you think the possibilites are,
>> especially as almost everyone gets lost in thoughts regularly. I am
>> preaching to myself that I should give more attention to my subjective
>> experience instead of thinking, yet am I still thinking and thinking and
>> thinking and thinking....
>> Words and concepts are such powerful pointers that we are almost
>> guaranteed
>> to mistake them as the actual important thing, which leads us straight
>> into
>> unconsciousness.
> I agree, language is only one sense, and a very limited one at that.
> But if anything can touch the reality of 'everything' I don't see that
> there is any better alternative for human beings.
I think the opposite is the case. If anything can NOT touch the reality of
'everything', it is words. Words just point to things, or concepts. But
reality is neither a thing nor a concept (of course as soon as we speak
about it, it really is just a concept, which illustrates my point).
What's about the spiritual approach, that reality can just be directly seen
(metaphorically speaking), or rather one can just be aware as reality

Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> >> >> >> When I say that your will is not really free, I am not saying
>> that
>> >> you
>> >> >> >> are a
>> >> >> >> puppet that is controlled by your brain. An opinion is valuable
>> to
>> >> >> you,
>> >> >> >> whether you just have it, or you claim to use your will to have
>> it.
>> >> >> >> The cosmos does not need free will, as it is free without a
>> will.
>> >> It
>> >> >> just
>> >> >> >> does what it does, including having opinions, talking to
>> >> interesting
>> >> >> >> people,
>> >> >> >> etc... Why is all of that nothing worth if there is no
>> controller
>> >> of
>> >> >> >> them?
>> >> >> > Why isn't just doing 'what it does' free will?
>> >> >> Because the feeling of will need not be involved, so why call it
>> will
>> >> >> then?
>> >> > Why should we assume there is no need for a feeling of will to be
>> >> > involved?
>> >> Because humans can be freely living without feeling to exert will.
>> > We would have to exert the will to live that way in the first place.
>> But it is not the result of the will (ask any spiritual teacher, you
>> can't
>> will your way to enlightenment!). The feeling of will is just a
>> by-product
>> of the self-reflective capability of indiviudals, so ultimately, there is
>> no
>> reason to call the spontaneous activity of consciousness "free will".
> Not all of the spontaneous activity of consciousness is free will, but
> that doesn't mean that none of it is either. You may not be able to
> will your way to enlightenment but you can't get there without it
> either. You can try so much, and then give up, and then you may
> experience grace, but you won't get there by just eating donuts and
> playing video games either. The point of a spiritual teaching is to be
> align one's free will to the spiritual endeavor - a path to self
> development and refinement of the will. If there were no free will,
> there would be no need for spiritual teachers as those who were
> destined for enlightenment would not have to lift a finger, and those
> who are in the dark would be forever helpless to be taught anything.
It seems you have a conception of enlightenment as this incredibly special,
hard to reach thing. Actually it seems to be quite ordinary to live it. It
is just like awakening out of sleep. In our times many totally ordinary
people get enlightened, without much spiritual discipline.

That we seem to have to exert will to get there is due to the fact that we
seem to have to exert will for almost everything, especially if we picture
it as something important that only a long path leads to. People that just
eat donuts and play video games don't fail to get enlightened because they
just eat donuts and play video games, rather it the case that if someone
sees that there is more to life than that (which goes alongside awakening)
they will probably not do it all the time. But if someone thinks that
enlightenment takes hard work and self-development and refinment of will, he
will likely not get enlightened, either (as long as he clings to that), as
he just misses the point (recognizing the obvious, instead of fixating on
goals, like reaching enlightenment).
Guess why hardly any buddhist gets actually enlightened, even though they
meditate and learn scriptures for years and years? They follow a path
towards enlightenment, while enlightenment is not on the end of walking some
long path in the right way. The buddha just wanted to convey what he saw and
he just didn't knew any better then laying out a path. It is a nice try, but
certainly not a road towards enlightenment.
Indeed you don't have to lift a finger for enlightenment, like you don't
have to lift a finger to fall asleep. It is a change of perspective, not an
achievement. Someone that is "in the dark" (almost all of us) will not
awaken due to teaching, like you don't need a teaching to be alive.
Spiritual teachers just chat about how obvious enlightenment is, and try to
resolve the barriers that may be to the recognition, but if they are honest
they will admit that they don't really teach anything.


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