Friday, July 20, 2007

Against the Tide!

One of my favorite books is Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, the story of a young man in search of the ultimate truth or meaning of life. He becomes a wandering ascetic, but starving himself of all the world's pleasures doesn't bring him any closer to the truth, then he goes over to the opposite side and becomes a decadent hedonist, losing himself to a world of titillation and pleasure but that merely eats away his spirits and he becomes like the rest of the lost herd.

At the end he realizes that being nothing, doing nothing, just being - being empty, neither a practitioner nor a devotee, neither meditating nor reciting, just putting his ear to the river to blending in with the world, will he find his truth.

In Taoist philosophy, the river is a metaphor for life, never still, always changing. According to the natural order of things the river will always flow towards the sea. If we surrender life will carry us, wherever we want to go. The river's flow is yielding yet strong , with its ability to maneuver itself around all obstacles, its fluidity making it's path easier. It changes constantly to achieve its singular goal - that being to join the sea.

Yet I have always found myself opposing the river, maybe some of the disquietude in my soul can be blamed to not relinquishing myself to the the flow of things and letting things happen the way they are supposed to be. Maybe I try to find the quickest route and hurry and multi-task and get impatient for things to happen, for me to get the answers to all of life's riddles. Maybe I am stupid to be the angry wave, crashing and fighting against the gentle yet powerful river, going against the flow. Not allowing it time to carry me to the sea - swimming upstream for no reason - trying not to get enchanted by the shapes in the cave.

Maybe I should stop the struggle, do nothing, forget the journey and just swim along the decided sea, avoiding a different course. The calm of life's natural flow - invites me to surrender, to carry me, inviting me to trust it and let it make me forget. Yet how can I not know, how can I float blindly. How can I not want to to flee the cave and come back and take you with me?

The Taoist principle of Wu Wei , or the art of inaction says that if we do nothing, matters resolve themselves, essential to Wu Wei is avoidance of exerting pointless effort and contradicting nature. Abandoning tension to arrive at a quietude.

But if I stop asking won't I stop being? Am I vain to want to be - to be the one who goes out and comes back for the rest?

41 comments:

paisley said...

some how nature has its own way of dealing with those of us that are forever crashing against the shores as we try to cause the water to flow the way we feel it should flow....

its called age... and it rightens things we have no ability to....

we are all afforded that opportunity to tread the water,, and fight the course of the tide... but in the end... the water always wins....

HollyGL said...

Paisley is right. It does have to do with age. As the years pass, and you add more to your treasure chest of life experience, or burn other experiences in effigy, I think you realize that its all about balance.

Reaching that place where you understand at an almost instinctual level when to assert, and when to allow. I, of course, have not reached that place. :) But I'm closer now than I was 10 years ago.

The "allowing" part is very difficult for me too. Its not a very natural state for me, but I know, somehow, it would be the most healthy. The mere fact that you are pondering these questions is testament to the liklihood that you will eventually find that balance.

Random Magus said...

I find the same struggle inside me there are times when you are just peaceful to let it be, to just flow then you just create a storm.
It's like I want to find the balance yet am scared that life will stop being interesting if I allow myself to flow. Crazy right?

Lirun said...

;)

Peter Haslam said...

When you go we go.

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

it is similar to the Christian line of thought.."Let go and Let God". The concept seems easy enough but it is hard to practice. To surrender your will and completely turn every problem and every aspect of your life over to God and believe that it will all work out perfectly - Is So Hard To Do!!! It is human nature to want to be in control and take charge of our own lives. But as Paisley said, with age comes wisdom and suddenly it makes more sense. When the wind blows...the tree bends with it...if it didn't well...i guess you can see where i am going with that!

HollyGL said...

I understand. ...more than you know. I know its scary. I think it has to do with a perception of loss of control, but we never really "control" things, or situations. It just helps maintain our sanity sometimes to believe that we do. Give it a try. The worst that can happen is you get bored, and go back to pounding the shore. ;)

Aldon Hynes said...

Siddhartha has long been a favorite book of mine as well. I've read just about everything Hesse has written as well as authors that were influential to Hesse, like Gottfried Keller.

I remember reading somewhere, but I don't remember where, that Hesse said you should not read anything he wrote before he was fifty, and you should only read it after you were fifty.

Siddhartha comes close. He wrote it when he was 45. I'm now 48 and I understand the longing to stop striving.

