Page Four Of A Continuing Dialogue With
KONRAD: Whenever I talk about your vision, and what I say to others I maybe misrepresent some parts of it. I do this sometimes deliberately, because I want to make people to think as hard as they can. Therefore I make sometimes some extreme statements to shake people up. I have learnt this from the Objectivists that this is a good thing to do to make people more aware.
RICHARD: Surely it is not a case of ‘what the Objectivists say, Konrad does’, is it? You must agree with their teaching in order to do it yourself, would you not say? Or do you not take responsibility for your actions ... and blame it upon someone else’s influence? Do you personally think that lying about what another person does or does not do is an effective way of having an honest and meaningful discussion about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in this world as it is? And where do you get off, anyway, trying to ‘shake people up’ with blatant untruths and somehow believe that you can make them ‘more aware’ by ‘thinking hard’ about what amounts to nonsense? Are you for real?
KONRAD: The question of having total control over consciousness is the focus of the East.
RICHARD: The whole point of enlightenment is for the controller to dissolve (death of the ego) and thus negate the necessity for control. Otherwise it is a discipline, a practice ... something that ‘you’ (as ego) have to do from moment-to-moment.
KONRAD: What they wanted was to let all disturbances in consciousness end. The method to achieve this is letting the controller dissolve. Nevertheless, this does not deny that they were after ending all suffering.
RICHARD: My word, you are a slippery customer ... what a leap from ‘having total control’ to ‘letting the controller dissolve’. Would you be a devotee of Mr. Mohan ‘Rajneesh’ Jain by any chance? He slipped and slithered his way through his philosophy and was even proud of his inconsistency. And they were not ‘after ending all suffering’ ... they wanted to end personal sorrow. Their stated aim is to come upon universal sorrow so that they can invoke Divine Compassion and thus manifest Love Agapé. Their reward for doing so is Bliss, Ecstasy and Euphoria ... and mystic power over other people
KONRAD: They have succeeded, but only up to a point. The greatest thing the East could achieve was total peace of mind by finding a way to ending all suffering. This ending of all suffering can be achieved by igniting the process of enlightenment, as discovered by Buddha.
RICHARD: Oh, no way is this historically correct ... spiritual enlightenment was around long before Mr. Gotama the Sakyan came on to the scene. His contribution (if he actually existed as an historical figure) was to do away with god(s) as being ultimate and a personal soul. Buddhism arose out of Hinduism (the same as Christianity arose out Judaism) and later came back to Hinduism in the form of Advaita Vedanta. He did not discount life after death, though.
KONRAD: Remember, my roots are in Zen. They look upon these kinds of visions as aberrations of the original vision.
RICHARD: Once more you try to shift the onus onto someone else ... Zen Buddhists, this time. Do you ever stand on your own two feet? And ‘aberrations’ of what ‘original vision’ are you referring to? Did Mr. Gotama the Sakyan really invent enlightenment, then? And did Hinduism actually come out of Buddhism? Did Mr. Gotama the Sakyan not do away with god(s) as being ultimate and a personal soul ... was that someone else? Did he, in fact, disavow life after death and renounce the concept of reincarnation? What on earth are you getting at? What School of Zen are you associated with ... the Dumb-san School, perchance? What I wrote above are not ‘visions’, they are accepted historical records.
RICHARD: Buddhism does not profess to totally eliminate suffering, only personal sorrow. Their ultimate condition exists after physical death ... it is called Parinirvana. Buddhism maintains that because of the intrinsic duality of being manifested in a body, then universal sorrow continues to exist after Nirvana is attained ... for as long as the physical body is still alive. And, secondly, the bliss of Nirvana is not because of the ending of what you call a negative (suffering) it is because of the ending of the ego that causes the suffering (personal sorrow).
KONRAD: Again, I talk from the Zen perspective. The aim is ending all suffering. The method is the ending of ‘I’ in the sense that you UNDERSTAND that the ‘I’ not really exists.
