Where do WE begin & end?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by DT Strain, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Submitted for your opinion: :)


    (note: just FYI, this is all written from a naturalistic/materialist perspective, without inclusion of the supernatural or traditional duality. Ideas of souls and such would definitely affect these points.)

    What is us and what is not us?

    Personhood:
    The thing that we ethically value is our minds. This is what we think of as "us". This is distinct from the brain in that it is the function of the brain. So, a "person" could be said to be a pattern of information, resulting from the activity of the brain. A mind is not physical, but not supernatural either. Rather, it is the name of a process, like "democracy" or "socialism". Neither of these can be held in the hand as physical objects, but they describe patterns of interaction. A "person" is a pattern of interacting data (memories, beliefs, perceptions). This pattern plays out through the hardware of the brain, although that is incidental.

    The biological body
    Certainly if I lose a hand, an organ, etc. I as a person am still intact. If I lose parts of my brain then my personhood will be effected, but only insofar as the loss of brain tissue does not allow the information to flow in the same patterns, so even my brain is not me. But still, we can't help but consider that "I" am contained within my skin. Even though we know our body is not our personhood, we feel as though our body is part of us.

    Where does our body end?
    Why should we draw the line of "I" at our skin's edge? There seems to be two elements here: what we can move, and what we can perceive.

    Moving
    As for what we can move, certainly I can move my arms and my fingers by my decision, which sends a physical signal down to them. This signal is a physical chain reaction due to the physical properties of my nerves and muscles. But, what about that pen on my desk? I can move that too. What about my car? My decisions can set off chain reactions that cause it to move as well.

    Perceiving
    Perhaps our body is more us than other surroundings because we can feel with it. I can feel if something touches my finger but if something touches my pen I can't. But feeling is just one of our five senses. The fact is, that I can detect if something touches my finger, and I can also detect if something touches my pen. Does it matter if I use one sense (touch) in the former case and another sense (sight) in the latter?

    Is the biological body arbitrary?
    So, we are capable of both perception and motivation of things in our environment, whether they be part of our biological body or not. And, just as within our skin, all motivation and perception alike is caused by the reactions of physical matter to one another.

    The true body
    Isn't it, then, arbitrary to consider our biological bodies as the limit of "me"? Perhaps the only "me" is my personhood and all else is just environment. In that sense, my real body is not necessarily the edge of my biological skin, but my actual body is a dynamic thing made up of the physical matter around me, which extends and contracts into different regions of the world according to the extent to which I can detect and control.

    Therefore our minds (personhood) are constantly trying to extend the "body". When I ask my friend to do something for me over the telephone a thousand miles away, then I have extended my true body a thousand miles because I have, through my will, changed the physical universe in that local. When I ask later whether or not it was done, I have sent out a signal and received feedback, as a means of perceiving, just as my fingers perceive touch.

    What do you think of the "true body" concept?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    An interesting piece, DT Strain.

    Bluntly, we begin at conception, and end with our death, seems to be the fact.

    There is certainly no firm evidence for our existence before conception, and there is similarly no further material evidence we exist on some different level after our physical death.

    If someone hypothesises the 'soul' as coming into being at conception, and further hypothesisies its continuance after our physical death... that remains an hypothesis without evidential material.

    All your points seem to hinge upon this.
    Of course, our actions/behaviours have effects upon others... our sphere of influence, but that does not in itself justify us in thinking of our bodies are somehow extendable in themselves.

    Like it or not, we are surely, simply what we are... an individual within our skin with the apparent faculty of 'self-regard'.
     
  3. Sacredstar

    Sacredstar New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,125
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear DT

