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Some Thoughts to Steve

Nov 25, 2001 02:46 PM
by Gerald Schueler

<<<Incidentally, Einstein claims space does come to an end, and that the universe is egg shaped, which is
intruiguing in light of certain statements in the SD,
but I defy anyone to imagine an end to space.>>>

Steve, there are several ways in which his equations of relativity can be interpreted. It can also be spherical (which would be more in line with the Big Bang theory). Einstein also demonstrated that space is curved, so that is one were to travel outward in a straight path from any position, eventually one would arrive back where the trip started. His theory about time being relative has already been proved - time varies with both speed (Motion) and gravity.

<<<Now suppose that space is completely empty.>>>

It has already been demonstrated that this is impossible. There simply is no such thing as empty space. Every vacuum seeths with virtual particles.

<<<If you were a divine being in a universe which was completely empty, you would not be conscious because there would be nothing for you to be conscious of. As Sartre pointed out, consciousness is intentional. There has to be an object of consciousness for there to be consciousness. >>>>

The need for an object is only true for human consciousness, which because of its dualistic nature has to have an object to be conscious of. However, this duality goes away in non-dual consciousness, which, believe it or not, needs neither a subject nor an object. 

<<< In order to be conscious of distances,
we would have to imagine that there were at least two
objects in space. The existence of these objects
would make the space between them an object of
consciousness and the concept of distance would come
into existence as an object of mental consciousness
(manas). >>>>

Right. In dreamless sleep, we are conscious without an object, and also have no awareness of distances or other phenomena. When we wake, we conclude that we were unconscious, or in a coma, because the human mind (manas) cannot remember anything nor understand such such a mental state - yet it happens. There really is no such thing as a state that is without awareness. We are continuously aware, whether we can remember it later or not.

<<<In Eastern philosophy, thoughts can be
objects of consciousness just as phenomenal
representations of external objects can be objects of

I think that this is Theosophy as well. Thoughts are phenomenal objects on the mental plane. At least this is what I have heard.

<<< This makes sense, since otherwise we
would not be conscious of thinking, but would only
experience the products of thought, as some animals
are thought to do. >>>

Do we really know this about animals? I would swear that my pets can sometimes read my mind...

<<< In the Buddhist systems, mind, or consciousness of mental contents, is the sixth sense. >>>

Yes, and it is called manas. The other five senses are said to have their own separate consciousnesses. Buddhists were not aware of the part played by the brain (nor were any other ancient culture that I know of).

<<<In the Anugita, as HPB points out, mind and
understanding are the sixth and the seventh senses.>>>

How does one separate mind from understanding? I thought her sixth sense was the intuition.

<<<In the SD it is theorized that space was entirely
empty, or more precisely, that no point in space could be distinguished from any other point, during the Maha-Pralaya.>>>>

I would take this as poetry rather than science. Space is never empty, even though it may seem to be. And being consciously aware of space and its formlessness doesn't need praylaya, one can experience this in meditation right now. This idea can also be found in the Kalachakratantra of Buddhism where space in Maha-Praylaya is said to contain "space-particles" which become the karmic building-blocks of the next manvantara.

<<< If we assume that two monads have
appeared in previously empty space, what has happened
is that it has become possible to distinguish between
the part of space where the monad is not (Not-Being)
and the part of space where the monad is (Being). >>>

This idea won't work if we assume that a monad is spaceless and timeless, which is my assumption. Blavatsky equates a monad with a mathematical point, which has no actual dimensions in space, and exists more as an idea than a thing. Who is it that observes and counts these two monads?

<<< The point at which Not-Being ends and Being begins is known in science as a "boundary condition," so I shall adopt that term for this discussion. >>>

I have never come across this in terms of being and non-being in science. I am familiar with boundary-condition in terms of chaos versus order, and even in life (complex systems) versus non-living matter (simple systems). Is this what you mean?

<<< It is the
existence of these boundary conditions which makes
consciousness possible. The boundary conditions are
themselves the primitive objects of consciousness. 
Without an object of consciousness, there is no
consciousness. The process by which these boundary
conditions come into existence Blavatsky calls

According to a few modern scientists (most won't go this far), living systems are such because they occupy a state space that lies in between chaotic attractors. There is, as yet, no scientific conceptual model that outlines consciousness, or that can even take it into consideration. Virtually all scientists believe that consciousness comes from the neural networks of the brain, and though they have spent endless hours and funds they have yet to be able to model how this can be.

<<<Now imagine that a further development takes place and consciousness turns on itself, so that there is consciousness of consciousness. Consciousness uses itself as an object, in other words. I think this is what Sartre called "reflexive consciousness," but it has been years since I read him.>>>>

Yes, he does use that term. This idea can be found in the Mind Only school of Buddhism, where it is taught as a conventional truth. But is thoroughly refuted in the Middle Way school. According to the Middle Way school, it does not even exist conventionally. (reference Paul Williams' THE REFLEXIVE NATURE OF AWARENESS). 

<<< We experience time and space phenomenally (in
consciousness) even though these experiences do not
represent anything external to ourselves (noumena.)>>


<<<It therefore appears to me that if the ultimate Ground of everything is unconscious, as we are taught that it is, then there must be no time or space or it, and it is therefore outside time and space.>>>

Unconsciousness is a ground only in psychology. Why? Because when the human mind focuses on something, then everything else is said to be unconscious to it. This is only so for our dualistic manas consciousness. I would much rather think that the ultimate Ground of everything is pure consciousness, a non-dual awareness. using this focusing analogy, if human manas is the light from a flashlight (ie a directed or focused light) then think of the monad as being a light bulb radiating its light in all directions - and of course the anaolgy that has been used most throughout the ages is the sun which radiates light continuously in all directions.

<<<A further implication of that is that it is
meaningless to speak of Maha-Pralaya as lasting for so many thousands of millions of years. I think Watts was probably right on this one when he said these numbers were merely intended to give an idea of
vastness, and were not intended to be taken literally.

Right. But remember that pralaya only has meaning when compared to manvantara, just like absolute only has meaning when compared to relative. These are all just words that manas uses to convey ideas, and the idea of non-duality cannot be conveyed in words. When we are in dreamless sleep, for example, we do not say, "Oh, I am now conscious but have no referent" do we? No, we only do that later after we wake up and start using our manasic brain-mind again.

Jerry S. 

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