It's interesting, just before reading this, I was over at Kellyology's blog where she did one of those online quizzes about burnout. She scored 74%. I hit 90%.

I'm sure that plays in there somewhere.

Back to the image of the river, I've found that there are times that I feel like flotsam on a river. Tossed about, sometimes getting stuck in an eddy behind a rock, sometimes drifting through slow water, but always moving.

Enough. I should get some sleep.

Blur Ting said...

We go through phases in our life where we are learning and finding which direction to go. Like what Paisley and Holly said, time and age will help you find the way.

In 10 years' time, I'm sure you'll look back and wonder why you were struggling so much.

Bobby Revell said...

Just remember Amber many Taoist philosophies aren't meant to be understood in the traditional sense. Here's an example you can get my drift:
{The martial arts legend Bruce Lee said that when one fights he is to become a wooden doll devoid of all thought and emotion.}
Ok, but how can one fight in such a lifeless state? Well, that's not what he means. When he fights he will be an explosive force of energy and emotion. What is meant is that he is an emotionless, thoughtless wooden doll so that his fighting spirit is allowed to happen on it's own without his having to think about it, because thought is a distraction.
You said,"But if I stop asking won't I stop being? Am I vain to want to be - to be the one who goes out and comes back for the rest?"
It's ok to ask! It's is not vain to want that, it is natural.
The Taoist philosophy isn't comprehended logically. Actually Zen cannot be comprehended. If one even refers to Zen then it is not Zen. Taoistic concepts just are, they are not understood. For example if you draw a blank trying to write a new post, you draw a blank because you are trying to and thinking about it. Let go, don't think (don't try to not think either) just write what is, it WILL HAPPEN ALL BY ITSELF, ON IT'S OWN. You allow a higher power to happen through you rather than conceptualizing it yourself:)

Greg said...

I agree with a bit of what Bobby is saying but I think it could go a bit further. First Taoism is both a philosophy and a religion. They are similar, but not the same. Zen is very different from either form of Taoism.

The idea that any of these cannot be considered logically is not true. This is usually said to students by teachers to keep them quiet and focus on their studies, to instill discipline. It's more like Louis Armstrong once said about jazz, "If you have to ask, you'll never understand."

The concept of Wu Wei or "action through inaction" is very often misunderstood. Bobby describes it pretty well, but leaves out something important. You cannot talk about Wu Wei without understanding a lot of other things that would be taken for granted by people learning about this.

For one, you must consider, in this context/philosophy, the concept that the world is made of a constructive and a destructive force; there is interplay between these. This is the idea of yin/yang, feminine/masculine, water/fire, etc. One who is unprepared and jumps into a river will be torn apart.

Chinese martial arts used to be (and often still is) called kung-fu or gung-fu. This term actually just means excellences, but was often used to describe the martial arts that others observed. But there is kung-fu in all things, not just wu-shu. There is excellence in all things. This is the same thing that gets mixed up in classical Greek translations and is often translated into good rather than excellence (e.g., Socrates, Plato, Aristotle all looked for excellence in life, not good—big difference).

The concept of Wu Wei assumes the pursuit of excellence in whatever you do. When you achieve excellence in what you do, only then can you reach a state of nothingness, where you will act without thought. This is the same when performing music, or dancing, or cooking, or making love, or working, or doing whatever-you-do. Only when you master your skill can you reach nothing. This is the circularity of Tao. Out of everything comes nothing and out of nothing comes everything. It is very logical, but only if you understand first, and that takes practice. So it is easier for the master to say shut-up, you cannot say or it is not.

If this were not the case then there would be no point in practice. There is an popular story that every modern Zen student will eventually run across about an archery student who is taught to draw his bow and hold the string until the right moment when it just happens, action through inaction (in Taoist terms). The student learns to fake it. The master scolds him because although he hits the target perfectly, he still recognizes that the student is faking it. The story mystifies Zen quite a bit. But for an actual student of archery, or those capable of translating this lesson to their own skill, there is more to it than hitting the target, and the more part is practical. Finding the right state is important for any skill if you are to be able to call that state up when you need it.

To fully understand Wu Wei, you must master something. To truly do nothing is to not exist. The logical perspective is that to master some skill is to make that skill so much part of you that you call it instinct, not thought. You fall back to your training and let that take over. This is the same concept that has been applied by Sun Tzu and modern armies, and to which Bruce Lee is referring to.