    UCLA did a lot of research spanning 25 years, Dr Valerie Hunt had received a grant to study Structural Integration, (a technqiue for reshaping and religning the body throgh deep manipulation. During the course of this project they were able to measure the frequencies of the energy field and discovered that these frequencies correlated with the frequencies of visible light. From that, they concluded that what science had been calling the human eneryg field, or the mind field, and what religious traditions had been calling the auric field were one and the same. Furthermore, the results of the research provided evidence that this large electromagnetic energy field in fact generated by the smaller internal vortices of energy e.g. chakra's, the source of the human aura. Around the same time, other scientists too were coming to the conclusion that the mind is not in the brain, but that it is an eneryg field in and around the body. New Techniques such as Kirlian photography and biofeedback also pointed to the possibility of such a relationship. Wilder Penfield's 'The Mystery of The Mind, Karl Pribram's 'Languages of the Brain', Dr Robert 0'Beckers 'The Body Electric, Professor William A Tiller's work, and the auric field research of dr Hunt all shed light on the connection between the chakra's, aura's and the mind. Similar, and in some cases more through, research had been in progress in the Soviet Union since the 1920's. Rosalyn. L. Bruyere in her book 'Wheels of Light' goes on to say that the research at UCLA was important in that it was a meaningful attempt to correlate the bodies natural frequency ranges with the spiritual world.

    and Jesus said 'Ye are the light of the world and challenges us to let our light shine before men. The light that shines forth from each of us - the kind and quality of light generated by our chakra's and reflected in our auric fields - is a reflection of our state of health and our condition of wholeness. Thus, our definition of health needs to 'become full of light' so that light and love can emanate everywhere.

    I hear NASA as also done a lot of work with this and that a clinic in London as a machine developed by NASA that reads the auric field for the use of impending ill-health diagnosis but I am still trying to track it down.

    So the light as no end or beginning it is infinity and beyond.

    Love beyond mesure

    Sacredstar
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have here to simply disagree with you SacredStar in your personal interpretation of Valerie Hunt's work.

    There is nothing in her paper that describes anything other that what they found... energy field fluctuations - that centre upon the brain.

    Every cell in the human body is 'electrically charged'. We are a physical being that generates electrical, measureable fields.

    There is absolutuely no necessity for talk of 'chakras', nor did Valerie Hunt have anything to say about correlating such energy fields with presumed evidence of relation to 'frequency ranges of the spiritual world'. That is all fanciful nonsense which some people would love to cite as evidence for affetcive faith statements projecting from the perosnal level to the objective material domain.

    Of course some electrical energies do correlate with 'light' frequencies. Indeed, electrical discharges produce 'light' as when your fuse blows.

    In short, "internal vortices of energy" were demonstrated, as anyone dealing with the bio-sciences would expect of the original hypotheses.

    Each of these was related to vital functions and were centred in the brain.

    The amount of heat generated by simple repetitive exercises illustrate the point, as does the energy generation on massaged tissues of the human body. These originate in the stimulus of electronic firing of cells responding to the stimuli... as happens even in the stomach as we digest food.

    Finally, (Re: Nasa) using the evidence of 'heat' and energy output to help diagnose has for some time been a way of proceeding medically.
    I would like to see the NASA reference when you find it, because a search has just produced nothing related to this.

    Why use the term 'auric'? (Of, relating to, derived from, or containing gold.)
    Did you mean something to do with perceiving 'auras'?
     
  5. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Blue,

    I completely agree but I think I may not have communicated what I'm talking about. Nothing I mentioned hinges on souls, the afterlife, or the supernatural in any sense. Also, when I ask where to be "begin" and "end" this is not a temporal question. In other words, I'm not asking WHEN we begin and end. Instead, I'm asking, at any given moment, where is the borderline of our actual "body" in the sense of what we can perceive and manipulate through our choices.
     
  6. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    I too agree with Blue here. But everything in my original post stands as the question has still not been addressed yet. Perhaps I should attempt another explanation of what I'm asking.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    Perhaps we should say the boundary of ourselves is our skin?

    We can communicate, of course, and what we say and do, in whatever form, is likely to impact upon the world in general and others in particular.

    If we mean do we continue in some form beyond death, there simply is no replicable evidence, I think.

    What existed before our existence was embodied in the conjunction of our parents... and, in being able to observe sperm, it seems the strongest and fittest usually gets the prize of impregnation... getting through the surrounding surface of the ovum.
    :)
     
  8. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    This has nothing to do with questions of whether we continue beyond death. I'm asking, today. right now - what is the boundary of ourselves. You say our skin, but please see my arguments in the original post on this. It would seem to me that our skin is an arbitrary boundary.

    Keep in mind all of the reasons I give in my post for why our skin is an arbitrary boundary are based solely on the material and the five senses.

