Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
A Quiet Space | moderated by Clive Elwell

What is experience?


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Sun, 28 Jan 2018 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Peter, you have often talked of qualia. Is qualia the absence of experience? Is it perception when there is no experience? I have been thinking reflecting on just what is experience and I am drawn to the conclusion that experience must involve recognition. Without recognition there is no experience, is there? Recognition means incorporating an observation, a reaction, into the framework of what is in the mind already, no?

This leaves one to the disturbing conclusion that there is no such thing as a new experience. What do you say? What do others say?

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Sun, 28 Jan 2018 #2
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
I am drawn to the conclusion that experience must involve recognition.

Could you please elaborate on that (with an example if possible)? Recognition of what?

Going to bed now, will read your answer (and that of Peter if he says something about it) tomorrow ... Good Night!

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

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Mon, 29 Jan 2018 #3
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 569 posts in this forum Offline

About this word qualia,

Taking matter to be real...

Scientists have explored the material world. In this exploration there have been things we seem to understand, a little in some fields, and a lot in others. They...humans...we... have explored things at scales from the ultra microscopic to what seems to be the whole of space. If there is anything beyond the edge no light from it will ever reach us. Science has to be given due credit.

The biologists say there are something like eighty billion nerve cells in the human brain. We know essentially how these nerves work. There is an imbalance of charge on the surface of the nerve produced by molecular pumps and when that imbalance is disrupted at a receptor on the nerve cell that disruption spreads along the nerve fiber. There are transmitter molecules released to the next cell and the pumps restore the ionic imbalance in the first cell.

We know how the cells in the retina work. A photon strikes one of the cells there and a signal starts in a nerve traveling into the brain. Light of various frequencies affect different cells. In the brain there is no light at all. There are no colors. It is completely dark,blackness only.

So how is it that we see red or any other color? The actual thing being seen, as it is being seen, the seeing of it, is called qualia. This can be expanded to include any and everything experienced including shapes, edges, objects, anger, envy, fear, thought... everything that is being experienced as it is being experienced, all of it is not explainable.

There is a book, (I haven't read it) I think it's titled What it's like to be a bat . What we are talking about is what it's like. For any thing that there is a what it's like...That is sentience.

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Mon, 29 Jan 2018.

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Mon, 29 Jan 2018 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
Could you please elaborate on that (with an example if possible)? Recognition of what?

Yesterday I went for a walk along the river here. Sitting on a bench, I observed a cormorant land on the water. He soon transferred to a dead branch of a fallen tree, out of the flow of the water. Then he spread his wings to dry, in the manner of his kind. And from time to time he preened his feathers. Eventually he was joined by another cormorant, lower down the branch.

Now what I describe above is obviously an experience, no. The series of observations has become an experience in my mind. What has made it so?

Surely recognition has at least played a part in that experience forming. Even the words I use, river, cormorant, branch, spread .... they imply recognition of what what was seen. Which means fitting into the framework of what is already known, through those words.

So the experience is formed, which becomes memory - is that one process, or two? And so I am able to describe the experience to you. It seems to me without the recognition process, no experience would be formed, no memory laid now. What would that mean? Does it not imply a process of EXPERIENCING, without recognition, which is entirely different from experience.

Incidently, I am asking myself if there was an experience of the bird without words - and of course there was - I have mental pictures of the scene.

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Tue, 30 Jan 2018 #5
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 465 posts in this forum Offline

#4:

Clive Elwell wrote:
Does it not imply a process of EXPERIENCING, without recognition, which is entirely different from experience.

I think so, Clive.

Experience, as you say, is based on memory. And that memory-based process - recognizing, assembling, recording, registering the "components" of the experience - is not to be confused with the actual, living, experiencing of it. As the brain is automatically doing its thing - recognizing, assembling, recording and registering - there is also experiencing going on. The mechanical process of putting together the experience is not the actual, living, experiencing. The experiencing is the beauty, the sorrow, the love, the depression - whatever it is - that is felt in the fleeting moment that is now, isn’t it? The memory of the beauty etc. is part of the experience that is registered. The experience remains and the experiencing of that is gone.

