“There are things I write about that are not understandable by the mind.”

Then how can you assume the position you’re arguing for is valid?

I’m not arguing for a position. I’m just describing something.

How can you know, or even have reason to believe, that it’s the sense of self that is the illusion and not the other way around?

When you wake up from a dream, do you question whether waking reality is real or if the dream is real? This is like that, except infinitely more clear. The difference is that nobody wakes up from the dream of self.

What if it’s the sense of non-duality attained by these “zombies” (and by Buddhists, meditationists, etc.) that is, in fact, the illusion?

Non-duality is not a sense; it’s clearly the fundamental nature of reality. It’s not something that is attained; it’s all there is. That you’re asking this question reveals that non-duality has not yet been revealed there.

“Because there is no me. It seems like there’s a me, but all of it’s claims are false: I am here, I am real, I am doing this, I am experiencing this. When the self-illusion stops happening, all of that is seen to have never been real. There is only what seems to be happening.”

This is where you lose me.

How could the self comprehend what it would be like for there to be no self?

I suppose you’re saying that if the sense of self is an illusion, then all of the materialistic observations we’ve made about the natural world are called into question.

I don’t think it necessary to go that far.

In other words, to reframe my analogy, it sounds like you’re saying that: we may have a sense that we are individual cogs in a giant clock, but we are not, and when the illusion that we are individual cogs slips away, then so too does the illusion of the clock itself. That reality is just one giant cog with no moving parts.

Oh, I see. Yes, the self vaguely experiences itself as a real subject so it only sees everything outside of itself as real objects. It cannot perceive the wholeness of what is happening. What seems to be happening is boundless, real and unreal, freedom. What seems to be happening is the fulfillment that the self seeks, but the self can never find it because it is the seeking, it is the separation.

That makes sense. I can accept that as a premise.

This isn’t really something to be understood. It can’t be understood by the self.

What I still don’t understand is how anyone can say this premise is any more likely to be true than the alternative, which is that the clock does exist, and that we are truly individual cogs.

When the self stops happening and what seems to be happening is no longer misperceived, it will be absolutely blindingly obvious that the self was an illusion and never really was and that all of what had been sought was being hidden by the seeking of the self. The self effectively says “This cannot be it because I have to find fulfillment somewhere else.” That hides the fulfillment in all there is, which is what seems to be happening.

An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store