What is in books?

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Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 10:25 am
Starting my first thread, sending it out like a paper boat on the waves... First of all I want to bring up a dichotomy that is as old as humanity itself. On the one hand there is the external (?) world or "reality" (identified for simplicities sake), on the other hand there is our mind (or self, or soul), perceived as opposite to that reality, maybe longing for it, but always separated from it (mind including our feelings here, everything that "lives" under our skull). A concept that is often used in this context is that of "alienation", the mind being essentially "astranged" from reality, an experience that can be very intense and that has been most strikingly expressed in Descartes' dualism (imho). Now Catcha has read quite some books in his youth and often heard the despising reproach of non-readers that books confirm and amplify that alienation, that "those who work with their hands" are somehow closer to reality than the reader (and closer to wisdom, that may indeed be something else than just knowledge). Can I put this question forward in this forum, and humbly ask for your opinion? Who is nearer to reality, the one who "thinks", reads, cultivates the innerworld, or the one who "acts", feels, experiences, sticks his hands into all kinds of sh.. (if you permit me this gross and rhetorical simplification)? Or is this just a "Scheinproblem", and are both only "pointing" towards reality in their own way, both of them being essentially unable to have a "better" insight than the other. Can we really get closer to reality in some way and what would that mean? Consider modern day culture here. One can have the uneasy feeling that we are all growing away from reality faster than ever, by a huge historical transformation of reality into images (Second Life is only one of many examples). We create vast amounts of information, we make images of everything, even images of images of images... Are there cultures that can be considered closer to reality, or are we all inevitably "alienated"? Is an early indicator of decadence not a focus-shift from reality to "texts", or from reality to images of that reality? Can cultures not be divided in those that feel close to reality, that can still see the world through the eyes of a child, and those that cling to all kinds of "theory", those for which alienation is a problem? Just a few vague thoughts here, the dialogue with myself has just begun ;-)
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 12:36 pm
@Catchabula,
Ok, I have my own analysis of this, nobody responding. As the distance between the inner and the outer world can be seen as infinite, considering our human nature and the (supposed) nature of reality and the essential difference between both (a difference that has been expressed in various ways: as "pour-soi" versus "en-soi", as "mind" versus "matter"), being "near to reality" can only be seen as a strictly subjective criterion, as a feeling or as a personal experience, as an "impression". "Approaching reality" is at most a metaphor, it is just a name for those blessed moments during which, either by action or by thought, reality "feels near" to us, for example when we understand something, especially something new, or when we create or produce something, especially in some value-loaded field of action. Paradoxically the highest "theory" (in a very general sense, embracing theoretical physics as well as mystical insight) can be felt as closeness to reality, and so can be just reading a book or contemplating an image or gardening or doing community-work or whatever. Images of reality are not necessarily void of reality or opposite to it, because images have "content", because they are loaded with reality, being like a signpost or gateway to it. Paradoxically we cannot escape reality, while not being able to reach it either, but our thoughts, perceptions, actions are all determined by it, given sense by it, being unthinkable without it. So we read Dostojewski and there is reality before us, or we prepare a well-rotted manure for our garden and there is reality again. It's only a matter of choice whether we spend our time reading or gardening, it is only a matter of choice whether we become a physicist or philosopher or a construction-man or gardener. There is no real opposition here, at least not by the criterion of being "nearer to" reality, and certainly not by understanding reality better. There is no hierarchical difference between the reader and the non-reader in this respect, there's just some difference in values and psychology, and maybe some social prejudice. Must be continued...
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 06:14 am
@Catchabula,
One might even say more (and search for some thread on phenomenology ;-) ). We are not "near to reality", we are not even into reality, but we ARE reality; we don't "think" reality but we are reality thinking itself including us. There's no big deal in the mind, unless it blows itself up like a frog, creating its alienation on the way. But is there no peculiarity and dignity for the mind then? Even the philosopher experiences the mind as an instrument ("organon"), as being an inevitable complement for action. There is no real boundary between thought and action, there is no thought that is without action and no action that is without thought. Both are an echo of each other, like the convex and concave side of a scale; both are just ways "to be", to be a reality we can never escape or deny even if we tried. So these dialectics bring us back to the world, alienation and isolation being turned into identification and solidarity. "Nearness to reality" is obviously a Scheinproblem, as the distance between ourselves and the world is not infinite but zero. This is Faust: we only have to recognize ourselves and bring peace to our restless mind. Our redemption comes when we don't run away but accept ourselves and our mission and assume our responsibilities. I'm a librarian, she's a nurse, we live, we are, we both read books and do the dishes. Of course there are ethics, we cannot do just anything. But there's no shame in reading, nor in being a garbage-man, and I know the garbage-man knows that too. And now excuse me, I have to cultivate my garden (Yes, I know all this has been said before, and I know it's trivial. Just keep not anwering so I can discover that by myself ;-). ).
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 08:24 am
@Catchabula,
I think reading is a crucial skill for a citizen to have in a liberal society. There is a difference between basic reading (e.g. newspaper, directions, VOTING BALLOTS) and higher orders of reading (e.g. philosophy books, scientific writing, literature). While there is no shame in being a garbage man, there is shame in being a garbage man than cannot read. While one does not have to be able to participate in the higher orders of reading, one is severely crippled by not being able to read at all. In a liberal society, reading helps one detect reality and avoid wolves in sheep's' clothing.
 
