On The Actual Freedom Mailing List
with Correspondent No. 34
RESPONDENT: ‘Is it possible to perceive without the enticements of the *sensation* of perception?’ This is not a question for which I’m seeking an answer, but rather, if you will and for the sake of words, a kind of ‘apperceptive’ prompt against the normally obscurant operation of ‘meeting’/representing one’s world ala self-consciousness via the senses. Anyway, I’m putting that question to explain and ask another one: If one sees clearly the terminal mediacy of thought/feeling (its proxy or approximation for full consciousness, direct perception, the light-of-lights, saksin, apperception – whatever you want to call it), I am not clear what is the meaning then of ‘sensuousness’ as that term is employed by Richard and other ‘AFers.’ After reading website definitions and various uses of the term and its derivatives in-context from Richard’s writings, I am still unclear. I mean, it still seems odd to speak of sensuousness at all. It seems as though y’all are pointing to some immediate sensuality, which is striking me as contradictory. Any help clarifying appreciated. Thank you.
RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Mailing List ... perhaps the most clarification is to be found in the very first words on the very first page of The Actual Freedom Web Site. Vis.:
For example, the word ‘apperception’, as it is extensively used on The Actual Freedom Web Site, is not synonymous with the word ‘saksin’ which is sometimes translated into English as ‘the watcher’ ... apperception occurs when identity, by whatever name, is temporarily absent – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – or permanently extinguished – as in an actual freedom from the human condition – and is best explained as consciousness being aware of being conscious (rather than the normal ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious). Vis.:
Put simply: apperception is direct perception (perception unmediated by any identity whatsoever) which is the same thing as saying direct sensation – be it ocular sensation, cutaneous sensation, gustatory sensation, olfactory sensation, aural sensation or even proprioceptive sensation – because in the PCE, and in an actual freedom, only the sensate world exists in all its splendour and brilliance.
Thought may or may not be operating as required by the circumstances.
Second, the word ‘sensuous’ was apparently introduced into the English language to avoid certain associations with the existing word ‘sensual’ – the sensual experience is typically appetitive whereas the sensuous experience is typically aesthetic – but as ‘the enticement of sensation’ (aka hedonism) is totally non-existent in the PCE, and in an actual freedom, the distinction between the two words is only necessary when discussing with a person in whom the instinctual passions are still extant.
For an actualist it is not ‘odd to speak of sensuousness at all’ – and neither is ‘immediate sensuality’ contradictory – because one is referring to the unmediated sensate experiencing in this actual world (the world of this body and that body and every body; the world of the mountains and the streams; the world of the trees and the flowers; the world of the clouds in the sky by day and the stars in the firmament by night and so on and so on ad infinitum).
But it probably would be odd and/or contradictory for a person in whom perception is mediated by the ‘saksin’ or the ‘light-of-lights’ and any other similar spiritual entity inside the flesh and blood body.
RESPONDENT: Richard, thank you for your reply. I think you’re helping me get at what it is that is not clear to me: the distinction made by you, and others, between appetitive and aesthetic sensation.
RICHARD: Yes, though my on-going experience – which is where these reports originate – shows that the distinction is only applicable where there is an identity inhabiting the body ... where apperception is operating the words ‘sensate’, ‘sensual’ and ‘sensuous’ are all interchangeable.
RESPONDENT: Experientially, it seems that, while the former is less ‘carnal’ ...
RICHARD: If I may interject ... I will presume you meant to write ‘the latter’ (aesthetic sensation) and not ‘the former’ (appetitive sensation).
RESPONDENT: ... both display, if you will, by way of internal percepts.
RICHARD: They both display ‘by way of internal percepts’ only to a person for whom apperception is not occurring ... it is identity that imposes its own percepts as a veneer over the actual.
RESPONDENT: I mean, it seems that if one is going to address sensation *as* sensation, one must address its subjectivity – that is, how any quality presents itself *as* a quality in the first place.
RICHARD: Yet apperception experientially shows that the ‘subjectivity’ you refer to (the subjective quality of sensation) was nothing other than the imposition of those internal percepts ... quality per se is inherent to the actual world.
Any object has native properties and intrinsic qualities are sourced in – not attributed to – these indigenous properties (and inherent values are derived from – not ascribed to – these congenital qualities).
RESPONDENT: The coolness of cool, for example, could, indeed, be reduced to a level beyond that of a grasping appetition for refreshment, to, say, the mere delightment of the contours of what one might at some other level label ‘cool’.
RICHARD: The qualities inherent to the actual world are certainly delightful and, as the distinction betwixt ‘sensual’ and ‘sensuous’ becomes redundant where there is no identity, what was previously a ‘grasping’ experience is also a delight ... nothing ‘dirty’, as it were, can get into this actual world.
RESPONDENT: (However, by the way, beyond this, any reduction to, say, the level of firing neurons or the quantum mechanics of contact, elucidates only the neurological/physical correlates. It does not reduce the qualitative state, but rather chooses to carve out and so-called objectively discuss only the physical correlates and then abstracts that they fully circumscribe the causes of the state itself).
RICHARD: What the investigations into the firing of neurons does provide is a physical basis for experiencing (the typical spiritual version is that ultimately all is metaphysical) ... and as ‘quantum mechanics’ is mathematical theory it is too abstract to be of any use when investigating ‘contact’ (and much of the philosophy which has grown out of it is metaphysical anyway).
RESPONDENT: I gather that when you say ‘the sensuous experience is typically aesthetic’, you are pointing to that state where, as you say, ‘only the sensate world exists in all its splendour and brilliance’.
RICHARD: No, I am not pointing to the aesthetic experience (sensuous) when I say ‘only the sensate world exists in all its splendour and brilliance’ ... I am referring to the apperceptive experience. Vis.:
RESPONDENT: My question then: How do the qualities of ‘splendour and brilliance’ present themselves AS splendour and brilliance?
RICHARD: Directly ... as splendour and brilliance are intrinsic to the properties of this actual world they present themselves openly where apperception is operating: everything is literally bright, shining, vivid, intense, sparkling, luminous, lustrous, scintillating and coruscating in all its vitality here in this actual world.
Once experienced – in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – one will never again settle for second-best.
RESPONDENT: How do the qualities of ‘splendour and brilliance’ present themselves AS splendour and brilliance?
RICHARD: Directly ... as splendour and brilliance are intrinsic to the properties of this actual world they present themselves openly where apperception is operating: everything is literally bright, shining, vivid, intense, sparkling, luminous, lustrous, scintillating and coruscating in all its vitality here in this actual world.
RESPONDENT: Thank you very much for taking the time for your thoughtful reply. If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep trying to get it more clear for me. I’d like to organize this around your answer to my last question: Earlier in your reply, you said: ‘Any object has native properties and intrinsic qualities are sourced in – not attributed to – these indigenous properties (and inherent values are derived from – not ascribed to – these congenital qualities)’. Using this approach in an example: If it is a *property* of water to be liquid and of a certain molecular activity at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and typical atmospheric pressures, then one might say the *quality* of coolness of such water is ‘sourced in’ this property.
Quite. Now, ‘sourced in’ also means a property does not simply *equal* a quality. The latter proceeds or is derived from the former (I think I have that right this time). So, in the case of coolness, one is not in direct contact with ‘coolness’, but rather with water at 50 degrees.
RICHARD: Yet one is in direct contact with cool water (if it be 50 degrees Fahrenheit) and not cold water or warm water or hot water ... otherwise the words ‘50 degrees Fahrenheit’ refer to nothing substantial.
If an elbow were to be placed in the water it will be directly experienced sensately whether the water is cold, cool, warm or hot (as a measurement of its temperature) ... one can then talk about the coldness, coolness, warmness or hotness of the water if one wishes to convey to another what one is experiencing.
Due to the invention of thermometers (which, along with microscopes and telescopes and the suchlike, is known as an extension of the senses) one can now place a thermometer in the water and more precisely, reliably, and universally measure whether the water is cold, cool, warm or hot – or any degree in between or beyond – and the 50 degrees Fahrenheit in your example is but another way than the age-old sensate way of determining by measurement that the water is cool (and not cold, warm or hot).
RESPONDENT: While coolness, indeed, is ‘sourced in’ the property of water as it is at that temperature, it does not follow that coolness is perceived directly.
RICHARD: Why not? In water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit the elbow is certainly not feeling coldness or warmness or hotness ... the elbow is feeling coolness as it is indeed cool water (and not cold water or warm water or hot water) that the elbow is feeling.
