Re: Responses To Tom on Reality
Feb 02, 1997 02:14 PM
by Jerry Schueler
>From a non-omniscient being's point of view, anything is possible. I
>don't know how gravity would be different anywhere else. Clarifying
>what is meant by the word "universe" also might be helpful, since, if
>it means to not exclude anything, there can only be one of them.
There are numberless universes, ours being but one. When
our universe began at the Big Bang, there were only a few universal
constants present during the initial conditions, that ultimately led
to the universe around us as we know it. A very small change to
any of the constants would have produced a different universe. This
idea is not mine, and you can find the details in what is called the
Anthropic Principle. Einstein showed that our universe is spherical
and thus does not go on and on forever. The teaching of multiple
universes is well-known in Buddhism.
>By their "original states," do you mean their homogeneous states, and
>by "spirit and matter as we normally think of them," are you referring
>to the forms which they comprise?
Yes. As manifestation emmanates downward through the
planes, the orginal homogenous nature of spirit and matter become
more and more compromised. In our everyday physical world, for
example, we do not usually think of matter as homogenous.
>If homogeneous spirit and matter are eternal, they could not have had
>a creator, assuming the "if it had a beginning, it must also have an
>end" rule is universally applicable.
Quite right. Homogeneous spirit and matter (what we may think
of as the ultimate duality) is eternal only for this manvantara. HPB was
correct to use the word eternal in the sense of the duration of this
manvantara. Thus, nothing is truly eternal but the divine monads, which
end one manvantaric manifestation only to begin another, without
beginning or end. Remember, the concept of beginning and end requires
the concept of time, else they make no sense. The divine monads are
beyond time, or timeless, and thus the concept of beginning and end
do not apply to them.
>That the perception of truth changes does not mean that truth changes
>with it. You are implying that there is no reality besides
In a sense, that is what I am saying, yes. Perception is real,
while the perceiver and the perceived are maya. How we perceive
ourselves and our world will go on changing throughout this manvantara,
while our ability to perceive keeps right on going. Trying to find Truth
inwardly or outwardly is a task like a dog chasing after its own tail.
Think of it this way: Only the divine monad is Reality or Truth. But
the divine monad itself is composed of an I (the perceiver), a Not-I
(the perceived) , and a connecting force (Fohat--perception itself).
So, in a sense, the perceiver, perceived, and perception are
all real because they inhere in the divine monad. But in another
sense they are all unreal because a monad, by definition, cannot
be divided into components, and so the triad only has existence
in manvantaric manifestation, which is a maya. This is a paradox,
but I don't know of any other way to say it.
>If there is no objective truth to discover, what purpose is there in
>producing shared knowledge?
But there is. Truth is both objective and subjective, because
the divine monad is both. The sharing of knowledge is all part of
self-expression and creativity, which is what manifestation is all
about. We each have personal purposes for each lifetime, but the
collective purpose for living in space-time is the fun of self-
expression. Most theosophists say that the purpose is to
develop self-consciousness. This is the purpose of the Arc of
Ascent, yes. But it ignores the fact that we deliberately lose
self-consciousness during the Arc of Descent. The personal
knowledge that we develop over a lifetime, is lost during the devachan
and we return as a child with no knowledge at all. If our purpose is
to gain knowledge, why do we lose it all at birth?
>This seems to mean that you have self-consciousness while you dream.
Yes you do. Everyone has a sense of identity in dreams.
However, you may or may not be the same personality. Sometimes
I am Jerry S., and sometimes I am someone else with a complete
set of memories. Dreams always have a subjective dreamer and
objective dream contents. Self-consciousness cannot be limited to
our transient human personalities.
>I agree that reality independent of perception is irrelevant, but that
>does not mean it doesn't exist.
Agreed. This is exactly what I have been trying to say.
If you see pink elephants, and I don't, then I am wrong to jump to
the conclusion that they don't exist and that you are crazy. They
may very well exist, but on an inner plane. If someone says
that Paris exists, I should not say it doesn't just because I haven't
seen it myself.
>I don't believe the shape of the earth depends to any significant
>degree on anyone's perception of its shape.
Not on yours or mine, no. But it does depend on the
perception of those who created it and who are currently maintaining
>But it is an objective reality.
Yes. The word "objective" should not be limited to physical.
>Accurately knowing the accuracy of perception is a different question
>from the accuracy of perception.
If you say so. But for us mortals, the "accurately knowing
the accuracy of perception" is limited to a consenus of our
individual experiences. I don't think it can every be more than that.
>We are using the word "reality" for two very different concepts. I
>define it as being what exists, regardless of whether or not it is
I stand with my theosophical definition that reality is the
divine monad, and all else is maya.
>I don't see why it has to be materialistic. My greatest attraction to
>Theosophy is the Society's founder's and early leaders' claim to know
>universal, objective, metaphysical, eternal truths.
Wow! I wan't aware of any such claims. Theosophy, at least
as I understand it, would not say that our physical universe is
"independent." The idea of independence makes the Independently
Existing Reality Model a materialistic model of our universe.
>The standard does not have to be known in order to exist. The value
>of all perceptions is in how true they are. How true they are is how
>accurately they conform to objective reality. If your perception is
>that the Grand Canyon is in Arizona and mine is that it is in
>Michigan, and if it is really in Arizona, your perception is more true
>than mine is.
Well, it may not be known by you or me, but someone has to
be aware of it. All perceptions have a certain truth to them, or else
we couldn't see them. You are limiting perceptions to the physical
plane, and I have no quarrel there at all--except that the Grand Canyon
only exists in Arizona by the consensus of monads now incarnating
on Earth. It was agreed, at some point, to put it there. The same
with everything else. How else did it get there? God? Chance (alias
>It can only be known perfectly accurately by an omniscient being. It
>can be partially known by anyone.
I don't believe there is any such thing as an "omniscient being"
except in a very limited sense. And we all have partial knowledge.
>The value of one's existence
>depends to a great extent on the accuracy of perception.
I truly hope that this does not mean what it sounds like.
If you are suggesting that animals are of less value than humans,
then I have to disagree. If you are suggesting that Jews have
less value than Russians, then again I disagree. If you are
suggesting that illiterates have less value than university
professors, then again I disagree. If you are suggesting that
chelas have less value than adepts, then again I disagree,
and so on.
>>Would you rather have a nice pleasant dream or a terrible
>I would rather have truth and reality.
Look around you. You already have it. There is
truth and reality in both dreams and nightmares, but I
like the one over the other as a matter of personal preference.
>What is the difference between magic and psychosis?
Magic is doing any act soever deliberately and consciously
(i.e., directed by the will) in order to "get" something. Psychosis
is a serious mental illness. Psychotics act out of compulsion or
obsession rather than from their own conscious will.
> I have always considered it a step down to "lose touch with reality"
>and go insane.
I hate to say this, Tom, but we are all "insane" to some
degree, and we are all dysfunctional to some degree. Your definition
is really "losing touch with the consensus of society" rather than
with reality. It is impossible to lose touch with reality, because
we are reality. Society labels those whose perceptions do not
conform to its consensus as insane. Its only a label. Sanity and
insanity both exist in us all. They are two sides of a duality, and
cannot be separated.
>Insanity is the karma of preferring fantasy to reality
Well, I suppose it could be, but your broad brush here would
label everyone who goes to Disneyland as insane. Why spend
time and money on the fantasy world of Disney, when we can sit home
with reality? I prefer to think that reality itself is a fantasy, and that
all life is magical.
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