09 September 2009, 01:50 PM
Can somebody please explain the Hindu concept of God to me?
A noble question. Let me offer the following if I may that will help you unfold the answer for yourself.
Please consider the following for your kind consideration and contemplation. You will see as we go why I think this may of use to you.
Lets set the stage
Orthodox and Unorthodox - A view of Reality.
āstika or आस्तिक means there is or exists;
nāstika or na+ astika नास्तिकor it is not so and this word nāstika नास्तिक is not believing, or atheistical ( this does not suggest not believing in God, yet it needs to be defined, to set the stage)
So what does this mean? āstika there exists , or a regard that the Veda-s as infallible, the final word, without doubt. Hence this is called Orthodox i.e. the Veda-s as the foundation of infallible truth; compate this to nāstika which does not regard the Veda-s as infallible or the final authority; Hence this view is considered Unorthodox.
So, what is considered orthodox ? Which schools are they? It is the 6 systems of Indian philosophy - this is called saḍ darśana or the 6 schools of vision, seeing, sight. We know them as :
vaiśeṣika.The 6 darśana-s दर्शन (seeing, looking, knowledge, traditional doctrine or precept , collection of such doctrines) are so complete in themselves, that many people took the 6 to be different views. This is not the case, it is the 6, when taken as whole give a 360º view of Reality. Hence your question about the concept of God is relevent to these schools and resides in these schools.
What is considered Unorthodox? ( this does not mean 'bad'). We have Jaina, Cārvāka , and Buddhist. I cannot not talk with a level of confidence about these schools ; I have not put my studies and attention here.
What could all these schools look at and discuss ( if I had to put it in a nut shell ) ? - the nature of Reality. From where does it come?
What part ( or whole ) are we as the human-Being, in all this? and where does it go?
What are some views? (In General):
there is a dualistic view ( some call dvaita)
a dual-non-dual or mono-dualistic ( some call bhedābheda - see the next paragraph for a description )
and a non-dual view some call monistic (or advaita) and abheda-śruti appliesIn the Vedas ( especially called out in vedānta, the end of the veda , or the Upaniṣad-s) there are statements and views about the about oneness or non-difference of Reality, of all 'this'.
There are those that also see a considerable number of statements that assert the existence of a duality as they see it. Hence the different views, schools of thought begins.
The former (or oneness) type of statements is known as abheda-śruti ( non-difference + what is heard i.e. revealed in the śāstra-s). We find Ādi Śaṅkara ( or śaṃkarācārya) as one of the key beacons of this school. The dual view is called bheda-śruti (distinction , difference + what is heard i.e. revealed in the śāstra-s), we find Madhvācārya as a beacon of light for this view.
And there is a 3rd view , that of bheda-abheda (some write bhedābheda). This muni is is Rāmānujācārya. He distinguishes himself from both Ādi Śaṅkara and Madhvācārya by holding that both types of scriptural passages (śruti) are equally meaningful. His interpretation accomodates all types of śruti passages with a POV of bhedābheda.
Hence the wise offer 3 views, with many ( many) branches to this knowledge.
But one asks, what do I do to start forming opinions for myself i.e. 'what is the Hindu concept of God ? '
IMHO, I see the following:
Sure, ask on HDF and get some views yet all on HDF mean well, yet many views are offered ( including mine).
Begin a study. Being a personal experience. Knowledge + personal experience is the cornerstone of real wisdom.
Compare and contrast knowledge, POV's, etc. This will allow the intellect to connect the dots and form new views.Then we can ask you for your ideas, points and views on this and other matters.
10 September 2009, 07:09 AM
So he's a pantheistic God whose existence can be confirmed through subjective experience, am I right? In that case, would you mind if I asked how this is different from simply labeling truth or perhaps experience itself "God"?