nameless
 
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 05:17 pm
@Catchabula,
I was going to say that there seemed to be a false distinction. Like the blind men surrounding the elephant. Each was touching and describing the elephant before him. And arguing about who is correct. All were correct in as far as limited Perspective allows.Yet none has a complete picture/understanding.
A complete definition of the omniverse, at the moment, is a sum total of all Perspectives.

Catchabula;34724 wrote:
...We are not "near to reality", we are not even into reality, but we ARE reality;

There is no difference between the perceived and the perceiver, the experience and the experiencer. Tat vam asi!

The notion of an 'in here' and an 'out there' is merely a belief in a trick of perspective, how the brain functions. But it is important in as much as that 'beliefs', notions, as all notions, thoughts, dreams, feelings, beer and cheeseburgers are essential to a complete definition of the momentary omnverse.
Everything exists.
And if we consider existence, as it is, as 'reality', then everything is 'real' as perceived but 'limited'.
If there is a 'monism', if there is a 'perfectly symmetrical, such as Consciousness/Mind, there can be nothing else.

Quote:
But is there no peculiarity and dignity for the mind then?

Begs the ego? We do tend to identify with 'our' thoughts, though, don't we?

Quote:
Even the philosopher experiences the mind as an instrument ("organon"), as being an inevitable complement for action.

By 'the mind' I'm assuming that you refer to 'thoughts'? If so;
'Thoughts' are only perceived from certain Perspectives, and from certain Perspectives within that set sees 'thought' as an 'instrument'. Not universal.
What appears as 'action' occurs whether you think or not. Life continues quite elegantly and efficiently and fully and beautifully without 'thought' number one. I find that the meditative state, the thoughtlessness, uninturbulated by ego/thought to be more reflective of existence as it is.

"Our true nature is beyond thought, and can only be discerned when one abides in the present and serenely reflects the wonder of existence."
(childlike innocence (regained), enlightenment, liberation...)

"The function of our mind is asa a perceiver, but thoughts find their origin in the memories of the mind's perception."

"The true nature of mind is to perceive in receptive awareness."

Quote:
There is no real boundary between thought and action,

There are no 'real' boundaries at all. There are 'accepted' boundaries (fall from innocence).

Quote:
there is no thought that is without action and no action that is without thought.

So, so, so untrue. I see obviously 'thoughtless actions' all the time. At least I perceived no evidence of thought. Perhaps it was not 'thoughtlessness' where the fellow drove his car right smack into the tree, perhaps he was so busy 'thinking' that he was simply now unaware of the 'present' other than the his 'present' in his 'thoughts'.

"Thought doesn't enhance the joy and beauty of life but only removes one from the direct experience of it."

(I'd respond that, perhaps, thought, is (more or less fortunately) directly experiencing the moment, the moment of 'thought')

Quote:
Just keep not anwering so I can discover that by myself

Quote:
Just a few vague thoughts here, the dialogue with myself has just begun

'Self' speaks to 'self'. What else is there?
Ultimately, all 'distinctions' are false.
There is Consciousness/Mind (perfect symmetry, ineffable, 'monistic'..) 'Existence', all of it, is momentary, Now!

Book readin' and well diggin' are both percepts, both concepts in mind, both existent with no 'real' distinction between them. Just a matter of Perspective.
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 06:47 am
@nameless,
always some thought in action and some action in thought, and this may exactly proove the falseness of this distinction. All depends on how you see and define thought, as good old meditative reflexion (horribly alienating: the thinking that thinking thinks), or as just some practical algorithm. That's why I may not drive anymore, I always fell into Satori (actually Parkinson. All illness stinks, brother).