Similarly, during a walk, the brain is doing its thing - measuring strides, calculating where the foot should go down, balancing the body, the arms, etc. but that job performance by the brain does not intrude into or detract from the experiencing of the walk.

There is beauty in the process of experience, I think. There is no need to denigrate or dismiss it. It can’t be wilfully dismissed anyway nor is there any reason to dismiss or denigrate it, it seems to me. It does need to be observed and understood for what it is. That process is not the whole of the human being, nor the essence of the whole, unfragmented human being; it is not the key to unlocking understanding. It IS a crucial part of being human.

The problem that arises with experience, I think, is where it is given authority and where it is valued beyond its proper place. And the “entity” which gives it that authority and value is the very process which assembles the experience and which assembles self, isn’t it?

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Tue, 30 Jan 2018 #6
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
It can’t be wilfully dismissed anyway nor is there any reason to dismiss or denigrate it, it seems to me. It does need to be observed and understood for what it is.

I think that is so, Huguette. But one observes that experience (closely akin to sensation) is deliberately sought out. It has become the measure of people's lives. It is deemed to insert meaning into one's life.

Why is this? Why has the accumulation of experience become so all important? Is it precisely because we have lost touch with experiencing itself? Is it because we feel there is only meaning in the things that can be accumulated?

In the same way we are much more concerned with 'what we have understood' rather than the process of understanding from moment to moment, are we not?

Good to see you posting again, by the way, Huguette.

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Wed, 31 Jan 2018 #7
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 465 posts in this forum Offline

Clive,

As I see it, it's part of the supremacy or authority given to thought by thought - thought which includes self, consciousness, knowledge, the intellect. It is ignorance, lack of self-understanding. Is that it? Is it something else?

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Wed, 31 Jan 2018 #8
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

As I see it, the self must have food. What does it feed on? Is it not identification? And are not identification and experience practically synonymous?

Experience, having been laid down in memory, reappears as the self does it not? A fragment of the many fragments which make up the self, As it reappears under the guise of the thinker, that experience has become a hammer. Hammer with which to hit other fragments, other experiences. And so …. all the conflict which plagues the mind.

Is this how you see it?

The self can never be static. It can never be secure. It has to keep moving forward just to continue to exist. Although in a sense the self IS static in that it never changes its basic form, basic movement - which is the movement of identification.

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Thu, 01 Feb 2018 #9
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
As I see it, the self must have food. What does it feed on? Is it not identification? And are not identification and experience practically synonymous?

We identify with our pleasures and fears. Our experience is made up of that. And our whole life is centered around the continuation of those pleasurable experiences and avoidance of emotional pain. Does this seem right?

Let it Be

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Fri, 02 Feb 2018 #10
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
We identify with our pleasures and fears. Our experience is made up of that.

Pleasurable and unpleasurable seem to be tags that we put on every experience. Which means what? - that the self compulsively labels them according to how it perceives them, imagines them, enlarging or diminishing itself. Is that an indication of the fundamental insecurity of the self?

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Fri, 02 Feb 2018 #11
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Pleasurable and unpleasurable seem to be tags that we put on every experience. Which means what? -

It's not just the tag....it's our whole experience of living. I practice and practice to become a better golfer or skier....eagerly anticipating my weekend golf game with my friends. I talk endlessly about my favorite football team. I feel overjoyed if they win the superbowl....sad and morose if they don't even make the playoffs. We collect movies, dvds, music/cd's, books, art...vintage wine...jewelry...designer clothes....all to ensure continued pleasure in the future.

Is that an indication of the fundamental insecurity of the self?

It seems to be so, yes.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Fri, 02 Feb 2018.

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Fri, 02 Feb 2018 #12
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
I practice and practice to become a better golfer .../... eagerly anticipating my weekend golf game with my friends.

Oh Yes!

K: I played golf. Do you know what golf is? I was very good at it.