Also if you have the time, could somebody please read this interpretation of God and tell me whether it's similar to the Hindu concept(s):
(Defender's Post #2 - around 4200 Words. econ)
Moderators Note: The original post was deleted due to operator error. This is a copy of the deleted post from the Moderators Backup, verified by comparison with copies from other members. However the original posting date was lost. The date now at the head of this recovered post is an artefact of the recovery process. It can have no effect on the debate however. Econ41
This post shall concentrate on trying to prove God’s existence, though I shall touch upon several issues, including the limits of science and of metaphysics itself.
I won’t be addressing anything that Qualiam said in his introductory post, here, but there’s plenty of time to discuss that yet.
The text is divided into 12 sections with 3 sub-sections, for the sake of flow and future reference. So, 15 sections of text in all, the last of which is my conclusion to the argument as a whole.
Let me just say that this text is my own works. Any similarity to anything or anyone else, is purely coincidental.
Before starting, I just wanted to make the point of saying that my philosophy is not dependent upon the existence of other experiences being had by ‘X’ (whatever it is that I really am). My philosophy is founded upon the singular experience of being ‘lifegazer’, but is applicable for both individual and other experiences had by X.
However, it seems reasonable to say that there are a multitude of different experiences-of-being occurring, so my philosophy applies to you, if you are aware of these words.
In other words, I don’t have to prove that the experience of being ‘you’, exists. Nor that of ‘i’, to you, for that matter.
I also wanted to say that I’m not going to bother trying to prove what sensations or thoughts or feelings are, least of all that I harbour them within my awareness. The fact is that the sensations et al are beyond description… and I can hardly prove that I have ~something~ which I cannot define. Here then, as in the previous paragraph, I can only assume that there are other experiences-of-being, similar to my own, enabling meaningful conversation.
If, however, I happen to be talking to myself or to a multitude of robots that don’t know what it’s like to see ‘red’; or to feel ‘pain’; or to express ‘love’; or to taste ‘sweetness’; etc. etc., then sobeit - as I said, this philosophy is applicable to my individual experience, regardless.
Also bear in mind that this particular argument only encapsulates a portion of my philosophy. There’s more to my philosophy than what you will read here.
And so, with your mind hopefully open to digest what you are about to read, I shall begin…
1. Distinguishing experienced things from real things
During a recent conversation in the initial commentary thread (now locked), I thought of a simple way of explaining the distinction between an experienced-thing (A) and a thing-in-itself (B):
Me: There is a distinction between A & B.
You: How can you know this, when you know nothing about B?
Me: Well I know that B cannot be 'nothing', whereas I can show that A in itself is 'nothing' in itself. Therefore, I can make a distinction between A & B: A is nothing; B is not.
… A thing that is experienced is not really a thing itself. It’s a complex orchestration of sensations giving the impression/notion of there being a particular thing, to a cognitive mind. On the other hand, a thing-in-itself cannot be nothing nor an illusory appearance. It has to be ~something~ in and of itself.
So, it is possible to distinguish between an experienced-thing and a thing-in-itself.
The distinction is significant and should be noted.
2. A definition of experience
When we speak of experience, we appear to be speaking of it's contents: sensations; thoughts; feelings; suchlike. But it is not enough to define experience as just those contents, because ~something~ is missing from that definition - observation or recognition of these contents is also essential and integral to that experience. There are not just such occurrences as ‘redness’ or ‘pain’ or ‘happiness’ or ‘fear’, for example - there are these occurrences in conjunction with the recognition of them happening to “me, the observer of them”.
We can see that this ‘me’ is distinct to the individual sensations & thoughts & feelings, because of four reasons:
1) ‘I’ remember those sensations etc. when they’ve gone. In other words, I don’t go as they go.
2) ‘I’ am responsible for much of the content of my experience. For example, these thoughts are mine. I have spent several hours constructing them and bringing them together as a whole, for a specific purpose. These thoughts are orchestrated by a singular entity (me), and have a singular goal (mine).
We should also consider that many individuals have the capacity to control their emotions. One’s emotional state is not beyond one’s control - which suggests that the experience of the emotions are dependent upon the existence of ‘I’, who is both affecting of them and affected by them.
3) Language relating to the world gets it’s meaning, ultimately, in relation to one-self. Without ‘I’, what is the world?
