Timelessness has no basis

Timelessness has no basis except in the mind. Objects are easier to deal with if they are like a sitting duck. And often this way of handling objects lead to errors in judgement as time progresses. Something that is thought of as static, unchanging, eventually will change noticeably enough so as to shock the judge back into reality and out of her or his uncomfortable habitual mistake.

Two types of “sweaters”

Which type of “sweater” are you?

No, I am not talking about round necks and V-necks. I am talking about when it comes to souls there are the religious-type and philosophical-type.

Religious-types sweat when they hear someone say there is no soul. In fact, there is no single word for this except soulless, but that do not mean without soul, but without passion. Actually, the only religion that explicit says there is no soul is Buddhism. But neither do they panic when they hear people talk about souls.

Philosophical-types also sweat when they hear this. They often equate soul or spirit with mind. But like the religious-type not all of them sweat. Only a certain type – the idealists and rationalists – who have trouble explaining the mind. Gilbert Rule called this a belief in the ghost in the machine. Particularly, if one claims to be a materialist, physicalist, or empiricist one gets looks of incredulity.

The struggle then has always been how one can explain a being works without a soul and/or mind. But why sweat when either way the being has continued to work, live and survive. In other words, don’t panic, take off that sweater, wear a T-shirt, and carry on. Life continues no matter what.

Out, damn spot! Out damn anthropocentrism!

I reject anthropocentrism only in a way an anthropoid can. What choice do I have.

An object is an object is an object; the world is the world is the world.

No matter what (pun intended) an object is an object. Be this a single atom, a group of atoms, a non-sentient cluster, a sentient cluster, or any other way an object can be.

I am not even talking qualities, but only existence or being. Unobserved, objects are just objects. The world (or reality) is just is, or simply, the world is.

I am not promoting anthropocentrism. But any differentiation discerned is done by a sentient (in the “sense” sense; again pun intended) object. We should neither privilege nor disparage it, because an object is an object is an object. I would be more than happy to let a rock philosophise. And I am sure a rock couldn’t care less that I can philosophise either. So let it be and let us get on with philosophy.

Critique of Idealism

In philosophy, idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies that assert that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In contrast to materialism, idealism asserts the primacy of consciousness as the origin and prerequisite of material phenomena. According to this view, consciousness exists before and is the pre-condition of material existence. Consciousness creates and determines the material and not vice versa. Idealism believes consciousness and mind to be the origin of the material world and aims to explain the existing world according to these principles.

(Wikipedia entry for Idealism)

The problem begins with metaphysics. Is it possible to answer objectively the question of the nature of reality? Of course, knowledge of reality must necessarily begin with the mind perceiving. But this does not logically lead to the idea that only mind is necessary. A sensed reality is the only reality we have. The mind of a person is seen not directly, but always through her or his material. Idealism is correct in that knowing is a mental process, and that knowing does not mean access to the thing. But this does not mean primacy of the mind. The mind cannot exist without the body. Material determines the consciousness, not vice versa. Our knowledge of the science of neurology and the brain should be enough evidence for us to dismiss Idealism as a viable philosophical stance.

Buddhist suffering is not pain and grief

The first of the Four Noble Truths attributed to Buddha is life is suffering (dukkha).

But what is meant by this? Is every moment in life suffering? Am I in perpetual sadness?

Obviously, no. I am happy, or at least not sad at this moment. For most of my life I have been fairly happy and content. I can see that others also are not suffering or in constant pain.

What Buddha meant by this that at any moment we are susceptible to suffering. This susceptibility is what is meant by dukkha. Actual instances pain and happiness are “clues” to impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and the self as an illusion.

The World and its experiences

Regardless of who you are, where you are born, what religion you belong to, we can agree that there are things. We live by things being what they are. For example, a game of tennis can be played and enjoyed because we agree upon the nature of the world and its properties. Everything from not falling out of one’s bed to the exploration of the universe relies upon our agreement of the nature of the world.

From things we infer the properties of space. And from things and space we infer the properties of time.

From experience we understand or know The World, that is, things, space, and time.

Rationality is a process of a thing that experiences things, space, and time.