If I remain ceaselessly active to the end of my days, Nature is under an obligation to allot me another form of existence, when the present one is no longer capable of containing my spirit. I do not doubt the continuance of our existence. May it then be that He who is eternally living will not refuse us new forms of activity analogous to those in which we have been tested. Goethe.
Immortality implies perpetual duration. This persistence of mind, and body in mind, is the sense of life everlasting. An everlasting consciousness is conceived as a consciousness that endures, i.e. it endlessly consumes new presents ion an enlarging past, while an eternal consciousness is one for which the present embraces all eternity.
The perishing of each conscious moment is unnoticed when it is replaced; the interval, being timeless and not incremented, is non-conscious. Thus, we feel a seamless and continuous self across perishings. In life, this “bridge across moments” is extracted from the present state. Since we live in the present state, the next state, the one that will replace the present state, does not exist until the replacement occurs.
If the real is the presumed oneness of the absolute that underlies a multiplicity of individualities, it can only be achieved when the appearances of perception and the illusion of personal consciousness are extinguished.
Heaven and the soul that seeks it should not be fashioned on earthly knowledge. They are, if they exist, unimaginable.
The duration of the present – the now – is not fixed and immutable but elastic; it can be contracted in pathological conditions, and expanded in meditation or hypnotic age regression. Yogic meditation expands the now in a “pure consciousness” detached from the flow of objects. Mystics have written of such experiences. They speak of an individual consciousness becoming one with the mind of god, embracing a world process of becoming of all past, present and future times in a single all encompassing now.
The posterior boundary of the now is extensible because its floor is essentially bottomless.
The notion of an individual consciousness after death is not a mystical insight. Keyserling (1927) wrote that mysticism ends in an impersonal immortality.
Emptiness is the insubstantiality of the relational, the negation even of relationality, for the relation is not a nothing, it is still a discrimination, an affirmation. Pure relationality or flux is a conceptual film that is finally unpeeled as consciousness attains absolute emptiness.
Ironically, what does not achieve nirvana is the very thing that must be elevated in karma and liberated from samsara, namely consciousness.
All objects, ourselves included, are recurrences. Change is cyclical. The appearance of progression arises as a vector toward novelty in a replacement of forms.
A universe that arises in god’s mind, and perishes in the mind of an individual at death, begins with the consciousness of god independent of nature, and survives as an individual in god’s mind. It is as if the history of the material world and the individuality of our conscious natures were but one idea articulated into world process and the manifold of conscious states. Arising and perishing are thematic in existence, from particle to brain, from the birth of the universe to its eventual implosion. They frame the blink of the Brahma, the cycle of life and thought, the unsettled boundaries of every transition in the actualisation of the mind/brain. A phenomenal present, an act of cognition, a state of consciousness, all arise in the decay of it antecedents and all perish in the next arising. Apart from the infinite nature of god, there is no abiding, no persistence, only perishing, replacement and an illusion of stability.
There is a painful asymmetry in the fact that life and death come only from life, but only life, not death, gives new life.
Existence is the elaboration of value.
Existence, temporality and value are preserved throughout all changes in form.
Individuation is a mirror of dependency as separation is of fusion, or entropy of order.
What is ambiguity but a perspicacity that sees too well form every side?
What is real, or what exists, depends not on the level but on the process that runs through all levels, and how this process deposits the categories that constitute the “furniture of the world”.
Every object is a set of contrasts. … The oppositions are created by individuation and autonomy. I would describe it as a common process, in which the members are co-arisings. … Every entity, every phase in cognition, every act and object, posits the world of which it is not, as well as the world in which it appears.
Life is a larval stage of existence.
Brains are “organs of concentration” for separating a world soul into distinct personalities … But the subjective pole is as contingent on brain process as the objective pole. Personality is a limitation inphysical existence of the subjective participation in god prior to birth and after death. Life concentrates god’s spirit, death liberates it to full participation. If before life or after death we are ideas in god’s mind, in life these ideas undergo restriction and limitation.
Each act of thought creates the present in loss and recurrence. The old present dies so the next can be born. The self is an island of fragility pounded on all sides by flux, veering this way and that in necessity and acceptance. Finally, we may understand that freedom is an assertion, not in power and confidence but in utter helplessness and despair, and in the willingness to receive grace in the pit of gloom.
There are many descriptions of levels of awareness but few accounts of the specificity os awareness to a perceptual channel. … The awareness or lack of awareness is not a general reaction but specific to the perceptual system.
The demonstration that the loss of the visual world [through cortical blindness] is accompanied by a loss of the memory of that world has implications for a theory of perception. One implication is that an object is not received and put together by the brain, then transferred to a memory store for recognition, but rather, if the ‘store’ suffers with the object, the object must be ‘remembered’ into perception.
An external world is necessary for introspection. Dream is what happens to introspection when the external world is lost. The awareness of a mental space distinct from a public space occurs only if there is a public space for a comparison.