This One/Self/I must be considered as the observing-whole of the contents of experience.
This single whole observes that which does not appear whole.
4) Lastly, and most significantly, ‘I’ view these individual sensations/qualia and make sense of them as a whole . In fact, I am the one who recognises ‘the world’ from them.
… This is important, because as I shall discuss (see sections 5 & 6), there is no world (not in experience, anyway).
Therefore, if only the individual sensations/thoughts/feelings existed as the constituents of experience, no world would be seen.
In other words, it takes ‘One’ to see the world where only sensations/qualia exist.
You cannot have an experience of ‘the world’ without a non-sensed observer being integral and essential to that experience!
Upon this reasoning does my whole case lie and I‘ve bolded the conclusions because I want you to really think about them. Really think about them.
I need ‘I’ (which is to say that I need ‘X’), as an integral part of experience. If I can convince you that ‘X’ exists as a non-sensed part of experience - “the unobserved observer” - then I have resurrected metaphysics from it’s Kantian grave, because I have introduced you to an entity (‘X’) without having transcended the boundaries of experience, that is not itself a part of the experienced world that ‘it’ observes.
I expect to be talking more about this later, when Qualiam attacks metaphysics in his next post, I assume. Clearly, the conclusions I’ve reached here are going to play a significant part in the debate.
3. Proving ‘X’ must exist
Much of what I said in section 2 was a proof for the existence of an entity, ‘X’, other than the contents of experience. So, ‘X’ is to be considered the real/definite entity - the nature of which, at this juncture, is in total doubt - that is harbouring and observing the contents of experience.
But proof of the existence of ‘X’ is also provided in consideration of the creation of the sensations/qualia (see section 5) and in the orchestration of those sensations so as to yield the appearance of the world (see section 6). Clearly, sensations cannot be created by and in ‘nothing’, nor can they be orchestrated by nothing. Neither can they be observed as a singular whole, by nothing.
We can't do without the ‘X‘. Why? Because without one, all the multitude of different sensations and different thoughts and different feelings, are disconnected and apart. There's nowhere for them to occur and be recognised as a whole - as a singular experience. There’s nothing to orchestrate them in the precise order required to observe the world. And there’s nothing to view that world.
To not accept the existence of ‘X’ is to be left with the option that (1) the complex contents of experience are self-creating, (2) self-organising, (3) self-experiencing and somehow think as one. Of course, none of that is acceptable to reason because:
1) One cannot create oneself if one doesn’t exist. In that instance, 'nothing' creates oneself.
2) To believe that the myriad of diverse sensations/qualia (not to mention thoughts & feelings) are self-organising, is not acceptable, since new sensations cannot be part of past orchestration and past sensations cannot be part of the present or future orchestration.
3) If each sensation is a self-experiencing individual, what then experiences the contents of experience as a whole?
At this juncture, something remains elusive about ‘X’: we don’t know what it is. It
might even be a real brain!
4. Some early premises
1) 'Whatever it really is that I am' ('X') is privy to sensations; thoughts; feelings.
2) The sensations are orchestrated to give the impression of (portray, like a movie/picture) the world (see section 5 for further explanation), to 'X', who/which must also have the cognitive capacity to fathom this order and visualise a world from it.
3) Thus 'X' (you) isn't really experiencing 'things' , but rather ordered-sensations that give an impression of 'things'.
4) From the above, it should be understood that "matter" is a notion (matter is "things" - which, as explained, is reducible to ordered-sensations). Everything being observed is actually sensations ordered in such a way as to give a particular impression/notion of some thing with particular qualities.
5) All that we have reason to say, so far then, is that there is 'X' and its sensations/thoughts/feelings.
6) Further reasoning must then proceed without assumption of X’s nature.
5. On why sensations are borne of X itself
In section 1, I tried to explain why an experienced object/event is distinct to (not the same thing as) a real-in-itself object or event. I now want to proceed to explain why the experienced object/event is a construct of ‘X’ itself, and not a product of anything that might be external to ‘X’ (please remember that there isn’t even any proof whether there is an external existence to ‘X’, in which case 'it' would have to be the creator of the sensations anyway, by logical default).