"Our true nature is beyond thought, and can only be discerned when one abides in the present and serenely reflects the wonder of existence."
(childlike innocence (regained), enlightenment, liberation...)

"The function of our mind is asa a perceiver, but thoughts find their origin in the memories of the mind's perception."

"The true nature of mind is to perceive in receptive awareness."

Why do children want to be adults and adults want to be children? Now that's a subject for a dissertation. No ideas for the moment here, unless something about man never accepting himself, never satisfied, always wanting to be another than himself. I guess we cannot compare in an absolute sense the "two ways of thinking", that would create quite a bias for the adults from the beginning. Maybe there is not much difference at all between both. I'm pointing to the "myth of childhood" here: the "child in us" being something dreamt of in our philosophy, like squaring the circle or multidimensional math. I was clever so I had a difficult time as a child, and I don't know if I want to get back to that kind of Satori. Is there a best of both worlds here? Can one be a child without being childish (I am often childish without being a child). Must be continued... (worth of definitions, books again...)

Book readin' and well diggin' are both percepts, both concepts in mind, both existent with no 'real' distinction between them. Just a matter of Perspective.

The first gives you a headache, the second a pain in the back. And are many people not a pain in the ass? Conclusion: everything is related and being human means pain. Back to the classics! Seeya around, Nameless (thinking, thinking... Nameless is not Nobody, too many Nobodies with a Name... Odysseus the Wanderer.... letters.... there is so much more...)

Sorry, go on please.

Catchabula

(*) Personally I call it "Aurum Potabile" or "Aqua Divina", sometimes even "Semen Veritatis" or "Illuminatio liquefacta". But most often I just say "ad fundum!". Zum Wohl!
 
nameless
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 04:16 pm
@Catchabula,
Catchabula wrote:
Many thanks to you, Nameless, the Pupil from California (I hope you'll appreciate it if I call you Pupil, Master or Swami being mean and condescending).

'Pupil' certainly resonates more then 'master'. I see no necessary difference between the two, though, all 'masters' are 'pupils', no. But as much as ego will sit up and wag tail at the notion of 'master', i'm comfortable with the 'pupil' notion. Always learning...

Catchabula wrote:
I dream you a Californian.
Me too. *__-
(and so much more!)

Catchabula wrote:
Isn't California the most spiritual of all places in the States, apart from New England where the "minds" walk around without a body, whereas in sunny California they still are tightly connected?
There are a lot of "Northern" Californians that might agree with you. The biggoted vote to remove the civil right of marriage for gays reflects our dark underbelly. People is people...
I can't answer your question as I do not think in such terms, but, you are very welcome to come for a visit and discern for yourself! Take a tour of the wineries and breweries; see the mighty redwoods; the coast...
You will surely find it as beautiful as Belgium!

Catchabula wrote:
Let me withold myself of talking about women now, and have a little digression on the choice of your nick. A librarian mostly defends the inherent value and dignity of words, as collected and organised in books, stitched together into a wonderful "Gestalt".
"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used." -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Catchabula wrote:
But we have to realize now and then that words are also boundaries
They are definitely 'boundaries'.
Existence is Context!
'Thought/ego' takes 'context' and imagines boundaries and seperation.

Catchabula wrote:
and delusions,
I don't know about 'delusions'. I see all Perspectives as unique and have heard the term 'delusion' used to indicate that there is something 'wrong' with a Perspective that differs from you.
All perceptions, all Perspectives of the elephant, no matter their apparent diversity, are valid and necessary for the 'complete' elephant.
I used to think that a 'delusion' was an illusion 'believed', but no longer can i discern between the two.

Catchabula wrote:
Yup. Thats what 'thought/ego' does, but that, also, is a feature of 'reality' in it's completeness.

Catchabula wrote:
If you live by words you easily become their victim,
We are the 'reality' that our words define?

Catchabula wrote:
they tend to lull you into the feeling that everything is understood and under control,
A desperate 'need' (feeling) in many people!

Catchabula wrote:
while reality hits us each day in the face with its vastness and its tragical incomprehensibility.
I wouldn't necessarily say 'tragic', but I understand that it could certainly be seen as such;

"To escape one's illusions is to plunge headlong into chaos!" -Iota
Catchabula wrote:
Will we ever respect and understand reality as long as we keep honouring those holy cows that are words and names?
I'm far from sure that 'reality' (for me) 'needs to be' respected or understood. 'Reality, at the moment, consists of SOME Perspectives that are dealing with 'respect' and the attempt to 'understand', etc... but these are inherent 'features' of the tapestry of existence, not 'external' to...
Ultimately, we are what we perceive. We are nondifferent than (our perceived corner of) the universe, at the moment of perception.

