Is there anyone other than oneself?

Inquiry: Relationship with others is only a part of our relationship with our entire environment, which includes our own confusion and conflict. Some people, however, put all the emphasis on their craving for a significant other. (From the discussion about a global brain.)

Maheshji: It depends what we mean by ‘other’, regardless of whether they are significant or not. Generally, when one talks about ‘other people’ it is meant to refer to those who are not oneself. But is there anyone other than oneself?

It’s an interesting question. I wonder if we have the patience to go into it.

Is this a philosophical question, or is here anybody who really feels this way?

We are just putting a question. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘philosophical’ - perhaps you mean to suggest that it could be a theoretical or hypothetical question - but we are first of all investigating the use of the phrase ‘other people’, maybe to look at it slightly differently than usual.

This will require a little patience and probably, initially, a suspension of our own opinions and prejudices around the issue.

What do you feel about other people? Perhaps we can consider what is happening within the brain when we face such a question. Are our feelings generated by our looking directly at others without filter or judgement? Or are our feelings generated by what has already come to us before in the form of our many experiences and memories?

Or perhaps we have been hurt by other people. Have we? Or we are frightened of other people. Are we? The assumption in both cases being that the cause for our pain or fear is located outside of ourselves. This is also what we are questioning. It is not therefore a philosophical question in the sense that it is separate from our everyday lives. This is about looking at what is going on within ourselves.

I wonder why you wonder if “we have the patience to go into it”. Why wouldn’t you just go into it and see where it goes instead of wondering whether “we” are up to the challenge?

The answer to your question, “is there anyone other than oneself”, is yes, of course. If there were no others apart from yourself, you wouldn’t be putting this question to them.

I suspect what you’re clumsily trying to say is that every self is put together and maintained the same way, and in that since we’re all the same.

is that my experience of you, and my experience of me, are both being projected by the same brain (ie. mine, the one in my head)

In other words : if I and you are both creations of me, are they 2 separate beings or are they both creations of the known?

Imagine two people at the beach building sand sculptures. Both structures are stylistically separate, but both are variations of the same thing. We are both separate and both the same.

Style is superficial and can be frivolous, but duration is serious.

Okay - but we are not both saying the same thing here.

You (I think) are pointing to the fact that we are all humans. Thus the same thing but with our parochial variations.

I am saying that my experience of me, and my experience of you, are both projections emanating from my (ie.macdougdoug’s) brain.

Hopefully what I am saying is making sense - because maybe the important bit, that might be harder to grok, is that my experience is the only thing that I am actually in contact with - ie. I am not able to come into contact with anything but what my brain is projecting

This is what you’ve concluded, but we are all aware, and awareness is choiceless (for at least a second or two) before the brain’s conditioning distorts or denies it.

Ask yourself how you can be completely cut off from actuality and communicate with others. Could you do it without being aware, without any contact with actuality?

You keep saying stuff is not true - but there do sometimes seem to be gaps and fallacies in the argument.

Here for example : how does the idea of choiceless awareness, negate the fact that our experience (what we call reality) is a projection of the brain?

Is a mad homeless hobo actually communicating with me, or a crazy image of me?

Is choiceless awareness an idea? I don’t dispute that much or most of “our experience (what we call reality) is a projection of the brain”, but I am aware of reacting to what I’m aware of, too, so I know it isn’t a matter of this or that. We’re living in both worlds, but with a bias for my world.

One way of putting it is that we’re both arguing why my sandcastle is superior to yours, when neither one will be here tomorrow.

I am more identified with what this brain does because no one knows better than I what it’s doing. This is why I call it “my brain”, even though I am imagined by this brain. Confusing, isn’t it?

No, that is not what I am trying to say. I am putting a question first. Don’t be so sure about the answer to it.

Anyone who isn’t interested in their relationship with their experience wouldn’t be having this conversation, but if you feel so thoroughly disconnected from actuality that you can’t talk about it, why bother?

I suspect you are self-aware enough to know you are not as removed from actuality as a “mad homeless hobo”, but you seem to be saying you’re not really aware, or that awareness is not choiceless, regardless of how our brains reflexively react to it.

@Inquiry your response to my response reminds me of the question at hand : are we really enquiring into a question together (are 2 people communicating)? Or is what I know in conflict with what I think you know?

How would you describe your relationship with awareness?

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Is there anyone other than oneself?

There is the view in Advaita called ekajivada that says the apparent vast number of individual jivas (consciousnesses) in the universe is illusory and that in fact there is but one true jiva-consciousness. This is in sync with Advaita’s fundamental non-dualistic view that there is no separation between the individual jiva and the universal brahman.

I don’t want to derail the thread, just thought people might find this interesting.

So how shall we proceed with this, knowing that there are two opposing answers to the question? There are those who say, ‘Yes,’ and there are those who say, ‘No.’ Either side can now go on indefinitely providing their evidence and trying to prove their point. But perhaps the truth of the matter does not lie in any kind of answer to the question. Surely what matters is the manner in which we are to go on living together with one another, not knowing the exact nature of the truth. We know that there are opposing answers and that we can jump on board either ship at any time, but whichever ship we take we shall still be all at sea and without the firm land beneath our feet.

This makes total sense if we define consciousness as : how the brain is creating the universe it experiences (like a god)

Say I am in the midst of a situation (aka my experience, my reality at that moment) - for example : I am explaining a very important point to a dangerous idiot on the internet.

Awareness would be the sudden realisation that this experience is taking place - as opposed to just existing as that experience.
Its suddenly seeing that the situation, which appeared to be the whole of existence, that focussed all my urgency, anger, righteousness, was actually just a tiny self projected experience.

Awareness would be seeing the movement of self and opening up a whole new world of possibilities - what the cat is trying to tell me for example, or that it might be time to make a sandwhich, send an email or whatever.

Maybe you could lay out for us what the question is and what the 2 answers are again?

Is it : What do we mean by “me and you”?
answer 1 : we mean the 2 actual people.
answer 2 : we mean the images of these 2 people in our heads.

The question now is really about our approach to and our treatment of one another. Commonsense says, ‘I am over here and you are other there.’ We can use this distance to protect ourselves. Or we can try to communicate with one another across this distance. But also we can question the very nature of this sense of distance.

To jump to answers before a deep consideration of the questions makes it seem hardly worthwhile posing questions at all. We are looking carefully at what is taking place in our so-called relationships with one another. After all, what is the basis for saying or using the word ‘another’? I doubt we have ever really looked into this. Because first of all there must be an internal relationship operating within oneself - between what is happening now and what has happened before - that gives special significance to the word ‘another’. That relationship wherein one is aware of oneself as someone having had prior existence - of a present me looking back on a past me, of a self with identifiable experiences and memories - this sense of oneself as an actual separate entity is what gives rise to any sense of the other entities in the world whether they are far away or nearby.

Therefore part of this question about whether there is anyone other than me must also be to consider if there is even an anyone called oneself. It is the belief in oneself that brings to life the notion of another person. So there are no quick answers to this from anywhere. The deeper we go into it the clearer it must be that such answers exist only to sustain a pre-existing belief system, and that they are not answers at all to our deepest concerns. So there may not be two actual people or even one actual person. Actuality may be something else, nothing to do with any person at all.

Sounds complicated.

Confusion is probably dependant on all the contradictory knowledge we mistake for truth.
There is our knowledge about the material world, the conceptual world, our experiential world and we even have ideas about fundamental reality - and many of these “realities” are in complete opposition.