The Peril of Rigidity : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

"Why are you so wary of thought?" said the philosopher. "Thought is the one tool we have for organizing the world."

"True. But thought can organize the world so well that you are no longer able to see it."

To his disciples he later said, "A thought is a screen, not a mirror; that is why you live in a thought envelope, untouched by Reality."

Anthony de Mello, S.J.

I was thinking about what Lars said on the religious thread about "objective" truths bringing him solace as he grows older. He may be absolutely right, for all I know. My problem is that what we "see, hear, smell, etc" is not at all what is real. The limitations of our senses place a perceptual filter between what is "objective" and what we "subjectively" experience. One of the resultant problems of the perceptual filters is the notorious unreliability of eyewitnesses in criminal and civil cases.

There are many animals who can hear things we cannot hear, see things we cannot see, and smell things we cannot smell. With this being the case, can any argument at all be made that what we experience is what is objectively real?

Our patterns of thought, our "world view" are very dangerous. Once locked in, evidence to the contrary is blocked out unilaterally. It is a very scary proposition to tell folks to drop everything they think they know to be true about the world, so that they may have a better chance of experiencing things as they really are. I posit, however, the necessity of doing this if one is really seeking thee truth.

Today's food for thought.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 03, 2000


Paramahansa Yogananda wrote:

The Sanskrit word maya means 'the measurer'; it is the magical power in creation by which limitations and divisions are apparently present in the Immeasurable and InseparableIn Gods plan and play (lila), the sole function of Satan or maya is to attempt to divert man from Spirit to matter, from Reality to unrealityMaya is the veil of transitoriness in Naturethe veil that each man must lift in order to see behind it the Creator, the changeless Immutable, eternal Reality.

-- Bingo1 (, August 03, 2000.


Here are some points to consider:

1) People suffer a continuous condition of sensory overload. Our senses pick up an incredible, detailed cacaphony of sounds, smells, sights, and touch all the time. Almost every bit of this flood of inputs is irrelevant to what we're doing, and it would be impossible to process all of it. So we learn to focus, to pay attention to the few details meaningful to us at the time and fill in the rest with what our experience has taught us is "normal" background.

This is why eyewitnesses are so very unreliable, especially when they witnessed unexpected events. They don't know what's important or meaningful, so they all focus on different (and rather arbitrary) details, and fill in the rest from normal expectations based on their own learned "library" of "most likely" surrounding details. Numerous experiments have demonstrated that these witnesses sincerely believe they saw what their minds filled in for them, to the point where when they view the same film again and *focus* on different details, they'd swear in court that it was a different film!

So it's not our senses that fail us, it's that what we decide to pay attention to is necessarily limited, and how we fill in the rest is necessarily arbitrary.

2) The limits of our senses (even what we're focusing on) are well recognized. We know we require instrumentation to "sense" many phenomena, and we also know the limits of our instrumentation. Experiments often suggest there's something unsensed going on, but what it might be is only indirectly hinted at. Triangulating in on the appropriate instrumentation (which must be invented and designed) is slow and difficult, but not impossible. We even have instruments that duplicate our senses (like a camera) as a hedge against the limitations of our realtime mental processing power.

By studying what all of our instruments together can tell us, we come increasingly close to a true understanding of objective reality. But this will go on forever; the process of discovery will never end.

3) The proposition that people drop everything they think they know about the world so as to experience what really "is" is silly. An old pattern can, slowly, be replaced by a new pattern. But as a result, the new pattern is what we "think we know about the world", so all we did was make a trade, a step sideways. And the new pattern leads us to focus on different details, while filling in the rest from different assumptions. We STILL cannot process all our inputs.

A worldview is simply a set of rules of thumb which, taken together, provide us with a conceptual context. This context is mandatory, since it enables us to decide which details are meaningful and important, and which are irrelevant and can be filled in from assumptions based on experience. Without a context, *nothing* is relevant, and objective reality simply vanishes.

However, worldviews are inherently self-reinforcing, since changing one requires that we pay attention to details we become better and better at tuning out. Our ability to maintain an "open mind" is constrained by the requirement to remain functional.

-- Flint (, August 03, 2000.