J. Krishnamurti, 3rd Dialogue with Students - Rishi Valley December 1982

What's the next reasoning?

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

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Fri, 02 Feb 2018 #13
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
What's the next reasoning?

Are we having a debate here? I was speaking above about the attachment to pleasure. I'm sure one can enjoy a game of golf without attachment ...without identifying with one's skill...without attachment to results or success. But the fact is most of us DO get very attached to our favorite sport or TV show or rock band. We DO identify....with our favorite team or rock band or movie star. Now please don't go and tell us that K liked to watch adventure movies and wear expensive clothes, though he did ;)

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Fri, 02 Feb 2018.

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Fri, 02 Feb 2018 #14
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Now please don't go and tell us that K liked to watch adventure movies and wear expensive clothes, though he did :)

LOL! :-))

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

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Sat, 03 Feb 2018 #15
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 465 posts in this forum Offline

#8:

Clive Elwell wrote:
As I see it, the self must have food. What does it feed on? Is it not identification? And are not identification and experience practically synonymous?

Experience, having been laid down in memory, reappears as the self does it not? A fragment of the many fragments which make up the self, As it reappears under the guise of the thinker, that experience has become a hammer. Hammer with which to hit other fragments, other experiences. And so …. all the conflict which plagues the mind.

Is this how you see it?

The self can never be static. It can never be secure. It has to keep moving forward just to continue to exist. Although in a sense the self IS static in that it never changes its basic form, basic movement - which is the movement of identification.

Clive,

Does the “self” have to have food? Is it possible to “starve” the self? If only! :o)

The food you’re talking about - identification - IS thought. And experience IS thought, isn’t it? Self IS thought. So this food IS the self, and the self IS the food, isn't it? - if that makes any sense.

I turn on the furnace and it produces heat in the house. When the furnace is not turned on, there’s no heat produced. Heat is not somehow standing by waiting to be turned on, just as self is not standing by waiting to be fed. When the “switch” is not turned on, there's no heat. Where there's no thought, there's no self. Is it so?

I don’t see experience as a distinct “problem”, separate from the thinker and thought, separate from observer and observed, lover and love, judge and judgment, and so on.

From yesterday’s (I think it was yesterday) QOTD:

The thinker is the thought. They are not separate, they are a joint phenomenon and not separate processes.

Experience also is not a problem or process separate from thought, is it? Isn’t the “joint phenomenon” of thinker and thought the same process as experiencer and experience, observer and observed? Isn’t the experiencer the experience, just as the thinker is the thought and the observer is the observed?

I might have misunderstood what you were saying .... and more!

This post was last updated by Huguette . Sat, 03 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #16
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
Does the “self” have to have food? Is it possible to “starve” the self? If only! :o)

Clive:Well, it is only an analogy to talk that way, but it seems to me there must be some input, some energy, some process that keeps the self going. And perhaps the self can be starved – not by any act of will, obviously, but by negation. By an ongoing awareness of the falseness of the self. By DE-identification, if there issuch a word.

The food you’re talking about - identification - IS thought.

Clive: I would rather say that identification is a process IN thought. Does the distinction have any significance?

And experience IS thought, isn’t it?

Clive: It is memory. What is the relationship between memory and thought? Memory reacts to a challenge, and that reaction is thought, is that it? Can we say thought is memory acting in the present?

Self IS thought.

Clive: yes.

So this food IS the self, and the self IS the food, isn't it? - if that makes any sense.
I turn on the furnace and it produces heat in the house. When the furnace is not turned on, there’s no heat produced. Heat is not somehow standing by waiting to be turned on, just as self is not standing by waiting to be fed. When the “switch” is not turned on, there's no heat. Where there's no thought, there's no self. Is it so?

Clive: The self is thought, thought is a particular guise, thought acting as if it had a centre.