Catchabula wrote:
I often wondered how an animal experiences the world without having the use of human language (seems that this is a very philosophical attitude ;-) ). It would be a nice meditation trying to "see" a rabbit without seeing a "rabbit" (and yet chasing it), trying to see the whole world without the added complication of words and names (this is an old project called "Wesenschau", but there is of course Kant's epistemology).
Practice meditation and you will 'see'. Without 'thought/ego' there are no 'names', no 'distinctions', no 'doer and done' dichotomy, hence the experience of 'enlightenment', of the 'oneness', the 'unity' of all appearances.

Catchabula wrote:
Ok I'm imagining that guy in California now and I see more than a clever reasoner, I seem to perceive some wisdom, or at least some socratic variation of it
Another thing floating in the 'eye of the beholder'...
I wonder how all us damn 'beholders' can 'see' anything at all with all these 'things' in our eyes!

Catchabula wrote:
("he who knows he can never reach wisdom is wise").
Makes no sense to me.
Untrue! And also true! And also meaningless! Depends on Perspective.
I know when I spout wisdom, and at that moment, I can be considered 'wise/wisdom'. At that moment. If another sees wisdom at another moment, then it would be fair for him to call me wise, AT THAT MOMENT.
"All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense." -Robert Anton Wilson

Catchabula wrote:
And there's another Big Connection here: he likes a beer now and then! Everyone who has been a student in my magic town in Flanders knows the many blessings of that wonderful quintessence, that costly fluid, that precious nectar, hiding so humbly under the name of "beer" (*).
Your bardic qualities shine! Do you play upon an instrument? So Shakespearean...

Catchabula wrote:
Quote:
A complete definition of the omniverse, at the moment, is a sum total of all Perspectives.
Absolutely Complete in every moment of manifestation! The tapestry of omniverse is a complete whole, in each and every moment.

Catchabula wrote:
Always seeking, always wandering, boldly going where no one has gone before.
And this, too, is a feature of the complete whole at the moment of it's manifestation.

Catchabula wrote:
Completeness at any level is for the gods,
Consciousness.

Catchabula wrote:
we are just broken pots (crackpots?), and philosophy is a pathetic try to find a better glue.
I see us as limited Perspectives, necessary limitations; not an error. But that view, also, a feature of the complete tapestry of the whole.

Catchabula wrote:
There's some breakthroughs now and then: Friendship, Love, Reason... Do they justify some Hope?
Hope? Egoic judgement? I entertain no 'hopes'. For others, I can see how one can justify 'hope' that needs to be justified. 'Justifications' can be found in all sorts of accidental places...

Catchabula wrote:
Quote:
What appears as 'action' occurs whether you think or not. Life continues quite elegantly and efficiently and fully and beautifully without 'thought' number one. I find that the meditative state, the thoughtlessness, uninturbulated by ego/thought to be more reflective of existence as it is
Dunno really. I once found a man unconscious on the pavement. Everybody was just passing by, it was horrible! It needed some thoughtful, fast, efficient, practical action, and I think I may have saved the man's life. Could be the best thing I ever did (never saw him back after the ambulance came). Were all the others in a meditative state? And that even in Belgium... :-(
If it is in your nature to aid someone, you don't have to 'think about it' to render assistance; like pushing someone out of the way of an out-of-control vehicle. Some will, some won't. 'Thought' seems unnecessary. It is ego wanting to 'take credit' again...

Catchabula wrote:
Quote:
So, so, so untrue. I see obviously 'thoughtless actions' all the time. At least I perceived no evidence of thought. Perhaps it was not 'thoughtlessness' where the fellow drove his car right smack into the tree, perhaps he was so busy 'thinking' that he was simply now unaware of the 'present' other than the his 'present' in his 'thoughts'
Methinks there is always some thought in action and some action in thought, and this may exactly proove the falseness of this distinction.
Like I said, practice meditation for a 'wider' Perspective regarding the 'necessary value' of 'thought/ego' to what is perceived as 'action'.