So, let’s consider the possibility that there is an external world. In this instance, the first thing we can say is that there are two worlds: the experienced-world and the real world. We can also say that they are not the same thing (see section 1).
We can also say, in this scenario, that the experienced world is a representation of objects and events happening in the real world.
Now, let us ask ourselves whether external objects and events compel an entity to create a representative experience of themselves, which would include creating sensations facilitating the survival of that entity. The answer has to be a resounding “no”, of course.
… Striking an entity, for example, does not compel that entity to feel pain. And if it does feel pain, my strike did not cause that pain. I would have to say that the entity itself created that pain, even if as a response to my action.
When an entity does something, it does so for one of three reasons:
1) It is compelled to do so by another entity or external force.
2) It does so for absolutely no reason (nothing caused it).
3) It compels itself to do so.
1 has been ruled-out, in my opinion anyway. 2 is completely irrational - nothing cannot be the cause of anything. So 3 equates to X itself being the actual creator of all sensations/qualia that are to be experienced by itself and is the sole option left to reason.
… ‘X’ itself creates sensations/qualia. This constitutes a proof for the existence of ‘X’ (see section 3).
5b My first profound conclusion
From the above (section 5), we yield this conclusion:
1) Experience, which is distinct to external reality (see section 1), is not created by real objects nor real events that are external to that experience.
2) Therefore, experience is not created by anything “in the real world”.
3) Therefore, the ‘real brain’ could not create sensations, since it too would necessarily be included as part of everything that is real and external to experience!
I have reached this conclusion without even mentioning ‘God’.
Also note then, by inference, that ‘X’ would have to be indivisible. ‘X’ cannot be external to the contents of experience, lest it too suffer the same fate as the ‘real brain’.
… Experience is not a product of any thing of a truly material nature.
6. On how the appearance of the world unfolds
In my threads, I used analogies with pictures and movies to explain how paint or light is assembled and orchestrated to produce the illusory appearance of ‘things’, that do not actually exist in themselves and which are reducible to paint or light. I argued that the same principle applies with the sensations/qualia and experienced-objects: that these objects are nothing in themselves and are reducible to sensations/qualia.
The world which is experienced is an orchestrated “sensation show”.
We must take our hats of to ‘X’, for It has indeed done a marvellous job in making those things which we experience seem very real in themselves. We’ve all fallen for it, big time. The world we experience does appear to be fantastically real, but it is not.
We’re seeing ghosts.
7 The non-spatial nature of experience
When we look at a picture or movie etc. - particularly a landscape - we not only get a sense of ‘things’, but of space (and in the case of movies: time) between those things.
Now, this sense of things with space & time between them, is achieved solely through the manipulation of paint (for the painting) or light (for the movie), upon a canvas or screen. In fact, this effect works best on 3D movies - anyone else seen one yet? The depth of space they yield is quite realistic, I think.
Anyway, the bottom-line of all this, and the sole reason for this analogy, is to explain why the space & time we see between these things is obviously an illusion, demonstrating how our minds can be deceived into seeing space & time where they don’t exist, between objects that don’t exist.
As I have explained (in sections 5 & 6), ‘the world’ is a representative appearance, yielded via orchestrated sensations. Every thing we see is, just as in the above paragraph, an illusion. That includes the space and time between those experienced things.
Now, since we see that the space-time we observe amidst experience is essentially illusionary, we can say that experience is a realm devoid of real/actual space-time.
And if we can say that, then we can say that ‘X’ is devoid of space-time too, since X is integral to experience (see section 2).
This equates ‘X’ to a non-spatial entity.
8. On why the things that we observe are completely devoid of any causal influence
The causality we experience in the world and attribute to objects of that world, is also an illusion. All causality is of ‘X’ and it’s orchestrated sensations.
So, when I feel warmth on my body and see my surroundings lit up, for example, it is not the experienced-sun which causes this, but X and it's orchestrated sensations.