As far as the Allegory of the Cave: I never understood why the philosopher would ever come back if it was so great on the outside. If there is a cave, you can't be pulled out, you have to come out in your own time.

The Western idea of the river comes down to the question of free will or determinism. This bugged me for a while until I realized that life is a composition of both. The Taoists would describe this as the yin/yang being the free will part while the two combined are deterministic always maintaining their balance.

Zakman said...

Hi insanity-suits-me (Dawn)

"Let go and let God"...

I can only share my experience on this. Let's say there's something I got to do. And I go ahead with the process of doing it.

But then, if I can only watch myself carefully, I mean really carefully, I will invariably see a point where I have to stop. I can ONLY do so much.

Like you have an emergency care in your car and you got to cross the bridge to get to the hospital, and the bridge is broken.

I've given it my best shot. I just can't do anyting more. It IS surrendering. And there's nothing wrong with surrendering.

That's when I let go.

I'd say that with some practice of looking inwards, it becomes easier to identify the moment when to let go.

Random Magus said...

LIrun: :)

Peter H: At one with Tao?

Insanity suits me: I do have faith in God - but sometimes the sameness of life gets to me and then you question why

HollGl: I guess. I think I need to start another course after college or something

Aldon: I read Narcissus and Goldmund a long time ago. Will get it again

Random Magus said...

blur ting: There is a natural tendency to get comfortable and it's easy the only scary thing is that if I do get comfortable then I'll stop wanting to know why.

Bobby: 'The art of fighting without fighting' that's 'Jiujutsu' right? the art of gaining victory by yielding or pliancy. I loved Bruce Lee. I guess to be pliant you have to know that eventually you will win - it's that supreme confidence in yourself to know that you cannot not win.

Greg: I can understand why you would come back - it's the same reason why anyone wants to each or share an experience with someone, or try to make them see things differently.
Aikido would fall into the non doing concept - maybe that's what I should do next

Zakman: It's not that, it's a fear that if you get too comfortable with life you'll stop growing - obviously that's irrational but we all have stuff we are irrational about right?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Random, if you ever get caught by the rip tide, never try to swim against the tide to the shore, lay on your back and go with the flow gently paddling at an angle to the distant shore.

There are many who will tell you how to live your life or how you should live your life ...
but it is not about being ascetic and it is not about being hedonist it's about being YOU.

So being ascetic works for them, well good for them - why do they 'need' you to be the same
If being a hedonist works for them, well good for them - why do they 'need' you to be the same

Do they also want you to share their pain?

That's why we have coffee and we have tea, and we drink whichever, not because of whoever or whatever because of what we 'choose'

Some eat meat, some are vegetarian
Clearly either one can live without the diet of the other, though it is good to know that silver back ghorillas, elephants and even rhinos are vegetarian.
And why would we not eat a horse?

So eat what you will within reason
Though we hardly need to eat at all
We don't eat for hunger, no not even during Ramadan - fasting during the day and feasting at night is not 'knowing' hunger.
Alas we live in the land of plenty

But what is it to fast in the body if we do not fast in the Mind. If we public let others see that we are following some custom or rule, yet in our mind we are still lying and cheating and having the same anger & hatred the same destructive thoughts. Then we have not fasted at all.

And do not be ashamed of wealth riches and oppulence, but do not rub it in the face of your brother (or suster) who has less.

And by golly Random
Just Be Happy, that's the best
For what does it serve a man or woman, to have lived - and yet not enjoyed life - in whatever measure JOY may come.

But enough ranting, see its your posts provoke this reaction these thoughts. Hope you are enjoying the weekend and having fun ...
and yes One can have fun doing nothing, as long as others don't make one think one is missing out.(and who cares what others think

Random Magus said...

Quasar9: You always manage to put things in perspective, I wish I could have the same ease with myself and life.

PS: "One can have fun doing nothing, as long as others don't make one think one is missing out.(and who cares what others think)"

Truer words [at least for me] couldn't have been spoken.

Your wisdom shines bright!

Bobby Revell said...

I really like Greg's reply, very nice. I've studied Aikido and Hapkido for a number of years and in my opinion I would highly recommend everyone to study Aikido. Today, in the west where we have such a opinionated, self-righteous society - the teachings of Aikido's founder Morihei Ueshiba could benefit all of us. The peaceful resolution of conflict, wouldn't that be nice? Too bad most humans are simply, well...ANIMALS!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A most post that was worth reading as it makes one think.