RICHARD: Well, you do not understand Zen Buddhism, then. They do not rattle on about the supremacy of logic ... Zen Koans are designed to break the hold that dualistic thinking has on a person. Also, you say that the ‘I’ cannot end; you say that an ‘I’ is essential for controlling the body; you say that peace is not possible; you deny any ultimate solution to the human condition; you say ... gosh, let me quote you:
What do you mean? Which one of your many statements is true?
KONRAD: Logic and rational thinking is tool that turned out to be THE tool that can give us complete control over existence, and even has done it.
RICHARD: Not ‘complete control’ over existence, surely?
KONRAD: Yes, complete. In modern science it has become completely clear what is needed for it. So the insight in what requires complete control has become total. Only, to explain this takes too long. And you probably would not understand it anyway when I attempted it, because it requires a greater skill in abstract thinking than I have ever seen present in you.
RICHARD: Oh, what a cop-out this is ... if you are not prepared to explain yourself then do not make such statements in the first place. And blaming what you take to be my lack of understanding is merely you shifting the onus once again.
KONRAD: Ruthless application of logic, and transformation of our environment can bring us intense joy and happiness.
RICHARD: You say ‘can bring’ ... has it already? Do you live ‘intense joy and happiness’ twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? If not, then this is theoretical only ... this hypothesis needs to be demonstrated.
KONRAD: This is your ‘one big bang’ solution illusion again. I do not buy it.
RICHARD: What do you buy, then? You say above that you come from a ‘Zen perspective’ ... and if anyone has a ‘one big bang solution’ it is them. Their literature abounds in sudden awakenings ... do you remember?
I always understood that logicians were consistent.
KONRAD: Your vision leads to a complete re-evaluation of our inner life. For, seen from this metaphysics, everything that happens inside of us, including the capability to act purposefully, is looked upon to be no more and no less than a tool of the body. The body is the important thing, and everything else that is imagined is just confusion.
RICHARD: What else is there but this very palpable physical existence ... except fanciful abstraction?
KONRAD: There this mistake again. Underestimating the abstract part of Man.
RICHARD: I do not underestimate it at all, Konrad ... to many people have died in wars fought for your much-prized ‘abstract part of man’ for me to overlook it.
KONRAD: Especially the idea that we are ‘who’s’. You represent the ultimate step of a philosophy that is totally existence oriented.
RICHARD: It is not ‘totally existence oriented’ and nor is it a philosophy ... it is an accurate description of an on-going and fully-lived experiencing of life ... complete with consciousness operating perfectly well as apperceptive awareness.
KONRAD: If you live your vision, this does not change the fact, that in the eyes of others it is a vision.
RICHARD: But I do not ‘live my vision’ ... I simply describe what I am living and you turn that description into a vision. There is an actual world, you know, not everything is abstract or mystical ... like philosophies and visions and spirituality.
RICHARD: I am somewhat intrigued by your statement in another post that Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti constantly espoused this point of view. Vis.: [Konrad]: ‘This is especially true, if you realize, that the thought that controls the body is in essence a ‘what’ that believes to be a ‘who’. A point J. Krishnamurti has made continuously’. Perhaps you could find the time to post a few quotes of Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti where he explicitly states that you are a not a ‘who’ and that what you are is only this body being conscious.
KONRAD: He never did explicitly.
RICHARD: Good ... I have never seen it explicitly stated either ... so my guess is that you made it up.
KONRAD: However, it follows from his observation, that we are not persons who are bothered with anger we must try to get rid of, but we ARE this anger. Therefore, if we try to get rid of anger, it is anger that tries to get rid of anger. It is also implied in his statement, that there are only thoughts and insights. It can also be seen from the fact, that he refers to himself as ‘the speaker’.
RICHARD: I read through this response three times and for the life of me I cannot see how any of it ‘follows’ at all. If you are anger ... then you are a ‘who’. If you try to get rid of anger it is a ‘who’ trying to get rid of a ‘who’. And where you say ‘there are only thoughts and insights’ then you are referring to a ‘who’ again by the use of the word ‘only’. As for ‘the speaker’ ... that is a substitute title for ‘mystical teacher’, not a description of a flesh and blood body.