JESUS SAID, be childlike=the wonder of GODS-CREATION, no=stinkin- thinkin,--must be my cajun-blood-but i love-nature-& being happy!! don,t let no-body puke on your parade!!!let the nit-pickers -nit & pik!!---love & joy--too all the smiler,s!!-giving =GOD =thanks & respect-keep,s the joy flowing!!---& remembering->i,m just=PASSING THRU!!!---------HERE COMES THE FLAMES----so what!!

-- al-d. (, August 03, 2000.


You said-

"The proposition that people drop everything they think they know about the world so as to experience what really "is" is silly"

I know you mean well, and I really do not think that you were being intentionally condescending with this sentence. But it IS condescending. I enjoy your writings, and often agree with you, but this statement really begs the question. It is a statement which, when considered in the light of what follows, only a representation of your personal belief, and is therefore ultimately subjective.

I think it is entirely possible for a human being to evolve to the point of taking every moment as it comes as if it were entirely ne- that they could reach the point where they exist in a perpetual state of "now". I do not agree that having frames of reference from the past or having world views is entirely necessary for making choices regarding our survival.

I think you words are well chosen, but I do not think you agree that a person can live in a state of perpetual "becoming", where the experience of "now" is unfiltered by past experience or future expectation. I have experienced moments of "now"-there are no words to describe these moments-and I think that is the point-at those times I reached a state where there are LITERALLY no words to describe, as words are historical devices, utterances which we agree "mean" something.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 03, 2000.

FS - yes. This is why I don't engage you in metaphysic discussion Flint. There are states of being which leave symbology behind and your bread and butter is wordsmithing and logical thought. One simply cannot communicate certain metaphysical experiences to one who has not likewise been there. And even then it is limited to smiling, nodding and knowing. There's no other way to explain this that I can think of.

I love this simple phrase: "I look at Him, He looks at me." It is more like grokking, actually. But even this great Heinlein creation fails to do the experience justice.

It is possible for two or more people to simultaneously experience the same presence, the same block of consciousness. This I have become aware of only recently. It is truly the most remarkable of experiences.

Hope to see a good turnout at Bok's this evening.


-- Bingo1 (, August 03, 2000.

Hi FS,

I don't remember where or when or exactly what I said but I'm flattered that you found it worth ruminating on. I am sure that when I mentioned objective truths, I did not mean physical quantities. I fully acknowledge that what we know via our senses or our sensing instruments is limited by our sensing capacities. If our eyes could see in infrared, if our noses could smell like a bloodhound's, our physical reality would be entirely different. As it is, we live in an illusion defined by our senses. Except thought.

By objective reality, I am attempting to recognize non-physical truths (or absolutes). Truths that are discerned not by our senses but by our thoughts and feelings. There is a semantic problem here, I know. It sounds like I am talking about subjective reality. But I'm not, I'm simply talking about objective hard truths that cannot be detected. I sense that there are such absolutes, fully acknowledging that they can never be adequately measured physically or expressed mathematically or even poetically.

I am too old to invest much time or energy in studying Eastern thought such as you and Bingo are doing. I am a product of Western civilization and find the path of least resistance at this time is to inform myself in Christianity. (And I don't even work very hard at that). If there is anything to any of the religions, they will all converge on the same abstract truths. I can't see how there could be conflicting truths. There may be NO truth, but if there are any truths at all, they must be the same for everyone.

Returning to my personal faith journey, I have wandered thru cynicism, nihilism and solipsism. I have found it all to be empty, jejune. Now I want to believe in something; something more than myself. If that is a crutch Hawk, so be it. I want to believe in crutchism.

So several years ago, I willed myself to Christianity. There was no epiphany. No Jesus speaking to me from the sky. I just decided that I am going to do this. So far it's working. That is the extent of my witness but that is where I am coming from.

-- Lars (, August 03, 2000.

OT OT, as is my custom.

I used to lead bird walks for nature walk leaders. Invariably, we would spot a quick fly-by & attempt to put our observations together to come up with a consensus. If my husband was on the walk, he would invariably sway the interpretation.

I came to a jaundiced view as to the most likely ratio of the influence of observation vs. persuasion involved in such judgements. Even without an inspired advocate, as a group we could come up with more implausible, impossible birds than you could shake a stick at.

We also have an extremely bright child who is 'wired for sound' on many sensory levels, that I'm afraid I have to weigh in on Flint's side in that the struggle for adequate filtering has manifested itself in a more palpable fashion than the idea of having control over an 'open minded world view' in our lives.

I do appreciate the discussion.

