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What do we know for certain?

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

“This one question -- "What do I know for certain?"-- is tremendously powerful. When you look deeply into this question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it's meant to. You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions-- things you believe because you were taught or told that they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.”
― Adyashanti

I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to be true. Everything we are told by parents, teachers, preachers contains a vast amount of untruth, and in a way it contaminates the mind with suppositions, imaginations, and assumptions. You can throw it all away and start again from just mature experience of the world and better tools, clarity and reason to see more deeply into our experience.

In a way, losing your belief in what other people tell you is very healthy. It leads to a healthy scepticism, a resistance to letting arbitrary others shape your inner world. That by itself is not enough to stop dreaming, but it’s a good first step, you still need to become sober and stop imagining things.

But I like the quote above also for pointing out that the self is also made up of suppositions.

Comments

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited December 2021

    What do we know for certain?

    As Friedrich Nietzsche once said...

    " 'Everything evolves' will come to mean 'nothing' is true !"

    A pool of knowledge is stagnant by nature...but knowing flows like a mountain stream...

  • "I am conscious"
    This holds true even without the experience of sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch, thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

    person
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    You will die. I will die. We shall all die.
    What I DON'T know for sure, is whether I'll come back, and how.
    But Death?
    Yup. Pretty sure about that one.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @pegembara said:
    "I am conscious"

    I think it’s better as just “I am”. After all what happens when we are asleep or dreaming.

  • Do we know what knowing is?

  • What do we know for certain?

    Uncertainty

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited January 1

    Its a good question and one people have been asking for a long time. Renee Descarte, and I'm sure plenty before that, asked himself that and came up with the notion of "I think, therefore I am". He speculated that an all powerful demon could be totally deluding him as to the experience of the world around him. But concluded that no matter how uncertain he could ultimately be regarding his experience of the world what he could be confident in is the fact he was having an experience.

    Others have updated the notion to ask, are we just brains in vats? Are we living in a simulation? I like the philosopher David Chalmers pragmatic solution, even if we are living in a simulation we have no control over that so its best to act as if our experience of the world is the real world.

    All that isn't really to the point you were making though. Everything we are is a combination of genetic influences and social conditioning. Social conditioning is relatively easier to modify and while genetic influences are more rigid, they can be channeled in healthier, more productive directions.

    Up until exposure to the ideas and techniques of psychology or spiritual practice most people are sort of on autopilot. Stuck with the whims of whatever ideas and conditions happen to make their way in. Now we have the ability to shape our mental and emotional infrastructure in intentional directions.

    You see, dear reader (speaking frankly, without any intention to offend), you are a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this amorphous morass of self-pity, vanity, and despair self is not only the height of hubris, it is also proof (if any were needed) that we are above all a delusional species. (We are in a trance from birth to death.) Prick the balloon, and what do you get? Emptiness. ~ John Burdett Bangkok Tatoo

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Indeed, and to say “we know almost nothing” is not actually as powerful as visiting each of our false beliefs in turn. The problem with false beliefs is that often they are hidden, we don’t know we have them and yet our world is defined by those beliefs.

    person
  • @federica said:
    You will die. I will die. We shall all die.
    What I DON'T know for sure, is whether I'll come back, and how.
    But Death?
    Yup. Pretty sure about that one.

    I am alive, we are alive... aware and conscious.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Impermanence and inter-being are principles we can observe all around us. We see a cloud in the sky, it descends as rain upon the Earth, flows as a river to the sea, becomes vapour and ascends to be part of another cloud.

  • What do we know for certain?

    Shit happens....

    SuraShine
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