RICHARD: What about those times where he would leave ‘the body’ under the watchful eye of two women and ‘go away’ somewhere to be ‘worked upon’ by ‘them’? Also, it was reported that a few days prior to his physical death he said that he would soon be able to ‘go to that mountain-top’ and ‘see for himself’ what was there ... after physical death. None of this conveys the impression to me that he considered himself to be nothing other than the flesh and blood body. Quite the obverse ... he obviously fancied himself to continue on long after the body was cremated.
KONRAD: This was the early, confused K. Later he was different.
RICHARD: This is the stock-standard reply of more than a few Krishnamurtiites ... and they get very coy when I ask them for the cut-off date. When, for you, did the ‘early confused K’ become the mature Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti?
Was it after his physical death?
RICHARD: He also said, just prior to physical death, words to the effect that he was a manifestation of a particular intelligence that would not manifest itself temporally for another few hundred years. This is so similar to Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s belief that, along with other statements that he made throughout his life, it is quite understandable that Buddhists claim him to be one of them. But, then again, so do the Advaita Vedantists ... Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti had realised that he was Brahman ... and hinted that he was The Buddha. It is all recorded in print, if you take the time to read through the material. Do you actually know what you are talking about, Konrad?
KONRAD: I talk from the Zen perspective. And from this perspective it is correct. Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti knew, that this ‘process’ that was going on in him was exactly the same process as that what was present in Buddha. He had in common with Buddha, that he became spokesperson of this process. Everybody who is a spokesperson of this ‘process’, and sees in it something that can end suffering, is, I would say, by definition, a Buddha. In this ‘tradition’ I am a very strange kind of animal. For I agree with you, that this is far too much pretence. I do not consider this ‘process’ to be enough.
RICHARD: Then why do you insist that you are ‘talking from the Zen perspective’? For a self-acclaimed logician, your thought process is very convoluted ... actually, you do not make any sense at all, here.
RICHARD: I have no intention of spending years studying logic ... male logic is as useless as female intuition when it comes to uncovering the ‘mystery of life’. The only understanding worthy of the name is an experiential understanding ... which means actually living what is being spoken each moment again.
KONRAD: I understand why you do this. For allowing abstractions into your life makes you also aware of time, since this is one of the abstractions. Your aversion against abstractions is in particular against this one, because allowing time as something real causes immediately a conflict with your own finiteness.
RICHARD: Wait a minute ... let me get this straight. You say that if I allow abstractions into my life, I then become aware of time ... and you state that time is an abstraction. Now, I consistently say that I am being here in this moment in eternal time and this place in infinite space ... yet you say I have an aversion against abstractions because I would have to allow time into my life! You compound your confusion by going on to say that time is real – not an abstraction – and that I have a conflict with finiteness. Yet I consistently talk of experiencing the infinitude of this universe each moment again for the rest of my life.
Where in all this is there a conflict for me?
KONRAD: Gathering all possible information causes our mind to generate all of the integrations that it can possibly form, without any bias, and thus to generate as much sensate beauty as it can possibly generate. Or, to say it simple, since this metaphysics puts NO barrier to ANY information that can possibly reach our mind, it generates as much sensate beauty as possible.
RICHARD: Maybe your mind does ... but that is not what happens here. I have no interest in beauty whatsoever ... I toss beauty out along with love and compassion and truth and any god whatsoever.
KONRAD: I know that you have excluded emotional beauty. But have you also excluded sensate beauty?
RICHARD: There is no such thing as ‘sensate beauty’ ... beauty is affective. Beauty is a feeling-response of the emotional and passionate ‘me’ to what is purely sensorial delight.
KONRAD: You may have found a way to happiness. But you have NOT found a way to end suffering.
RICHARD: Oh? Really? Now this is interesting ... what makes you so sure? Do you ever actually read what I write ... or do you suffer from cognitive dissonance?
KONRAD: Because you avoid the abstraction of time. You use terms like: ‘Everywhen’ to cover this up. This is your, as the Objectivists call it, ‘floating abstraction’ to evade reality, and the clear fact that time exists in the sense I have explained it before.