RESPONDENT: Coolness is the report of a subjective state of direct contact with water at 50 degrees.
RICHARD: I would rather say that coolness is the report of the elbow’s direct contact with cool water – or whatever part of the body – because in this instance saying ‘50 degrees Fahrenheit’ is but another way, albeit a more scientific way, of saying ‘cool’.
RESPONDENT: Now, ‘splendour and brilliance’ are not properties. They may be qualities ‘sourced in’ properties – what you call ‘intrinsic’ – but they are not the properties themselves.
RICHARD: I never meant to convey that splendour and brilliance were properties as I specifically wrote that they are [quote] intrinsic to the properties of this actual world [endquote] ... which is in keeping with my earlier observation that qualities are sourced in (or are intrinsic to) the properties.
RESPONDENT: There is nothing in liquid water of 50 degrees that it must *necessarily* present as ‘cool’.
RICHARD: I demur. There is something intrinsic to water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (otherwise known as cool) which necessarily differentiates it from what is intrinsic to water at, say, 200 degrees Fahrenheit (otherwise known as hot) ... perhaps it is the ‘certain molecular activity’ you referred to, towards the beginning of this e-mail, when you were discussing the properties of water?
RESPONDENT: Similarly, there is nothing *necessary* in the presentation of ‘splendour and brilliance’.
RICHARD: As I understand it (I am not a scientist nor have any scientific training) a photometer can measure how bright or brilliant something is in a more precise, reliable and universal way than the eye can sensately determine ... and one can then talk about the brilliance of that something if one wishes to convey to another what one is experiencing (the word comes from the French ‘briller’ meaning ‘shine’).
As for the splendour of something (the word comes from the Latin ‘spendere’ meaning ‘be bright; shine’) ... it is related to a brilliant display:
Therefore, when I wrote that ‘as [the qualities of] splendour and brilliance are intrinsic to the properties of this actual world’ and that ‘they present themselves openly where apperception is operating’ I am reporting that literally everything is ‘bright, shining, vivid, intense, sparkling, luminous, lustrous, scintillating and coruscating in all its vitality here in this actual world’ ... thus it is not the imposition of subjective attributes (which phrase may very well equate to what you called ‘internal percepts’ in the previous e-mail) that I am talking about.
Rather it is the absence of such subjectively imposed attributes – due to the absence of identity – which reveals the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: Hence, ‘splendour and brilliance’ refer to a qualitative state.
RICHARD: I can agree that they are qualities but I look askance at your ‘hence’ (which directly follows from your ‘there is nothing *necessary* in the presentation of ‘splendour and brilliance’ statement) because by so doing you seem to be indicating that qualities are an imposition onto properties and not sourced in those properties.
Whereas I am saying that there is indeed something necessary (such as the ‘certain molecular activity’ already referred to).
RESPONDENT: After all, what is any descriptor when applied, but evidence of qualitative evidencing going on?
RICHARD: If by ‘qualitative evidencing’ you mean the experiencing of the intrinsic qualities, which are sourced in the properties, then I can agree ... and this also applies to anything experienced via extensions to the senses.
RESPONDENT: This is what I meant in my question ‘present themselves AS splendour and brilliance?’
RICHARD: Okay ... incidentally, I do not go about seeing things in terms of their properties, qualities or values (such classifications never occur to me other than when having a discussion such as this) ... I simply delight in the wonder of it all and marvel in the amazing display.
Once experienced apperceptively – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – one will never again settle for second-best.
RESPONDENT: ... I’m not really interested in others’ expositions of their states as though the matter of living is somehow settled by these, because the truth or falsity of their claims are simply a non-issue to living inquiry; it’s barking up the wrong tree.
RICHARD: Okay ... as I only came onto the internet to share my discovery of an actual freedom from the human condition with my fellow human beings – which discovery is epitomised by the apperceptive experience – it would appear that your lack of interest in my report of such unmediated sensory experiencing has effectively brought all discussion to an end.
I would like to leave you with an observation though: the ‘truth or falsity’ of my claims are not a ‘non-issue’ at all as they can indeed be verified ... experientially.
I am, of course, referring to the pure consciousness experience (PCE).
RESPONDENT: I see that you have set aside responding to the rest of my email, because I have caused a misunderstanding. I should have said that I was not interested in others’ (just in general, but not including or excluding yours, by the way) claims of *authenticity* (and hence, of authority) which is where so many discussions can and do become uselessly fixed, as these are entirely not settleable by third parties.
RICHARD: This sweeping dismissal – ‘entirely not settleable’ – indicates to me that you are again not taking note of what I am saying in regards the pure consciousness experience (PCE).
Perhaps if I were to put it this way: it is the PCE which is authentic – and hence authoritative – and the validity of the authenticity and authority of the PCE can certainly be settled by any body ... it is experiential.
To use an old-fashioned – and possibly now politically incorrect – phrase: one has to ‘go native’ to fully understand.
RESPONDENT: However, I am quite interested in your ‘report’ and others’ inasmuch as they *unpack* the subtler aspects and layers of what they feel to be going on, rather than, say, merely making capsule apodictic statements.
RICHARD: There are many, many descriptive articles and passages available on The Actual Freedom Web Page ... not all of what I write is in the form of apodictic statements.
I will say it again: it is the PCE where the necessary facticity or complete certainty of these matters is clearly demonstrated or established ... then there is no need to ‘feel’ what is going on.
Furthermore, to ‘feel’ what is going on will keep one away from the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: I think there is much subtly to what you are addressing by ‘apperception’, and I hope we can continue getting at it beginning by way of the rest of my last email.
RICHARD: Not by way of your last e-mail, no ... I read it through three times before I responded as I did and in it you made it patently obvious that unless a matter was able to be settled in the ‘third-person’ way then it was a matter of [quote] ‘outright speculations’ [endquote] to discuss it ... in fact you observed that otherwise [quote] ‘usually, fine and entertaining disputes develop’ [endquote].
You may not have been subscribed to The Actual Freedom Mailing List long enough to notice that those peoples that have had, or remember having had, a PCE do not dispute what actualism is on about – nor do they have to have recourse to ‘third party’ settlement – rather that there is a sharing of experience and understanding and the querying of the various statements with the aim of elucidation rather than argumentation.
RESPONDENT: I believe our heretofore good clarifications of words/referents can arrive at an shared understanding of the dynamics of what you are calling apperception which does not depend on any claims of authenticity, but rather elucidates features which become testable against the observations of one’s own experience.
RICHARD: Hmm ... you want to claim the authenticity (and hence the authority) of the ‘third-person’ way of validation but seek to deny me of the authenticity (and hence the authority) of the experiential way of validation.
Yet the subject under discussion – human consciousness – is an experiential matter and not a ‘third-person’ matter. Here is the example you provided to explain what ‘third-person’ means to you (in item No. 2 of your previous e-mail):
It is this simple: if no living creatures exist then no human consciousness exists.
RESPONDENT: Sorry for the confusion.
RICHARD: Oh ... there was no confusion: you made it quite clear where you stood (just as you continue to do in this e-mail).
RESPONDENT: Thought I’d better add a little more to my reply, so we can get back on track in our discussion. (... ...) You see, appalling as it might at first seem, it has never really mattered to me whether a source of insight came from a sage or a madman, a well-grounded philosopher or a psychotic street musician, a family man or a freak of nature, the poised or the spastic, a man of honesty and integrity or a hypocrite and a plagiarist.
RICHARD: Sure ... I gained useful information from many, many people over many, many years: the most valuable information, however, came from those that put their words into practise (those that spoke from their on-going experience).
For example: a heroin addict might say ‘drugs are detrimental to your well-being’ (and the explanation why from their own situation is useful information) ... but what an ex-heroin addict has to say is valuable information (because such a person knows how to free oneself of the addiction).
The corollary to this example is that maybe 6.0 billion peoples are addicted, as it were, to the human condition – and any one of them may say that it is detrimental to one’s well being and explain why – but the person that is free of the human condition knows how to be free of it.
Otherwise it is a case of the blind leading the blind.
RESPONDENT: Now, establishing the authenticity, integrity, etc. of someone or their claims about themselves doubtless has value and is a very important matter, depending on one’s interests and especially if one aims to guide one’s actions based on their authority or validity. And settling such matters is no small affair and usually involves much investigation and disputation. However, this is no what is of interest to me presently.
