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Blind Men And An Elephant; Perspective and Relativity

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posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 06:06 PM
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Blind Men And An Elephant (Wikipedia)

Excerpt from "Old Path White Clouds" by Thich Nhat Hanh


That rainy season, many Brahmans and members of different religious sects gathered in Savatthi. They organized sermons, lectures, and debates throughout the region, inviting people from the city to attend. At the debates, different sects were given a chance to expound their doctrines. Several of the Buddha's lay disciples attended some of these debates. They told the Buddha and the bhikkhus (Buddhist monks) what they had seen and heard. They said that every metaphysical problem imaginable was presented and that every speaker considered his doctrine the only correct one. The debates began cordially but often ended in angry shouting matches.

The Buddha told his disciples the following fable:

"Once upon a time, a clever king invited several people blind from birth to visit his palace. He brought out an elephant and asked them to touch it and then describe what the elephant was like. The blind man who rubbed its legs said that the elephant was like the pillars of a house. The man who stroked its tail said they elephant was like a feather duster. The person who touched its ears said it was like a winnowing basket, and the man who touched its stomach said it was like a round barrel. The person who rubbed its head said the elephant was like a large earthenware jar, and the person who touched its tusk said the elephant was like a stick. When they sat down to discuss what the elephant was like, no one could agree with anyone else, and a very heated argument arose.

"Bhikkhus, what you see and hear compromises only a small part of reality. If you take it to be the whole of reality, you will end up having a distorted picture. A person on the path must keep a humble, open heart, acknowledging that his understanding is incomplete. We should devote constant effort to study more deeply in order to make progress on the path. A follower of the Way must remain open-minded, understanding that attachment to present views as if they were absolute truth will only prevent us from realizing the truth. Humility and open-mindedness are the two conditions necessary for making progress on the path."



We gain insight, or understanding, or have an 'ah-ha!' moment. All too often we cling strongly to the idea and rationalization and it becomes all that we know. We close our ears, close our minds, and argue our understandings as supreme truth. Ironically, by doing so, we close ourselves off from truth.

Right now visualize the subatomic and micro.... visualize the cosmos and the macro. Anywhere you look, you can go deeply into infinity in all directions micro and macro. We, as humans, are confined to our perceptions and our relative perspective. Can you not see that existence is far too grand for any of us to grasp its full and complete glory?

What we personally know to be true may be so, however, it is only true according to relative perspective and your personal understanding of it. Yes there very well may be one absolute truth, but from the relative perspective of a human, we are each but a mote of dust coming and going. True gnosis comes from to experience, so how can we know by experience beyond our perceptions and mental formulations? Beyond experience, and beyond relative perspective is only limited observation and speculation.

May we humble ourselves and have open-minds free from incorrect concepts and reasonings. May we become humble in sharing our subjective experiences and our relative understandings.

Peace and Love to us all


Thoughts? Insights? Rebuttals?




posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 06:45 PM
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Reminds me of something my uncle once told me. He said reality was a giant mirror that fell and broke into a zillion pieces and everyone got a small piece. We think our reality is the ultimate truth when in fact it is a small part of the truth.

Very cool read. Thanks for sharing.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 06:45 PM
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The Spirit is a Spring of Living Water.
The blind drink from the pool at the bottom of the valley of death.
Each one judging without wisdom or not judging at all, becoming sick from drinking stagnant water.
The sighted drink from the source of the spring above in the hills.
Each one judging with wisdom, becoming One with the Living Water.

The parable used to insight open-mindedness, in this case that you've posted, emphasizes a person's ability to obtain "healing" from the blindness which we all suffer from. But It is only by the Shepherds leading that we can sit upon the hill drinking from the source which sheds light on the darkness below.