RICHARD: I must be dumb ... here is the same thing again. Apparently I avoid the ‘abstraction of time’ whilst evading the ‘clear fact that time exists’. Only now I have a ‘floating abstraction’ in order to evade reality ... yet I talk endlessly about living in this actual world of people, things and events (I see why some astute person on this List asked you what you were smoking over there).
As for my use of ‘everywhen’ ... the generalising word for all space (‘everywhere’) exists but not generalising word for all time (‘everywhen’) ... which I find cute.
KONRAD: In your Actualism, there is only existence, and ultimately it will lead to a denial of consciousness.
RICHARD: In actualism there is both existence and consciousness ... have you not noticed this yet? Only I describe this freed consciousness as apperceptive awareness.
KONRAD: You deny that existence can only be understood indirectly. Therefore you deny the perspective of the existential phenomenologists. Let me give an example of their reasoning. Remember in your previous mail, that you considered Einstein’s theory to be bogus? You did this, because it is practically impossible to remove all energy from the universe. Now, the Existential phenomenologists use a similar line of reasoning to show that consciousness can be prior. What they say is: ‘Can the term ‘existence’ be meaningfully defined if there is not someone present, who is conscious of it? Some would say: Yes. Their argument is: because there was a time that there were no humans. So it is irrational to assume that at those ancient times there was no existence, pure because there was nobody who could acknowledge its existence. If there can only be existence when there is somebody who acknowledges its existence, this sentence does not have any meaning. Still, this argument can be refuted in the following way: As soon as there is somebody who is able to acknowledge the existence of existence, in the same act he acknowledges the past of the existence. Therefore existence, including the implicit consequence of its past, can only have meaning if there is someone who is able to acknowledge it. This makes a belief in existence in the sense of a ‘brute existence’ independent of us acknowledging it basically naive’.
RICHARD: Okay, then I am naïve ... and if your line of reasoning is an example of sophistication then I am very pleased to be naïve. Look, what I am is these eyes seeing a tree and these ears hearing it rustling and these finger-tips feeling its texture and this nose smelling its resin and this brain being apperceptively aware as all this is happening of its own accord. All of this existence/ consciousness divide that you have created is evidence that you take yourself to be an ‘I’ inside the body ... which you do not deny.
Just do not assume that that is how it is for me and you will begin to understand me a whole lot better.
KONRAD: In other words, if the practical impossibility of removing all matter is an argument against the theory of general relativity, then the practical impossibility of acknowledging existence without somebody who does this is an argument against the theory that existence exists independent of us acknowledging it. In other words, this type of argument shows that your ‘primacy of existence’ point of departure is self contradictory.
RICHARD: How is that so? If you were to place a plastic bag over your head and tie it tightly around you neck your consciousness would cease to exist within five to ten minutes. We the onlookers would observe that you are dead and that existence is still happening. Thus is demonstrated the primacy of existence over your consciousness.
KONRAD: I do not subscribe to their vision.
RICHARD: Then why waste all this time talking about it?
KONRAD: Still, as you see when you read closely, this type of reasoning is logically identical with the type of refutation you used against Einstein’s general relativity, and therefore should be for you just as valid. I myself was fascinated by the fact that a complete vision that is on the surface completely realistic can be formulated by taking the primacy of consciousness as its point of departure. They showed me that this is at least a field of enquiry that you are completely unaware of. Since you obviously build everything on the primacy of existence.
RICHARD: Yes, I would call acknowledging the primacy of existence as being sensible. Different people come and go ... existence always remains. This universe was already here before you were born and will still be here after you are dead. It does not take a genius to suss out which of the two is primary when it is a choice between you being primary, Konrad, or this universe.
KONRAD: You have not overcome suffering, but you over flood your suffering with your happiness.
RICHARD: No, I have not ‘overcome’ suffering ... not at all. I have eliminated the root cause of suffering. Thus I do not need to ‘over flood’ anything ... happiness and harmlessness are the spontaneous results of psychological and psychic suicide.
KONRAD: Yes, you have killed abstract thinking along with it. For it made you painfully aware of time.
RICHARD: Aye, abstract thinking did indeed disappear along with it ... also intuition and imagination and belief. Life is so much easier without those impediments to sanity. And I am delightfully aware of time ... I revel in being here in time and in space.
