- Oct 2022
yogachara theory and i'm thinking here about three nature theory and three naturelessness theory suggests to us that we are simply wired for certain illusions and among them is 00:29:19 the illusion of immediacy um and we're wired to thematize our experience through the framework of subject object duality i often compare this to the way that we're wired for certain 00:29:31 optical illusions for instance you don't have to learn to see the mueller liar illusion as an illusion we all see it as an illusion and it's because of the way our visual system has evolved and there are lots of other optical illusions like 00:29:44 that the color five phenomenon for instance and so forth yogachara really takes very seriously the idea that from beginning with time we've evolved karmic predispositions to certain kinds of 00:29:55 illusions and these are some of them and of course a little bit of reflection shows that that duality has to be illusory um after all um we are 00:30:09 not subject pure subjects standing outside of the world of our experience confronting a world of objects some of them outer and some of them inner that's the vedanta position that ain't the buddhist position instead what we are is 00:30:24 organisms and again i will set aside all of the debates we might have about how those organisms are constituted but we are organisms embedded in an environment and our bodies our sense faculties are 00:30:37 part of the world in which we find ourselves as a consequence our subjectivity our own engagement with the world is constituted not by standing outside and detecting things but rather by being 00:30:51 embedded in the world and the only way that we could possibly become aware of any object whether it's a tree or an apple or a thought or a feeling is to construct that as an object in our field 00:31:04 of consciousness even if in doing so we manage to hide from ourselves the fact that we are constructing it
yogacara theory holds that we are hard-wired for the illusion of immediacy and to see from subject/object dualism, even though part of us know we are embedded in the world and not completely separate from it.
!- critical insight : suffering - we manage to hide the fact that we construct the object we experience from ourselves
Example of this illusion of immediacy is how we have so many visual illusions.
this is not to say that our inner life has some kind of a second grade um existence conventional reality is not 00:25:14 second level reality um because as the guardian and chandra kirti also emphasized we must remember that conventional reality dependent 00:25:26 origination is exactly the same as emptiness which is ultimate reality the only kind of reality anything that we ever encounter is going to have is conventional reality so when i'm talking 00:25:38 here about cognitive illusion i'm not arguing that the existence of our interstates um is illusory i'm arguing that the illusion is that we have immediate access to them as they are and 00:25:51 that their mode of existence um is um intrinsic existence so this allows us to understand the majority analysis of the most fundamental cognitive illusion 00:26:04 of all the illusion of the immediacy of our knowledge of our own minds and the givenness of our own interstates and processes our direct knowledge of them as the kinds of things they are independent of 00:26:18 any concepts that's the illusion that wittgenstein quine and sellers each in there worked so hard in the 20th century to diagnose and to cure but we can put this just as easily and maybe more 00:26:31 easily in the terms of second century indian madhyamaka the fundamental cognitive illusion is to take our mental states to exist intrinsically rather than conventionally and to take our knowledge of them to be 00:26:45 immediate independent of conventions this illusion is pervasive it is instinctive and it is profoundly self-alienating because it obscures the deeply conventional character of our own 00:26:57 existence and of our self-knowledge and this illusion is what according to buddhist philosophers lies at the root of our grasping of our attraction and diversion and hence at the root of the 00:27:09 pervasive suffering of existence
This fundamental illusion of immediacy lay at the root of our ignorance in the world. We mistaken our mental states to exist intrinsically instead of conventionally. We don't think they depend on language, but they do, in a very deep way.
From a Deep Humanity perspective, even our instantly arisen mental states are part of the symbolosphere..mediated by the years of language conditioning of our culture.