False religions promote humility while also promoting obtainment of that which cannot be earned. This is the same for Christiandom, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. Don't buy into these "obtainment" schemes. The bridge from the dirt to the unseen is provided by Our Father, not our own doings/progress. Once spiritual conception occurs, you will then see how much of a slave we are in this life, whether to sin, or Life. And upon spiritual birth, you will see without blindness at all.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 06:49 PM
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reply to post by JustBreathe11
 


But so often people take from this that we should either collect many pieces to obtain understanding (pride), or that it is useless to seek understanding (chaos). As Truth calls out, the Children of Truth hear and go to Truth. I am certain that Truth is alive and calls out to Their Children. This is the conception of the new life. The cosmos are a great womb, but not all eggs are fertilized. More so, not all are eggs.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 09:16 PM
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reply to post by JustBreathe11
 


Thank you for sharing the metaphor. Your uncle is a wise man. That illustration strikes right to the core of this op.



posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 12:23 AM
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I believe that, if we can only assume our perspective to be individual to ourselves, then we are free to truly express ourselves as individuals as there is no inherent expectation of our cohorts perceiving our actions according to the channels of which we would have perceived them. Additionally, we are free from actions that are designed to provoke specific responses as the assumption of a common perception is void and thus, our actions and behaviours are completley self-referential.

I often find myself being absorbed into the perspectives of others, and if I am not careful, then I end up actually participating in "thier world" as opposed to remaining in mine. I find it strange, many resign themselves to the world that they are in, and the collective perspectives that they choose to have, it is as if they assume that they cannot change thier circumstances, or that they are bound to play the same "game" - what if they realised that they could free themselves from it?

Perhaps they enjoy it, perhaps they say to themselves "the control is to protect us from the bad people, and that we are free because we are playing the game and not being played by the game" - I respond and say "could you leave the game if you chose to, are you the ones whom are making all the "bad" people mad?"

They don't realise, the game was designed by a few elite people - they probably think its some kind of wonderous thing, as opposed to a very specific and planned thing - much like intelligent aliens could dress up and pose as "Gods" with thier "magic".
edit on 28-7-2011 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 07:41 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 


the more of your works i read, the more i believe your inquiry to be genuine. I think you are on the right track. but who actually wants to find what they are looking for? who in all the grandeur of the universe is looking forward to the conclusion? the end all formula? I for one enjoy the search, and long not for the for that moment of eureka, but rather enjoy the puzzle, mathematics, and especially the mysteries!



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 07:44 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 


SO this means heaven exists and i get to see my loved ones in a magical afterlife were all the aborted babies go? Or does this mean that the soul is real and god made us all including our genitalia by hand?

Wow if only we posted more pseudo intelectual threads so that deluded idiots could use them to reasure themselves that their not crazy and it isnt retarded to believe in such moronic things.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 08:04 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


Ignorance is bliss...

but hey, as long as you're happily getting your rocks off bashing the spiritual beliefs others. you're a pillar and shining beacon to society right chap? yes indeed, i shall adopt your ideology because it makes sooo much more sense


edit on 16-8-2011 by Themadalchemist because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by Dasher
 


Hello and Peace to you.
I enjoyed the parable you presented. Many drink from unclean sources through ignorance, denial, laziness, apathy, and even through deception. The problem with relying on any shepherd is that many carry the countenance, staff, and even wisdom of a good shepherd, all the while scheming to control, dominate, enslave, and oppress. We are all born with the knowledge of good and evil. Through quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer we can see the righteous path by allowing unconditional and universal Love to lead the way. Just my opinion anyways.

Love.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 08:52 PM
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reply to post by SystemResistor
 


Thank you for lending your opinions on the matter. My friend, I fear you have taken my intentions and op to extremes. I am not promoting any isolationist agenda where one becomes self-absorbed in the truth of their own perceptions and reality. The story is meant to do just as you yourself do; empathize with others. To open our own eyes to the possibilities that exist outside of the confines of our own minds.

To break free from our own understandings, judgements, preconceptions, prejudices, expectations, and illusions is to be one step closer to being free from the 'game', in my opinion.

Thank you again for your insights. Peace my friend.