Aldon Hynes said...

I've just put up a post on my own blog Orient Lodge where I explore this a little further, with some Bob Seger mixed in. Stop by and say hi.

Random Magus said...

Bobby Revell: Peaceful resolution of conflict - that would be great, now if only I could learn how to do it.

Jean-Luc Picard: Thank you

Aldon Hynes: I'll do that

Greg said...

Random Magus: there is hypocrisy to going back into the cave. The underlying premise is that the cave and its shadows are a great illusion. So anyone who goes back is accepting that illusion as somehow real. Plato should have gotten this, and maybe he did. The only thing we have left of his writing is the popular stuff (the dummy books for the masses). I would be interested in reading the stuff he actually intended for his students which were lost to us. To go back into the cave is to support illusion, to support the poetry which he hated. The people inside are part of that illusion; their "real" selves, based on Plato, should be outside.

Bobby: should everyone study Aikido, of should everyone master something? My belief is that any path someone chooses is equally valid. It is not the path, but the destination that is important. So I would disagree, because while that might be the right path for you, and maybe a few others, it would not be the best path for everyone. This is the same idea of Random Magus trying to get back into the cave to drag someone else out. Each has to find their own path.

I never bought into the idea of a peaceful warrior, except if you are talking about calmness. The idea of peace is a recent concept of martial arts. It is the result of religious doctrine overcoming martial doctrine. If peace is the goal, then you can do away with the martial aspect, something like yoga would be more appropriate (and is a good example of religious overcoming martial doctrine).

When anyone talks about peace, what they are talking about is their personal peace, the peace of their own culture. As soon as an opposing culture conflicts, then one must either become extinct or fight. At this point peace clearly shows itself for what it is, self-preservation. This is why the early monasteries learned martial arts, for this type of peace, self-preservation, peace from the enemies, the kind of peace that allows them to "peacefully" kill the enemies.

A person cannot be a real writer without writing. A martial artist cannot be a real martial artist without fighting. Not pretend fighting in rings, but real fighting in battle. At some point every martial artist has to deal with that decision, the decision whether or not to kill another human being. Morihei Ueshiba knew that well and he attempted to move away from battle, but you have to understand that is where he is coming from, he comes from the direction of killing. Most people come from a different direction, so for them, to follow him would lead them closer to battle.

Ueshiba is one you could say went out of the cave and attempted to come back in to help others out. This goes back to my remark that once you are out, coming back in makes you a shadow again, incomprehensible to the people sitting and watching. You come from a different perspective that they cannot comprehend.

Someone close to me used to say, "A full bottle of wine makes no noise."

Random Magus said...

If everyone could find their way out or find the path on their own then everyone should leave teaching and not attempt to make their perspective visible to anyone else. Wouldn't you say Buddha was one who went out of the cave and came back and tried to spread their vision?

The Real Mother Hen said...

Wu Wei - I've the same struggle as you Random. I'd like to flow with life and be carried to the sea, but what happens if I don't get to the sea, but stuck in some stinking mangrove swamp and eaten by giant crocodile?
Arh!

Random Magus said...

The Real Mother Hen: You put it so well - getting stuck is what I get scared of as well. The funny thing is that if we don't let ourself go we'll never find out
Sometimes it all gets so confusing to me.
I guess it would ultimately boil down to having in one's ability to do the best they can and revel in that best

Epimenides said...

Impatient is my middle name! What I've learned, though, is that this lack patience indicates inner fear, raised really from lack of confidence!
On the other hand, the ancient greek myth of the drowning man, says "use your hands to float while praying to Athena" (very loosely translated!)
Confidence or lack there of, I can not be convinced that inaction is the proper course!

Alexys Fairfield said...

Everyone has their own river that they must swim. That requires an action. If we don't swim, we surely will sink. If we have faith in the river, it will carry us home to consciousness.

sage said...

I love Siddhartha--I probably read it a half dozen times between High School and the first year or so after college--it's the only book I've read that way. I like the idea of being the ferryman--taking people across the river.

Greg said...

"If everyone could find their way out or find the path on their own then everyone should leave teaching and not attempt to make their perspective visible to anyone else."

I'm a little confused here, mostly on the last part "and not attempt to make..."