RICHARD: Okay ... but there is, however, an easier and more reliable way: I invite anyone to make a critical examination of the words available on The Actual Freedom Web Site so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and if they are all seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves.
Then one will have reason to remember a pure conscious experience (PCE), which all peoples I have spoken to at length have had, and thus verify by direct experience the facticity of what is written (which personal experiencing is the only proof worthy of the name).
The PCE occurs globally ... across cultures and down through the ages irregardless of gender, race or age.
RESPONDENT: What does matter to me is this: where a certain act or idea (from whatever source, be it ‘sane’ or ‘insane’) presents in my present state of inquiry as heuristic (an exploratory aid), I explore, discuss, and ply its suggestions and implications, both intended and unintended, until either the source or the act or idea are exhausted or fully flowered. That’s what I’m trying to do with you and your use of ‘apperception’. I’m sure there are many aspects we could unfold.
I have always found that some preliminary research saves a lot of unnecessary repetition.
RESPONDENT: So, with that, perhaps we can return to items 1-3 of my original post of 17 July.
RICHARD: I would prefer to start afresh ... the ‘third-person’ way of validation leads nowhere fruitful in regards to experientially understanding human consciousness.
RESPONDENT: It appears that we are going to get nowhere in our original discussion of the distinction between qualities and properties (latest post being mine of 7/17), as we have become bogged down in the point of first and third person distinctions, which was raised chiefly to clarify the distinction of qualities and properties.
RICHARD: A suggestion only: if, as you now say, you raised the point of first and third person distinctions chiefly to clarify the distinction of qualities and properties then it would have been helpful to have said so instead of saying [quote] ‘why is all this important?’ [endquote] and then proceeding to discuss standards of validity ... to the point of stating that you are not really interested in others’ expositions of their states because the truth or falsity of their claims were simply a non-issue to living inquiry and that it was barking up the wrong tree (with further comments about such discussions being ‘outright speculations’ or unable to be settled ‘in the third-person sense’).
In other words: you set the agenda of the discussion (standards of validity) and I responded accordingly.
RESPONDENT: The sub points about first vs. third party settleability, in, for example, someone’s claims of personal insight, etc., were only definitionally supporting and peripheral, and were not intended to go off on the tangent of standards of validity. Alas, this sideshow, so to speak, has become flypaper. Again, the main point, which you will not return to, was to clarify the distinction between qualities and properties ...
RICHARD: So as to set the record straight I would like to point out that I made it quite clear what I would not ‘return to’ – discussing the apperceptive experience with a person who was not interested in such an exposition unless it could be settled by the ‘third person’ way – and not, as you say here, clarification of the distinction between qualities and properties ... as the following exchange shows:
As you have now made clarification of the distinction between qualities and properties the main point of that e-mail I can attend to that topic straight away: as I understand it qualities are the anthropocentric experiences of objects and are sourced in the properties; properties are the inherent characteristics of objects and exist irregardless of humans being present (palaeontology evidences that this planet existed long before humans appeared on the scene).
Incidentally, I am using the word anthropocentric in its ‘regarding the world in terms of human experience’ meaning.
RESPONDENT: ... which are, to me so far, simply conflated in your descriptions of apperception, in a way which simply dismisses by definition, without elucidating probative reasons, the qualitativeness of apperception, as if it were some kind of incompatibility, throwing us back into duality. This, I believe, may be only an artifact of your implicit assumption regarding or prior definition of qualitativeness qua qualitativeness. With clarification of what qualitativeness means (or better, how it is caused), it is not incompatible.
RICHARD: Perhaps what gives you the impression that qualities and properties are conflated in my descriptions of apperception is because, as I said in an earlier e-mail, I do not go about seeing things in terms of their properties, qualities or values as such classifications never occur to me – I simply delight in the wonder of it all and marvel in the amazing display – and my descriptions reflect this experience.
This is how I have explained such descriptions before to other respondents:
As to whether I dismiss the ‘qualitativeness of apperception’ or not depends upon what you mean by the word ‘qualitativeness’ as I have been unable to find it in either the Oxford or the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (nor in the Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Oxford Dictionary describes ‘qualitative’ as meaning ‘relating to or concerned with quality or qualities’ and that is all it has to say ... it elsewhere says that the addition of the suffix ‘-ness’ indicates that a word is now ‘an instance of a state or a condition’.
Until then I can say this much: I certainly do not dismiss the qualitative nature of apperception as apperception is quite obviously a human experience (apperception cannot exist irregardless of a human being present) ... I have already given two examples of this (splendour and brilliance) in an earlier e-mail.
RESPONDENT: Since we are not moving in this subject, I agree it is time to start afresh, and I will follow your suggestion to look again at your website material.
RICHARD: Okay ... but as you had already re-started the subject in this e-mail I took the opportunity to respond rather than leave it all dangling.
RESPONDENT: Richard (and list subscribers): After reviewing yet more of the actualfreedom.com.au website material, I see Richard is deeply mistaken and confused about the nature of apperception. This confusion stems chiefly from the mistaken and then systematised interpretations he has made of his experience of and his alleged ‘extinguishing’ of ‘affective feelings (emotions and passions and calentures)’. I will explain. To do that I’m going to organize my remarks using an old three-part framework that has been used to discuss human psychic activity – that is, in terms of a) the cognitive (thinking), b) the affective (feeling), and c) the conative (willing); however, this is only a rhetorical device and is not intended to suggest that it actually refers to some kind of real psychic anatomy. It’s not even a claim that its a particularly good framework per se. Only for the sake of organizing my remarks here, I am just abstracting in these three aspects the consciousness we always qualitatively experience as unitary.
It is noteworthy, quite reasonable and, as we shall see, quite telling, that the largest body of Richard’s writing and correspondence treats the affective, while offering comparatively much less regarding the cognitive and the conative. However, he does have some things to say about these, for example:
1. Regarding the cognitive:
2. Regarding the conative:
Now, notice that:
A) In the case of the cognitive, Richard says the ‘‘thinker’ disappears’ but allows that ‘thinking may or may not occur’ and posits that ‘thinking takes place of its own accord’. Fine.
B) In the case of the conative, Richard presents us with a ‘will freed’ and now operational as the ‘body’s native intelligence’ and relatedly, posits a ‘pure intent’ which is somehow sustained as a ‘connection’ by way of the ‘activation of one’s innate naiveté’. Also, generally OK.
C) However, in the case of the affective, Richard says ‘not only does the ‘feeler’ disappear, but so too do feelings leaving us with ‘sensate-only apprehension’. He explains: ‘However, apperceptive awareness, in the way I am using the term, is when ‘the feeling (‘beauty’) without a sense of a feeler feeling it (impersonal feeling) is not. It is bodily awareness ... as the senses (and not through the senses)’. [endquote].
Richard gives a couple of good reasons for his particular attention to the affective. First, he’s basically drilling down through the cognitive to the most substrate and bodily level:
(Incidentally, the bodily origin of consciousness has been observed by many for quite some time. Readers might be interested in contemporary neurological presentations of this by way of the books ‘The Feeling of What Happens – The Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness’, Antonio R. Damasio, 1999, and ‘A Universe of Consciousness – How Matter becomes Consciousness’, Gerald M. Edelman and Giulio Tononi, 2000.)
Second, and most significantly, this drill-down locates for Richard a central proposition of ‘Actualism’ a neurological freedom, posited in surprising detail:
Here, with Richard’s adventure into a neurological theory on how one ‘eliminates the entire psyche’ you can begin to smell that something is not quite right, but you have to move back up Richard’s drill-down to see what’s it’s all about. Moving up a bit, one can see that by the time Richard is drilling through the affective aspect of consciousness, he has already done something with the affective that he doesn’t do with the cognitive or the conative. He has disembodied it.
Notice that his language for thinking and willing goes through a sort of linguistic change-of-state to emerge as thinking ‘of its own accord’ and ‘pure intent’ respectively. However, and this is important, the language, although it undergoes an important qualitative *change*, it *remains* essentially and implicitly qualitative. That is, the kind of subjectivity understood under the expression ‘thinker thinking’ sublates to ‘thinking of its own accord’. Fine. But thinking is not reduced to a non-qualitative expression, like ‘synapses firing’ even though, of course, they are. Similarly, the kind of subjectivity understood under the expression ‘will’ sublates to ‘pure intent’. Fine. But willing is not reduced to a non-qualitative expression, like ‘neural receptors open’ even though, of course, this may be occurring. By not making such reductions, the qualitativeness of thinking and willing change, or move to a higher level, but qualitativeness AS qualitativeness (I mean qualitativeness itself) is not eliminated. Fine.
