Non-Duality and Morality

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posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 12:01 AM
I find a difficulty in understanding those who claim that non-duality is essentially promotes feelings of altruism, while a dualistic perception eventually elicits violence within the system. But how? Logically speaking, non-duality cannot speak in any partisan terms; it cannot say "altruism" because by saying so, it has succumbed to a desire which is rooted in a dualistic mentality, that is, the idea of good and bad.

In other words, if you promote non-duality, there can and should be no expectation that anyone will abide by your dogmatic assumptions that people who think "non-dually" will be nice people. Non-duality transcends the concept of good and evil, so likewise, there is no moral imperative which demands that I act altruistically, if ultimately, that is just another symptom of 'dualistic' thinking.

In fact, such a society would produce all sorts of people along all sorts of lines; buddhists and satanists alike, those of the 'right hand path' and those of the 'left hand path'.

Non-duality not only does not promote altruism, but it gives a stamp of approval, or sheer indifference towards, antinomianism.

Forgive me for not being precise.

I just finished reading Arthur Versluis book 'the mystical state: politics, gnosis and emergent cultures' and I thought the entire book in itself was a sort of joke. Aside from calumniating Judaism and Christianity left,right and center, he had the bizarre notion that 'dualistic' thinking in modern society is a direct result of the 'judeo-christian' metaphysics, and not the direct result of Greek empirical philosophy. He sort of lost me there. Anyone who knows anything knows our society is the result of mostly Greek thinking (and only secondarily Jewish) and if our tendency toward thinking in 'object-subject' is something to be lamented, we can thank Greek philosophy for that.

But what really grated me about his treatise of a future state where 'gnosis' could be developed by all, is his assumption that peace could only happen in a world which abandons what he vaguely calls a 'dualistic metaphysics', as if his own metaphysics didn't create it's own dualism.

He asserts again and again that non-dualism entails an absolute rejection of temporal concerns; to treat another person as an object - as another - is categorically an offense against the principle of non-dualism. Yet, in his world, how would people even be able to communicate? Of course, the concept of non-dualism provides a niche in which the object/other can preserve his or her own individuality, but in the context of an overall non-dualistic metaphysics.

Ok. Fair. But when he criticizes a religion like Judaism, which he categorically treats as a religion that emphasizes the 'dualistic', and so, an erroneous reality, he imagines that people can ONLY be perceived in that belief system as positively 'other' and not as a fellow creature made in the image of the same God, which of course implies, that each of us are intrinsically one, but uniquely other.

To return to my original contention, I find it logically impossible for someone to maintain a metaphysics that assumes a 'non-dualistic' perspective, and yet at the same time assert - as the author asserts - that one is somehow magically drawn to only act kindly and lovingly with others.

But it simply doesn't work that way. People are different. Look at Nietzsche, or better yet, the philosophy of Ananda Coomaraswamy, who see 'non-dualism' in absolutely amoral terms. Good and evil are completely irrelevant at this level of perception. Some may be drawn towards good - as the author is, while others will be drawn towards might and power - as Nietzsche, Coomaraswamy, Nazism, Laveyan Satanism, and Islamism, all are, each subscribing to the same essential metaphysics, along very different paths.

In other words, if you advocate non-duality, don't assume ala Kant, that there is some 'imperative' and obligation, to act in accord with ideas of an essential 'unity'.

Non-duality does not entail egalitarianism. We see in Hinduism how heirarchy can coexist with a non-dual philosophy.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 12:32 AM
Essentially non-duality is neutral. I would suspect the only individual that can truly claim it would also have to lack any emotion.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 12:50 AM
reply to post by g0dhims3lf

And Bingo was his name-o.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:04 AM
Buuuut.. Doesn't that also negate the "individual"? The non-dualist entity would basically be a Computer that just uses algorithms to discern the outcome of decisions..which leads to another problem.

Is an "individual"defined by it's ability to make weighted decisions through calculating external factors? Or, as the OP alludes to, defined by an internal dualism. A continuous fight between several wholly different motivations.

Kant falls imho under the "Mechanicistic" school with his "cathegorical impeative" i.e. action=reaction, so, be sure the "action" is not detrimental to yourself, through someone else. Basically stating that we are evil by nature, and ónly function as a by-product of selfishness. I had a girl-friend with that worldview. Brrrr...

Nietsche? Well, Nietsche was a misantropic grouch..

(And Metaphysics confuzzles the heck out of me, because I stíll don'tunderstand even a tenth of it. I knéw there was a reason I left Philosophy after my propadeuse...
edit on 11/10/12 by dutchmilpo because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:18 AM
Someone who subscribes to non-duality accepts everything, including what we call evil...

though one who truly understands it would not tend in that direction...but you couldn't reject that in a true non-dualistic framework

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:28 AM
reply to post by TheJourney

though one who truly understands it would not tend in that direction.