    Thanks :)
     
  9. Jn_jean

    Jn_jean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Blue,
    What a great question!
    Have you heard anything about the wisdom of Kabbalah?
    It has become very popular today but more than that Kabbalah could help you find an answer to your question. I recommend a site that contains a lot of sources, articles, lessons, and so on. I found the site to be very helpful in finding the answers to many of my question about the meaning of life.
    http://www.kabbalah.info Check it out.


    "It is well known that we discover the world using our organs of perception. We are like a black box that only perceives things entering it from outside. To be more precise, nothing actually enters the box, it is only being affected or "pressured" and then reacts to it.
    Whatever "gets" into us - a self-contained system, through the five organs of perception is recorded, processed and analyzed. Whatever is not picked up by our five organs of perception we do not feel.

    The external force in itself remains unperceived by us. We cannot judge it objectively. We feel only our reaction to an external force. Therefore, our perception is contained inside us. All the information that comes our way is processed by no other means than our senses.

    All existing physical instruments merely serve to expand the range of our sensations but they do not allow us to go beyond their limits. No instrument can create a new organ of perception and we cannot imagine how we would perceive the surrounding world if we had different organs of perception.

    After analysis, the entire collection of sensations creates in us an internal picture which is called "our world". This is an entirely subjective picture that cannot be compared with anything. We can never compare objective reality existing outside us with the subjective reality existing inside us.

    We cannot escape the limitations of our perception and are permanently locked within the framework of our sensations. Collectively we all share common sensations that provide us with the opportunity to communicate with each other, to exchange signs, impressions and to understand each other.

    All our organs of perception, or to be more precise, organs for the reception of information receive, record, process, and evaluate it exclusively according to its personal usefulness.

    Any life form is created in a way that its only desire is to receive pleasure. This law applies to all levels of existence. A desire to receive a maximum amount of pleasure is the main law of the still, vegetative, animate, and human natures..

    Kabbalah, ("reception" in Hebrew,) is a method that allows us to develop an additional organ of perception, i.e. to receive additional information about something that exists in the external universe. By mastering this method we start feeling the surrounding world in a completely different way: that world will be perceived as independent from our egoistical body and isolated from our "Self". A person that has sensed this is called a "Kabbalist".

    This is an ancient, scientific method for attaining the Upper World. It has its own mathematical, methodological and psychological system. It investigates fully the mechanics of man's inner world and demonstrates how in any situation one can go beyond his internal sensations in order to attain the external ones, even before they start affecting our five organs of perception.

    Equipped with the Kabbalistic methodology, a man, remaining in its physical body, living in our world, can sense beyond the limitations of his egoistical “body”’ i.e. his desire to receive. He can acquire the ability to sense the world outside himself.

    Kabbalists are ordinary people just like you and me yet equipped with the Kabbalistic methodology they’ve developed themselves to such an extent that they begin to feel the objective world. They tell us about this in their books. These books are written using a special language called "the language of branches". It is the purpose of Kabbalists to introduce us to the system of the Upper Worlds.

    In total, there are five worlds or five levels of perception. Each world is the consequence of the one preceding it.. All signals originate in the highest Upper World, pass through the lower worlds which serve to weaken the signal from the Upper World to the appropriate level at which they can be perceived by us existing in the lowest of worlds.



    All worlds are designed according to the same scheme. Everything that exists in our world: any atom, cell, and organism has its root or a prototype in the Upper World.

    There are no material objects in the Upper Words, just only forces that give birth to the objects of our world and to our sensations. However, we can call these forces, the roots of everything all that exist in our world, by the name of their branches, brought forth in our world by these very forces.

    There is a precise and definite connection between a force in the Upper World (cause, root) and a consequence (branch) in our world. That is why we can call any root by the name of its branch in our world. This is the naming method called "the language of branches" in which Kabbalistic books are written.

    Kabbalists, attaining the Upper Worlds, are able to reach a very high level, to sense the Source itself and to receive genuine, original information revealing that all five worlds and our world were created with a purpose. BY engaging in this process a man living in our world develops in himself an additional organ of perception and he elevates to a level where he feels all five worlds inside himself. He thereby lives simultaneously in all the worlds without leaving his body. Until a man reaches this state the system requires that he will continue to be reborn, to descent into this world, “below” the five Upper Worlds

    Kabbalah consists of a number of areas of study, though all of them talk about the attainment of the Single Field – the Common Law of the creation. There is a section dealing with descent or creation of the worlds and the signals coming down from above. It tells us how the Upper Field restricts itself gradually through level by level of descent, how it materializes according to five levels of restriction until it reaches our world. Each successive world represents an increasingly greater concealment of the Upper Field. This area of the science of Kabbalah researches only the Upper Worlds and their functioning, governance, the effect they have on us, how we affect it by our actions and how, depending on our reaction they affect us in return.

