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Non-Dual Perspectives on Awareness

The Neurology of Awareness and Self: Part Two, Continued

written by Rick Hanson December 3, 2019
Non-Dual Perspectives on Awareness

Subjective Oneness – “There is no spoon.”

This is the view that treats all of the contents of awareness as purely subjective phenomena.

First, the strong version of this view is that subjectivity is indeed the fundamental nature of existence, that the ontological nature of reality is that it exists only in the mind.

In philosophy, one classic debate in the early 1700s regarding this view, called Idealism, in contrast to Materialism, involved the question whether the rock you stub your toe upon is real, independent of your own mind.

More recently, variations of this view are given in books like The Secret, or some interpretations of the est training in the 70s, that you create your own reality.

Personally, we think there are a lot of problems with the strong claim. For example, it violates the principle of Occam’s Razor – “take the simpler of two explanations” – in its presumption of both all the material components of the universe and the purely mentalistic fabrication of these; why add the mentalistic fabrication part when a purely materialistic explanation will do?

The strong claim can also be used to imply that the Jews created the Holocaust, that the millions of children who die each year from hunger made that happen, or that your friend is the cause of her breast cancer.

But, there is no way to prove which view is right, Materialism or Idealism, since, in principle, even proof of Materialism could be fabricated within the imagination.

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