That's a dualistic inclination. To say one is more 'truly' non-dualistic than another is a contradiction. If non-dualism is a generalized perception of reality from a non-dual perspective, it cannot say ANYTHING about values, nor could it assume with any assurance that the right (or good) is more intrinsic then the left (or the bad).

Both are equal, because both are equally nothing from the non-dual perspective.

This is what I resent. People who simultaneously extoll the non-dual, but then add in "but those who REALLY perceive it naturally desire to go towards the good". Was Nietzsche like that? Have you read Nietzsche? His beyond good and evil, his first book, "the birth of tragedy" touch on the same basic metaphysics as Taoism, Vedanta etc; Nietzsche culled his religious thoughts mainly from Zoroastrianism, but also from the "aryan" religion of ancient germany.

Non-duality says nothing. In order to act, you need to form a basis for acting. You need to become an individual, and individuals, just like everything else in our world, are different. Some incline towards love, and so assume an altruistic non-dualism. Other's flout the concept of 'restriction' altogether, so their primary drive is the will to power, but within the metaphysical context of nondualism.
edit on 11-10-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:29 AM
This is exactly the problem I percieve with the "love and light" crowd; the ones that preach the importance of love, and need to create peace, and unity,

to get rid of those BAD things like conflict, darkness, negativity, and duality.

It is contradictory. And it brings about stagnation, kills movement, for it is the friction of this duality which makes time, space, movement, change, possible!

This is one of those things that I think is best experienced, but not so good for communication in words?
I see it this way- I experience a state of consciousness of being at which All is One, and yet I also move within and am part of a state or level of being in which I am an individual, and lots of other separate individuals interact, and duality is very much an integral part of that! I am not one who is desiring to leave the world of matter and duality, to escape back to the Oneness. This is a cool experience (even with it's duality)!

I guess for me, as long as I am simultaneously experiencing that level of unity (even if no one else around me is) as well as this reality of separation and duality we all consciously share,
then Heaven and Earth have merged! At least for me.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:37 AM

Both are equal, because both are equally nothing from the non-dual perspective

Thusly a non-dualist can only be a machine.
And therein lies the rub. It nicely summarizes my caveat with non-dualism.

Pipi Longstockings has a nice way of elaborating on that: "Why do I want to go to school? Because without school, there's no Christmas vacation"

Dualist perspective nicely summarized..

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:39 AM
It is duality, or Maya, which creates this. It is impossible to understand the grandness of one's own existence, with ideologies. Duality is life confined within the thinking mind. The thinking mind is basically a comparative analysis computer.

Transcending duality, means transcending the influence of the thinking mind. And our thinking minds spend most of their energies deeply entrenched in Maya. Maya is the delusion created by conceptualizing one's existence, solidifying and perfecting ones understanding of that concept and conducting ones life as if it was true.
edit on 11-10-2012 by Visitor2012 because: (endless chatter)
edit on 11-10-2012 by Visitor2012 because: (no reason given)
extra DIV

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:40 AM

It is contradictory. And it brings about stagnation, kills movement, for it is the friction of this duality which makes time, space, movement, change, possible!
reply to post by Bluesma

And that is the heart of it. Tension. We human beings need and crave tension. If we have nothing to do, we CREATE things to do. Nature girds us on towards activity because it is in mans nature to strive, strive AGAINST SOME impediment before us.

Life would be boring to the extreme in the universe imagined by these people.

But of course, they will answer something back along the lines of some esoteric reality that is blocked off from human perception when we embrace the dualistic object-subject duality. In other words, in order to 'become gods', we have to sacrifice our sense of self-other perception, throw our freedom away, and subscribe to a generalized culture which tells us how we should think. In this culture - and for eternity onwards - we will commune with nature spirits and celebrate the non-duality of the world, no longer living in one dimension, but in all dimensions, traveling to a fro across the universes and dimensions.

Ignore that ^^^. That nonsense is dogma which too many people subscribe to.

If higher states of being exist, I don't see why mankind has to sacrifice his sense of morality in order to 'contact' them. And if foregoing morality is the key to paradise, I remain skeptical.

I actually think Hegels idea of the unity between the indeterminate and determinate reality through the freedom imposed by reason on external events i.e. morality, could accomplish very much the same thing. Perhaps a 'disjunction' is created between the two 'realms' when someone acts contrary to what reason requires; when the inner will is sacrificed to the outer determinant, people become determined by external events, and so, our ontological status as 'made in Gods image' becomes trivialized, and we arrive at our 'fall from grace'.