I don’t see experience as a distinct “problem”, separate from the thinker and thought, separate from observer and observed, lover and love, judge and judgment, and so on.
From yesterday’s (I think it was yesterday) QOTD:
The thinker is the thought. They are not separate, they are a joint phenomenon and not separate processes.
Experience also is not a problem or process separate from thought, is it? Isn’t the “joint phenomenon” of thinker and thought the same process as experiencer and experience, observer and observed? Isn’t the experiencer the experience, just as the thinker is the thought and the observer is the observed?

Clive: I could answer “yes, of course”, but such an answer would be from memory only. Experience, in fact. And at the moment the mind doesn't seem to have the energy to look afresh at the issue.

I might have misunderstood what you were saying .... and more!

Clive: On the other hand I might have been wrong.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #17
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 465 posts in this forum Offline

#16:

The food you’re talking about - identification - IS thought.


Clive: I would rather say that identification is a process IN thought. Does the distinction have any significance?

I’m just wondering, is there any thought that is not a process in thought? Whether it is a random thought, a belief, an idea, an opinion, an exposé, an obsession, etc., or whether it is thinking - which also includes reasoning (sane or not), comparison, measure, interpretation, extrapolation, and so on - isn’t thought the outcome of a cerebral process? “Thought” refers both to the outcome and to the process, doesn’t it? Or can we say that the outcome is part of the whole process?


And experience IS thought, isn’t it?


Clive: It is memory. What is the relationship between memory and thought? Memory reacts to a challenge, and that reaction is thought, is that it? Can we say thought is memory acting in the present?

Isn’t memory itself part of the whole thought process? There can’t be thought without memory, can there? Just as perhaps “a” thought is the outcome of the whole process, can we say that memory is the starting point of the thought process?


Clive: The self is thought, thought is a particular guise, thought acting as if it had a centre.

Yes, that’s the thought we’re talking about, trying to understand - self, the centre, thought separating itself from itself.

This post was last updated by Huguette . Sun, 04 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #18
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
Does the “self” have to have food?

Yes, otherwise there would be no 'self' ... The 'food' being the minds of all of us who feel all what we live emotionally, as actual.

Huguette . wrote:
Is it possible to “starve” the self?

Yes, question everything you consider as your "experience of life" without trying to transform that 'self', and there you go!

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #19
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
Huguette . wrote:

Is it possible to “starve” the self?

Yes, question everything you consider as your "experience of life" without trying to transform that 'self', and there you go!

Not sure how that questioning will starve the 'me', Juan. Questioning all the cravings and attachments? How will questioning end my desire to smoke (I don't, btw....just as an example)? Or my alcoholism (again, as an example)? Or my attachment to my sports teams which I discuss endlessly at the bar with my friends in order to escape the boredom and dullness of my every day existence?

Let it Be

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #20
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
How will questioning end my desire to smoke (I don't, btw....just as an example)? Or my alcoholism (again, as an example)? Or my attachment to my sports teams which I discuss endlessly at the bar with my friends in order to escape the boredom and dullness of my every day existence?

Of course Tom, when someone is attached to its own views about the impossibility of 'changing' anything (it doesn't matter if it is through questioning, observing, or whatever), it's fairly obvious that it becomes really impossible for one to question anything (including any possibility of change through questioning) because it appears impossible for oneself to look beyond all those images one is attached to and the own belief that it is impossible to change them in any way ... And i'm not talking precisely about the attachment to smoke, alcohol, or whatever else we may put as an example ... No, i'm just talking about the attachment most of us have to our intellectual understanding of the words of another (K in this forum).

Anyway, living in the stream is like this! ... Ideas and more ideas without even trying to put in action the slightest piece of those ideas ... simply because we have already drawn a conclusion of what would imply any 'try' through a merely intellectual/logical understanding of the words of another.

When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it


K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

This post was last updated by Juan E Sun, 04 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #21
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

I was simply asking, Juan, 'questioning in what manner?" when I want to smoke or drink? What manner of questioning? Is this an intellectual questioning or something else?