No so with feeling, however. Here, Richard, probably unwittingly, makes the all-too-common mistake of substituting a *eliminative* reduction for a *causal* reduction. That is, in the process of finding the affective to be sourced in the senses (drilling down), instead of simply noting that affect, at the higher level, has roots (or causes) in the senses, at the lower level – a causal reduction – Richard *eliminates*, or rather just ignores, all the higher level aspects of the affective (qualitativeness) and simply reduces it all to the ‘sensate-only’. There is no sublating language of one qualitativeness to the next, as in the cognitive and the conative. All qualitativeness is simply eliminated, but, as we shall see, only in word.
Under this eliminative reduction, Richard is compelled to say things like: ‘[Apperceptive awareness] is bodily awareness ... as the senses (and not through the senses)’. This is like saying the molecules of my hand are aware they are cool. Not only is this absurd, but also, by treating the senses as though they were self-subsistently self-aware, Richard has unanchored them from the rest of the body and the brain, which have all evolved together and together generate consciousness. Ironically, by reducing the affective to the senses, he has disembodied them, committing the very thing he is trying to avoid.
This is entirely unnecessary. Look: the body (esp. brain) causes the qualitativeness of consciousness; it’s simply an aspect of its embodiment. We should find this as normal as digestion. And there is nothing necessary in the fact that there are lower level states (where qualitativeness may become the feeling of a subject-object split or accumulates and maintains a residue in memory as an ‘I’) which *disallows* a change of state in qualitativeness (not simply a modification), while preserving qualitativeness as qualitativeness.
Richard drills down through personal feeling and then through impersonal feeling. Fine. We come to the very limitedness of feeling. We find neither feeling nor platform of feeling. Fine. At this point we are not vivisecting ourselves into thinking, feeling, and willing anyway. There are no faculties or platforms. Only the body, but the body in the full quality of itself. Qualitativeness* at this point* (not collapsed, if you will, egoically) is simply the platform-less self-evidencing of consciousness.
(Readers undaunted by ancient things requiring exegesis, may wish explore an interesting, albeit difficult, Shankaric presentation of this aspect of consciousness in terms of the Advaitic ‘saksin’ usually misleadingly translated ‘witness consciousness’ which suggests simply a gross agency or identity that apparently was not intended – for readers of previous posts, this was a misconception Richard had obtained from his 1932 reference. For a contemporary exegesis, see ‘The Disinterested Witness’, Bina Gupta, 1998).
Richard says: ‘Apperception is an awareness of consciousness’ or ‘consciousness being conscious of being conscious’. And further, he says: ‘Generally speaking, ‘consciousness’ is primary (embedded but seen as embodied) and ‘awareness’ is a quality of that ‘embedded consciousness’ somewhat similar to ‘perspicacity’ ... as in: ‘his/her consciousness has a high/low state of awareness/perspicacity’.
Interestingly, outside of the explicit discussion of feelings, and when he touches on consciousness, Richard will discuss its quality. But look, let’s be simple: Consciousness of consciousness IS consciousness. And at every point we do not leave the body, which is its cause. And whether we are talking about animal instincts or so-called apperception, we are talking about consciousness – not consciousness of the same quality all the time, but consciousness of *a* quality all the time. This is why I personally prefer the expression ‘fully conscious’ to apperception. This really de-mystifies things, while being fully compatible with the unremarkable bodily experience of different qualitative states.
Why does Richard go the way of eliminative reduction? I think it has something to do with his intellectual compulsion to eliminate all suggestion of ‘states’ from ‘Actualism’. Perhaps, this is a kind of reaction to his own personal history, which (apparently) kept him in the subtle thralldom of solipsistic qualitative states of what he calls ‘Enlightenment’ and the like. Perhaps derivative of this, when he, so to speak, gets a whiff of feeling he can’t stop coughing. And to stop coughing, he just stops breathing, or at least pretends to. Anyway, he does commit himself to a disembodiment of feelings, while still having them. I’m sure there are many examples, but here’s one:
Language behaviour is not always unambiguous regarding underlying feelings or intentions. However, the words one chooses and the words one does not choose are often telling. In this case, I can find no way of reading Richard’s retort here that does not speak of some real underlying feeling, at least, and downright anger, at most. These are not the robotic words we would expect of one who has ‘extinguished’ the affective.
I know I have personalized this now, but I feel it is unavoidable, because Richard’s mistake regarding feeling is not simply a cognitive error, it is a human hazard. And I think the self-delusion (what else would you call it) operating in the above illustration makes that hazard clear.
RICHARD: If you consider that a person sans the affective feelings (emotions, passions and calentures) should write robotically (‘the robotic words we would expect of one who has ‘extinguished’ the affective’ ) then I guess that decides the matter for you inasmuch as you then have to read affective feelings (‘some real underlying feeling, at least, and downright anger, at most’ ) into a humorous exchange such as the example you have quoted just above.
That particular exchange was the eighteenth e-mail with my co-respondent, who had previously enjoined me to know that they were god and that they can only be god, which I found comical at the time. Vis.:
When I read it through again I still find it comical – I always find it hilarious when a fellow human being tells me that they are god as I was one myself for eleven years in my enlightened phase – am I supposed to be humourless as well as robotic?
In regards to your critique of my writings: you start by saying that I am deeply mistaken and confused about the nature of apperception and then set out the reasons why you have come to this conclusion ... and more than a little of what you say revolves around what the word ‘qualitativeness’ means. Until I hear from you what it does mean – or rather what it means to you – I cannot respond adequately ... so far, going by what you write and have written previously, it starts to look as if it is somehow related to or synonymous with the affective faculty. Vis.:
In this paragraph you bracket the word immediately after talking about the affective (‘all the higher level aspects of the affective (qualitativeness)’ ) ... which is what indicates to me the relatedness or synonymity of the two words for you (but I will await your clarification before proceeding).
Also, I cannot help but notice that you say, in the above paragraph, that the affective is sourced in the senses (‘finding the affective to be sourced in the senses’ and ‘affect, at the higher level, has roots (or causes) in the senses’ ) whereas the affective faculty is innate – all sentient beings are born with basic survival passions such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire – and while it is certainly the case that sense impressions can trigger the affective feelings, just as thought can, this is not the same as saying the affective feelings are sourced in the senses ... or sourced in thought as some people say.
You even posted a quote of mine (much further above) which speaks of the source – the origin – of the affective faculty in very clear terms ... maybe you overlooked the import of it even though you provided the quote? Vis.:
Do you see where I say that when I stumbled across the instincts I found the origin of the affective faculty? Nowhere do I say that the affective is sourced, or has its roots, in the senses as you say in your paragraph. And I am drawing it to your attention because this is a very important point to comprehend when you seek to understand what I am saying in all my descriptions and explanations of an actual freedom ... thus the affective faculty can indeed be eliminated while leaving the qualitative nature of consciousness intact.
Incidentally, I am not indulging in reductionism when I talk of elimination ... the extirpation of the affective faculty is an experiential occurrence and not an analytical, philosophical, intellectual or academic issue to be dealt with conceptually or by the stroke of a pen.
In other words: the altruistic ‘self’-immolation is a real-time event.
RESPONDENT: Richard (and list subscribers): 1. In Richard’s rebuttal to my quote of him as evidentiary of his having actual feelings, he has unwittingly provided us with further evidence of his powers of self-delusion. As in some other correspondence I recall seeing on the AF Trust website, he rationalises his language as ‘humour’.
RICHARD: If I may point out? I do not ‘rationalise’ (justify with plausible but specious reasons) my language as humour ... as it is indeed humour.
I am having so much fun here at the keyboard.
RESPONDENT: This will be recognized by everyone as the old ‘I was only joking’ or ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ defence teenagers and some adults use when they’ve said something hurtful or embarrassing and have been discovered.
RICHARD: Maybe you would be better served if you were to speak for yourself ... just because you have (erroneously) recognised it as a ‘defence’ does not mean that ‘everyone’ does.
I was uncomplicated in my reply: I found it comical at the time that a god would tell me that ‘mind cannot see itself’, when it is a fact that it can (and I even provided the dictionary definition of apperception which expressed that very fact), and I still find it comical.
