Richard, it occurs to me that the only thing we can know for sure is that 
awareness exists. And that's because we're aware. But maybe I'm over 
simplifying (-:

     On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 4:02 PM, "'Richard J. Williams' [FairfieldLife]" <> wrote:

      On 10/21/2014 12:07 PM, Share Long [FairfieldLife] 
     Curtis, I just had a lunch of veggies and salmon so maybe my brain is a 
little more up to respond. Maybe! Definitely not as good as Sam Harris  (-:
 According to Sam Harris consciousness is the only thing that cannot be an 
     Anyway, my questions are: 
  1. how do we know that we know?      
 We know that we exist because we are self-conscious. Without consciousness 
there would be no perception or perceiver.
     Which is kind of abstract and probably just me reliving a past life as a 
 Non sequitur. The fact of consciousness is dirt simple because everyone has 
it, otherwise they would be unconscious. Nobody that is conscious goes around 
saying they don't exist. "Consciousness is the basic fact of life that cannot 
be doubted."- Sam harris
     2. what do we mean by knowing?     
 Knowing is having knowledge structured in consciousness; intelligence. 
     Ok, we see a tree fall so we think we know that it fell. Of course, 
perception could be faulty.
 If appearances derived through one sensory channel appear contradictory, it is 
natural to appeal to other senses for corroboration. When they contradict, 
which sense shall we accept as reliable? If we observe the naive realist 
closely, we will find that at some times he relies principally on his eyes and, 
at other times, on his ears. When different senses corroborate an error, he 
even more baffled.
     Or, to go into the arts as you suggested, we listen to a song about first 
love, and from our own memories of that, we recognize the "truth" of the song.  
 For past experiences, to be compared, they must be remembered. But memory 
often fails us. What assurance do we have that it is not failing us again? Past 
experiences may have been erroneous consistently. The materialist thinks he 
sees directly back into an existing past which in reality has ceased to exist!
 This is called in philosophy an appeal to instruments and like the appeal to 
other senses, to past experiences, to repetition, and to other persons, is a 
confession of failure. For it is a confession that apparently obvious objects 
are NOT self-evident.
     But here's my really favorite question, 
  3. Back to your post: what is meant by "worthwhile reality"?     
 It is worthwhile to be conscious because that way get to enjoy life and gain 
knowledge that will set us free. You should know the truth and the truth will 
set your free. There in knowledge higher than absolute knowledge.
     Are there some realities that are not worthwhile?
 There is only one single reality - pure consciousness - duality is an 
       On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:18 AM, " 
[FairfieldLife]" <> wrote:
         M: I hope you don't mind me weighing in,this was a particularly 
thought provoking post. I too am an  amateur philosopher. But I am not sure 
philosophy is the right discipline to answer your question from, except to 
enhance the discussion of "how could we know?"
 Here is the section you quite wisely focused on:
 "Is a believe in the existence of component or realm beyond the 
physical/material justified?  When I use the expression 'physical/material' I 
include anything that is physical/material, or anything that interacts with the 
 M: It seems to me that in a sense this ship has sailed with the advent of 
knowledge about a level of matter that is so squirrely to our sense-bound 
intuitions that it does not resemble  matter as we know it, even though 
technically it IS matter from physics. That we do not know all or in some cases 
very much about this level of reality should give us all some  humility about 
what is real.
 But for me those who confidently claim to know about a non physical realm 
through internal experience have not made their case convincingly to me. We 
have a lot of mystery to explore and I am dubious that anyone has cleared it up 
from a mystical tradition. I am putting my bet on neuroscience and physics to 
push back into the mystery in a more satisfying way than has been  accomplished 
by religious and mystical traditions. The deeper reality may be much more 
amazing than has been speculated about or assumed in those traditions whose 
stock in trade has  been "We have it all figured out already" over "Let's find 
 The question could be: how could we know about something non physical? I wish 
people proposing these ideas would spend more time studying these questions 
before they announce their  assumptions. We need to address how we could be 
confident of such knowledge knowing how fallible and prone to self delusions 
humans are with all of our cognitive blind spots. I rarely see  this aspect in 
the intellectual mix of confident assertions from the subjective angle.
 Then of course you have the whole areas of human knowledge in the arts and 
humanities which is plenty non physical reality enough for me. We don't have to 
swing between the  polarities of material reductionism and mystical claims to 
see that there is a lot of worthwhile reality beyond the hard physical. But IMO 
the better we are prepared to evaluate claims the  quicker we will sort out the 
fascinating and true from the fascinating but bogus.
 Thanks for opening up a new chapter on the discussion. Does any of this relate 
to your intention in your post?
 ---In, <inmadison@...> wrote :
 there seem to be 2 questions running through this thread:  1) is a belief in 
God a mental illness and 2) is a belief in God justifiable.
 the first question is too cumbersome for me - having the notion of mental 
illness imbedded in the question . . . and I can't speak as to what a mental 
illness  is, but the question  is believing in the efficacy of trickle-down 
economics a mental illness could  be fun  : )
 Re the 2nd question, I'm skipping is there a proof for the existence  of God 
since it's pretty clear no such proof exists - and I'm suggesting:   is a 
belief in God justifiable?
 We may believe in many things where there is no direct evidence, or no proof, 
but yet that belief is justifiable.  For example, we may believe someone lied 
to us, even though we have no proof.
 [BTW - I am very much an amateur philosopher]     I am going to restate the 
2nd question as:    Is a believe in the existence of component or realm beyond 
the physical/material justified?  When I use the expression 'physical/material' 
I include anything that is physical/material, or anything that interacts with 
the physical/material.
 An individual who did not believe a belief in God was justified, would believe 
that the material/physical world was sufficient to explain all  observable 
phenomenon, including the existence of the of the physical/material world 
 For me, I think the question is a bit of a red herring, but I admit  to having 
 read and heard nuanced and elegant expressions regarding the need for the 
nonphysical  (spiritual) to explain stuff like value, and the moment by moment 
appreciation of an otherwise brutish world.      
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