A big problem with the Allegory of the Cave is that if everything is illusion or shadows of something more objective, then the people in the cave are not real either, so there is no need to go back for them; they aren't really in there.

There wasn't only one buddha. A buddha is just one who reaches enlightenment, so there could be a lot of them. You may be thinking about a specific buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Or you may be thinking about samyaksambuddhas in general, the ones who teach what they learn to others. I believe (gut feeling) that classical Greek thinking was actually influenced by Eastern philosophy. So I think Plato's Allegory of the Cave probably comes from regions near India. There are a lot of correlations between classical Greek thinking and some Asian philosophy. So yeah I would say a samyaksambuddha fits what Plato is describing fairly well. But, I strongly disagree with Platonic and Buddhist philosophy on many levels.

On one hand I would respond to Bobby and say that paths are individualistic things, personal journeys. On the other hand, we should still share our experiences (tell our stories) because paths are not linear, nothing is linear. Our paths cross all the time. Sharing stories helps us understand what is around us at any given time. This is like walking down a path through a forest. You must take in the surrounding forest to fully understand it. You cannot just focus on the path.

Random Magus said...

Epimenides:
My legendary impatience has got me into more than one problem. I too think that when you know and are confident you can wait and let things happen. But not to do seems like taking a big leap

Alexys Fairfield: Hi and thanks for stopping by. It all does hinge on faith in one's self, faith that we eventually will choose whether to do or not as a calculated choice or decision based on a truth valid for us.

Sage: I've read that book at different intervals of my life as well. Unfortunately lost my copy while shifting :(

Greg: Everything is left to interpretation in literature, philosophy and religion, so maybe each of our interpretation is itself an illusion. We believe what we choose to and what we have experienced as part of our life truths. Sharing stories, teaching others or any other way you choose to define it, in the end is showing what we have learnt to others so that they too can be part of what we see. I think it's a basic need in all of us to share what we know with people that we want to be able to see the world as we do.

Shine said...

Random,

Thank you for the sharing...

I've also been pondering whether I should let life take me wherever it takes me, or I make my own choice and strike on a different route. Recently I decided to do it myself, but the struggle was and still is a struggle and it could be pretty scary sometimes. I basically have revisited all my bottomlines that I'm aware of.

My experience is: you just know it when the time comes. But before that, it's a pretty long struggle.

This time, I decide to swim upstream and the tide is not as strong as I thought I would be so far.

Random Magus said...

Shine:
Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I think the most difficult part is the one in which we are deciding. It's the Damocles sword, to do or not do, making the choice is tough, but once you decide and are resolved, the human will to survive will always end up showing us the route and how to survive in it. Once we have made the adequate preparations for the journey ahead, we do eventually make it.
Best of luck to you on yours!

Greg said...

Random Magus, not everything is left to interpretation. I argue the point often that we as a society often just agree on certain denotations. Like the color red, we point to something and say that is red, and everyone nods their heads and says ok we'll call that red. There is not a lot of interpretation going on there. A lot of our life is based on this kind of random denotation.

Telling a story is different from teaching. The listener or reader must insert his/her own meaning into the story. Teaching, pulls the student toward some predefined goal. Although, many students listen to teachers like they were listening to a story, and they insert their own meaning.

Going back to the forest path. A story is like a tree that you stop to look at and maybe admire and take time to follow every branch before you continue walking down your path. A teacher is someone you meet along the way that actually diverts you off of the path you were following.

I'm only arguing against the model Plato (and in a way Buddhists) set up and saying that if there is some falsehood that you left behind, it is illogical to try to return to the falsehood to make truth out of it. To me it seems like running back into a burning building to try to put the fire out from inside.

I am not arguing against teaching in general. But teaching is done by people like you and me, not enlightened beings, but beings who are just as flawed as you and me. Anyone who claims enlightenment is walking a circular path that never leaves the forest.

Random Magus said...

Greg: Was watching Bloomberg and three different analysts had three very different ideas/predictions/interpretation of the same thing. Something like the color red itself can be seen by someone as sexy and someone else as too out there.
Plus didn't Plato have the view that education was the forcing of thoughts into the minds of children?
Maybe being in the cave itself signifies that. According to him we all have within us the ability to think and if one does not understand, this is because one is held back by any number of things [maybe those are what the shadow are?.
If I am not wrong isn't that what Plato was talking about?