It is comical because a god is (supposedly) omniscient.
RESPONDENT: However, regardless of the words Richard uses to cover or explain his language, no reading-into is required to find real feeling in operation.
RICHARD: If you are so convinced that you are not reading anything into my words then it seems that nothing I can say is going to alter that conviction ... I have already explained that it is nothing more than humour operating and you have already dismissed my explanation as a rationalisation.
At this point I am reminded of what you said in an earlier post about how ‘fine and entertaining disputes’ usually develop in discussions of this nature ... has it ever occurred to you that it could very well be your modus operandi which is fuelling such disputes?
I only ask because you seem so sure that you know me better than I do.
RESPONDENT: Notice also how Richard posed this question in his retort: ‘Just out of curiosity, how does it feel ...’.
RICHARD: You do seem to be convinced that it is a retort rather than a reply ... you used the same terminology (as if it were a given) in your previous post:
Is this another case of you thinking that you know me better than I do?
RESPONDENT: If Richard is curious about how something feels, how else can that particular curiosity emerge, except as an anticipatory capacity for feeling?
RICHARD: How about a straightforward interest in how another person experiences themselves?
RESPONDENT: That is, how could the curiosity Richard says he has be satisfied at all unless he can feel in the first place?
RICHARD: Very simply: my curiosity would be satisfied by my co-respondent’s response to my query ... in this particular conversation a god had told me to ‘be at peace’ and I was curious as to what feeling it produced, or what feeling it satisfied, in a god to go about dispensing peace (stemming misery and mayhem) with just three little words ... rather than omnipotently creating global peace on earth.
Just because I have no affective feelings does not mean that I have no interest in how others’ experience themselves.
RESPONDENT: Typically, Richard’s denials presuppose the very thing they deny.
RICHARD: Do you see that you have set it up so that it is (erroneously) already decided that my explanations are ‘denials’ and then proceed to an (erroneous) conclusion? What choice do you leave for your co-respondent but to contest your conviction?
‘Tis no wonder that ‘fine and entertaining disputes’ usually develop.
RESPONDENT: Yes, he is feeling for a feeling.
RICHARD: If you say so then it is so ... for you that is. I will keep my own counsel on the matter however as I am decidedly unimpressed by your diagnoses thus far.
I would like to take pause here for a moment and ask a very relevant question: are you genuinely interested in exploring human consciousness via discussions such as this or are you more interested in analysing my words with the aim of proving that the affective faculty is still extant in me?
If it is the latter then our conversations will surely devolve into a schoolyard ‘tis/‘tisn’t debacle.
RESPONDENT: 2. Richard is confused about the use of ‘eliminative reduction’. He says: ‘Incidentally, I am not indulging in reductionism when I talk of elimination ... the extirpation of the affective faculty is an experiential occurrence and not an analytical, philosophical, intellectual or academic issue to be dealt with conceptually or by the stroke of a pen’. It should be clear that by ‘eliminative reduction’ I’m not focusing on the simple fact that Richard is eliminating the affective faculty.
RICHARD: Yet I am not ‘eliminating the affective faculty’ (present tense) as it is already eliminated (past tense) ... it has gone, ended, finished, kaput.
It is extinct.
RESPONDENT: I’m talking about a wrong course of reasoning which simply ignores higher level features of a phenomenon while ostensibly trying to arrive at the foundational causes.
RICHARD: Well then, I am not confused after all as it is that very ‘course of reasoning’ approach that I was referring to when I said that I was not indulging in reductionism.
The elimination of the affective faculty is an irrevocable event ... then there are no ‘higher level features’ (no rarefied affective feelings) to necessitate such reasoning as you propose (there is neither higher level features nor lower level features here in this actual world).
It is all actually very simple and you are making it unnecessarily complex ... and then finding fault in my non-engagement in your complexity.
RESPONDENT: I’ll reprint this from my post:
3. The can be no question that Richard’s drill-down through the affective (feeling) is an eliminative reduction to the senses.
RICHARD: Why do you have to say that it is an ‘eliminative reduction’ and not simply an elimination of the affective component which usually floods the sensory experience with feelings? With the affective faculty non-existent (excised at its root) there are, of course, no ‘higher level aspects of the affective (qualitativeness)’ extant, which you say I am ignoring in a drilling down course of reasoning, which means that your ‘eliminative reduction’ diagnosis is a non-sequitur.
In other words: I cannot ignore something that is simply not there.
It just does not make sense to insist on putting an affective component into my descriptions of apperception when there is none and then tell me that I am ignoring it ... it is your affective component you are talking about and not mine.
RESPONDENT: Yes, Richard drills down to ‘instincts’, but carries on through to the senses. Perhaps, another excerpt from his correspondence will make this even clearer:
It was to this I said in my last post:
RICHARD: Of course I ‘carry on through to the senses’ in my above exchange – after all my co-respondent had set the parameters of the topic by saying ‘when mind is in this situation observing a sunrise’ wherein the sensate faculty is of necessity operating – whereas you (apparently) are speaking of some reasoned-out stage where the sensate faculty is not operating (‘there are no faculties or platforms’ ).
But please correct me if I am in error about what you mean by ‘no faculties or platforms’.
RESPONDENT: 4. Apparently, Richard cannot gather my meaning of qualitativeness from the context of my remarks.
RICHARD: Au contraire ... I had already said that, going by what you write and have written previously, it was starting to look as if it is somehow related to or is synonymous with the affective faculty: your responses (further below) show that I was not too far off the mark.
The reason why I asked you what was meant by a word I had never heard of before was so that there would be no assumptions made on my part which could lead to misunderstanding (as the word did not appear in any dictionary or encyclopaedia I have access to) and, given that you say towards the end of this post that my words are deeply confusing to you anyway, I find it somewhat strange that you would want me to gather your meaning from the context of your remarks.
It is much more accurate to ask.
RESPONDENT: He has already been unable to grasp an earlier example: The coolness of 50 degree water. ‘Coolness’ is a first-person or qualitative statement regarding the contact with 50 degree water. ‘Coolness’ does not necessarily follow from the objective temperature of the water and depends on the person contacting the water. 50 degree water may be ‘warm’ to an Eskimo.
RICHARD: As I never got around to responding to this earlier example, regarding water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as experienced by a person living in a torrid zone as contrasted to a person living in an arctic zone, I fail to see how you can come to the conclusion that I have been ‘unable to grasp an earlier example’ – maybe it is another instance of you thinking that you know me better than I do – but as you have brought that earlier example up again I will address it now. This is what you wanted me to grasp back then:
And this is what you would have me grasp now:
Now, your proof for these two statements is, in effect, that a person living in a torrid zone will experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being cool whereas a person living in an arctic zone will experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being warm ... which, at first glance, appears to prove your point that there is nothing in water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit that it must necessarily present as cool and that coolness does not necessarily follow from the objective temperature of the water and depends on the person contacting the water. However I will rephrase your two statements (above) so as to provide another sample and see whether your proof is the conclusive proof you take it to be or only an anomalous sample blinding you to the facts:
Yet a person living in a torrid zone will experience water at 200 degrees Fahrenheit as being hot and a person living in an arctic zone will also experience water at 200 degrees Fahrenheit as being hot ... so why does your sample appear to prove your point regarding coolness but not in regards to hotness?
The answer is simple: the ambient temperature in the torrid zone is hotter than the ambient temperature of the arctic zone (or the ambient temperature in the arctic zone is colder than the ambient temperature of the torrid zone) ... and just as the water temperature can be settled in the ‘third person’ way so too can the ambient temperature be similarly settled. If the person living in a torrid zone moves to the arctic zone and stays there long enough to acclimatise themselves they too will then begin to experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being warm ... and the same applies in reverse (if the person living in an arctic zone moves to a torrid zone and stays there long enough to acclimatise themselves they too will then begin to experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being cool).
Needless is it to say that the variation in the ambient temperatures has no effect when experiencing water to the magnitude of 200 degrees Fahrenheit? Basically what you have done is inadvertently introduced a ‘third person’ variable (the ambient temperature) into your argument which acts upon some of the samplings as a modifier ... and such ill-advised tinkering with the basic terms of reference has produced a forced result and a false conclusion (that it ‘depends on the person contacting the water’ when it does not).
It depends upon the ambient temperature being constant.
RESPONDENT: Readers following earlier posts (‘Re: Sensation Of Perception’, 7/16/2002, excerpted below) will notice that Richard performed the same eliminative reduction with coolness that he routinely does with the affective.
