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InvisibleEgo Death
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Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 10,447
Loc: The War Machine
    #1784222 - 08/06/03 06:42 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

The fish takes for granted that the medium it knows is the true element - indeed, the only element. Why should it imagine otherwise? One day, a particular fish swims into a remote part of the lake and sees a strange object above. The fish has no name for what it sees from below, but we who are above would call the object a 'bobber'. Amazed, the fish returns to its school & tells of what it has seen. The story is impressive , but the other fish are not so interested. After all there is always fresh kelp to find, not to mention larger, hungy fish to avoid. News of such strange objects can only be a dangerous distraction to the overall affairs of the school. Over time, however, others see the bobber, and a robust set of legends grows. Then, on a particular day, a fish happens to swim too close to the object and gets 'hooked'. Suddenly this fish finds itself pulled up and out, into a vast and altogether amazing realm of above and beyond. Those who have snagged the fish and reeled it in, after analysing the creature according to particular criteria, decide the fish is not a 'keeper' and toss it back. Bewildered, the fish makes it back with an even more incredible tale to tell about another world - a very different world - populated by the most marvelous of beings. Depending on how this news is revealed and recieved, the fish is deified, eaten, or simply isolated from the rest of the school, where it is left to muse aloud, 'water'! We live and swim in water! I have just now seen that which is not in water! I have just now that which is not water: I have glimpsed "dry land," and "open sky."
Does anyone hear me?
Does anyone care?


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point of inflection
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Re: F I S H [Re: Ego Death]
    #1784246 - 08/06/03 07:04 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

I've always liked that little thought experiment  :smirk:

I think it's rather hard to have a good concept of something which you have no real knowledge of. Speculating on what is "outside" of "our reality", or universe if you prefer, is just that - speculation. Looking for "something" without know what "something" is in the first place  :wink:

You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.

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World-BridgerKartikeya (DftS)
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Re: F I S H [Re: trendal]
    #1784350 - 08/06/03 09:34 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

You'll find many similarities between this thoughts and Plato's Allegory of the cave.
The allegory is the story of a people who have been held prisoner in a cave deep inside a mountain. They have been there for so long that the cave has gradually become the only world they know.
The prisoners are laid in chains in that prison, that are fastened behind a wall in the cave, facing the rear of the cavern. This rock encrusted world is the only world they know. The only light they can see is the light from a fire that is maintained on the other side of the wall, which is reflected off the rocks of the cavern in front of them, and above them. In this manner, their world has become a world of a faint glow of light and of huge shadows of objects that are passed in front of the fire. The shadows, which they all see with their senses can, thus become a reality to them that in part defines their world, that they react to.
Then someone manages to break away from the chains, and cautiously ventures to the other side of the wall, and with great amazement begins to observe the process that creates the shadows. The person who experiences this awakening becomes free in more than one sense. This self-freed prisoner sees the fire, and also sees the objects that obscure the light and thereby create magnified shadow images of the shape of these objects. The so freed prisoner begins to understand that the mythology of the world they had created for themselves was not real, but was merely a construct of their deduction from the limitations of their perception.
The freed prisoner also soon understands the fire to be the source of their light, contrary to the myths that the prisoner's had come to believe to be real. Also, in the distance behind that fire the freed prisoner discovers that there exists an exit from this cave of shadows and delusions. Behind this exit, that he or she ventures beyond, the freed prisoner discovers a whole new world, a world of blinding sunlight that this person soon understands to be the glorious nature of the real universe. Also, that self-freed person discovers at this threshold, entering into the sunlight, that he or she isn't a prisoner anymore.
With this profound allegory Plato illustrates the challenge that we all face, to resolve the great paradoxes of human existence. We live in a world of human thought that is defined by the limitations of what our senses are able to behold, and by the finity of the imaginary worlds that deduce from what we thus see. We bow to the shadows that the limited senses tell us is the reality of our being and our universe. But when we, like the prisoner, break free from the chains that bind our existence by binding our movement of perception; when we see the fire and the process that causes the shadows; when we begin to understand the processes of the real world and finally see the exit from the cave; then the whole cave experience becomes little more than just a shadow itself, of a bad dream.
Some even say "The Matrix" is a modern idea created from Plato's Allegory of the cave. http://www.geocities.com/larkspur10/neo/matrixplatoscave.html <-:eyemouth:


Spiritual being, living a human experience ... The Shroomery Mandala

Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.

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Re: F I S H [Re: MAIA]
    #1784684 - 08/06/03 12:41 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

I find both allegories to be fascinating. Wonderful western Koans.

Another instance that I have always loved:
Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott (a square).

It's essentially about a line and some dots who live in 2 dimensions who accidentally discover the 3rd dimension. It's a quick read, not too complex (if you don't enjoy math and physics), and absolutely brilliant. But if you can stand reading a book in HTML, then I found a link to it here.

Oh - and the cave allegory... Hehe... Something similar happens to me quite often when I'm tripping. I may be inside - wherever. But my reality truly becomes the tiny place that I'm in, or whatever I (we) are doing. I literally forget that anything else exists. Then for whatever reason, I decide to go through the front door - and am confronted with "outside", which I had literally forgotten existed. That one second - that instant of child-like wonder - where you remember that the world of your making is simply your perceptions at the time, and may have nothing to do with the real world... THAT instant is worth living for.

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn

Edited by GernBlanston (08/06/03 12:44 PM)

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InvisibleEgo Death
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Re: F I S H [Re: GernBlanston]
    #1786082 - 08/06/03 08:20 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Good stuff!


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