The return is not 'screw morals', but rather, lets live reasonably and kindly with each other, and enact reasonable laws along liberal democratic lines that preserve liberty and freedom for all.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 01:52 AM
reply to post by Bluesma

True that.

To me, It also has an intrinsic value to make "the right" decision towards "movement", while pondering and balancing the evil/good in oneself.

Most people are perceiving themselves as "happy" in the non-volatile state. Where things stay as they one understood them. It'conservatism to the extreme. To "conserve" that what they know, their little blanket of "knowns". Even scientists do that.

The better scientists and academics are defined by an astonishing lack of conservatism towards new ideas. They néver dismiss an idea, but rather test it and based on the outcome, they shape their views.

Yet, certainly in the humanoira, feathers are easily ruffled, ego's run rampant, and stagnation must be fought every day. Sadly even the rebuttals of flawed theories often get swamped in foggy, flowery semantics, that are only comprehensible to the "in-crowd" (makes me allthemore impressed with the OP's little essay, pointing-out the major flaw of the non-duality think)

And non-dualism as the reason for peace, rainbows and happiness? How? How to be happy if one's a computer? It rather reminds me of Brave New World where a non-dualist state is enforced by drugs. Nót a nice thought.
edit on 11/10/12 by dutchmilpo because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 02:00 AM
reply to post by dontreally

Awesome post I think about this stuff constantly and yea...

the problem I've noticed when navigating duality and that typically we examine each part with an unknown bias...meaning we are examining each of the three parts from the perspective (part) we inherently agree with...

for example examining a neutral perspective from an inherent positive perspective will lead to a conclusion that neutralism is cold, unemotional, dead, careless, etc...if you examine neutrality from a neutral perspective you CANNOT conclude positive or negative...its against the neutral perspective to conclude in such a way...

sometimes we think or want to be neutral but our inherent biases bleeds through...

oh and there is truly no such thing as duality unless you intentionally or ignorantly decide to forget about the combination of the two parts of duality...which is the neutral aspect I was addressing.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 02:14 AM
reply to post by Sly1one

I only partly agree, but completely disagree with Your final statement that there is no duality.

Neutrality -as in "non-duality'(!), basically, is self-destructive. It only exists by grace of duality. The whole good/bad/neutral discussion is self-immolating by nature. (oh my.. here we go.. Metaphysics and Wittgensteinian semantics..brrr..
) Depending on one's school of thinking, neutrality as such is a state abóve, or a state inbetween. Yet, that "state of existence" is due to the real good/bad dichotomy.

It gets even worse if cultural preconceptions about good/bad enter the fray.

It's the dreaded "foundation" discours.Hów far do we descent into Krypke semantics, or other math-mased semantics and logic?

Correct me if I am wrong, please, do.
edit on 11/10/12 by dutchmilpo because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 02:42 AM

Originally posted by dontreally
Non-duality does not entail egalitarianism. We see in Hinduism how heirarchy can coexist with a non-dual philosophy.
Tat tvam asi. You're it, all of it. You're as much the peasant as you are the king, but you experience it (or are aware of it) one "thing" or person at a time.

Non-dual is seen as the absence of duality, but more correctly it's the realization that the many are in fact one. Like, outside and inside do not exist without each other, they are one, although appear as two. Good and evil only exist together, although we twist it into "good versus evil." Hot and cold, light and dark... all these things contrast each other and/or cancel each other out, and yet there they are, and we could not see them unless they appeared separate from each other. You could not tell apart the drop of water from the ocean, until that drop fell into the ocean or was plucked out of the ocean; we and what we call reality are the drops, the concept of non-duality is the ocean.

It is a pretty tricky concept. It appears completely grey, or void, yet within that it contains everything. That's really the point of it all. Consider a beam of light hitting a prism, which then splits off into all those colours. That beam of light is like non-duality, and this universe is the prism, and all of us and the things within the universe are those colours. We stare into the bright light all the time, but all we see are the things all around us, including "darkness" and "evil." It all appears separate from one another, but all come from that single light, which is everything, including us.

I can understand confusion under the assumption that any of this should/can be forced upon someone, but it cannot be forced - plus, force tends to breed resistance. It cannot be forced as dogma, because it is something personally felt, experienced, and realized. That is part of the mystical experience and why most eastern religions, philosophies, and metaphysics, rely on extensive use of meditation and meditative-like states. The main reason for this is to help stop the over-thinking and over-analyzing that we tend to do, and just embrace everything as everything. We as human beings go around wearing our masks (personae), believing we are our egos, and we are completely smitten by Maya; naturally, if someone comes by and tells them they are all wrong, they will get hostile or call that person crazy. The only way everyone can see this together is if there is a global shift in conscious awareness, like the Yugas try to illustrate.

