These are some thoughts written while in the Athens airport and then flying from Athens to Frankfurt today. Maybe it was the altitude?
In the Practical Metaphysics group, Eilika Münz wrote, 'What does it mean if something has 'meaning'?'
Sheri Hathaway asked, 'Can you really experience anything objectively?'
Can one have an objective experience, when by Blair's definition of 'having an experience is the process of giving meaning to something'?
Here is a challenge:
Go through a day without applying meaning....
To me, total objectivity is totally without applied meaning.
It is the energy behind the thought that makes meaning.
Labeling applies meaning. Identifying an object without giving it the energy of meaning does not.
I recognize when I have applied meaning because it contracts me inside.
If I think, 'That man is fat. People here tend to be overweight. Must be the cultural diet,' or 'Why does she wear such high heels? She is more concerned with image than with substance,' I have already applied meaning. These are examples from my thoughts today.
Whereas if I say in a bakery, as a matter of my selection, 'I'd like a croissant,' it can be identifying an object without giving it meaning. I have no interest in debating the objectivity of the croissant's existence. Practical application of objectivity in daily life, that is what attracts my attention.
The less I apply meaning to my experience, the more objectively I live. The more objective, the more I live from 'what I am' on a deeper, truer, more actual and authentic level.
The 'who I am' lives in relativity, the 'what I am' as meant here lives in the Absolute, without meaning.
It may be that as humans we can live objectively only by degree. I feel I can have an objective experience, or a more objective experience, by letting go of subjective thoughts such as in the examples above, and replacing them with objective thoughts, such as 'What is real is what is now. I am grateful for what is' or 'It is what it is.'
When I feel this truth on a cellular level, my consciousness (center of awareness) expands regardless of the circumstances or setting. I become the master of my circumstances.
I also have an experience when I observe myself. To me, the 'what I am' can observe the 'who I am.' That is much of the conversation in my head, and only the 'who I am' struggles for dominance. My work is to yield the 'who I am' to the 'what I am.' First I have to listen to the still small voice of the 'what I am' which requires quieting the 'who I am.'
Opinion is always subjective, so if I choose to live objectively — from what, not who, I am, I will practice having no opinion by easily letting go and not stubbornly holding on. Perspective becomes opinion when it is defended. Therefore, when I am tempted to defend my expressed viewpoint, I may avoid deepening my subjectivity by writing back, 'I honor your perspective' and letting go of defending my position.
The more objectively I live, the more I live as a constant from the centerpoint, and emanate the presence of what I am as a causal being.
Ironically, writing all this has contracted me (because it requires thought which removes me from feeling) and I am ready to do some inner expansion work.
'The consciousness of the elements is in the Absolute. They do not have the conditioned mind which tells them they are separated. What we call unconditional love, in its purest form, is the frequency of the Absolute.'
Anyone interested in my issued challenge? Anyone have anything to add to make this challenge more clear, interesting, useful?
A single word or phrase can be used in so many different ways. To understand how a person is using the word, I need to know their definition, intent, and/or the energy behind it.
For example, if a young person says to me, 'You're a bad dude!', does he mean bad bad or good bad? A love triangle is probably a sexual triangle, whereas 'I love that food' can refer to a craving and 'I love your looks, babe' may mean lust. Sometimes, though, love actually means love.
If my view is that applying meaning makes one subjective, and living as objectively as possible is being more authentic, how dare I use the word 'mean' at all? There, you see, by mean I don't mean nasty or vicious, but am referring to something else.
Perhaps this confusion is due to a limitation of human language or of my capacity to use it for clear communication. In my discourse about meaning and objectivity, I refer to meaning as labeling. But that is not fully my meaning either as there are distinctions between labeling and identifying. Of course I don't use the word label in this sense referring to a sticky piece of paper or plastic with words printed on it. Honestly, I just have not yet found a word or way to communicate my meaning of meaning more simply or effectively.
So, here's another go at it. The key to understanding my view, if anyone has interest, is the energy behind the application of meaning in any given situation. You all know what I mean by this. I enter a room and my conditioned mind starts chattering, 'oh, this is this and that is that and yakkity yak.'
Now, anyone who thinks it is not possible to be fully objective can surely agree it is possible to manage the conditioned mind and not just give it free rein. I am not saying I have achieved this mastery, but do claim that in the past months since starting the practice of Heart Breathing, I and others around me have seen marked changes in me, all in the direction I choose to go. I am far less judgmental, resistant and reactive.
Thank the stars, I was able to shift from holding an angry streak towards my son (which had separated us and with which I struggled to let go) to feeling warmth, compassion and understanding towards him, with genuine love. I am far more able to handle challenging situations with grace and maintain an even mind when before it would be outraged or tormented. To me, those are some of the practical benefits of applying less meaning and living more objectively. They bring substantial improvements to my quality of life.
I am about to enter another situation, which upon considering , if given free rein, my mind would torment me. There are aspects I look forward to though that is not the now, and aspects which I fear. So far I keep the mind more even by using another aspect of my being to remind it with a key phrase from Heart Breathing, 'What is real is what is now. I am grateful for what is.'