!- critical insight of : Buddhist philosophy - we take our mental states to exist intrinsically rather than conventionally - this illusion is pervasive, instinctive and profoundly self-alienating and lay at the root of all suffering Our language symbols are our model through which we interpret reality. We inhabit the symbolosphere but we mistaken it for intrinsic reality.
the reason is that a perception 00:10:38 is kind of perceptual in structure and the buddhist world encodes this by arguing that the internal um sense the the manus venana is a sense faculty just like external faculties 00:10:52 and so just as our external faculties present us with a world that just seems to us even though we know it's not to be just as it is that we see it just as it is 00:11:03 it's tempting to think that we've got this apparent object distinct from our sensory apprehension of it but is but an object that's presented by a completely veritable process 00:11:15 because as i say perception just feels like it presents the world to us as it is i look at a red apple and i think damn i know exactly what that apple smells like looks like tastes like and 00:11:27 feels like forgetting that all i have is the apple as it's mediated by the peculiar perceptual system that i have and by all of the conceptual resources through which i filtered my perception 00:11:41 so in the same way a perception or introspective awareness just feels like it presents our own cognitive affective and perceptual states to us just as they are 00:11:53 independent of that appreceptive system and those conceptual categories so just as external perception gives us the illusion that we're just detectors of the world as it is inner perception can give us the illusion that we are just 00:12:06 detectors of our inner um our inner world just as it is so even when we remind ourselves as i'm reminding you right now of this 00:12:18 extremely complex mediation of our perceptual encounter with external objects we find ourselves in constantly experiencing our own experience as though 00:12:31 we've got the world just as it is and then we sometimes say okay maybe we're not getting the world just as it is but at least i'm getting my sensory experiences just as they are the apple might not be red but the redness i 00:12:42 experience is exactly the redness that i think i experience the sweetness that i introspect must be the sweetness just as it is and so forth so even if we give up for a moment and it's hard to give it up 00:12:54 for more than that the notion of immediacy with regard to external perception we often retreat to thinking that that's mediated but my awareness of my own inner episodes is the immediate 00:13:06 awareness that mediates my knowledge of the external world and i think that in the sense of that perception that sense of immediacy is even greater it's really hard for us to be convinced that our inner experience 00:13:20 could possibly be deceptive we seem to think that if i think that i believe something i must believe it if i think that i'm feeling something i must be feeling it and that feeling and that believing grab my inner 00:13:33 reality just as it is and so part of the problem that arises is that the mediation of our introspective awareness by our introspective faculty becomes 00:13:46 cognitively invisible to us just as what i'm seeing the world my visual faculty is invisible and it just delivers a visible world to me and i have to really think to to understand 00:13:58 what my own visual faculty visual organ and visual consciousness are contributing i think i experience my introspective faculty as just giving me inner objects and i have to think and remind myself 00:14:11 that actually my inner sense faculty is also a fallible instrument and that i may be misusing that instrument or that instrument might be intrinsically deceptive and that's a hard thing to get one's mind around 00:14:25 as a consequence we've become seduced by this idea that even if our knowledge of some things is mediated that mediation can't go all the way down we get seduced by the idea that there's got to be a 00:14:38 basic foundational level of experience to which we can have some kind of immediate access and to which when we know it we know it absolutely veritically in the theory of knowledge that leads us to foundationalism in the 00:14:51 philosophy of mind it leads us to sense datum theory um and i find that in a lot of buddhist situations a lot of buddhist practitioners take it to be this idea of an infallibility of an immediate kind of 00:15:03 experience if i'm sitting on the cushion just right so with all of that in play um i want to move to exercising that myth of the given that i've been characterizing 00:15:16 and to show that buddhist philosophy offers us powerful ways of doing that and i'm going to begin by talking about first person knowledge through the lens of the madhyamaka tradition
Jay emphasizes the compelling sense of this allure of immediacy. We believe that our perceptual and our introspective faculties give us an infallible representation of reality, and never question that it could be fallible.
This is very much aligned with the research on Umwelt by Jakob Von Uexkull.
Aperception, the introspection and awareness of our inner space is just as alluring.
So in summary: perception gives us the feeling that we are sensing the way the external world actually is and aperception gives us the feeling that we are aware of the inner world as it is. However, both are relative, the first to our peculiar sense faculties and the second to our linguistic and conceptual modeling of reality. Both are specific filters that create the specific situated interpretation of reality as a human being.
- Cognitive illusions
- Wilfred Sellers
- mediating layer
- perceptual faculty
- intrinsic reality
- Jakob Von Uexkull
- W Quine
- illusion of immediacy
- immediacy of experience
- allure of immediacy
- cognitive illusion
- conventional reality
- introspective faculty