    The entire system of five worlds is a unified single entity called "the system of ten Sephirot", "ten levels of governance".

    Another area of Kabbalah deals with the method for the development of the soul - the inner part of a human being that is placed in him from the Upper World. Man is the only living creature in which the soul (a part of the Upper World) exists. It has nothing to do with that vital life supporting force of our body which is indistinct from a body of an animal. What we are talking about here is a special energetic, spiritual substance which when realized by man marks the point when he leaves the category of "a two-legged upright being" and enters the category of "human".

    All reincarnations related to the descent of this spiritual part into a biological body, the leaving of it after a biological death and its subsequent descent into a new body are called reincarnation of a soul. The body does not reincarnate.

    There is an area of Kabbalistic study that deals with the creation of a mathematical model for the description of spiritual processes taking place in a soul. These models allow the Kabbalist to relate to the processes inside him from a scientific point of view. With it he is able to research the effects of the Upper Worlds on himself, to analyze, rank, and formulate the connection of signals coming from above with the reactions appearing inside him and visa versa. By this he can receive practical solutions for the best, optimal reaction of that spiritual-energetic part (a soul) that he received from above. The mathematical model of Kabbalah consists of:

    · gematria – a numeric record of spiritual states of the worlds and a soul;

    · figures reflecting the states and interdependence between the worlds' influence on a soul and the influence that a soul, a man makes on the Upper Worlds;

    · tables, matrixes reflecting various ways of engagement between qualities of the worlds and a soul.

    After a man attains the Upper Worlds while living in this world he begins to sense the unified system of creation and its single purpose. Even before attaining the spiritual, when just beginning to study Kabbalah, a man begins to realize that without developing the sixth altruistic organ of perception he will not be able to go beyond the limits of his world and that his entire existence amounts to nothing more than the escape from suffering.

    The ultimate goal of the spiritual energetic system that we study is the reception by a man of the ultimate pleasure of reaching the total perfection of his existence: an absolute knowledge resulting in of it a complete balance within the entire internal system (soul) and the external system called "the Creator".

    Over the many thousands of years of human existence each generation differs from the previous one by the level that the egoistic nature of a soul reaches, each generation reaching an ever higher level. As a result, the method of attaining the Upper Worlds differs for each generation. The attainment of the spiritual takes place within a soul so if it changes qualitatively then, accordingly, the method changes as well.

    The mission of the Kabbalists who live in any given generation is to adapt and adjust Kabbalah, the method for attaining the Creator, in accordance with the nature of the souls of that generation.

    The great Kabbalist Rashbi (II c. BC, full name Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) is the author of the first Kabbalistic method. He came into this world because there was a need for a new method and he presented it in detail in the book of "Zohar".

    The necessity of changing this method arose only in the 16th century. The Kabbalist who created the new method for the new type of souls in his generation was named the Ari (full name – Isaac Luria Ashkenazi (1534-1572). As he writes in the Preface to his teaching, “starting from this moment and on, everybody willing to study Kabbalah can do so because starting from this time all souls descending into this world are able to attain the root of their origin and upon finishing their correction not to return to our world again.”

    The last Kabbalist who created a new method for our generation was Baal HaSulam (1885-1954). He wrote commentaries for the book of "Zohar", and the books of the Ari and created a method for attainment of the Upper, spiritual world suited for the souls that descend into this word today.

    A man possessing a large degree of egoism has a good chance of attaining the spiritual. Like the whole of nature, a man also consists of different levels of desire: the still, vegetative, animate, and human. The smallest degree of egoism characterizes the still level, the largest – human.

    Because we study the system of the Upper Worlds where all consequences in this world have their beginning, we can talk about the spiritual application of Kabbalistic knowledge not only to science, but also to the arts and all other manifestations of human activity.

