Richard, aha! Me and Sam, both over simplifiers (-:

     On Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:29 PM, "'Richard J. Williams' [FairfieldLife]" <> wrote:

      On 10/22/2014 4:08 PM, Share Long [FairfieldLife] 
    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 (-:
 Self-consciousness and awareness are the same terms as consciousness. Everyone 
experiences consciousness - it's the universal truth and requires no proof. The 
truth of consciousness is experiential.  To be aware is to be conscious; to be 
human is to be self-conscious.
 "Consciousness is the prior condition of every experience." - Sam Harris
       On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 4:02 PM, "'Richard J. Williams' [FairfieldLife]" <> wrote:
           On 10/21/2014 12:07 PM, Share Long 
[FairfieldLife] wrote:
     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 
 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  physical/material."
 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 out."
 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 itself.
 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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