Nature of Consciousness
goode at DPW.COM
Fri Jul 16 09:46:52 CDT 1999
These are great questions, they get right down to it.
At 08:21 PM 7/15/99 -0500, Parisi & Watson wrote:
>Forgive me, but I'm still grappling with the basic concepts. Please tell me
>where this line of reasoning goes wrong:
>1. Every shred of evidence, from psychoactive drugs to brain injuries,
>indicates that all mental states are produced by the nervous system.
Not true. Take even your own evidence into consideration. All your
experience is evidence. What about the many thoughts, sensations,
perceptions, emotions, etc. that appear to you that occur in the absence of
any impression of drugs, brain physiology or pharmaceutical information?
It is only a later thought appearing that would suggest that these
experiences have some cause external to themselves.
>2. This statement applies to sense experience also, but its survival value
>indicates that it bears some resemblance to what is really 'out there.'
Not true. Now this resemblance theory of knowledge to "reality" is
something that no evidence can ever support. Can you cite even one case,
in which we can know, without some experience,
thought/sensation/perception/etc., what is really Out There? Comparing our
states to an Out There is a comparison that can never be made. The burden
of proof is certainly on the one claiming that (i) there is such a reality
to which our states can be compared, and (ii) what this reality is like.
>3. By this reasoning, all other states of consciousness, including ineffable
>experiences of nondual oneness and so on, are also produced by the nervous
>system, and so tell us nothing radical or fundamental about the nature of
I agree with the last phrase with a slight modification for this list, that
states can tell us nothing fundamental about the nature of a reality that
is somehow external to us. But it's because that there is no such thing as
a reality external to us. Even if there were, as in (2) above, we could
never know anything about it.
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list