Greg said...

Random Magus, regarding the three analyst comparing notes, there are two possibilities. First assume they are all intelligent. It is possible for those three to look at the same thing from different perspectives and describe three dissimilar experiences. There is a story about this using an elephant and three people describing three different parts of the elephant (like the trunk, foot, and tail). They all describe something different because they can only focus on a little part of it.

Other people might disagree because they just don't know what they are talking about and make stuff up. They might say the cats are spreading disease so go around and kill all the cats. This is not the same case of a different perspective; this is just a case of stupidity, talking with confidence about something one has no actual experiential knowledge of.

Plato is very clear what he means. He is saying that what we experience is vicarious, second-hand. We do not see the actual thing but only the shadow of the thing. And people are confusing the shadow of the thing for the thing itself. He doesn't really explain what the cave or the people are themselves; he is only concerned with the shadows. He has lots of problems with his argument and many many philosophers have torn him apart. Oddly, modern belief is still based on his ideas of objective truth.

Regarding education, he had a lot of specific ideas that are also outlined in The Republic. He hated poetry because he claimed poetry was a copy of a copy (basically). Or a shadow of a shadow. Poetry described the shadows, so it is once more removed from the objective. Contrary to this, in talking about education, he advocates teaching convenient lies. Basically teaching propaganda to keep people in line. He is often described as a fascist with good reason.

the domestic minx said...

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!!

It is tempting to think we can, like King Canute, hold back the tide with our own power.
And while it may seem the easy option to travel like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream it requires strength of spirit to allow things to happen organically and without a rage against the dawn. The older I am the more I realize the power of simply being.

Random Magus said...

Greg: If you can't prove anything you don't have experiential knowledge how can you disprove the same? From Siddhartha to an argument for or against empiricism, the river did throw us of course.
But anyway
You argue that no knowledge of the external world beyond our own minds, holds true without experience, that being our sole source of information.
Ideas and any truths about the external reality they represent can only be known, on the basis of sense experience.

While I can argue that there are some truths that are known a priori. And there are ideas that are innate and to each of us and sometimes more real and superior to us than sensory knowledge

Random Magus said...

The Domestic Minx: Strength of spirit and faith in yourself are sometimes acquired through arduous effort. I guess life teaches it goes on with a lot with its sameness and routine with moments of revelation thrown in, in the midst of crises.

Greg said...

Random Magus, so if you want to attempt to reconcile what we are saying, we have to have an understanding of what we mean by knowledge. If you are using a priori in the sense of knowledge that can exist independent of a physical mind (like Plato saying the soul has complete knowledge, we forget at birth, then try to remember in life), I would disagree on this understanding of knowledge.

For example the planet Earth might have existed in a state that we experience it now prior to humans living on it, but I would argue that the knowledge of the planet Earth did not exist until the humans appeared and started experiencing and thinking about it and communicating about it. Knowledge of something is different than the thing itself that knowledge refers to.

So there could be a planet somewhere in space that we have no knowledge of. There is potential for experience of this planet, but until we acquire empirical data, the knowledge isn't valid. Without some form of empirical data I can believe in an imaginary planet all I want, but that doesn't make it real. If this were not the case, then fiction would not exist. Everything I would write would be real somewhere. That seems absurd at every level.

We can have speculative knowledge that points us in a direction. I might say that I believe a planet exists out in space that is just like Earth with people on it. This is speculative knowledge, just like fiction, it isn’t real, but it serves a purpose. It gives us something to do or something to look for, something to test for empirical evidence. The object (planet) will either exist or not, but the knowledge isn’t real until we acquire empirical data.

One last point that confuses the empirical vs. rational debate is that the mind itself collects or creates data. Arbitrary denotations can be considered knowledge, like defining a unit as being one thing and the Arabic number one sign to represent this. This concept can’t be directly experienced through the senses, yet it is an example of “knowledge” that is created by the mind, or agreed upon. From this concept of a unit we can build an entire logic system apart from sensory input. So this kind of theoretically knowledge I could understand as being part of both sides.

Random Magus said...

So it can't be the same duck can it? As there is no sensory experience or knowledge of that fact?

Greg said...

It could be the same duck, we just don't expect it, so tend not to look closely. When I stop being lazy, I should be doing free will v. determinism soon. That should get us closer.

Random Magus said...

.. to opening another can of worms!