    Through the study of Kabbalah a man attains the universal laws of the universe including all the laws of our world. After attainment of the Upper Worlds it is possible to see the origin and the consequence of all sciences in our world. The researcher can draw the line between something that is already revealed or what is inaccessible to scientific research. He can see where the perception produced by our five sense organs, and its logic ends and where the external world begins. However, this is possible only after leaving the limitations of our world through the alteration of one's personal qualities.



    Author: Rav Michael Laitman, PhD

     
  10. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Virtue Knight Aspirant,

    I have to tell you that this is like dejavu for me. I know what you are trying to say. It just took me a few times to read it. By dejavu, I mean, I had the same exact thoughts and it even dealt with me sitting at a desk, calling someone on the phone and moving the things on the desk, either here or on the other end of the phone, by the person I was talking to.

    I think if you take the true body concept and rewrite it, making some of the longer paragraphs a little shorter and leave out the question marks in most places, making them statements it will be easier to grasp in the first reading. Then leave the the biggest part of the question (s) at the end.

    I never would have tried to explain this to anyone else before now.:)
     
  11. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jn Jean:
    Thanks for sharing, but I'm afraid I haven't experienced evidence of any "6th senses" out there yet.

    Bandit:
    Thanks much - you are correct, it's a crude first attempt at the concept. I think I'll try again! :)
     
  12. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,792
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me give a prime example of a "sixth sense" this happens to me all the time.

    Im a mother of a 2 1/2 year old and it never fails that when Im doing something or involved in something I suddenly get a nudge from some 6th sense or an angel or something that makes me look at my son or check on him and it never fails that hes doing something which is a serious danger to himself..
    Another one.. I drive the same route to work every day for 5 years and one day I just happen to miss the on ramp to the freeway.. I was MAD! I couldnt believe I did that I had never done it before.. So rather than turning around I decide to go hit the next on-ramp up the road... the traffic was jammed on that one.. I couldnt figure that out since it wasnt jammed at the first onramp... so I went ahead and took the long way to work and come to find out.. If I would have been on the freeway at the first ramp I would have been involved in a fatal pile-up.. Someone like Blue might say that was all chance.. You tell me.. Do you think that was a chance happening?
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Keep in mind all of the reasons I give in my post for why our skin is an arbitrary boundary are based solely on the material and the five senses."
    ==================================
    This is my point... DT Strain.

    What evidence is there for anything other than this, evidence amenable to objective and material investigation independent of spiritual or metaphysical concerns or how I simply FEEL about it?

    You seem to imply this doesn't address your posts, but it does.
    It raises the issues of whether there can be any definitive explanations in affective terms.

    Surely, any such will depend upon the affective nature and nurture of any particular individual? Many so called 'answers' can be forthcoming, but all will be based in personal validations which will not be amenable to material investigations of any kind that I have ever heard of. The further problem is that some of these people will project their personal affirmations upon the material domain as if they are 'true' in a material sense.

    Having answers of that kind, as Milan Kundera once said, is not the same as asking questions:

    " The stupidity of people comes from having answers to everything. The wisdom... comes from having a question about everything."

    When people project their personal validations and resultant affirmations beyond themselves as if 'true' (answers!) they put their affirmations forward to be questioned, and just because they have affirmed them does not make them true, and that then cannot be the sole evidence. Just affirming a belief does not make it so... except perhaps in 'Star-Trek'! ;-)

    In respect of this topic, the most that can be said, is what I said in my last post. Our behaviours can affect others beyond ourselves, whatever beliefs we have, and even the world in general, but our existence ends at our skin, for if I cut through that barrier, I can allow you to bleed to death.

    Anything beyond that is purely speculative and supernatural - and it only derives from affective nature and nurture.

    You seem to imply that the 'skin' is not the limit... and that can only be a personal assertion with no material evidence.

    You have a perfect right to maintain such a view, of course.

    We END when we cease through our behaviours to speak and communicate, interact, with others, no longer having any evidence for having the 'lifeforce' - when the body becomes inert . We BEGAN demonstrably with the conjoining of our parents.

    Of course, our reputation, works or words may last in the memory of others, however they are then interpreted... but we will surely have become dust. Anything else is pure speculation, where anyone's opinion is as good as anyone else's.

    :)
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi J_J,

    What an interesting post... and yes, I have read some of the material of these people, not just the quoted article.