FS - last note -

"True. But thought can organize the world so well that you are no longer able to see it." -

Then there's not much 'thought' involved at that point of the process.

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.


"American Beauty"


Is this your idea of a well made movie?

-- sponge (, August 04, 2000.


I thought 'American Beauty' was a well made movie which played on several levels.

What's your point?

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

Ok Toots,

I'll toss you a bone.

If you watched the 'frames within the frame' of that film, would you say that the 'true' images were captured in the reflections? {From a piece of glass - or even in the story heard from another character}.

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

I agree Flora...great movie. It was deep and sort of "multi-leveled".

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 04, 2000.


A simple excersize in jerking-off.

I am there for I am?

And nobody understands!

"American Beauty"

-- sponge (, August 04, 2000.

Of course there was a deeper meaning that wasn't lost on a stupid troll like me.

But it wasn't THAT deep.

Anyone who defends that movie has led a very shallow life.

-- sponge (, August 04, 2000.


I am, therefore, I am?

I am there, for I am?

I'd bet you can get this forum to argue with BOTH of these,


-- Someone (, August 04, 2000.

One more chance.

The scene in American Beauty with the piece of structuralist film of the plastic bag floating around in front of the brick wall. The film within the film, which inspires the kid to 'see beauty', not unlike the experience FS is addressing here. He truly sees it, yet it brings his thoughts close to death. Is this kind of sensitivity so desirable after all, and conducive to a happier or more fulfilling life?

Your ball, champ.

{"To his disciples he later said, "A thought is a screen, not a mirror; that is why you live in a thought envelope, untouched by Reality."}

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

O.K. Flora, I"ll swing at it....

Thank you for the challenge!

The "Kid next door" saw beauty through a screen. Of abuse.

The "DAD" saw beauty through selfishness.

The "Mom" saw beauty in herself.

The "Daughter" saw beauty in others.

Who gave WHAT!?

-- sponge (, August 04, 2000.

I liked the part where she blew off Kevin's head. That was like kewl.

-- (sicko@movies.alone), August 04, 2000.

"The "Kid next door" saw beauty through a screen. Of abuse."

Good one!

"The "Mom" saw beauty in herself."

Is that your final answer?

"I liked the part where she blew off Kevin's head."

I musta missed that part.

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

You must have left the movie early. The exploding head is how it ended. I did not like the movie very much---I thought it overplayed the middleclass, middleaged, whitebread dilemma; ie, no matter how well we do financially we remain spititually nada and find no meaning in life. Although funny at times, I found it boring, superficial and narcissistic. To me, it was not a worthy movie theme, inless the movie could have shown them working past this emptiness. It didn't.

-- (sicko@movies.alone), August 04, 2000.


Your perceptions assumed the wrong perp.

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

Flora: IF you missed it, so did I :-)

I enjoyed the movie alot. It said alot IMHO about today's society and to me it was 'reality' for some, not all. Why is this so hard to take? Do you believe this stuff does not happen in real world?

Take off rose colored glasses. It does, we cant hide from that.

Although I wish it werent so, doesnt mean it isnt so.

xoxo, sumer

-- consumer (, August 04, 2000.


Now 'sponge' will think you've led a shallow life, too. Welcome to the club.

I actually enjoyed it more on the second viewing on video. The symbolism I thought would be more stimulating for the seekers here. Here's a couple of my quick takes on that, just for you:

The first & most obvious thing is the title American Beauty, and the same-named roses which seem to symbolize the life force. At first you think it's simply passion, or sex {watch the funny castrating woman scene near the beginning}...but if you watch where the roses show up & how they are come through a journey where you weigh where that life force comes from...the heart, groin, the head, - or from without or within.

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

For sicko: it's about themes of projected image - eg. victim/damage, freak/ordinary.

For sponge: it's not about beauty, it's about fear. You know - *FUD*

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

Am I confusing this movie with another? In the one that I remember, Kevin Spacey and his wife each had mid-life crises. These crises occurred in a dead marriage, a marriage full of denial and enabling. Dad Spacey developed a crush on his daughter's Lolita-like friend. It went unconsumated. Mom had an affair with some guy, I forget who, that made her feel sexually attractive again.

At the end of the movie, Mom came up behind Spacey in their house and blew his brains out. Moral? Middle-class America is dull and desparate. I will watch the movie again, I may not remember it all.

-- (sicko@movies.alone), August 04, 2000.


