Nonduality

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
__Kit
Posts: 1576
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 5:12 am UTC
Location: 16/M/NZ
Contact:

Nonduality

Postby __Kit » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:58 am UTC

A subject that appears untouched on xkcd, I was interested on xkcdian views on the whole thing.

Recently became interested as my dad, for lack of a better word, "subscribes" to nondualism.
And then I went on to read Tony Parsons book As It Is. I try to remain as unoppiniated as possible about large (philosophical) ideas though as I'm only 16. But would still like to hear what others have to say, especially others on xkcd.

So, any thoughts on nonduality?
=]

Sharlos
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:26 am UTC
Location: Straya

Re: Nonduality

Postby Sharlos » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:11 pm UTC

Wikipedia doesn't really give anything specific about the subject, do you have any links describing the particular topic that your referring to?

User avatar
Jessica
Jessica, you're a ...
Posts: 8337
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:57 pm UTC
Location: Soviet Canuckistan

Re: Nonduality

Postby Jessica » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:23 pm UTC

I would also like at least your ideas on the subject. A simple google search brought up a few links (like this, and some nonduality.com which is probably trying to sell me something), but I'm wondering what specifically you're looking for.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.

User avatar
setzer777
Good questions sometimes get stupid answers
Posts: 2762
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby setzer777 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

I found this link: http://www.theopensecret.com/

From what I read there it sounds like your typical overly-vague, "these truths are so deep they can only be expressed in a bad attempt at poetic language!", metaphysical nonsense. That's referring to Tony Parson.

In terms of nonduality in general, something I've wondered about that - it seems like philosophies like that end up being dualistic anyway. In such things you have reality which is totally unified undifferentiated "oneness", and then you have the illusion of individuality and separation. But I've never seen an explanation of how the illusion can be reduced down to or explained as something existing in the "oneness". It seems like "illusion" in such systems is a totally separate substance that is arbitrarily called "less real" than the supposed unified reality.
Meaux_Pas wrote:We're here to go above and beyond.

Too infinity
of being an arsehole

aneeshm
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:37 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby aneeshm » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

I do not know if you are aware of the Hindu conception of non-dualism as a philosophy. As you have, however, asked for further information, I will be happy to provide it.

For a simple (and, inevitably, non-rigorous) introduction to the subject, the Advaita page on the Wiki should be sufficient.

The previous post raised an interesting point - how does that which is devoid of attributes appear to acquire attributes when seen through the veil of avidya (ignorance/nescience)? An excellent explanation is given here. That fragment on its own, however, isn't going to be very illuminating without the surrounding context. If you are interested in this, I would suggest you read this series of writings by Swami Vivekananda.

A word of caution - they were written by a Hindu Swami, in the 19th century, and though the denotation of the words you shall encounter shall be the same, the connotations are sometimes subtly influenced by his Indic background. For instance - and I have selected the most glaring example to make the point obvious - what he means by the word "God" has nothing whatsoever to do with "God" as known to those raised in a monotheistic background. To avoid misunderstanding stemming from things like this, I suggest you read the entire series.

Trojan Hamster
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:08 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby Trojan Hamster » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:10 am UTC

My parents studied Vivekananda's works when I was growing up, so non-dualism has been a pretty big part of my own internal philosophical ponderings. I think what is interesting about it as a concept is that the lines between non-dualism and dualism are actually rather blurry when you're looking at truly devout followers of either school of thought.

An author I knew, who my parents were briefly students of, phrased it as there being two ways to escape the net of maya (maya essentially means the illusion of life, and the suffering it generally entails, but I'd suggestion reading up on it for a better definition): one can either become so small that he slips through the holes, or become so large that the net cannot contain him.

I never asked him if this was exactly what he meant by it, but to me "becoming so small" represents a dualistic path where one becomes so lost in the god or concept they worship that they lose themselves in it (essentially becoming non-dual in the process as there is no more self, only god), in this way they escape suffering because they are no longer attached to themselves only god. On the other hand "becoming so large" represents the non-dual approach where you erase the distinction between yourself and god, realizing that there is no self, only god.

Most non-dual thinkers I know like to say that it is the purest path out of suffering (which doesn't really surprise me that they would say that), but personally I think dualistic and non-dualistic paths are both capable of the same results. The question is really a matter of which concept is easier for an individual person to handle. Non-dualism involves stripping away the unreal and in a sense it places the responsibility for the work fully on the person following it. Dualism on the other hand gives god a "face" and rather than stripping away the unreal it is given away, which for some is a much easier process. In the end they're technically both non-dual, dualism is really just another piece of the unreal, but it can be a helpful piece for some people.

In any case take all that with a grain of salt, I'm hardly an authority on the subject, and I probably got more than a few things wrong. :P

aneeshm
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:37 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby aneeshm » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:38 am UTC

Trojan Hamster wrote:
I never asked him if this was exactly what he meant by it, but to me "becoming so small" represents a dualistic path where one becomes so lost in the god or concept they worship that they lose themselves in it (essentially becoming non-dual in the process as there is no more self, only god), in this way they escape suffering because they are no longer attached to themselves only god. On the other hand "becoming so large" represents the non-dual approach where you erase the distinction between yourself and god, realizing that there is no self, only god.



An interesting aspect of this is that it doesn't matter what you make your "God". It could be a grain of sand for all the importance it has, and according to this idea, it would work as well as anything else.

