The occurrence of thoughts

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Tue Oct 7 15:07:29 CDT 1997

On Fri, 3 Oct 1997, the now departed but hopefully soon returneth
Vidysankar Sundares wrote:

>>Vidyasankar Sundares's example of free will, was, as Gregory Goode ably
>>demonstrated, an example of what is commonly believed to be free will,
>> but which introspection reveals to be otherwise.  I had posted (June 2,

>The objective of my example was to say that notions of fate and free will
>have a practical use only.

I'm not sure what you mean in this context by "have a practical use only."
It almost sounds tautological:  they have a use only when they are used,
i.e., are put into practice.  Perhaps you are being a pragmatist, like
who believed that all concepts are to be judged by their practical
consequences.   The concept of God could be so judged, as could Advaita.
They are not usually part of the conscious foreground of moment to moment
experience, but any given moment at any given time can be referred to them.

A belief or disbelief in Fate and the non-reality of free will can also be
judged only by their practical consequences, but that is a different
thread.  To start that thread you need to distinguish what you see as the
practical consequences that the differing beliefs would entail.

> believe) William James's "meditation" on will, to which
> many of Gregory's comments make a nice commentary.  As James's
> "data for an entire psychology of volition" shows:
> 1. Thoughts arise.

>From where? In what?

>From the whole via the mayic illusion of separated moments arising in  the
mayic illusion of a separated still reference point (sometimes labelled
"I").  No still reference point, no separated moments.  No separated
moments, no still reference point.  Admittedly "arise" can be a misleading
term, in the same way that it is ultimately misleading to say that the sun
"rises."  Perhaps "occur" is a better word.

>> 2. They have an impulsive power of their own, a direct link to our motor
> >operations, and do not require a super added willforce to explain their
> >efficacy. And
> >3. The feeling of will and effort is derivable from the interplay
>> opposing thoughts.

>If each thought has its own impulsive power, and thoughts oppose each
>other, then the absolute reality is an infinitude of thoughts. There can
>be no one-ness here.

Why is this infinitude of thoughts from one source any different than
standard Advaitin metaphors such as  the one sun being reflected by many
different surfaces of a mirror?  The advaitin metaphors emphasize the
illusion of disjunction through space.  But all space is now known to be

Jonathan Bricklin

>From  Tue Oct  7 15:03:07 1997
Message-Id: <TUE.7.OCT.1997.150307.0400.>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 15:03:07 -0400
Reply-To: chandran at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: Thinking Process
Comments: To: Advaita List <advaita-l at>
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Charles Wikner wrote:

> My thoughts tend to be in English; but others use a different language.
> I tend to have certain thought patterns based upon my interests, aptitudes,
> training, etc.; others are again different.  I infer from this that these
> thought patterns arise from (and are colored by) the individual personal
> nature.

> It does not require much effort to notice that the _sort_ of thought that
> arises is influenced by external circumstances.  For example, the thoughts
> that arise when studying the scriptures have a different quality to those
> that arise when studying Sanskrit grammar; and those are quite different
> to the thoughts that arise when surrounded by a bevy of nubile young ladies!
> ..............

> Regards,
> Charles.

Dear Charles;
Thanks for your thoughtful thoughts.

        Thought is an outcome experienced by the intellect under the influence
of factors that include Intuition, Intellect, Impulse and BELIEFS.
These factors are interdependent, interactive and overlapping.
        Some thoughts also come from mystic experiences with no explanations.
Thoughts during dreams,  meditation, and prayers are examples of mystic
experiences.  Those thoughts are dominated by beliefs.
        When the mathematician gets a solution for a problem, such thoughts
come from knowledge-based intuition.  Thoughts based on knowledge can be
cultivated through reading, learning and training.
        Belief is subjective and complex without coherent explanation. Belief
evolves from a variety of sources that include knowledge, perception,
impulse and intuition. Perception is also subjective and is greatly
influenced by beliefs.
        Already this thought-process do not take us anywhere and get into a
loop with no return!
Destiny is greatly influenced by belief where as freewill is an
expression of challenge against belief. But freewill is a belief against
the belief!
        I am more comfortable to declare thoughts as just THOUGHTS without
explanations.  When I attempt to explain, I am able to recognize my
stupidity! Finally, I recognize that any logical explanation of my
thought-process is my own creation. It is an illusion coming from my

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