EXCERPTS FROM A CONVERSATION THREAD ON 'PRACTICAL METAPHYSICS' BEGINNING WITH:
CAN YOU REALLY EXPERIENCE ANYTHING OBJECTIVELY?
... I've realized I'm what is called a "Philosophical Realist", which I only discovered perhaps a year and a half ago--even though back in the day I did study Philosophy in college. In short, that means I trust my senses; and basically reject the position of what is formally known as Philosophical Skepticism, which basically holds that the senses can't really be trusted and sort of the "it's all in our minds" type of idea.
For the raining example, I think it is only philosophical masturbation to consider that it actually/really is not raining, but I'm only imagining it. Consider that I can see it, smell, it, taste it, feel it on my fingers and get on the ground and feel the mud, and I can hear it. I know these senses get interpreted in the mind, however I also know the majority of the time they are a result of an external input...in this case the reality of rain stimulates these.
Additionally, I can do things such as consult with many others that can serve to validate that it is raining, I can videotape it and thereby bypass my senses by using another means to capture objectively the event, and so forth. So, it isn't just up to "my senses" to know the reality of it raining.
So, we can perhaps ponder our "experience of rain" and how that might even be slightly different for each mind, but to ponder that it actually and objectively is raining is, for me, beyond reasonable doubt, speculation, and besides which that is rather pointless and has no practical value for me. Even beyond the senses there are also other ways to know the objective truth or reality of the event: For example, I have the knowledge that plants require water to live, that it comes from rain and snow, and perhaps I notice 3 days later that the mushrooms pop up in response. Taken together, I then do not consider any chance that the rain is imagined (for a basically "normal" and healthy mind and body).
Having said that, we could consider viewing physical reality from some other level of consciousness or dimension (one not physical) and from that level or perspective we might have a different view, interpretation, or determination of the "objective reality of rain". We would even then have a different perceptual input mechanism (directly to consciousness) that bypasses physical senses since a body is not involved. However, that would only apply to that level or dimension, to that consciousness, and so would in effect "only be true there, or from there, but not here and from here."
As I've contemplated this in the past, I don't see too much value in focusing attention on that view/level in terms of attempting to make sense of this level simply because even if true "from there", we currently are not there, but here...and something like "be here now", or "a spiritual being having a human experience" has merit and pragmatism to it. In other words, I'm here now in a human body to experience the physical reality of rain--perhaps prior to coming here into physical form and perhaps after leaving, then will be the "now" and "level/view" from which it will only then be appropriate or important for me to relate to physical reality (rain) differently) or more importantly to experience and relate to other levels of reality and perception.
In summary, even if true from "there" it isn't true from here, I'm not there now and it is more important to be here now and relate to here, it doesn't really apply to my human life and view from here, and is of no pragmatic use or importance. This is in terms of any particulars or philosophizing about them; But, I don't mean to suggest that a general knowledge and awareness of these other levels of reality, dimensions, and consciousness isn't important to get, have, and utilize to put experiences, events, and reality into some larger context.
What are your thoughts about this?
Gary R. Smith
Matt Stubbs, I enjoyed your pondering. To me the bottom line is the practical application. Over-masturbation just wears one out. I align objectivity with the Absolute and subjectivity with the relative (not referring to cousins.) The Absolute is what I am, the relative is who I am. It may not be possible to live fully from the Absolute, to be totally objective all the time while in the body, rather it is by degree. I choose to live from what I am to the greatest degree possible while having my human experience. So far, applying this to my daily life has yielded much fruit in my life. There has been measurable progress towards becoming the person I envision myself to me. I suppose that is a subjective perspective on my objective experience, nevertheless, it feels to be working for me. Your turn.
Gary R. Smith just food for thought. What if the absolute is what you actually and really are; the relative is who you think you are mainly based upon societal ideas, cultural programming, brainwashing, limited and judgment thoughts, and things that are flat out false and untrue about the real "what you are". So yes, as you shed the latter you can focus on living and BEING the former...and focusing on the "what you really are" leads to becoming it--or better stated, to revealing it because it was always there and just covered up by the false, brainwashed who you thought and were taught you are. Your turn.
PS I love, agree and deeply resonate with what you said about practical application and also over-masturbation wearing you out. That's why in my first book I made practical, pragmatic application the priority. To me it answer the "So what?" question/factor. If you can't pragmatically use and apply something then what/where is the value? Note that one pragmatic use may simply be experiencing, enjoying, or feeling something. So I'm not suggesting that if it isn't action related it has no value.
Gary R. Smith (in response to another comment)
I agree that an individual cannot perceive the whole of existence as an objective actuality. Each person's reality is a controlled hallucination of the brain, and when there are commonalities between our hallucinations, we experience a collective reality. But the starting question is, 'Can you really experience anything objectively?' and to that I answer, yes.
Sure it depends on how one defines 'experience' as Blair's definition does not allow for the possibility. But, if applied meaning creates subjective experience, and applying no meaning is more objective, a person can at least experience a degree of objectivity. Can I experience a state of Being with no self-applied meaning? Of course. It does not even require the senses. It is what I am.
Photos of our transition from Crete towards the Black Forest of Germany