Subjective impressions are every bit as valid in sensing the nature of reality as objective measurements are. For example, depending on one's spiritual attainments, one can know just as much about the quantum nature of reality as a physicist does without ever having opened a physics textbook. Many Buddhist scholars have done just this over the centuries. The sensation of redness is every bit as legitimate as asserting the frequency of red light. One frame of reference is in no way superior to the other. These are two sides of the same coin that comes out of nature's purse. In our materialist, modern world, with science as the new religion, it seems we have denigrated the validity of subjective experience in favor of a more objective one, which we now somehow regard as truer. Both views of the world are equally valid, and totally complementary.
Being and not-being and -- what's in the middle?
We tend to divide the world into in here and out there -- two things. In reality there is only one thing.
I'm not sure there is any way to draw a line -- a border -- between internal and external. How would you do it? In my opinion, all thought -- personal and private, contemplative, communicative, habitual, cultural, linguistic, everything -- is one system, and that it's very, very hard to get outside of that system. As soon as you latch onto something outside of it, and think about it, well, now it's part of the system. I think everything humans are doing on earth at all times is part of the system. And if we're going to really get anywhere, we need to start seeing that. I think relatively few people are able to do it satisfactorily, i.e. without any anxiety.
Your brain gives rise to everything you do, but not everything you are.
One should think less in terms of *certainty/uncertainty* and more in terms of *more likely/less likely* in order to be more attuned to what we now know about the universe -- and also to be more compassionate toward one's fellow man.
Thoughts fire in both random and ordered channels. Whichever thought you are about to have, in response to some stimulus, can only be predicted statistically. However, this thought will occur in relation to some subject or object in a pertinent fashion. There is an element of order, and an element of chaos. (Such is the Tao).
Notwithstanding all the talk of oneness, the fact is that we do seem damned to separateness in this particular reality.
Science does, in the end, give us an objective system. One we can agree is correct. We may, some of us, regard as real certain phenomena that are not currently under its purview. It may be best to let science catch up.
David Bohm's book Thought as a System is eminently pertinent. In it he posits a collective system of thought that runs in microcosm in each individual's psyche. The operation of this system is mostly unconscious. Worse than that, if we were somehow to become conscious of an aspect or component of the programming of the system, then that thought would become part of the system, and we would be back at the beginning. He also urged that most of the time, when we think we are dissecting the system, it is just the system itself that is doing it. Is escape possible?
If subject and object are two sides of a single coin, and subjectivity is mind, then objective Nature must also be inherently mind-like.
While it is true that individual separation, at a fundamental level, is essentially an illusion, the fact is that we as humans do not exist at this fundamental level much of the time. So our separateness, for practical purposes, is certainly real enough.
On a certain level the appearance of our separation is an illusion. All the same, each organism is an individual, and that identity is not superfluous. Indeed we exist as a collective consciousness and an individual consciousness at the same time, not necessarily only one or the other.
The debate seems to be whether the universe came into existence completely by accident, or was designed by some creator. Why not a third option? Could there be a cosmic substrate which is informed by some subtle governing principle of intelligence or order, which evolves freely according to no predetermined stricture -- chaos? Order (which is a form of intelligence) and random chaos (through which it is expressed) are both required for the evolution of a universe like ours.
We touch on the objective with our science, but it is couched in subjectivity.
While it is true that in the psychotic state there are things about existence you no longer objectively understand, it is also true that there are in that state things about existence you do objectively understand which very few in the non-psychotic state can.
The duality of necessity versus contingency is a truly fundamental one.
The phenomenon of romantic love exists because we posit the idea of a holiness and a healing essence in the Other, which stems from our flawed rearing practices as a civilized people. When Self and Other are in balance, romantic love cannot and does not exist. To use perhaps a strong word, as wonderful as it can be, it is really a species of pathology. In most relationships it is not an illusion that lasts for very long.
I think a large part of what we mean when we call a person "intelligent" is that they are especially good at developing the dialectic, unifying theses and antitheses into new syntheses. I would add, however, that there are many other types of intelligence than just the rational-mental.
For the most part we are neither observing detachedly from the outside, nor creating freely from the inside, but rather participating.
One very important duality is that of equality and hierarchy. It is best to exist in the middle.
I'm very much in favor of the notion -- the model -- that all of our mental constructs, all of our ideas and ways of perceiving the world -- are models. But I do not feel that model-making is arbitrary. There is a reality, a truth, on which these models must be based, and therefore, while the models are inherently subjective, I feel there is some sort of correspondence there with the objective as well. And eventually, subject and object are one...
Our subjective impressions of people are often very far from the objective reality. Even when we think we know someone, we may not know the first thing about who they really are. The adage that we are at bottom quite alone in this life rings true. There are incommunicable things about me that I am sure my family has never even guessed at. I'm sure the same is true for most everybody else. Our subjective impressions of our friends and family are fictions and these imaginings usually have nothing to do with the truth.
I'm not quite sure whether it's Aristotelianism or the human brain itself which is responsible, but most people are inclined to lump any subject of consideration into one category or another. In reality, unfortunately -- or fortunately, for the philosopher -- things are not so simple. Every subject and object exists in several categories at once.
Culture is the shared mental contents of a particular society. As such, it is a system of thought. Now, this system is to its adherents as water is to a fish -- it's extremely difficult to pick up as a coherent thing since you are totally immersed in it. Also, this thought system is doing things subconsciously that are pretty much impossible to pick up on. So, we have very little choice but to be perpetually programmed by the dominant culture, in such a way as to make changing it almost impossible. The problem is that we have a culture based on fragmentation; we need one based on wholeness. It could get tricky because it's very difficult once you start making conscious alterations not to just perpetuate the fragmentation. Our cultural programs are doing things in thought that are very difficult to see, working at a very deep level and doing harm. So far no one has been able to overcome these fragmentary programs to find coherent balance. Basically, we're stuck and there's no discernible way out. To try consciously to get out generally just leads to more fragmentation. We can't escape the sabotage the programs are doing on a subconscious level.
Essentially, the brain is a fabulously complex, massively parallel quantum computer and is basically plugged into the universe, making one interpenetrating unit.
It's easy to slip from wholeness into dualism, but on the other hand, the universe seems to operate on a complementary principle of unity and separateness, or individuality and multiplicity. Both sides of this coin are necessary for a consistent view of reality.
Perhaps the fatal flaw of Western man is that for him, everything must fall into either-or categories, which, needless to say, keeps him is a state of perpetual delusion for the most part.
Information at the quantum level is both subjective and objective.
Might it not be possible that consciousness can be both passive and active?