    From what you say, I even perhaps sound like one of them!

    BUT

    "Any life form is created in a way that its only desire is to receive pleasure."

    What a strange thing to introduce into the argument?

    As I see it the way we differ as organisms is in our developed sense of 'self-regard'; what I would call the 'self-regarding faculty'. Of course, some other living organisms appear to have this, whether it be a contemplative ape or a tool-using bird or insect.

    Like all living material our prime motivation is keep existing for as long as possible - at least till we have a chance to procreate. We also have a stimulus and response mechanism which allows us to prefer pain to pleasure, but then, even an amoeba on a microscope slide will move away from an electrical discharge and go towards sugar. The flight from danger is essentially what preserves us until we have a chance to procreate, as well as concern ourselves with refuelling through eating!

    Where I part company with the quoted material is in the extended hypothesis not only of process, but content and form, which the rest of the conception says it is built upon.

    There just isn't any evidence for any of it. Nor do I perceive a purpose in it... except to say that x has achieved 'mastery' and 'd' or 'p' haven't.

    Not only that, I also hear that the organisation supporting this view (the LINK) is supremely capitalistic, in that it requests payments for instruction in its doctrines, especially when people have been drawn into it.

    - nothing wrong with making money, of course, but why does a metaphysical conception such as was described in the quotation NEED money to propagate its views? Could not any materials be provided at cost?

    Many thanks again for posting the material. Perhaps it needs a special Thread/Title to itself.
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    DT STRAIN

    A further comment about your original question of the 'elasticity' of the 'skin'.
    "my actual body is a dynamic thing made up of the physical matter around me, which extends and contracts into different regions of the world according to the extent to which I can detect and control."


    All that means is what I said re: an individual's behaviours and the effects of those behaviours upon others through communicative measures... hitting someone, speaking to them, writing a book or article to persuade or entertain others, etc., even just painting a picture... but you are still trapped inside your skin.
     
  16. Jn_jean

    Jn_jean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear friends, here is another one.




    The site www.kabbalah.info is free!







    "We distinguish among many levels and many distinctions in the (upper, spiritual) worlds. And it is known that when one speaks about levels and distinctions, one speaks (only) regarding the souls' comprehension of what is received from these worlds; according to the principle that what one cannot comprehend, one cannot know by name and that is because the word 'name' connotes comprehension; it's similar to a person who names something after having comprehended some characteristic in it, according to his (depth of) comprehension.

    On this (principle) the totality of existence is divided with regards to spiritual comprehension into three distinctions:

    1) Atzmuto (the Unattainable Essence, "The Blessed Self") – it is beyond words and speech. The reason is that the root and origin of the creatures begins from the Thought of Creation; that is where they are included in the secret of "What ends in action, begins in thought".

    2) The Endless denotes the Thought of Creation - "He desires to delight His creatures, in the aspect of Endlessness" (endless delight).


    And that is the connection that exists between the Upper Force and The Souls. This connection is understood by us in the secret of a desire to delight the creatures. The Endless is the beginning of the activity. And He is called "Light without a Vessel" for there begins the root of the creatures, i.e. the connection that exists between the Creator and the created called His desire to do good to His creatures. This desire begins from The World of Infinity and extends until the World of Asiya.


    3) The Souls. The recipients of delight, existing in a desire to delight the creatures.

    The Endless is named so because this is the connection that exists between Atzmuto and The Souls, that we (the creatures) understand as the secret of a desire to give pleasure to His creatures. And outside of this connection of a desire to give pleasure we have no words. And it is there that the activity begins. And it is called Light without Vessel; yet, it is there that the root of the creatures commences, i.e., the connection between the Creator to the creatures that is called His Desire to delight His creatures, and this desire begins from the World of Infinity and extends until the World of Asiya.

    And all the (Upper) worlds as they are in themselves are as Light without a Vessel, and there is no speaking of them. And they are regarded as in the same aspect as Atzmuto. And thus there is no comprehension of them that would not be vis-a-vis the Souls.

    Do not be surprised that we distinguish there (in the worlds) many distinctions, and this is because these distinctions are there in an aspect of potentiality, that afterwards, upon the arrival of The Souls, these distinctions then become manifest to The Souls that receive the Upper Light according to their degree of correction and readiness. Then these distinctions are revealed in actuality. However, as long as The Souls do not grasp the Upper Light, then everything as they (the Upper worlds) are in themselves is considered to be the same aspect as Atzmuto.