Catchabula wrote:
All depends on how you see and define thought, as good old meditative reflexion (horribly alienating: the thinking that thinking thinks), or as just some practical algorithm.
I find a good definition of thought to be the 'excretion' of a functioning brain, much as a fart from a functioning digestive system. And take it no more seriously than it deserves! *__-

Catchabula wrote:
That's why I may not drive anymore, I always fell into Satori (actually Parkinson. All illness stinks, brother).
Yeah, pain hurts!

Catchabula wrote:
"Our true nature is beyond thought, and can only be discerned when one abides in the present and serenely reflects the wonder of existence."
(childlike innocence (regained), enlightenment, liberation...)
"The function of our mind is asa a perceiver, but thoughts find their origin in the memories of the mind's perception."
"The true nature of mind is to perceive in receptive awareness."
Quote:
Why do children want to be adults
Perks?

Catchabula wrote:
and adults want to be children?
Responsibility?

Catchabula wrote:
Now that's a subject for a dissertation.
Hmmmm....

Catchabula wrote:
No ideas for the moment here, unless something about man never accepting himself, never satisfied, always wanting to be another than himself.
Some men...

Catchabula wrote:
I guess we cannot compare in an absolute sense the "two ways of thinking", that would create quite a bias for the adults from the beginning. Maybe there is not much difference at all between both.
There are many forms of thought as the evidence suggests, but all valid in its context as an inherent feature of the universe at the moment.

Catchabula wrote:
I was clever so I had a difficult time as a child, and I don't know if I want to get back to that kind of Satori. Is there a best of both worlds here? Can one be a child without being childish (I am often childish without being a child). Must be continued... (worth of definitions, books again...)
I cannot answer your questions, but you aren't asking them of 'me', are you? Even if i could, i wouldn't dream of denying you your moments of delicious epiphany and enlightenment!

Book readin' and well diggin' are both percepts, both concepts in mind, both existent with no 'real' distinction between them. Just a matter of Perspective.

Catchabula wrote:
The first gives you a headache, the second a pain in the back. And are many people not a pain in the ass? Conclusion: everything is related and being human means pain.
Rimshot!

Catchabula wrote:
Back to the classics! Seeya around, Nameless (thinking, thinking... Nameless is not Nobody, too many Nobodies with a Name... Odysseus the Wanderer.... letters.... there is so much more...)
nameless is 'self'.
nameless is universes.
A name is a 'definition'. Every moment we can have a different definition (if viewed from the Perspective of 'action'). If a 'healer', perhaps the name/aspect of Quan Yin; if a destroyer, Kali! When no aspect is 'invoked/manifested', nameless, and in the closet i lay... typetty, typetty, typing away. Perhaps the name 'thinker' while on here as I seem to be doing plenty...?
I like the 'freedom' of being 'nameless' though. I need not define myself, limit myself.. 'I' and the omniverse are non-different.

Catchabula wrote:
Sorry, go on please.
Gone.

Catchabula wrote:
(*) Personally I call it "Aurum Potabile" or "Aqua Divina", sometimes even "Semen Veritatis" or "Illuminatio liquefacta". But most often I just say "ad fundum!". Zum Wohl!
Your loquacity is only matched by your passion!
Peace
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 02:45 pm
@nameless,
Ah librarianship! Eight hours with books and whadaya get, one day older and longing for bed. Ok, I do know Britney and Puff Daddy and Ryhanna, all artists as classic as the Parthenon and as great as Michelangelo. Am I allowed now to quote my beloved Horace please? (Quintus Horatius Flaccus; it's him in my pic). "Nonum Prematur in Annum" (Hor. Ars Poet. 388), "Keep whatever you're writing nine years in the closet". Meaning that you have to give it some time to grow, to evolve, to mature like wine in its cask or some noble fowl (nine days will be quite sufficient here, I'm not Horace). So there will be a reply when there will be a reply, and not a second earlier. Seeya.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 03:00 pm
@Catchabula,
Catchabula;35307 wrote:
(Quintus Horatius Flaccus; it's him in my pic). "Nonum Prematur in Annum" (Hor. Ars Poet. 388), "Keep whatever you're writing nine years in the closet". Meaning that you have to give it some time to grow, to evolve, to mature like wine in its cask or some noble fowl (nine days will be quite sufficient here, I'm not Horace). So there will be a reply when there will be a reply, and not a second earlier. Seeya.

Should I heep the 9 year revisions for 9 years also? Probably would be of benefit. One needn't go to library, just wade through the closet!
Every time that I look at my book, i revise and hone. It seems like a neverending process. Death must be the finale?
I'll be around, whenever...
 
 

 
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