Going Back To Some Basics part 2
In the former & 1st installment, we touched on the basic Duality of “Self” & “Other”, diverting to that one bit of “Other” that we so often take to be the “I”, take to be oneself, namely, the Body. Before continuing that thread, another is now introduced, namely the actually “Space” – idea within which the Body appears, along with Mind & World, those key ideas we take up after looking again further at the Body.
But initially, surrounding the vague sense of “Other”, conceived as different from one’s Self, the feeling that “there seems to be something” coalesces, as previously stated, with some kind of location, some size or extent, some “substance” constituting this “something”. But what seems to be this “other” ? In a way, this can be said to be a kind of “pure extent” or Space. Seldom formalized, this universal sense of Space was simply systematized by Rene Descartes as mathematical Coordinate Space, familiar to grade school students as “graphs”. Now there is no pretense that such formal ideas crystallize in the initial sense of “Other” as Space, but adopting this device simplifies our discussion.
In essence the idea of Space is that of a Container, one that is formless, boundless, with no edge or boundary, empty of texture, unchanging, & vast when we so consider it. One aspect of this idea of Space is Dimension, a bit of form if you will, first formalized by Descartes in the manner of rulers or knotted ropes first borrowed by the Egyptians from fishing nets. The two-dimensional simplification used by Descartes had appeared among the Greeks as Latitude & Longitude in Geodesy. Such a concept was preserved by Arab philosophers during Europe’s Dark Ages. Leaking back of these ideas from Islam-conquered Spain to Italy prompted Perspective Drawing, Scaling, & the Architecture that allowed the Renaissance & later on, Analytical Geometry & ultimately Computer Science. Greek mathematics of Conic Sections played a major role in Descartes’ Coordinate Space as well.
While Descartes’ “graphs” are two-dimensional or 2-D, our everyday sense of Physical Space & the World are 3-D. And yet, we start next time to formalize the sense of “Other” this way, including the Body, by initially looking at 0-D & 1-D Spaces of Ego, Now, Here, & God for 0-D, followed by Time, & Mind in 1-D. For now though, we continue with another installment on the Body idea by again quoting from Master Nome, disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi:
The Self is non–objective & ever the knower. The Body is objective & always only the known. How, therefore, can the Self’s Existence be equated with the Body ?
Basically, like all the rest of the World, the Body is “out there” while one’s Self, the primordial Consciousness called “I” that knows of it sown Existence, that Self is “inside”. Terms like “out side” & “inside” take on more formal definition later in this series. “Objective” refers to the “objects” that are “outside”, the “objects” that are known by “Perception” [physical objects] or “Conception” [subtle mental objects]. The Knower, the Consciousness is “Non-objective”, Only if we accept a Duality of Knower & Known, then do we similarly refer to the Duality of Subject & Object. In that case we can somewhat equate “Non-objective” with “Subjective”, but until then, “Non-objective” is more generally applicable.
The Self is attributeless Existence. The Body is known by its perceived attributes, apart from which there is no Body. How, therefore, can the Self’s Existence be equated with the Body ?
“Attributes” are the specific qualities by which individual gross Perceptions or subtle Conceptions are distinguished, one from the other. Being “Non-objective”, the Self has n attributes while the Body, an Object, does have attributes,
The Self is continuous. It does not commence at birth, & it does not cease at Death. Existence does not have the attribute of “living” or “dead.” Existence & the Knowledge of Existence are full & not partial. Knowledge of Existence is not sporadic & does not move about to different parts.
Non-Duality characterizes the “substance” of the Self, while particular details characterize the body & other Objects. This applies to Continuity in Time, or its opposite, in the case of the Body.
The Existence of the Self is the constant background of the Body’s appearance & disappearance, & likewise, of the Waking & other states of Mind. The Body is discontinuous in several ways. For the Body, there is Life & Death. The experience of the Body is sporadic in Perception, with only one, or a few parts or senses experienced at any one time. Never is one aware of all of it at once. The Body appears only in the Waking state of Mind. How, therefore, can the Self s Existence be equated with the Body?
Just at the Body is only known through Perception, so to is each Perception partial. For those from the Vedas through philosopher George Berkeley through modern Islamic author Harun Yahya, the World is Unreal. When perceiving the Leg, the Arm just isn’t there. Earlier quotes about how the Body “appears only in the moments of perception” is a caution that applies piece by piece. We only experience a Body, or a Universe, one thin slice at a time. Mentally we “fill-in” the rest just as does the Optical system in vision.
Next time we continue with the model of Coordinate Space on the one hand, & the comments of Master Nome on the Body & the Self as well.
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]