KONRAD: And, of course, you deny the accomplishment of Buddha, ‘the process’. For you think you have no need for such a thing, because you run away from your own moments of discomfort.
RICHARD: Firstly, I do not deny Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s accomplishments ... just that he would not take the ‘final step’. Secondly, I praise the ‘process’ as a means to an end ... whereas you have taken it to be the end. Thirdly, what ‘moments of discomfort’ would these be, now?
KONRAD: I deduced this from the fact, that you did not go into, for example my analysis whereby I connected your vision to time. Since you evaded it, I assumed you were feeling dis-comfortable because of these analysis.
RICHARD: I did not go into it because it was nothing but speculative theory. Time is both actual and eternal. You sent me a mammoth dissertation on how time started before the ‘Big Bang’ ... which is a theory that I do not subscribe to, either. I did not experience any discomfort whatsoever ... I simply did not respond because you sent me many other things that I considered were far more important and interesting.
KONRAD: Suppose you follow Richard’s metaphysics completely, and live it. Then, psychologically speaking, you have definitely found a way to sensate beauty. But this can only be experienced as long as you yourself are an existent. This means, that when you are confronted with death, there is instant realization that you will lose all of it. And since the happiness is so intense, this means a loss that is proportional to your happiness. This problem is the fundamental problem of happiness in every form. If you have found it, the realization that you are a finite being with only limited time at your disposal causes the very sources of happiness to transform into potential things you will lose, and therefore to psychological pain.
RICHARD: Ah, so you do believe in life after death after all. I did ask you in an E-Mail months ago and you replied in the negative then. Is this another of your sudden insights ... or were you lying to me then?
KONRAD: Oh no. I do NOT believe in life after death. The only thing I say is, that in the face of death the sources of pleasure are sources of pain in the realization that you will be robbed from them. This is the basic problem of happiness. Let me be clear about this. When you’re dead, you’re gone. To be more exact: there is no after life in the sense that when you close your eyes on your death bed at the moment of dying, there is a next moment wherein you open your eyes, and you then see that you still exist in another place, another form, or whatever. In that sense, dead is dead. However, the ‘I’ IS a thought. It can, as an informational structure, be present in your body, controlling your body, and it can control the body of others. So the ‘I’ can survive, hence the activity of so many people to convince others of them being right. You can even explain who you are, and another can take your characteristic. Still, as an existent this does not help much. When you close your eyes on your death bed, you become unconscious, never to be conscious again. In that sense, dead is dead. In the above I only addressed the problem. If you know you are finite, because you have a clear understanding of the concept of time, and you are happy, then you can be reluctant to give these sources of happiness up. Especially when you have worked hard to obtain them. So these sources of pleasure then become potential sources of pain. THAT is what I say, no more no less.
RICHARD: So I take it that you do not dare to be happy because you are afraid of the pain of losing it? Is this all that you are saying? I had understood you to be hinting at something non-temporal to be enduring and therefore more worthwhile cultivating. Okay, then what the above amounts to is that you are going to stay unhappy because if you become happy now you will be unhappy about losing your happiness just before your physical death. You will forego a lifetime of happiness just to avoid the imagined keen disappointment just prior to death. Is that it?
Is that your fear?
RICHARD: If one lives fully – which is to actually be here as this body at this moment in the universe’s eternal time and this place in this universe’s infinite space – one experiences infinitude for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for the remainder of your life. It sure beats the specious immortality so beloved of the mystics ... who long for physical death to release them from this much-derided ‘finite’ existence. You can always use your logic on this one, Konrad, if eternity exists, where do you think it is located? Only before birth and after death? Does eternity stop happening whilst you are alive and breathing? What kind of eternity is that? Is it an intermittent eternity? No? Is it already here ... now? Yes? No? If no, then where is it?
KONRAD: Yes, and THIS reasoning is just one huge attack on the concept of time. THIS is where your Actualism falls flat on its face. In effect you are muddling with your time horizon with all of this talk about eternity, infinity, etc. It is all obfuscation. You do it in two steps. First you reduce the time horizon to zero, by only acknowledging the present, now.