Remember that the world is a representation of objects that must appear to affect one another. Therefore, the sensations are orchestrated in such a manner as to produce the effect (by inference) that the experienced sun appears to be affecting my perceived body and my perceived surroundings. This effect is sustained even when an object, thought to be the causal agent of specific effects (such as the moon causing the tides), is not observable to us.
It is a fact of reason that experienced-objects cannot be the cause of effects discerned amidst experience. So, for example, the experienced sun is not the cause of it’s light, but vice versa - the sensation of light is the cause of the experienced sun.
This certainly affects science:
Science is the study of experienced phenomena. Therefore, all scientific analysis of observed order must end with this fact, regarding X and it’s sensations as the ultimate cause of all that can be observed. Clearly, this realisation utterly crushes the ‘Dawkinsians’ of this world, who think that science can tell us “the truth” or provide facts about the real world, of a metaphysical standing.
In effect, it renders science as obsolete in the metaphysical stakes (including the religious ones too).
Only philosophers and theologians may remain in their seats.
9. Why X knows the world prior to creating the experience of it
I’ve already discussed the fact that the experienced-world must be distinct from the real-world (section 1, primarily)… and that the experienced world is a portrayal or a representation of a world (section 6).
… So, even if the experienced-world is founded upon an external reality, the transition from that reality to a constructed representation, must be founded upon knowledge or information, by X, of that [real] world. This is the case whether the world actually exists or not - the world would have to be comprehended in [i]blueprint form prior to constructing the experience of it.
In section 5, I argued that sensations/qualia are self-compelled creations. Consequently, the orchestrated use of these sensations to create the appearance of the world, must also be a self-compelled act… because nothing external compels X to create the sensations, nor the appearance of the world, using those sensations as the bricks of that construct.
So, what can be discerned here, is that X is solely responsible for creating the experience of the world and that it cannot do this without using knowledge/blueprint of the world, prior to the creation.
Furthermore, given that the experienced-world - with it’s precise apparent order - is a construct of finely-orchestrated sensations, X also needs to understand how to produce that ordering to achieve the final-product. Think of an artist - he has a mental image of what he's going to paint prior to painting it. Or think of a composer - the tune is in his head before it get's written down on paper and is consequently played by musicians.
So, in the transition from world (real or blueprint) to experience, X exhibits having and using knowledge.
I contend that this is not only evidence of sentience, but evidence of will/intent/purpose.
9b Further significant considerations of section 9
The laws of physics are a reflection of the order that exists amongst the appearance of the world. We cannot study any other world or order.
Therefore, the laws of physics should actually be renamed the “Laws of X”, for they are It's laws - It created them because it created the order inherent in the experience emanating from it’s own orchestrated sensations.
Consequently, we can say that X knows all “laws of physics” prior to their discovery, amidst experience.
The order that Newton and Faraday and Maxwell and Einstein, etc., discovered, was known to X long before those ‘men’ discovered it. It had to be, since that order was discovered amidst the experience which X created.
How long has it taken mankind to reach a knowledge known by X since the dawn of human awareness?
If humanity survives for another 10,000 years, it won't be able to learn anything more of the order present amidst the experienced world than is already known by the creator of that experience. We can only see details and order that is created by X.
Something is afoot, for X could have clearly mastered the world, with it's knowledge, long long ago. See section 9...
10. Why the creation of experience negates Darwin’s Natural Selection
X knows the world without experience. It has to know the world or else it cannot mimic that world as an experience.
So, there is absolutely no benefit for X - certainly not if X is really a physical entity and it’s priority is one of survival - to create an experience of the world where It forgets itself within the experience, whilst simultaneously forgetting all the knowledge that led to the creation (of the experience of the world)…
If Darwin was right, [a physical] X wouldn't have ever developed experience, since no entity benefits (from a survival perspective) from knowing much less than it previously knew.
Ultimately then, Darwin was wrong, for natural selection does not favour those that swap in-depth knowledge for no knowledge (which was the case at the dawn of human awareness).