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Nonduality

Postby poxic » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:02 am UTC

aneeshm wrote:An interesting aspect of this is that it doesn't matter what you make your "God". It could be a grain of sand for all the importance it has, and according to this idea, it would work as well as anything else.

YES. This is just the conclusion I've come to after years of chasing after this or that god-or-not. The point isn't picking the right thing to worship, it's the effect on oneself of the act of worship. A habit of humility and duty does wonders for one's capacity for joy, believe it or not. I forget this much too often.

Another recent thread hereabouts mentioned ego death. From the wiki description, it sounds to me like the experience of complete union of self with universe, which requires the loss of a sense of a self-with-free-will. It's a frightening and fascinating idea.

I read a book once by someone who claimed to have gone through ego death, via Christian mysticism. I think it was Bernadette Roberts, since that page has quotes that sound familiar. Interesting, hairy stuff.

Sometimes I think I'd like to experience what Roberts describes. Sometimes I don't. If self-with-free-will does turn out to be an illusion -- and there's little evidence outside of our own egos to believe that free will actually exists -- then my experience of no-self will either happen, or not. That's actually a bit comforting, in a groping-in-the-dark kind of way.

/dashes seem to be an order-of-the-day type-of-thing, -eh?
A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
- Hermann Hesse, novelist, poet, Nobel laureate (2 Jul 1877-1962)

Game_boy
Posts: 1314
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:33 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby Game_boy » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

Can someone sum it up in one sentence? Because from here it looks like generic spirituality along the lines of "believe whatever you want to believe, and you are always right".

My own view on these things is that mathematics and physics provide a greater insight to how the universe works and why we are driven to do what we do than any belief system.
The Reaper wrote:Evolution is a really really really long run-on sentence.

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Nonduality

Postby poxic » Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:16 pm UTC

I'd say rather that it's "belief is not important". You can believe whatever you want because it's (mostly) irrelevant. So long as what you believe doesn't harm you or others, whatever works for you is fine. I like the physics-based stuff with just a hair of mysticism. It works for me. Some people make their peace with the universe through a mainstream religion. Some don't.

My concept of nonduality is "I am the same as the universe". I'm made of bits of exploded stars. My actions and reactions are predictable, in the chaos-theory kind of way, because the universe is largely predictable and I'm not separate from it. My goal is something like not resisting this, just going along with it and accepting whatever arrives. Instead of fighting the inevitable, I want to invest my energy in dealing with it intelligently.

Hope that helps a bit.

Edit to clarify: the goal here isn't to believe the right thing, or even to believe anything at all. It's to make sense of -- and peace with -- your life, the universe, and the relationship between the two. A life lived in harmony, if you will. Some people like the idea of nonduality and see it as an ultimate expression of harmony with the universe (if I've understood it correctly).
A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
- Hermann Hesse, novelist, poet, Nobel laureate (2 Jul 1877-1962)

User avatar
Charlie!
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:20 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby Charlie! » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:56 am UTC

poxic wrote:I'd say rather that it's "belief is not important". You can believe whatever you want because it's (mostly) irrelevant.

Mm, that sounds like what you believe, but it doesn't sound like the internet's reflection of non-dualism (or should we call it double-secret unitarianism?), which appears to claim that it's got an answer.
Some people tell me I laugh too much. To them I say, "ha ha ha!"

Trojan Hamster
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:08 pm UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby Trojan Hamster » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:Mm, that sounds like what you believe, but it doesn't sound like the internet's reflection of non-dualism (or should we call it double-secret unitarianism?), which appears to claim that it's got an answer.


According to most of the philosophers I've read over the years, one of the main "goals" of non-dualism is to not have beliefs at all, so the beliefs themselves are arguably irrelevant. Of course beliefs are necessary to convince yourself to no longer have them, but after all the other baggage is tossed overboard they're supposed to jump ship too.

The big difference between different belief choices is whether they excel at getting you in the front door (Christianity) or kicking you out the back (Advaita Vedanta).

Quincunx
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 11:50 am UTC

Re: Nonduality

Postby Quincunx » Mon May 04, 2009 2:59 am UTC

There is an old story, called:

ON THE BEACH

A theist and an atheist, being friends, decide to go to the beach together for the first time. Both are immensely impressed. They can’t agree on religion, so play mental recreations.
One of these is to estimate the number of drops in the ocean.
The atheist is keen-sighted and a brilliant mathematician; he devises a formula to give the exact number. It is a 28-digit number beginning with two and ending with seven. He says “If mathematics alone can solve such a marvellous problem, who needs God?”.
Then it was the theist’s turn. He wears glasses, has appalling eyesight, and never even learnt to count. Not being able to see any divisions between the drops, he assumes they don’t exist.
His answer, therefore, is “One. A blessed big one”. And adds: “If every problem is that easy, who needs mathematics?”.

This essentially involves the "too small" and "too big" (to be caught in the net) ideas.
From birth, we are told we have all sorts of qualifications (age, gender, skin colour, health, IQ, possessions, etc) and, believing this, conceive of ourselves as drops with these limitations painted onto the walls we imagine around our drop, or precious individuality. In reality, however, there are no boundaries, and every drop is the entire ocean. Or in other words, there are no drops. God doesn't see man as other than himself; mankind is God looked at through cracked glasses. Advaita, non-duality, and solipsism are different words for the same thing. The cracks are called ' I ' and 'mine'.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests