Experimental Dialogue Thread

This thread is an experiment based on Bohm dialogue

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Terms of engagement (subject to change, via consensus of participants, as needed) :

  • Our only goal is the exploration, inquiry into, understanding of a proposed concept (question, claim, statement) - it is the dialogue/inquiry itself that determines the outcome. We are not here to defend any fixed positions that we might personally hold.

  • Once an initial statement has been proposed, our only task must be to confirm that we are clear about what has been stated. For example, its meaning, its implications, the presuppositions it depends upon etc.

  • Our response should always be our version of the statement we are responding to in our own words - eg. what we think speaker1 has said.

  • If speaker1 notices some differences made to their initial statement, their response should also be a version of what they think their interlocutor is saying.

  • etc… Simple, thats it. (if it immediately becomes a train wreck, we shall regroup on the other thread and discuss the matter).

Further optional guidelines on the Bohm dialogue website

Would it be interesting to explore as much as possible the K statement: You are nothing (not-a-thing)? I think he also said somewhere “You don’t exist”. And since contrary to this, I do ‘feel’ as if I exist, to get to the bottom of this seeming contradiction. What are the implications of feeling as if I exist but the possibility that I actually don’t?

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The feeling that I exist is very strong, close to a certainty. (Though the nature of that ‘I’ is hazy.) The feeling that I don’t exist is weaker, it’s a possibility as you say, but not a certainty. So we’re dealing with ‘almost definitely’ (I exist) vs. ‘but maybe’ (I don’t exist). 9+ times out of 10 ‘almost definitely’ wins (feeling-wise).

Let me know whether I trampled on any of the guidelines for this dialogue.

There is the feeling that I exist but that is being challenged right? Is it the feeling that I exist here in this body that is in question and not the feeling that ‘I Am’ e.g.? Being? How does one approach this?

We are homing in on the feeling of I-ness, ja? What is it like to feel I am an I? I feel I exist in my body, that the body is a kind of host to the I. The I essence seems to reside somewhere behind/between my eyes. The I essence is not the body, it resides in the body, body as host. But there is another aspect to the I, a body-independent feeling, first-personhood, being the center of everything, being everything.

We are presented with 2 contradictory claims : “self exists” & “self does not exist”; from 2 competing authorities : “my everyday experience” and “what K says”.
We would like to resolve this contradiction. Especially since the veracity of “my everyday experience” seems to be in doubt.

Or more succinctly : What I know is a cause of conflict and confusion?

Does the feeling of selfhood necessarily mean that the self exists as an entity? What should our attitude be towards this question? Does it matter? Do we need to determine which is true?

My everyday experience includes the feeling of being me, in here. I identify with this feeling. The feeling of being me includes the sensation of being at the center of my experience and at the same time that I am my experience.

Question : Do you feel (have the impression) that you are your experience? What does that mean/feel like?

I have the feeling of the experience, I know what it feels like to be experiencing it. I feel it. I think of whatever I am experiencing as something happening to/within the organism, the host-body-brain. Sometimes. Other times I get swept away by it, pure feeling.

There is a sense of I which consists of thoughts and feelings plus a sense of an entity, a kind of an owner/ a somebody.
The actual discovery that one is composed of thoughts and feelings, knowledge and experience would mean that I/you, as the owner do not exist.
This would dissolve the contradiction I’d say.
Maybe that is what Macdougdoug is asking whether we feel that we are our experience?

What I experience as stream of consciousness, thought, feelings, reactions, I, me, mine; this undeniable ongoing persistent activity, is not “nothing”, so I can’t assert or assume that I/it does not exist. I don’t doubt that this activity can cease and be temporarily non-existent, proving that it is nothing but sound and imagery, but proving to whom?

If I am part of this activity, I can’t be present to acknowledge my non-existence, so I can never know when I don’t exist. Only the brain can know there is more to being a brain than this activity, and presently, it would rather not know.

There is the ‘feeling’ that I am here, thinking, doing, etc. we are looking into this not as an intellectual question but in relation to the suffering of humanity. If I can’t actually know what I am, perhaps It can be discovered what I’m not? The sensation of ‘I’ behind the eyes may be just that, a sensation.

That is the experience and that is some ‘thing’ but is there an ‘experiencer’, an entity that stands apart and ‘has’ the experiences or are there just experiences and the ‘feeling’ that ‘I’ am having them?

Yes, yet our language with its personal pronouns is always reinforcing the idea of there being an “owner”, the ‘me and the mine’.
The you and the yours…there is a practical place for that but does it belong in the psyche?

DanMcD this is a constant source of miscommunication. The ‘I’ and the ‘you’ that does not include ‘self’. When the topic is ‘ending division’, the ‘I am’ structure expresses separation in the words.

I don’t know what you’re trying to say here, or why you say, "the topic is “ending division”.

Dan is just reminding us that we are not who we think we are, and that what is actually happening is not what we think; that we create our own reality and are limited by its confines.

The body is the experiencer: senses, brain, nervous system. No body, no experience. And the same with I: no body, no I. Reality presents in two aspects, physical and mental.

Did thought / thinking add something to this? An experiencer? An observer? Are they projections of thought? The ‘thinker’/ ‘me’?

Thinking and feeling add a great deal to the depth, subtlety, and nuance of experience. For me anyway. (I guess I can’t speak for those whose experience doesn’t involve thinking and feeling.) They also take something away from experience, a pureness, rawness. It’s like naming vs. not-naming. Naming adds depth (assuming you consider thought capable of depth, like I do), and it takes away the raw immediacy and ineffable ‘thusness’ of the moment.

I think living fully calls for a balance between self/thought and not-self/awareness. The ability to move fluently between these extremes. Thing is, we tend to be very skilled at self/thought, and woefully inept when it comes to not-self/awareness. ?

Would I know when I’m skilled at “not-self-awareness”, or is not-self-awareness no knower/doer, no I?

It is not nothing, this is undeniable - but is it somebody? We equate this activity with a person, someone with an inside apart from the outside.

This activity can cease and reappear, or is it better to say that it is appearing whenever there’s conflict ? We have no recollection of events that have no meaning, we remember pleasant things and painful things - thus events, where this activity is there, when we know, what is going on in our personal reality.

I agree, we can never know what is going on if we have no knowledge, no feeling of pleasure or pain, no recognition. Maybe we could ask if I am a part of this activity or if this activity is what I consist of ?

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