…images and objects are moments in a continuum leading from self to world. The continuum lays down levels in mid that are either mind-like or world-like, but the levels are stages in mind as self and world are constructed. The awareness of a content is elaborated by the same process through which the content is elaborated, since a disturbance of the content gives a disturbance of the awareness of the content. … the awareness is in the presentation.
But there cannot be multiple awarenesses for every potential content or every stage in every perceptual system. Awareness is a unitary phenomenon, not a piecemeal construction. The unity of awareness, lost in the analysis of the content, can be recovered in the sources of the content in the self.
In the experience of awareness, the content is only half the awareness, the other half is the self, the agent of the awareness, shifting and focussing like a lens with a zoom that is directed towards inner or outer contents. But the self that is scanning the contents of awareness is developing into the contents it is scrutinising, and this is the basis for the unity of awareness, that the awareness of content is derived with the content out of an underlying self concept that stands behind and distributes into the awareness content.
The Self in Awareness.
The object is preceded by the image and the image develops out of memory and the experiential store of the personality. The self is a stage in the unfolding prior to the image, arising early in the activation as a configuration in subconscious memory. The configuration of the self embraces all the potential images that the self can generate. The different aspects or expressions of the self are not isolated components but ideas the self pours out. The unity of the self derives from this position at a depth beneath analytic consciousness. Self, image and object are stages in a process of creative becoming. … The self is not the subject but the ground of the introspection. It is not the I in “I think” but the “I think”, and not just the “I think” but the whole context of the mental state in which the ‘I think” is embedded. … The thinking up of the I and the perception of the world flow from the self. The I is an element, an idea of what the self is. The I is like an object, which is an element in our idea of the world. The I is an invented self that does not correspond with the deep self that is generating the whole scenario in which the I of the introspection appears.
(I can see what he is getting at here, there are other approaches to this which shed more light upon the matter – however from an idealist and even potentially solipsist viewpoint, what he says makes sense, even if it does not totally convey the whole point to a mind with other resources to draw on.)
The depth and scope of knowledge directly available to the self seem to narrow as the theoretical issues clarify. The only direct, primary, unmediated knowledge is the content of consciousness in the absolute now. … The real object cannot be penetrated through the representation, which is the limiting point in the mind’s knowledge of the world. The inability to know the physical object is part of the desolation of the privacy of knowledge, but what is sacrificed in the loss of the object is compensated in the expansion of mind to include the object representation.
…what enters awareness, creates awareness. … Without the content there is no awareness, even for the loss of the content.
The solipsistic conclusion is not that the world does not exist, nor that the mind alone exists, but that one cannot access any event beyond it’s momentary mental representation. This is not the only way of thinking about this problem. There is another perspective that has to do with the enlargement of mind to include the world of perception. The limited knowledge of mind and world within a fleeting mental representation and the privacy of all knowledge of self and world are offset by the realisation that the observer participates in the objects he perceives. The world is literally part of the self, the objects in it extensions of the life of the observer.
Logic is not a means of discovery but an outcome. Logic is one form of knowledge. Logic seems to be an operation in introspection, yet like introspection it is a product of the process through which [mental] contents are generated. … world and language are shaped by the same generative process. … Because it is an outcome and not a creative activity, and because it leads to nothing new, logic is dead cognition.
Reality is a matter of conviction. It is always contingent. The world is as real as it seems.
The word is the full set of changing configurations, not the outcome of the configuring process. Without these stages [life experience, word category, and word or object] there is no meaning. The meaning is the entire configuration behind the word as well as the word itself.
The way a word is used is no more a part of it’s meaning than than the function of an organ is a part of it’s structure.
At best the description is a portion of the deep structure of the word that is accessed into consciousness, thus a part of it’s preliminary meaning content. When this content is derived into consciousness, however, it loses it’s original character, leaving behind, so to say, the real meaning that was the initial goal of the description.
It is a matter of faith that there a real objects “out there” that give meaning to our perceptions, but what is the real self “in there” that gives meaning to it’s representation?
Soul and world are creation myths that attain the status of inferences according to their degree of plausibility. If the world seems more plausible than the soul, that is just a cultural oddity of our present outward bias. … If soul and world are the history of the inner and outer segments of the brain state, the impulse to causal thinking entails that even souls and worlds have an origin and destiny. The need for a causal theory on the ultimate source and fate of the soul and the world is the basis for the idea of a God from whom all things are derived and to whom all thins return.
The existence of the object is inferred directly from the representation, the animation (mind) of the object is inferred from change in the representation over time.
We live in the brief segment of introspection positioned between a core that is unfathomable and a surface extending into a world that is endless.
… sanity is not subverted by the knowledge that the objects upon which it depends are unreal. Knowledge is dangerous when it penetrates into feeling – when the idea becomes painful – for it is the nature of the felling accompanying the knowledge that determines whether the knowing is an intuition or a pathology.
The continual laying down of the present gives the deception of a present surging into a future that is waiting just beyond reach. Since the individual lives within the unfolding, the vertical series is interpreted as a longitudinal flow, the carrier of the self through time, with no experience of the replacement of one state by another. In this way, the linkage of states propagates the self into the next moment.