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:00 PM
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reply to post by Themadalchemist
 


Well said my new friend! I've been warned by past teachers to walk my path in such a way where I do not become so consumed by the destination that I never enjoy the journey. Attained knowledge is one thing, but understanding is a whole nother! I've finally stopped to smell the roses this last year, and boy oh boy is the scent so sweet!


edit on 8/16/11 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2011 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


I can not tell you about any afterlife, that is not my intent. The core principle of this op is to humble our egos of what we know, and to help look outside of our preconceptions.

In the spirit of Love and Forgiveness, please allow me to dedicate to you one of my favorite songs (no sarcasm intended):

Bob Marley - One Love




posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 06:16 AM
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reply to post by Themadalchemist
 


i used to enjoy it, but some nights i find myself on a downward spiral constantly circling through ideas in my head, thinking about why we are even here to experience anything, why is there something rather than nothing.....i just got a degree in philosophy and one in neuroscience so im well studied in logic and reasoning but as ive gotten older(specifically this year)...i feel more...these feelings seem more real than any logic or reasoning, my main problem lately is trying to connect the feeling i have of existing now in my current state to the person i was growing up as a child, it all feels different, i feel like the person iam now never went through my childhood experiences, like iam just reflecting on them, ive always been reflecting on them..

btw that mirror example was great.....i do believe we are all pieces of the same thing, we all have the same mechanisms but we have a unique consciousness because we each experience a unique space/time, even a genetic replica of you cannot stand in your shoes, they can only stand in front or to the side, or behind, they will never experience the exact same thing as you, i believe it is this subjectivity that allows us to even have a self and for us to talk to each other(although i think we are one thing talking to itself), how else would whatever we once were reach all the ends of the universe other than to split itself into forever expanding consciousness's that fill the void/abyss that is space.....consciousness to me is all about perspective basically...a relation each unique observer has with the world, this thought is supported by quantum physics(double slit) and energetics in chemistry(for energy to exchange we need to define a system and surroundings, although in reality its all one thing)......i believe conscioussness implies a responsbility to regulate the world, it is a way for us to act out and have an impact on the world, when you go and see starving children it is your responsibilty to attempt to get them food, when you realize that animals are observers in the world and are thus conscious as well, you must realize we are from one thing and stop destroying what is around you.....consciousness comes before everything.....will we ever look somewhere and see nothing? the very act of looking is to see.....i know i repeated myself but its late and ive been up all night thinking about these things, im glad i stumbled upon this website, i already see many people i would love to have conversations with......



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 11:44 AM
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reply to post by subjectivelife
 


Hello SubjectiveLife.
Neuroscience and Philosophy... you sure are on a quest to understand the human condition! I feel honored that your first post on ATS was here in this thread, thank you. I truly enjoyed your reply. You basically stated the beliefs I have myself.

Say this absolute Oneness, or complete object is God, or the Universal Consciousness, or whatever label we want to give it. How would it know anything other than Self or the empty void, but to become space.. become galaxies.. become animals, insects, water, grass, humans, and even to become this computer I am typing on. In order to know anything, it had to become everything. This God or Universal consciousness broke itself into infinite infinities in order to experience itself subjectively and in relative fashion. We are always looking, talking, interacting, and reacting to ourselves. This understanding gives us the huge responsibility of shaping the world either by Love or Selfishness; Right Hand Path or Left Hand Path; Service To Self or Service To Others. The illusions of separation enforced by ego are intact to allow us (everything) to have a subjective experience of and within the One. The meaning of life is to experience and to observe. This is, however, my personal belief and opinion.

The fact that you can not fully relate to your childhood and earlier life seems to be an indication of how much you have consciously enacted change and manifestation into your life. Because to drift through life idly, we repeat our days over and over again, making looking back the same thing as observing today; same # different day. Those who are mindful, look deeply into the mater of things, and proactively and consciously live their lives (carpe diem), greet each day as a new life experience. Take it as a sign of your progression, not a reason for bewilderment or confusion.