    And vis-à-vis the Souls that receive from the worlds, these worlds are discerned in the secret of The Endless. That is because the connection that exists between the worlds and The Souls, i.e., what the worlds bestow to The Souls, this is continuous from the Thought of Creation, that is the aspect of a relation in common between Atzmuto and The Souls, and this relation is referred to by the name The Endless

    And all plurality of the names are only vis-à-vis the recipients, therefore, the first name that was made manifest in the secret of Root of the creatures is known as Atzmuto. And the manifestation of this name remains without any change at all. All restrictions and multiplying of the differences are done only vis-à-vis the recipients. And He shines always with the First Name called His desire to delight His creatures endlessly. And that afterwards there is a termination, this is a correction for the sake of the recipients that they may receive the Light.

    The Upper Light is composed of two aspects: the one who comprehends, (a soul), and a concept (light, an idea that is comprehended). And everything that is said with reference to the Upper Light is only about the comprehending soul's being effected by the idea. However, each component is by itself alone, i.e., the comprehending soul alone, or the idea (that is comprehended) alone; are not either of them called by the name The Endless. Rather the idea (alone, without a soul to comprehend it) is called by the name Atzmuto, and the comprehending soul (alone, without an idea to comprehend) is called by the name Souls -- which is a new aspect, that is separate from the whole. And it (Souls) is new in that there is implanted within it (something new, i.e.) a desire to receive. And because of this (new) manifestation the creation is called Yesh mi Ain (Existence from Absence).

    And vis-à-vis themselves the worlds are defined as a simple unity - there is no differentiation in the Upper, in the Spiritual- that is the secret I the Lord (God, the tetragrammaton) do not change. And in God, the Sefirot and manifest aspects are irrelevant. Even the names that are most subtle do not name the Light as It is in Itself - for the aspect of It's own Blessed Self is beyond comprehension. Rather, all the Sefirot and distinctions (in the upper worlds), one speaks of them only from what man can comprehend of them. Because The Blessed Creator desired that we comprehend and understand the flow (of His Light, the Light of the Upper Worlds, His beneficence) to us in the secret of His desire to delight His creatures.

    And in order that we be able to comprehend what He desired that we comprehend and understand in the secret of His desire to delight His creatures, He created and gave us these senses, and these senses perceive the Upper Light's effects.

    And with this there were made and measured out for us many distinctions because the general (universal) sense is called Desire to receive and it is divided into many, many particulars according to that measure the recipients are fit to receive. With regards to this there are many categories and details that are termed (spiritual) ascents and descents, ecstasy, withdrawal (from the body), and the like.

    And being that the desire to receive is called "creature" and "a new manifestation", therefore, precisely from that place where the Desire to receive begins to become excited - from there speech begins. And speech is differentiated by distinctions in excitement (verbs). For here (where speech is relevant) there exists already a side in common between the Upper Light and the Desire to receive.

    And this is termed Light and Vessel. However, with respect to Light Without a Vessel, speech is not relevant, as discussed above. For Light that is not an idea to be comprehended by a recipient is then distinguished as The Blessed Self, for there speech not permissible because comprehension is not possible. And that which is incomprehensible, how is it possible to give it a name?

    And from this we understand that appeal to the Creator has two aspects:

    1) The Creator. That denotes Atzmuto, here speech is not permissible, as discussed above.

    2) That which emanates continuously from Him, that denotes the Light that extends into our vessels, i.e., into our Desire to receive; it is this that is named The Endless. This is the connection that exists between the Creator with the creatures, that being the manifestation of His desire to delight His creatures. Thus, the Desire to delight denotes the Light that extends because its (the extended Light's) end is the Desire to receive.

    And while the Desire to receive receives the Light that extends, then the Light that extends is called by the name The Endless, and it comes unto the recipients through many coverings in order that the one below (on earth) be able to receive them.

    Thus according to this, all the distinctions and differences are relevant specifically to the recipient with regards and according to the recipient's (degree of) excitation from them (the Light that extends onto the recipient). But we need to understand the perspective of the speaker - when speaking about the distinctions in the (Upper) worlds - one speaks of distinctions in potential, and when the recipient comprehends (attains) those manifestations, then they are spoken of as actually existing.