RICHARD: As I did not perform an ‘eliminative reduction’ with coolness after all has it become more clear by now that I do not perform an ‘eliminative reduction’ with the affective and that what I am talking of is the extinction of the affective?
RESPONDENT: He believes, as with the senses, that 50 degree water is self-aware that it is cool.
RICHARD: You are verging on the ridiculous here – I have never said that water knows that it is cool – and you are achieving nothing but taking up space with this red-herring.
RESPONDENT: Notice also that the excerpt below, taken together with Richard’s reduction of the affective to the ‘sensate-only’, makes the senses simply convertible with something like thermometers.
RICHARD: I am not saying anything of the sort in the excerpt below ... all I am saying is that thermometers more precisely, reliably, and universally measure the temperature of the water than the sensate way.
RESPONDENT: ... that is, like disembodied machines: ‘... but another way ... of determining by measurement ...’.
RICHARD: As nowhere do I indicate that cutaneous sensations (in this instance the elbow) are like ‘disembodied machines’ I am having some difficulty, at this stage, in taking your appraisal of what I say as being a sincere appraisal.
Coupled with your other red-herring I do wonder just what your agenda is.
RESPONDENT: Now, qualitativeness is simply an attribute, as it were, of human and probably much animal consciousness. The brain (body) is always evidencing or representing to itself its body (its internal states), its not-body (environment), and the contact or relationship or saliency among them. And these operations are not all or always conscious. However, when we experience consciously, of such conscious state the brain (body) conveys self-evidently always its quality. Such conveyance is commonly discussed in terms of feeling, or from the rhetorical standpoint of a so-called affective faculty.
RICHARD: Okay ... so the word ‘qualitativeness’ does indeed have affective connotations for you.
Incidentally, I generally use the word ‘affective’ so as to distinguish such feelings from the sensate feelings as the English language allows the word ‘feeling’ to refer to both the emotional/passional faculty and the sensational faculty.
RESPONDENT: However, one will lose another attribute of consciousness, the unitary attribute, if one gets to thinking that the self-evident ‘display’ of quality is somehow stationed somewhere or in some discrete modality. Indeed, in the last analysis, consciousness is the penultimate and Gestalt of all feelings.
RICHARD: And therein lies the rub: because you have convinced yourself (‘in the last analysis’ ) that consciousness is the ‘penultimate and Gestalt of all feelings’ you do not appear to be taking any notice of what I report regarding a consciousness sans the affective faculty.
RESPONDENT: Now, some common conscious experiences are: a room that is red ‘feels’ different than a room that is blue; thinking 1+1=2 ‘feels’ different than thinking 1+1=17; the reflex recoil of my hand at touching a flame ‘feels’ different than raising my hand to ask a question.
RICHARD: I can agree that these experiences may be common to many people – going by what other people tell me and a vague memory that it used to be that way for me all those years ago – yet there is no need for affective feelings to be operating in order to discern the differences you detail (a room of one colour is ocularly sensed to be different from a room of another colour; a correct equation is thought to be different from an incorrect equation; a reflexive bodily movement is proprioceptively felt to be different from conscious bodily movement).
For an identity (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) maybe it is vital that it affectively ‘feels’ the difference as it is forever cut-off from the actual – from the wondrous world as-it-is – and it needs to create a feeling ambience in order to compensate for missing out on the marvel of the actual.
RESPONDENT: The differences among the objective or third-party settleable facts underlying each of these examples (such as, what the retina does differently with reflected red light rather than blue light) will not yield differences in the subjective, qualitative or first-person ‘feelings’.
RICHARD: Probably not ... the affective feelings are notoriously unreliable (whilst one person may say that something ‘feels’ right, for example, another might say that it ‘feels’ wrong).
RESPONDENT: They may be sourced in the objective, but they are not *the same* as the objective.
RICHARD: Affective feelings about something are certainly not the same as that something.
RESPONDENT: Just because we can be misled by, confused by, egoically enthralled in, etc., our feelings, does not vitiate the feeling (qualitativeness) of consciousness.
RICHARD: I beg to differ ... the pure consciousness experience (PCE) shows that feelings had been vitiating quality like all get-out.
RESPONDENT: Surprisingly at the very end of his last post, Richard makes a attempt to reverse his eliminative reduction: ‘... thus the affective faculty can indeed be eliminated while leaving the qualitative nature of consciousness intact’.
RICHARD: If I may point out? It is not my ‘eliminative reduction’ at all – it is yours – therefore there is no ‘attempt to reverse’ anything (other than in your own mind).
RESPONDENT: In what sense then ‘qualitative’?
RICHARD: In the apperceptive sense (an unmediated sensory experiencing).
RESPONDENT: Like a thermometer?
RICHARD: You are back to verging on the ridiculous again.
RESPONDENT: Remember, Richard has already led us to the so-called sensate-only and has placed the senses on par with mere instruments of measure.
RICHARD: Not so ... that is where you have led yourself.
RESPONDENT: Well, instruments are not self-evidencing or self-aware.
RICHARD: Indeed not.
RESPONDENT: A thermometer has no consciousness.
RICHARD: It certainly has not.
RESPONDENT: A thermometer does not ‘feel hot’, not to mention, it does not ‘know’ its temperature and it does not ‘determine’ its temperature.
RICHARD: Of course a thermometer does none of those things.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know for certain why Richard is so spooked by feeling, but I have already shared my theories.
RICHARD: As it is you who is convinced that I am ‘spooked’ by the affective feelings – this being another example of you thinking that you know me better than I do – I will leave that to you to mull over.
RESPONDENT: However, I do know that his confusion yields a hazardous approach for persons examining their own feelings.
RICHARD: As the ‘confusion’ you see in me exists only in your own mind – along with the other incidences of you thinking that you know me better than I do – then that is where the ‘hazardous approach’ also resides.
RESPONDENT: By, at the same time, dismissing feeling ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? I am not merely ‘dismissing’ the affective feelings ... the entire affective faculty is extinct.
RESPONDENT: ... and maintaining a pretence of qualitativeness ...
RICHARD: If I may interject again? I do not maintain a pretence of the ‘qualitativeness’ which you describe (above) ... I specifically wrote ‘the qualitative nature of consciousness’ (using the word ‘qualitative’ as defined in the Oxford Dictionary which I posted in an earlier e-mail). Vis.:
It really pays to read what I write with both eyes open rather than jumping to the conclusion that I am talking about the same thing as you ... I had even said, that not only could I not find the word in either the dictionaries or the encyclopaedia I have access to, I was not sure what you meant by the word.
I could not have been more clear than that.
RESPONDENT: ... in the so-called sensate-only, Richard is deeply confused and deeply confusing.
RICHARD: Not so ... it is your assumption that I am referring to the same thing as the ‘qualitativeness’ you experience, when I talk of the qualitative nature of consciousness remaining intact upon the extirpation of the affective faculty, that persuades you to see that I am ‘deeply confused and deeply confusing’ (which is why I have interjected twice in your sentence).
An erroneous premise (‘by dismissing feeling and maintaining a pretence of qualitativeness’ ) invariably leads to a false conclusion (‘Richard is deeply confused and deeply confusing’ ) ... do you now see the flaw in thinking that you know me better than what I do?
RESPONDENT: Feeling cannot be dismissed, only penetrated.
RICHARD: Again you are talking about dismissal (which is perhaps what causes you to see reductionism in my words) whereas I have made it clear, again and again, that the entire affective faculty is non-existent.
RESPONDENT: And Richard has given us not a short-cut, but a quagmire, substituting denial of feeling for the penetration of its highest aspects, which, with others, subsist as none other than consciousness itself.
RICHARD: I will say it again: I am not into a ‘denial of feeling’ ... how can I be in denial of something that just does not exist?
With that said we now come to the nub of the issue: the penetration of the highest aspects of feeling, which you say that with other aspects subsist as none other than consciousness itself, is apparently what is important for you ... and not the extirpation of the entire affective faculty (via altruistic ‘self’-immolation) so that pure consciousness can become apparent. ‘Tis no wonder that you are at odds with what I write ... it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling (after all that is where spiritual enlightenment lies) at all costs.
Which may include the cost of presenting a sincere appraisal of my writings.
RESPONDENT: Alas, it appears we will have to leave Richard among the lot of those unfortunate travellers who have lost their way and who cannot find it again because they refuse to see theirs hands in front of their faces.