Thank you again for enriching the discussions here. May Peace be upon you.

edit on 8/17/11 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 04:17 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 


im glad to find someone with a similar perspective, im interested how you came to this conclusion? what have you studied/ study......it may be strange because science seems to go in a different direction, but for me science led me to this, it was combining science and philosophy that enabled me to stay as objective as possible and not get wrapped up in the details of science, but rather use it to connect to other principles, i believe the only way to seek the answer is to study multiple fields and find the connections.....its interesting when people find the same meaning through different paths, only it does not suprise me because all paths lead to one thing in my opinion.....

i truly enjoyed your reply, it brings a little bit more peace to my mind to see someone else with the same basic thoughts,i must admit ive been obsessive over trying to find meaning, often staying up all night just thinking about all the possibilities, sometimes i feel like my mind is spiraling into insanity as i think about how im thinking about thinking....... ive talked to my friends and people around me but many people see it as being crazy or too far out there, it disappoints me because all they seem to care about are the mundane daily occurrences in their lives.....

one thing that still bothers me is even after ive accepted this view that we have discussed, is that is this view unique to me right now? if it is an objective truth why was it not known to me before, why have i just recently come to this......so anyway i guess what we are never really dies then because we are really just one thing expanding out into the universe, but why does death still seem sad to me, why do i get fearful or sad about losing this person that i have become during my current life, am i sad for myself or am i sad for this thing thats come about from its unique experience, it seems almost impossible that i even exist, its clearly a wonderful opportunity, i dont know if im saying this right, this topic is pushing me to the limits of my brain.....if we are all this oneness why do i still feel myself....

i wrote this in another post and i think it has some relation to what im trying to say......
" was just thinking about something my buddhist friend told me the other day, we were talking about death and i told him even if we all are one thing and go back to it after death, death is still sad because the thing iam now is dying, the very thing that realizes that we all go back to one thing or live on in some way.....but what doesnt make sense is will this still be possible if the thing that makes this realization is going to die? how can any conclusion made carry on without the existence of the thing that made it.....maybe iam still having trouble deflating my ego.....its just that all these thoughts/realizations did not exist to me when i was a kid, they created themselves as i aged and learned more so they all seem unique to this person right now, how could they have been there before or be there after when they feel intricately tied to who iam now?"



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 07:00 PM
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reply to post by subjectivelife
 


Hello again my friend.

How did I come to this conclusion, what have I studied... in short, I am a spiritual seeker. A little motto I like to keep in the back of my mind is to 'seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, finding truth and wisdom from any source that it may spring.' I began my serious spiritual path in 2001. Although, for many years I believed in a religious, anthropomorphic God, I never closed my mind to learning from alternate or unorthodox teachings.

Instead of television, professional sports games, video games, etc., I have been reading. Instead of buying all the new gadgets and objects of current trends, I purchased books. Instead of playing online poker or looking at porn, I have been researching spirituality, metaphysics, and esoteric principles. Instead of university, I created my own library and lesson plans at home. I was spending so much energy thinking that if I learned enough or gained enough knowledge, I would figure it out and be satisfied. Boy was I wrong! My knowledge quest turned into an addiction of never-ending questions with more questions branching off of those questions. The more I learned, the more questions I would ask... the more topics I would need to research... the more overwhelmed I became. One day a person gave me a small piece of advice that changed my motives of learning; "We can never learn it all, so this should tell you that we are here for something else."

I finally came to my current understandings after I left religion... after I stopped looking only externally... and once I let go. I have always practiced meditation for chakras, healing, and relaxation. But only when I changed the intentions of my meditations, did my most profound experiences, insights, and understandings arise. Look within. Know thyself. These became my new guides, and they have blossomed much fruit.

Your mind is over-burdened. Just as our bodies need relax and rest after a hard workout at the gym, so to does our mind need rest. May I suggest that you practice meditation to quiet and calm the ocean of your mind? Meditation is as simple as being conscious while quieting the internal chatter of your thoughts. If you have never tried meditation, I could give you a few tips. But just as an athlete must practice and train, so to does meditation require time, effort, practice, trial and error.