Now look at the character of the "guru," and compare him to the character of the "preacher." The preacher tells people what to do, what a God wants of them, how to behave, how to act, etc. The guru sits under a tree or wherever, and people come to him asking questions, and he plays along with them at first, but ultimately does what is necessary for the person to come to a realization on their own. Both act as guides to people that seek them out, but one by saying "do this", and the other by saying "consider this." The preacher, like any "authority" figure, is very much a moralist, while the guru (the "teacher") is often more like a trickster, and the more you question him the more he makes you stumble about until you stop and say, "Oh, so that's it. lol" The guru's methods aren't dogmatic, they're revelatory: all he does is help you reveal the door you were looking for. It is up to us and it is our responsibility if we choose to take it on or not, and we can still drop out any time if we choose to.

So does any of it really matter? That depends on the one asking the question.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 02:45 AM
Great post.

The whole dualism approach is beyond my grasp. It just seems too linear of an idea.

At what temperature does hot turn cold? When does light become dark? When is evil no longer evil, but good? There's too many directions for it to be so up and down or left and right.

I wonder if we were born with 3 arms, 3 legs, 3 ears, 3 eyes, and 3 brain hemispheres if we'd be subscribing to 'triple-ism.'

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 02:50 AM
Imagine in the world of physics...

Duality is witnessed as good and bad. Through experiencing duality, and following a righteous (positive), truthful path... their divine path, the one blessed by god.... one then transitions into the non-dualistic mindset.

The step you may not visualize is that when one lives their life by their word, and takes truth over all else, and submits that every step of the path is written by god... they engage a positive movement. When one transitions into the non-dualistic mindset 'after' having engaged the positive movement within themselves, they are locked into that phase. They can continue to live more positive than negative, while living the non-dualistic life. This is because as the non-dualistic perspective emerged into the mind's eye, it was moving.. rotating, in a positive charge.

From the outside looking in on this individual that has transited mindstates, it would appear as if they do no wrong, as if all movements were out of positive order.

The thing is, the non-dualistic mindset can be a perspective that can be observed at any point in time. If someone has a negative dualistic mindset 'before' they shift perspectives to the non-dualistic mindset, they will exhibit the same negativity that they did in the previous perspective.

The universe repeats itself on all levels of existence in the same pattern. Every level/dimension/fractal/etc affects every other. These mindsets that you speak of are only obtainable after a certain age, specifically when the brain develops to a specific level. One must experience more than one 'perspective' in their lifetime in accordance to brain development and formation of abstract thought. This also shows that one can shift perspectives, and one can mold certain perspectives while others are less malleable... as the duality is creation iself.
edit on 11-10-2012 by chadderson because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 09:53 AM
This moment and you are one. You cannot separate yourself from this moment. This is all there is - whatever is happening is happening and you cannot change that. Humans 'think' they can change 'this', but 'this' IS.
Everywhere it is now - the now unites.
Humans don't realize that all there is is now. Humans 'think' there is a past and a future and they 'think' it into existence - it does not really exist but the words and concepts humans use lead them astray.
Now is happening and this happening is not done by anyone.

The belief that you are separate from the happening causes fear and worry. When you realize that you are not doing life - that in fact you are happening along with the happening there is great freedom and in that freedom the fear goes and underneath the fear is love.

To the mind this sounds terrifying but regardless of what you think it is the way it is. The mind wants to control but there is no control. How can you control now? You can only 'think' that you can control another time but there is no other time.
edit on 11-10-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)
edit on 11-10-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 10:03 AM

Originally posted by Bluesma
This is exactly the problem I percieve with the "love and light" crowd; the ones that preach the importance of love, and need to create peace, and unity,

to get rid of those BAD things like conflict, darkness, negativity, and duality.

Unity and peace cannot be created. Misunderstandings (ignorance) can be realized.
It is 'thinking' that causes the conflict. When the mentality is understood the conflict ceases. Conflict only happens because the mind is dual - it thinks right/wrong, good/bad. If you don't use words there will be no conflict.

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 12:09 PM

Originally posted by TheJourney
Someone who subscribes to non-duality accepts everything, including what we call evil...

though one who truly understands it would not tend in that direction...but you couldn't reject that in a true non-dualistic framework

Someone who subscribe to the nondual aproach belives 100% in the golden rule since hurting someone else is hurting you but that do not mean you cannot be a karmawall.

A nondual person do not have to accept any behavior from other people just because they are part of or will be part of the same whole.
edit on 11-10-2012 by apushforenlightment because: spellchecking

posted on Oct, 11 2012 @ 12:15 PM
reply to post by apushforenlightment

There are a lot of ideas about non duality on this thread.
Here is a short video called 'What is Non Duality?'

Non duality is not an idea or a religion, it is a shift into the true perspective. It is something that just happens.
edit on 11-10-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

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