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[Xmca-l] Re: Imagination or Fantasy



Hi Ed,

I have never heard this before that in order to be considered true knowledge all six philosophies must agree. I would be curious to know where this comes from. 

Of course, my studies derive from traditionally taught Vedanta, specifically Advaita, which means non-dual. If it is dual, then I really couldn't comment, because I'd have a lot of questions on how the world all stays together and doesn't fly apart.

It seems a little preposterous to me to think all Indian schools would have to agree, and would be like making the same assertion for all forms of Western philosophy. So I'm a little skeptical; no offense, I hope, is taken. On reflection, if we were to consider the same for science, it would also be an unattainable feat. I don't think anyone ever agrees completely in that sense either. 

There is always room for inquiry, after all. Thank goodness, since that's what minds are for.

Another thing to consider is that proponents of Advaita do not consider it a philosophy, but this word is something assigned from the outside the tradition, much like "Hinduism" is a word assigned from outside. Advaita is considered a means of knowledge for the self, and that is all, it's not a religion, nor a philosophy, just a teaching. I realize that these notions are far afield of this thread; I only bring Advaita up here in reference to discussion regarding imagination, to offer one theory of mind and how it works.

What I like about it is how lightweight it is, and it doesn't seem to raise conflicts when I consider how my own mind works.

It is interesting to think about the differences in a mind before and after knowledge takes place. The material is the same, but what changes? Is there a little person inside with a checklist, functioning like a pilot before takeoff?

I'll share that I have been considering how Western philosophy reflects Vedic thought, but it is something of a project I won't layout here. There is some connection with Schopenhauer, but I'm not clear about it at this point.

However, to partially answer your question, the way Advaita considers knowledge to be knowledge, which is explained in commentaries by Adi Shankara (I cannot comment on the other Indian traditions), the thought in the mind must be true to the object of knowledge in order to be considered knowledge, if there is a discrepancy, then it is not knowledge. There can be partial knowledge, but then this means there is still ignorance present.

It seems to me that if it were the other way around, then that would be the product of an imagination in terms of the architect's vision of a building. But even in that case, how could one know if the building matched his thought? only he could. 

We can verify if someone knows something in the world however, if we have access to the object of knowledge ourselves, and the person is being honest in his or her testimony concerning the object.

Interestingly, there are two forms of ignorance. Complete ignorance of the object, and then taking an object to be something else, which is harder to deal with, because we might think we know what we know, when we really do not. (I didn't mean to sound like Donald Rumsfeld there, honest!) This form of ignorance is the most difficult to deal with. 

Further, ignorance is seen as a covering rather than as an absence. Even though we can say absence of knowledge means ignorance is there, this is in reference to the mind, not the perceived world. This was a very difficult concept for me to grasp, as a Westerner. In this sense, knowledge is not seen as acquired, but as ignorance removed. Hence, "guru" means "one who removes ignorance." For all you teachers out there! :)

Knowledge, then, is located in the world.

I should also add that object knowledge is not considered hard and fast, as if there is a real world out there and a real thought in here (points to head), but that it is a process, using a means of knowledge, and always being determined (in the present moment), for the reason that change is always the case and nothing in the world in time and space is static and unchanging.

I'll say more on imagination in a different post.

Kind regards,

Annalisa

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