X doesn’t need experience like a robot doesn’t need experience. If X comprehends the world without experience to the degree that it can create an experience of the world where the laws of physics are inherent within that experience, then X has already reached the pinnacle of mental evolution and is primed to be lord and master of that world.
Therefore, the creation of the experience of the world is not for survival purposes.
The creation of experience can only benefit X from a non-physical perspective, which means that X must be a non-physical entity.
I have a thread called ‘X’s purpose for creating experience’, which attempts to add detail to the profundity of the previous paragraph. I will go no further here though, since it was not my goal to show why God creates experience - but just to show that God exists and does create experience.
11 A quick word about Newton & Einstein
Knowing that the world which we experience is an illusion, Einstein’s discoveries make perfect sense. I’m talking, of course, about relativity.
There is no such thing as absolute time or space. In fact, given the right circumstances (and enough fast rockets), we could all have differing opinions about the same universe, regarding spatial & temporal parameters.
What this means, then, is that there is no absolute universe - no universe full of real objects separated by a definite space-time. At least, if there is, it cannot be experienced.
This of course makes perfect sense, especially given the distinction between an experienced object and an object-in-itself - we cannot expect experience to be the same as the world itself (section 1).
But now something else becomes apparent: if experience does not mimic or mirror the absolute/definite space and time that exists between real objects (assuming the reality of “the universe”), then our experiences of the world are not dependent upon that world. In other words, we’re not interacting with that absolute world. We cannot be, because the parameters of space and time we experience are not absolute.
Newton’s math/formulae make perfect sense in relation to “a real/absolute/definite world”. So when Einstein came along and showed that the universe could be experienced diversely/differently and relatively, he didn’t just show that Newton’s math/formulae are [slightly] incorrect, he showed - albeit ignorantly - that Newton was incorrect to believe in the reality/absoluteness/definiteness of the universe.
The universe does not exist except as an experience. There is nothing external to ‘X’.
11b Quantum Mechanics
Just a brief note, whilst I’m talking about physics, to say that my philosophy is perfectly compatible with - and makes perfect sense of - scientific concepts such as quantum nonlocality and wave-particle duality.
Nonlocality is of course compatible with a non-spatial X.
Wave-particle duality is compatible with a world that is both seen and awaiting to be seen (not in any definite form, beyond the experience of it).
12. My conclusion
Now is the time for me to bring all of this together…
Well each of the sections has provided an argument of it’s own, with many of them concluding with something profound. The overall theme shows that whatever it is that we really are (‘X’), turns out to be an entity that is:
1) An unobservable observer.
2) Indivisible and non-spatial.
3) Wilful and purposeful.
Of course, I also concluded that:
1) There is nothing external to ‘X’.
2) Experience is not a product of anything that is really material. (Experience is not a product of a real brain.).
3) The creation of experience cannot be for physical purposes, since ‘X’ would be better off without experience.
Rather, X only benefits from experience for non-physical reasons.
4) This philosophy is compatible with and makes sense of relativity and why Newton had to be wrong.
5) This philosophy is compatible with and makes sense of certain quantum mechanical notions.
Is there anything else I can say? Yes, I can say that ‘X’ is:
1) Omnipresent: ‘X’ alone exists. ‘X’ is the totality of existence.
2) Omnipotent: ‘X’ alone possesses any and all power. Nothing else has any power.
3) Omniscient: ‘X’ has all available knowledge. Nothing else knows anything.
I contend, therefore, that there is enough information here to say that:
‘X’ = God.
Thus, I have achieved my goal, which was to show that there is a God and that:
“God creates experience.”
You know, several people have accused me of anthropomorphising God. Yet my philosophy strips everything from the illusory things that we experience. This of course includes humanity itself. If ‘we’ are X then our attributes are it’s attributes. And ‘it’ is not an extension of us, but vice versa - we are an extension of it.
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." (Genesis 1:27)
It is not the case that I am anthropomorphising God, since I am clearly deifying mankind.
[edited to change "it's" to "its"; section 4, number 5)] << verified as correct claim econ41
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