RICHARD: Oh? Lost my way to where ... spiritual enlightenment?
RESPONDENT: He has become not just confused and self-deluded; he has become irrational.
RICHARD: It is easy to make these kinds of allegations about somebody but as substantiating the allegations is quite another thing I will take it that your substantiation lies in your remaining words and move on without further comment at this point.
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Point 1: Somehow Richard feels there must be some ‘reading into’ that must go on to see his actual feeling in his so-called humour.
RICHARD: Here you are assuming that I ‘feel’ whether someone is reading extraneous things into my words when I do nothing of the kind: I sit here at the keyboard typing my responses and, as I am intimately aware of what is being experienced as I type, I know perfectly well that there is absolutely no trace of any affective feeling whatsoever occurring ... therefore I know for a fact that you are reading affective feelings into my words.
RESPONDENT: So, he must say that I am doing nothing more than claiming to know him better than he does.
RICHARD: As you allege that I am irrational it follows that you must be rational in order to be able to make that assessment (else your assessment is rendered null and void from the start) ... yet, in effect, this is what you are proposing:
There is no rationality whatsoever operating here ... only an erroneous premise followed by a false conclusion.
RESPONDENT: Well, perhaps we do, as his own words reveal him.
RICHARD: Maybe it would be to your advantage if you were to speak for yourself ... just because you find no way of reading my words in that e-mail exchange without them speaking of [quote] ‘some real underlying feeling, at least, and downright anger, at most’ [endquote] it does not necessarily mean that ‘we’ do.
As you have not demonstrated how my words ‘reveal’ me (other than just flatly saying that they do) your allegation that I have ‘become irrational’ is still yet to be substantiated.
RESPONDENT: Elsewhere he offers: ‘I invite anyone to make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and if they are all seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves’. However, when challenged, Richard routinely says things like 1) Well, you just don’t know me and I’m just telling you that I have no feelings; 2) Well, you’re just making things too complicated; 3) Well, you just want to prove your ‘agenda’, instead of explore; 4) Well, you aren’t making a ‘sincere appraisal’; or, a favourite, 5) Well, let’s see what the dictionary says. Good grief.
RICHARD: When I wrote that sentence I was not inviting anybody to grammatically analyse the way the words were structured with the aim of somehow thus detecting whether or not there were affective feelings extant in me ... as the sentence immediately following the one you quoted clearly shows:
Be that as it may (if you wish to fritter away an opportunity for genuine discussion pursuing a chimera then that is your business) ... I will address your Sub-Points 1-5 anyway as if they were relevant to my invitation:
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? Is it not a fact that you do not know what is occurring for me when I type the words that appear on your screen? Therefore I provide a report as to what is happening – or in this instance what is not happening – so that you are informed of how I experience life ... which is a rational way to operate.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? I report that the affective faculty is extinct, and that consequently there are no [quote] ‘higher level features’ [endquote] to either ignore or indulge in reductionism about, yet you insist on putting affective feelings in when you read my descriptions of apperception thus making something very simple complex. Therefore it is rational thing to do to point out to you what you are doing when you read my words.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? As you made it quite clear that the affective feelings are important to you I tendered the suggestion that ‘it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling’. Vis.:
Is it not a rational approach, in discussions such as these, to facilitate a genuine discussion by having both parties openly placing their agenda on the table rather than just the one person?
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? You introduced a couple of items which I had never said, or even indicated with other words, and attributed them to me ... which gave me some difficulty in regards to taking your appraisal of my writings as being sincere. Therefore it is rational to point out to you that those introduced items had nothing to do with me at all.
How does this demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’? Is it not vital in regards to a mutual communication to have a clear understanding of what either of the parties mean by a particular word? Therefore it is a very rational thing to do to refer to a dictionary as a basis towards understanding what a word can mean.
RESPONDENT: I think we’ll just have to let Point 1 stand for a court of readers, that is larger than a Richard-duped minion, to decide whether or not this example of Richard’s so-called humour is truly of the order of an affective-less, inert ‘reply’.
RICHARD: Do you see that you have set it up in advance that if anybody was to be so foolish as to enter into a discussion with you regarding this issue and not agree with your reading then they can be dismissed as being nothing other than a ‘duped minion’ ?
Is this really the best way to go about demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’ ?
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Points 2 and 3: Richard still doesn’t get it. In his answer to my point that he is confused about the meaning of eliminative reduction, as well as to my attempt to clarify that again, Richard reaches a new height of confusion and becomes irrational.
RICHARD: If I may point out? It is not a question about whether I am indeed confused about your meaning of ‘eliminative reduction’ or not as all I am saying is that there is no reductionism whatsoever going on (I am simply describing what apperception is like to experience).
In other words: there is no drilling down course of reasoning going on at all ... that is what you make of it.
RESPONDENT: Notice that, weirdly, the very first thing from Richard is not a rebuttal to a point I was making at all but rather is a knee-jerk reaction to a word, eliminating, as if he’s already armed to fire at anyone daring to suggest that Richard had not *already* done away with his feelings (not the point at all being made at this stage, but made later).
RICHARD: Why is it weird for me to point out that one of your premises (that I was eliminating the affective faculty) is an incorrect premise? Do you really want me to make a ‘rebuttal’ of a point, which is based on such an erroneous premise as that one is, rather than point out that error to you in the first place?
Also, why do you see such a correction of a mistaken impression as being a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction instead of an aid to effective communication (let alone all that ‘armed to fire’ business)?
RESPONDENT: Quite telling. You can almost hear him stamping his feet when he says: ‘Yet I am not ‘eliminating the affective faculty’ (present tense) as it is already eliminated (past tense) ... it has gone, ended, finished, kaput. It is extinct’. [endquote].
RICHARD: Is this (telling me what you almost hear) really an effective way of demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’ ?
RESPONDENT: Most everything that follows from Richard is of the order of: Well, you just don’t know me and I’ll telling you that I have no feelings.
RICHARD: Shall I put it this way? If you are indeed sincere about wanting to comprehend what I am writing about why is it such an issue with you that I make it quite clear in advance that, in order to understand what apperception is like, it is vital to know that there are no affective feelings present in the descriptions I provide?
RESPONDENT: For example: ‘The elimination of the affective faculty is an irrevocable event ... then there are no ‘higher level features’ (no rarefied affective feelings) to necessitate such reasoning as you propose (there is neither higher level features nor lower level features here in this actual world)’ [endquote]. And ‘In other words: I cannot ignore something that is simply not there’. [endquote]. Richard just tells us that we can’t even talk about the higher level features of the affective, not because he’s committed an eliminative reduction (which he does), but rather because he just doesn’t have any affect to begin with.
RICHARD: You have almost got it ... and as there is no ‘affect’ to begin with (hence no higher level features of the affective) how come you keep on insisting that I am doing an ‘eliminative reduction’ of the affective?
RESPONDENT: Could there be a more vivid display of how he is just ignoring the matter by saying he just doesn’t have an affect?
RICHARD: No ... it is quite clear that as there is no ‘affect’ to begin with (hence no higher level features of the affective) I am not ignoring anything.
RESPONDENT: This is like:
RICHARD: No, it is not like that at all ... keeping with your illustration I will put it like this:
RESPONDENT: Further, Richard says, ‘It just does not make sense to insist on putting an affective component into my descriptions of apperception when there is none and then tell me that I am ignoring it ... it is your affective component you are talking about and not mine’. Now, besides Johnny saying he has no hands, Johnny says: ‘And Mommy, it’s your hands you saw in the cookie jar!’
RICHARD: Now you are getting it correctly ... it is ‘Mommy’ who has been putting her hands in all along (whilst trying to bamboozle ‘Johnny’ into accepting as true that he is ignoring his non-existent hands just because ‘Mommy’ insists that he does have hands).
RESPONDENT: That is, Richard tries to turn the tables and say that he’s not ignoring anything (he just has no affect); it is I who am just positing ‘an affective component’. This must be some of that darned complexity I’m just muddying the waters with.
RICHARD: Indeed it is ... never a truer word spoken in jest (it is good to see that you have a sense of humour).
RESPONDENT: Look again. Readers will recall that the ‘component’ I’m discussing is the qualitativeness of conscious experience, for example, conscious sensate experience.
RICHARD: Yep ... I have got that message loud and clear (whereas what I am discussing is the qualitative nature of apperceptive consciousness).