I too have a lack of real life companions to share and compare insights with. Too many are trapped in the distractions, illusions, expectations, hustle and bustle that is 'modern life.' Here on ATS is my primary source of such discussion. I have learned to only discuss my opinions or insights when asked. I recently developed a mentality that I use when talking to others; "I already know what I think, feel, believe, and have experienced. It does not benefit me personally or teach me anything new to just say aloud what I know within. I can learn more if I allow others to talk about their lives or what is on their minds." This mentality has also helped strengthen relationships with others; people love to tell you all about what's in their head, rather than to listen to spiritual or philosophical insights that they did not ask to hear. "Don't ask, don't tell."


You asked if your current understandings are unique to you right 'now'. They very well may be. One day I woke up lighting incense and prostrating before a statue of Lord Buddha. I woke up on another day with Jesus Christ in my heart and letting the Holy Ghost lead me. I woke up another day empowered by Allah and humbly bowing before Him. Another day I woke up as my own sovereign God. In each of those and similar moments, it was real to me. Each new day when you open your front door for the first time, what is the temperature, weather, and circumstances that you observe? If it is sunny today, does it mean rain is non existential? If you are greeted by an overcast and cloudy sky, does the sun become less real? As the weather changes, it is always truth regardless of form. I have finally learned to view my understandings and beliefs in such a way. Expressing this understanding is the primary intent of the opening post of this thread, and also the thread Human Unification Through Understanding Spiritual Relativity. Do you still believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy? Even holding too firmly to our beliefs causes us suffering. Life is a beautiful symphony of constant motion and change... existence is impermanent, by attributing permanence to a non-permanent thing, we lose sight of truth. To lose truth we suffer.

My new friend, I hope at least one thing I said will help you. Accept only what you feel is right, and discard all that you feel is wrong. It is indeed nice to meet you and to have such discussion. I will address death later when I have time. I send you an intention of Peace and Calm for your troubled mind. Take care.



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by Sahabi

May we humble ourselves and have open-minds free from incorrect concepts and reasonings. May we become humble in sharing our subjective experiences and our relative understandings.

Peace and Love to us all


Thoughts? Insights? Rebuttals?


Imagine if someone was able to actually break through and discover a new avenue toward the place where a hell of a lot more reality could be discerned if only people could find their way to that place. Imagine that such a breakthrough was sitting there right in front of you, and the person who'd uncovered it was holding it out and inviting you to check it out. Imagine that it wasn't mystical or fantastic, but that it was just as mundane and natural as everything that is sitting right in front of you right now, but that it didn't exactly conform with or embrace the traditional notions associated with such claims.

Would you even bother to investigate it? Or would you simply dismiss it without bothering to find out if this is even a breakthrough at all? And if so, why? If your most cherished wish is to break through and find a way toward the truth that everyone's always claimed to desire so profoundly, then what would be the reason for completely dismissing anything that has been offered to you on a silver platter?

This place seems to be determined to miss what it claims to be trying so desperately to find.
edit on 8/17/2011 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 10:03 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


A place of such insight, understanding, and experience would be wonderful! Your first paragraph has me spiritually and intellectually aroused ^_^ I would definitely investigate it, because all of my searchings into different domains has lead me to what I hope to attain today; transcendence beyond subjective reality and personal truths. Are you asking such questions to spark thought and discussion, or do you have a recipe to go with that silver platter?

Peace.



posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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Originally posted by Sahabi
reply to post by NorEaster
 


A place of such insight, understanding, and experience would be wonderful! Your first paragraph has me spiritually and intellectually aroused ^_^ I would definitely investigate it, because all of my searchings into different domains has lead me to what I hope to attain today; transcendence beyond subjective reality and personal truths. Are you asking such questions to spark thought and discussion, or do you have a recipe to go with that silver platter?

Peace.


I have all that I alluded to in that post. If you're actually interested, please U2U me and I'll explain.




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