Let it Be

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #22
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

C'mon Tom, we all know in which manner we have to question, we don't need someone else to give us an answer to the question "questioning in what manner?" ... Or perhaps it's true, and we need someone else answer for us ... but only for us to spend thousand more years trying to find out if "is this and intellectual questioning or something else?", not doing anything about it as always.

For God's sake!

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

This post was last updated by Juan E Sun, 04 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #23
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 465 posts in this forum Offline

#21:

Tom Paine wrote:
What manner of questioning? Is this an intellectual questioning or something else?

Tom, I think that it IS crucial to observe the questioning itself, to be aware of even a shadow of motive, effort, desire, hope, attachment, etc., involved in questioning. As long as there is a direction, an aim, a goal, there's no true questioning, as far as I understand it. Where there IS a direction, the outline of the answer has already been formed, hasn’t it? To observe questioning is not separate from awareness. Awareness doesn't "take a break" during questioning.

Questioning, to me, must not contain even the ghost of "the" answer, no element of an answer. Otherwise, it is not truly questioning, is it? After all, to question MEANS that one does NOT know, doesn’t it?

And in the context of understanding self, consciousness, sorrow, pleasure, love, hate, etc., questioning means that no textbook answer, no affirmative answer, CAN be formulated as it is in other fields such as science, art, etc.

So as I question, I must observe myself to understand my questioning, and also I must observe myself as I formulate answers. Nothing can be taken for granted, can it?

This post was last updated by Huguette . Sun, 04 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #24
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
C'mon Tom, we all know in which manner we have to question

Not at all, Juan. But Huguette just gave a very good answer to my question, while you continue to give a lecture as if you're above it all somehow. Well I will part company with you here, as when I express my view/s or ask a question, you respond by giving a lecture like the professor(arrogant?) to the students. I'm not interested in continuing in that manner.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sun, 04 Feb 2018.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #25
Thumb_avatar Juan E Spain 539 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
I'm not interested in continuing in that manner

OK, got it ... sad that you think that of me ... Anyway, no problen in keeping silent again ... Sorry for whatever i have said that could made you feel bad somewhat ... i will not 'disturb' you anymore ... bye Tom, take care!

"When i talk to audiences, they know what i'm talking about ... another thing is that they do something about it" - K. Brockwood Park (Making ideas of the Teaching)

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #26
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2109 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
Tom, I think that it IS crucial to observe the questioning itself, to be aware of even a shadow of motive, effort, desire, hope, attachment, etc., involved in questioning. As long as there is a direction, an aim, a goal, there's no true questioning, as far as I understand it. Where there IS a direction, the outline of the answer has already been formed, hasn’t it? To observe questioning is not separate from awareness. Awareness doesn't "take a break" during questioning.

This is a very thorough reply, Huguette. Thanks. I want to question my smoking or drinking habit because it brings pain. I do have a motive or goal...the goal to understand this self destructive behavior. I want to come back to this interesting topic later when I can give your reply the attention it deserves. Right now I'm in the noisy lounge at the supermarket having a snack before I begin our grocery shopping. I hope to come back to this later.

Let it Be

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #27
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
“Thought” refers both to the outcome and to the process, doesn’t it? Or can we say that the outcome is part of the whole process?

What exactly do you mean by "process" here, Huguette? Purely psychological (ie put together by thought) or does it include all the material process, the cerebral process, the activity of the brain cells.

Actually, I am not sure by what you mean by "outcome", also. Sorry to be slow on the uptake!

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #28
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
. simply because we have already drawn a conclusion of what would imply any 'try'

Yes, this is an important point. I have often observed people draw a conclusion about what change would mean, and this blocks further investigation. Even though such conclusion is pure speculation.

An example of taking psycholoigcal knowledge to be real, absolute, true.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #29
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Juan E wrote:
C'mon Tom, we all know in which manner we have to question,

It seems a reasonable question to me, to enquire into what exactly questioning means, what form it is taking, is it verbal, purely intellectual, does it have passion behind it ....... etc.

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Sun, 04 Feb 2018 #30
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4023 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
I hope to come back to this later.

Please do so, Tom.

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