RICHARD: I acknowledge what is actual, not what is abstract. And only this moment is actual. Yesterday was actual while it was happening and tomorrow will be actual when it is happening ... but only now is here. And it is always now ... and it is already here. I am not making this up ... this is not an invention. This is actually what is happening.
KONRAD: And in the second step you are trying to make the present, now, infinite.
RICHARD: I am not ‘trying’ to make time eternal ... it already is. And it is here now. Where else would eternity be?
KONRAD: And in this way you put up a smoke screen of floating abstractions so that the finiteness of your own existence becomes obfuscated.
RICHARD: If this were the case, Konrad, it would appear to make a mockery of your above assertions that I do not allow abstractions into my life!
KONRAD: If you lift this smoke screen, you will see the basic problem of happiness you are now hiding for yourself. It is this: Being aware of your own finiteness, how can you on the one hand allow happiness in your life in the full realization that it will end? How can you allow yourself to be happy without this same happiness becoming a source of pain in the face of your own finiteness? THIS is the problem of life and living.
RICHARD: I would suggest that this is the problem of your life and your living ... not mine.
KONRAD: And what I assert, is in order to solve this problem you need both the east and the west. I just point out that you have put up an elaborate smoke screen just to evade your own finiteness, and the problem it causes with happiness.
RICHARD: I am well aware that I am due to die some time soon ... and I embrace death. If it were not for death I could not be happy.
KONRAD: Richard is the ultimate example of somebody who puts existence totally above consciousness. Experiences of informational integration causes the phenomenon of sensate beauty. (Chills along your spine because you hear beautiful music, etc.) These kinds of experiences is what Richard lives for.
RICHARD: This becomes more and more ridiculous as you go along, Konrad. You may get ‘chills along your spine’ but I do not. I am not interested in ‘beautiful music’ ... it is all about pathos. It is designed to ameliorate suffering; where there is no suffering there is no ‘beautiful music’ ... just a pathetic tugging on other people’s heart strings. And what does ‘informational integration’ mean when it is at home?
KONRAD: Do you mean to say, that you do not even allow sensate beauty in your life? What on earth do you then mean by happiness?
RICHARD: I mean the sheer joy and delight of being able to be the universe’s experience of itself as a sensate and reflective human being. I have written about this consistently. Simply being alive and awake is sufficient happiness ... anything I do or see or think is a bonus of pleasure on top of this existential happiness.
KONRAD: Again, I stress here, that I do NOT use the word beauty in the emotional meaning of the word, but in the sensate meaning.
RICHARD: Again ... there is no such thing as ‘sensate beauty’. All beauty is an emotional/passionate response of the entity within the body.
KONRAD: But if even THOSE sensations are not present in your life then ... oh boy! Then you have NOTHING to offer!
RICHARD: Au contraire, Konrad ... I offer the purity of the perfection of this physical universe’s infinitude ... each moment again. And peace-on-earth.
KONRAD: Then you using the word ‘happiness’ is just an empty word.
RICHARD: Not so ... it is a more full use than you can possibly imagine or conceive. It has to be lived to be believed
KONRAD: I thought that you had at least THAT to offer. I deduced it from some persons I know that have tried out your vision. No sensate beauty? I can’t believe that you say this! How meagre is your Actualism.
RICHARD: I would guess by now that you may be having a re-think, non?
KONRAD: I really have a question. What on earth do you mean by the term ‘happiness?’ For it seems that you only talk about ending suffering.
RICHARD: Not only ending suffering ... ending malice too. And not only becoming supremely happy ... being totally harmless into the bargain.
KONRAD: And then only by the method of obfuscating abstractions, in particular that one about time. If that is so, I have given you far more credit than you deserve.
RICHARD: You may find – eventually – that you given me far too little ‘credit’ ... but let us see what eventuates, eh?
KONRAD: For ‘the process’ of Buddha is incomparable with anything else as a way of peace of mind.
RICHARD: Not so ... I lived the altered state of consciousness called spiritual enlightenment for eleven years. An actual freedom far surpasses that.
KONRAD: Can you clarify?
RICHARD: I sure can, Konrad ... any time you are ready.
The Third Alternative
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