Watch it again. You did see the same movie, & I can understand how you were physically repulsed by the scene which you described. A key component of that episode completely eluded you { - don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen it}.

I thought sponge's pulling that film out of mid-air tied in nicely with the thread topic of 'thought envelopes', reality, subjectivity, objectivity, etc. {Maybe it was just something I ate}.

View it at least with a eye for the frames within the frame, the color palette or even the use of figures in'll find more there than at first passing. I think you've been thrown off by the obviously vapid surface of the subject setting, & your own subjective responses. Go back...

-- flora (***@__._), August 04, 2000.

I love you guys. Only here can we see a thread on metaphysics morph into a discussion of an academy award winning film. BTW, I saw the film, liked it a lot, but thought it was missing "something".

I will watch again for the visual motiffs you mentioned, flora. Thanks for the tip.


I am happy for you that you have found a theology/spirituality that works. The beauty of this all, is that as much as I espound my current beliefs, I still belief that every one is right. The universe exists on so many levels, and the "truth" I seek may be at a different level than the truth you seek-I do not see the levels as vertical per se-just different. So for the place at which you are vibrating, your belief system is correct.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 04, 2000.


I know this isn't what you intended when you started this thread, but when I read it I thought about the summers home from school with nothing to do when I was a kid. My brother and I would sit and stare at an object on the table, putting all our thoughts into "forcing" the object to move. We never did get any objects to move, but we wanted to find out if we had the capability...the sixth sense.

I'll have to look into this movie everyone is talking about.

-- Anita (, August 04, 2000.

It's all about perception. totally

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), August 04, 2000.

I originally started this in response to FS's post "Forgiveness" a couple of days ago, but on finishing on it today, it seems to be a better fit here.

"Truth has face, lies has...a hundred thousand" (Montaigne, Essays).

The question here may be not how do I forgive but, what IS truth? When you feel that you or someone you love, have been wronged, is not the first logical step to evaluate what your perceptions of the situation and reality are? And then to evaluate them within the context of your experience, evaluating what each of the players brings to the table? How many times daily, do each of us make an evaluation of a situation based on our own truths, within our own philosophical framework and make a judgement that which may or may not be true, without all pertinent information? An honest assessment would include information and discussion from all parties involved in the situation. If one has all the information, only then one can truly make a sound judgement as to true transgressions. Is the truth that which I percieve in a limited arena or do I have all the information? Am I only looking at the situation as it affects me/mine is a question to be asked. Is my perception limited to only that which I see from my standpoint? How much knowledge and vision do I have of the entire picture and the reality, seem to be the first question a soul should ask before deciding one has been wronged and is need of forgiveness. Is my perspective 360 degrees, or only 20? How sound is this judgement? While I fully understand that hurt and harm are emotional issues, should judgement itself not be based in logic? Is this not true, especially on reflection, if we feel we are harmed, and as such stand in judgement of others? While each of us relies on our own philosophy/religion/spirituality to deal with life, can we not include logic to determine and assess that which we feel has harmed us with a more realistic view? How much energy do we waste on anger, that could be used for more useful healing purposes? View this in light of a limited perspective of the situation and find balance. The anger and transgression, requiring forgiveness, may be totally blown out of proportion and an emotional response that does not include all the pieces of the puzzle may be inappropriate. Do each of us have all the pieces of the puzzle every time? Each must decide for themselves, on every occasion. And each must follow his path from there. What decision will you make today that will either follow the road of forgiveness or condemnation and still find peace with yourself and your God?

-- Aunt Bee (, August 06, 2000.

Sometimes I'm perilously rigid. What usually works is I just take myself out on a date. I'm not weird about or anything. I mean I don't tie myself up.

-- cpr (, August 06, 2000.

"Oh my god, you like me, really really like me!", Sally Feilds.

Or not .... I'll read this tomarrow and ansure.

-- sponge (, August 06, 2000.

The peril of frigidity is very real and very tragic.

-- (, August 06, 2000.


"I think it is entirely possible for a human being to evolve to the point of taking every moment as it comes as if it were entirely ne- that they could reach the point where they exist in a perpetual state of "now"."

I think I know where you're headed, but I am also reminded about someone dear who had Alzheimer's. It was a delightful occasion for me to see her, even though to her it was always an entirely new experience.


Tick tock

-- flora (***@__._), August 07, 2000.

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