RESPONDENT: Indeed, previously, Richard allowed this aspect: ‘... thus the affective faculty can indeed be eliminated while leaving the qualitative nature of consciousness intact’. But he just doesn’t want to go into that, as we shall see below; he tries to do away with it again.
RICHARD: I can go into it all you like – I am retired and on a pension and have all the time in the world keep this up for as long as it suits me to – but it would help if you could read again what I wrote in the previous e-mail. Vis.:
Your ‘qualitativeness’ has an affective component ... what I am talking about does not.
RESPONDENT: Regarding my Point 4: Here is where Richard’s so clearly adds irrationality, and perhaps inveiglement, to his confusion and self-delusion.
RICHARD: Ahh ... maybe this is the part where you will finally get around to demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’ .
RESPONDENT: I think he puts so much, albeit confused, energy here because he knows that if he cannot do away with the qualitativeness of conscious sensation, as I illustrate it, he must admit some kind of feeling into sensation.
RICHARD: No, it was a simple, straightforward explication of the effect of inadvertently introducing a ‘third person’ variable – the ambient temperature – into your argument (that it acts upon some of the samplings as a modifier). No great energy was required (let alone confused energy) as I had immediately noticed it when you first proposed your theory several e-mails ago ... and I had a lot of fun putting it all into some semblance of scientific-type terminology.
Having said that: do you see that you are insisting, albeit in an oblique way, that the qualitative nature of consciousness must have ‘some kind of feeling’ in its sensate experiencing as if it is set in concrete that it does? If so, this is the type of feedback I am getting from you (just as in your three sentences I quoted further above) which persuades me to suggest that ‘it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling’.
RESPONDENT: I think this because you can see how he must have his supposed refutation of the water example to be able to just set aside everything in the remainder of my Point 4.
RICHARD: Of course you can think that if you like ... it seems that nothing I can say is going to alter your view of me.
RESPONDENT: Richard thinks he has done away with my distinction between the first-person, qualitativeness of ‘coolness’ and the third-person temperature of water of 50 degrees.
RICHARD: No, I do not think that at all ... but do go on because this is fascinating.
RESPONDENT: He thinks he has done this by changing our example to water of 200 degrees, a level where most conscious human beings, regardless of clime, would report ‘Hot’. He says it’s really just a matter of the ambient temperature:
Look: The ambient temperature and the temperature of water are third-party settleable facts. We can also describe the difference between these two measures in a third-party settleable fashion, say, by mathematically subtracting the value of one measurement from the other. However, there is nothing qualitative in this difference *per se*. There is nothing in it that necessarily *means* ‘hot’. All we have are three qualitatively meaningless statements of fact: For example, Temp(water)=200F, Temp(environment)=90F, Temp(w) minus Temp(e)=110F. Period. Only when the third-party settleable difference is consciously experienced by a living human (or many animals) do we have the possibility of saying ‘This temperature difference is hot’, or rather ‘The water is hot’.
RICHARD: Several e-mails ago I said that qualities are what humans experience (as distinct from properties which exist irregardless of humans being present). Vis.:
How is what I said back then (‘the anthropocentric experiences of objects’) so radically different from what you have just written (‘consciously experienced by a living human’ ) that it could generate all this confusion you say is in my words?
RESPONDENT: It is only within consciousness that the objective difference in temperature has quality – that is, it is only in subjective, qualitative consciousness that the contrast between my body temperature (in ambience) and the water temperature becomes qualitatively ‘hot’. Readers will note, interestingly, that in Richard’s above quote he refers to subjects who ‘acclimatise themselves’ and ‘experience’. Linguistically, through the nuances of these words Richard can 1) surreptitiously supply the whiff of subjectivity and qualitativeness, while elsewhere 2) reduce everything to the physics of two contacting bodies, and then 3) deny he’s done so.
RICHARD: Nowhere am I denying what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in normal human beings going about their normal day-to-day activities ... it is only when you see what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in my descriptions of apperception, and try to get me to agree with your seeing, that I demur. If you could strip what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ of their inner world/outer world and affective connotations then there would not be this impasse in regards to apperception. Perhaps if I put it this way:
What I am (‘what’ not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/‘me’, a psychological/psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose ... plus adding all kinds of emotional/passional baggage to what is otherwise the bare sensory experience of the flesh and blood body.
This identity (‘I’/‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the magical world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: Astute readers will not be fooled.
RICHARD: And would I be correct in guessing that an ‘astute reader’ is someone who is not a ‘duped minion’ by any chance?
RESPONDENT: It is in only in this vagueness over the qualitativeness of consciousness that Richard can maintain his radically mistaken view of apperception. That is, he can continue his absurdly knotted responses like:
Can consciousness be qualitative? Richard says Yes.
In what way qualitative? Richard says Apperceptively, as unmediated sensory experiencing.
Is it sensory? Richard says Yes, but unmediated.
In what way sensory? Richard says Apperceptively.
RICHARD: In what manner are these responses ‘absurdly knotted’ responses? I clearly see the word ‘unmediated’ (consciousness sans identity in toto) appearing three times ... did you take any notice at all of that word when you wrote it?
RESPONDENT: For his own reasons, which I have speculated upon already, Richard insists on maintaining a hazardously unnuanced view of feelings, and hence, vitiates the qualitativeness of consciousness.
RICHARD: I will put it this way this time around: it is both the affective feelings and the identity (they are inextricably entwined) which vitiates the quality of the qualitative nature of consciousness.
RESPONDENT: He tosses the baby out with the bath water.
RICHARD: Oh, I am always chuffed whenever someone says that ... it means that they are starting to get the drift of what I am saying. Which, in a nutshell, is this: spiritual enlightenment is when ‘I’ as ego (‘the bathwater’ ) dies; actual freedom is when ‘me’ as soul (‘the baby’ ) dies as well.
Or, as I prefer to put it, identity in toto becomes extinct.
RESPONDENT: In knee-jerk, he’d probably say that he has no feelings to toss out, and plunge us back into his vague, irrelevant and apodictic statements.
RICHARD: Nope ... it is more relevant at this stage to point out that nowhere did you demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’ .
RESPONDENT: ... We are finding out that the feelings which seem to have a self at root are not the whole story about feeling. We are finding out that ‘at root’ there is no root, and whatever rootedness we felt of our feelings vanishes, as it were, while the essence of feeling remains, not as a component within or about consciousness, but as a feature of consciousness. No self required. And ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ are discovered to be artefacts of those particular feelings which are playing out the way they are because, I would say, one is not yet *fully* conscious.
RICHARD: Could you expand a little upon what those feelings are, the essence of which remains as a feature of consciousness, when one is fully conscious? For example:
Also, in your first e-mail to this mailing list you introduced the term ‘full consciousness’ (where you indicated that it was synonymous with the word ‘saksin’ and some other words):
Does the term ‘full consciousness’ mean the same as saying ‘fully conscious’?
RESPONDENT: Richard’s question posing in his reply tells us a little more of the cognitive basis of his naive construal of ‘affective’ or ‘feeling’. He cannot see into feeling deeply enough, through *particular* feelings. Hence, he must ask separately what of the essence of *each* of love, anger, etc. ‘remain[s]’, as though we could speak of some kind of essences of these as we would speak of, say, the fragrant essences of jasmine, orange, or peppermint, as though essence must always contain some residue or distillate of the particular.
RICHARD: I am only too happy to re-phrase my query: as the essence of feeling remains, as a feature of consciousness when one is fully conscious, do ‘*particular* feelings’ also remain? For example:
As for my query regarding ‘full consciousness’: all my query is about, at this stage anyway, is whether that term is the same as saying ‘fully conscious’?
RESPONDENT: Readers will observe that Richard’s revision simply illustrates again my point already made clear regarding both the basis of his naive notion of feeling and the matter of particularity.
RICHARD: I would like to bring your attention to something you wrote several e-mails ago:
If you could indeed stay with the subject at hand and refrain from ‘seriously pointing out personal issues’ it would certainly be conducive to a mutual communication.
RESPONDENT: Nothing else need be added.
RICHARD: I would appreciate it if you could see your way clear to change your decision and choose to add something substantial to your response after all. The question I am asking is simple: as the essence of feeling remains, as a feature of consciousness when one is fully conscious, do ‘*particular* feelings’ also remain? For example:
As for my query regarding ‘full consciousness’: all my query is about, at this stage anyway, is whether that term is the same as saying ‘fully conscious’?
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
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