Conversation with H – 7


Please Note: This post, H-7,  should be read after H 7 bis, which precedes it. Sorry for the confusion.

H. Thank you M for the quote from Max Planck. Yes, we clearly “cannot get behind consciousness”, and I often address the fact with others that we cannot get beyond the ‘gearbox’ of our own comprehension – that is, solely in respect to understanding phenomena, not to (what I call) awareness itself, which by my definitions is in a loose sense ‘behind’ consciousness in that it illuminates it but is not solely what it illuminates.

I see no great difference in opinion between us in your first answer as given in A1. One might expand a little to include silent transmissions, which I think we must also say are teachings. I have had some experience of this myself; it is unmistakably a real phenomenon.

As to your second answer as given in A2, then I must stress again that I was reluctant to use the term ‘mind’ given how it evokes the idea of an integrated or unified entity beyond Hume’s bundle of perceptions, predispositions, memories, etc. To me, it seems less confusing to others if we confine ourselves to the three primary distinctions of awareness, consciousness, and materiality. Conceptually, these are three categories; ontologically, then in actualised ND, they are not.

As to your third answer as given in A3, then I clearly have failed to convey that in actualised ND there is no ontologically distinct category of physicality. Again: apprehending exists, the world exists, yet both are identical. This is the paradox of ND, though expressed in terms particular, and as far as I know, uniquely so, to myself. You appear to have taken from all of my words the idea that according to me there is an ontologically distinct category of physicality i.e. ‘the world’. This is understandable, as I have indeed said that the world exists.

In your quote, Planck says matter is derivative from consciousness; he does not deny (there) that it exists. Take this further quote of his: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”
— Max Planck, Das Wesen der Materie, 1944

To repeat him: “matter originates and exists”.
How do you see that differs from my saying that apprehending exists, the world exists, yet both are identical?

With great respect, M, my position is not “clearly dualist” as I have expressly stated consistently and throughout this discussion that matter and awareness are not ontologically distinct categories. The concept of ND does not mean to invoke purely and exclusively a Monism – do you accept that interpretation? – but rather expressly rejects mind/matter Dualism. Of course, there are many takes on ND, some Monistic, others – more accurately in my opinion – simply positing a ‘Not Two-ism’, which itself does not reject multiplicity. But again, the multiplicity should not be understood as being a world of objective (ontological) separation – that is ultimately a mind-construct obtaining when ND is not actualised in the individualised mind.

There being a world of physically discrete objects [Planck: matter exists] does not preclude the unicity of ND which itself is not subject to the mind’s overlay of a subject/object dichotomy as regards to apprehending the world. Actualised ND does not apprehend the world as if a subject apprehending objects; it knows itself as awareness (or your ‘substrate’) which pervades the world (Planck’s ‘matrix’) and in that sense is ‘identical’ to it. What that means is that it is known that awareness (the illuminative aspect of consciousness) of the tree can never be abstracted from the tree itself, and vice versa.

And finally, yes, to talk of ‘realised persons’, or ‘enlightened beings’ is misleading, which is why I never do it.

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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