    Spiritual comprehension is that the comprehending soul and idea that is comprehended join together. For without a comprehending soul - there is no form for that idea that is (to be) comprehended, since there is no one to receive the form of the idea that is (to be) comprehended. Therefore this aspect (of a formless idea) is distinguished by the name Atzmuto, and there is no place to speak at all. And it is irrelevant to say that the idea that is comprehended received some form from itself. And we have nothing to say but from a place that our senses are excited by the Light that is extended, which is a manifestation of His desire to delight His creatures, and it comes onto the recipients in actuality.

    And this is similar to our looking at a table. Then, according to our sense of touch, we feel that it is a hard thing. And so too its width and length, and all of it according to our senses. But this is not to say that the table must appear thus to someone with another sort of senses, for example, an angel, when gazing at the table with his eyes, sees it according to his senses. Therefore, we do not have any set form (of the table) with regards to the angel, because we have no knowledge of his senses...

    And from here, it's axiomatic that we have nothing to say about the form of the worlds according to Him; we only comprehend the worlds according to our senses and our feelings. And this is the interpretation of: "There is no change in the Light". Thus, all the modifications are in the vessels, i.e., in our senses; for all is measured according to our notions. And from this you can infer, that if many persons gaze on one spiritual thing, that each one of them comprehends it according to his notion and his senses. And therefore, each one sees a different form. And similarly, in the person himself the form changes according to his own positive or negative states of mind. As mentioned above that the Light is a simple Light, and all the modifications are only in the recipients."

    Author: Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag

     
  17. louis

    louis New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    From Louis....
    I totaly agree with you. I have never understood religeous belief
    or faith - maybe that's because I'm a little bit autistic and I don't
    think much about things outside of myself. But I do draw pictures
    ( which are like little pieces of my thoughts and feelings ) and other people like them enough to buy them. I also buy artwork by
    other people so it's like a constant exchange . We don't just live in
    our own heads all the time.
     
  18. Blue

    Blue Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry to say it Jn Jean, but that Kabbalah stuff appears to me to be a rather nasty, confusing set of pronouncements which sounds more like propaganda than anything else.

    How can anyone take seriously stuff about 'Upper Forces' and 'The Souls', and 'Upper Light'?

    Where is the evidence for any of it?

    People may believe whatever they like, but to wed oneself to such metaphysical concepts as if they are truths beyond self is rank irrationality, in my personal opinion.

    Not only that, but on investigating Kabbalah, as I have, I observe that it is a very expensive faith when it comes to one's pockets! (True or not?)

    Why doesn't this Kabbalistic Rabbi pay more attention to what IS rather than making vaguely 'scientific' comments about perception, which neuro-scientists, biologists and psychologists as well as geneticists and neuro-surgeons already know quite a bit about!

    The affective domain can be whatever any individual likes to conceive, the domain beyond self constituting objective and material concerns is what can be amenable to investigation.

    Kabbalah is just one affective conception of many, and has only as much justification as anyone else's.

    This, for example, is absolute nonesense that I fail to see achieves or states anything of use to anyone:
    "And vis-à-vis the Souls that receive from the worlds, these worlds are discerned in the secret of The Endless. That is because the connection that exists between the worlds and The Souls, i.e., what the worlds bestow to The Souls, this is continuous from the Thought of Creation, that is the aspect of a relation in common between Atzmuto and The Souls, and this relation is referred to by the name The Endless"
    --- meaningless and esoteric metaphysical nonsense, my friend.

    Do you believe all that? To what purpose?
    :eek:
     
  19. Jn_jean

    Jn_jean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Blue,

    Check it out:
    [Mod edit: large block of cut & pasted text removed - see next message]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2005
  20. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jn_Jean: (and others...)

    Please limit the quoting in your posting to summaries and excerpts when you're quoting other peoples work, and respect their copyrights. Quoting large blocks of text from other websites or authors is not permitted under copyright law, and is hence a violation of the code of conduct. If there's an interesting article by someone, please feel free to summarize their article and add a link if you think it's relevant to the discussion, but wholesale cut & paste isn't allowed.

    .. Bruce, Moderator
     

Share This Page