Monday, May 20, 2013

Language, Concsiousness, and Reincarnation.

Just because I say I believe in reincarnation does not mean we believe in the same reincarnation. This is my take on language and linguistics. What the passive, submissives of society do in order to understand a word is to rush to the dictionary. A dictionary is intrinsically totalitarian in its view of language. Though not without merit it may come as a shock to many that a dictionary does not actually define words. A dictionary defines common usage. The people, and more particularly the individual, is the one who defines language. Shakespeare made up dozens of words. The word assassin, for example, is his creation. And there are many other examples of writers and speakers forming their own words and their own definitions of words.

Likewise, a dominant personality is not beholden to the dictionary definition of a term. To seek a centralized authority is to abstain from personal sovereignty and to adhere to the idea of a dictionary being the de facto source of language is thought control since the abdicators of that language may change or alter the definition of a word and thus the thoughts inherent with that word as they choose.

Instead I view language as an essentially personal form of communication. Personal definitions are more adequate. There is a distinction though which must be demonstrated. The dichotomy in language is one between concepts and objects. A forest would not exist without human observation and naming of a thing but a tree would still remain. The tree becomes an object and a definite, nearly unflappable definition is appropriate. The more ambiguous a concept the more of a sovereign definition is required.

In an ideal world the only language we would need would be mathematics as the ambiguity of it has never existed. But the inconsistency and subjectivity of a word is not a mathematical format. Mathematics does not change but is only discovered. Language changes constantly and so any definition must also be as apt to be changed as well but only in the realm of the individual.

So I do believe in reincarnation but not in the sense that others do. I do believe in a God but this God is so different from what others think, it's best for the layman, those uninterested in hearing the logic of the divine, to just consider me an atheist. Atheists, as far as I have found, are as closed-minded about the nature of God  as the religious dogmatists are to atheism.

My definition of reincarnation differs from the mainstream so much that it may as well be called a new word and if I can dream up a word with enough panache I'll be sure to use it ,but for the time the word closest to my definition of reincarnation is consciousness. Consciousness is a term which recently has been introduced or reintroduced, largely by science and the New Age to forgo any nominal comparisons to the soul. It was once considered that spirit, soul, and consciousness were all the same things and the definitions are so similar that the lack of science to have any understanding of consciousness is not surprising  Foremost, the study of consciousness defies most parameters of scientific study in that it is not weighable, measurable, or verifiable.

Consciousness is. It is a dimensionless form of which one can only understand through experience. Let us compare an arm and a brain for a moment to elucidate a point of consciousness. An arm moves and creates motion. We don't point to the arm and say arm is motion and yet too often the semi-autistic scientist, possessed of his own dogma, will stare at a brain and deduce that brain is consciousness. An arm generates motion, or applies laws of motion if you will, in the same manner in which a brain generates consciousness. But brain is not consciousness. It is brain.

Similarly to the dichotomy of the concept and the object is the split between the dimensional and the dimensionless. Forgive me for assuming you've not studied Descarte but I'll need to go over some of his concepts. Truth exists absolutely because the opposite is impossible. Therefore, since truth exists it follows that something exists. If something exists than something must be in recognition of that thing. Action must exist. Thought must exist. This thing must be a thinker since there is no action without a subject. This observation is the preeminent of understanding consciousness. It validates the idea that, not only is the dimensionless, the realm of thought and consciousness, real but it also challenges the assertion that anything but the dimensionless realm exists.

Knowing that my definition of reincarnation is more similar to the idea that consciousness exists which is immutable and absolute. The perfect does not change. Only imperfection changes as it seeks out perfection. So there is consciousness, it is immutable and eternal. There is truth now but there are also true non-absolutes. Crocodiles exist is true but I can't verify they exist now or even now.

Understanding that perfection does not change points to the dangers of dictionaries. A dictionary may be called a state, a form of government. It seeks to halt the change of language, not contribute to it. Just as the state places any business in which it enters into a state of economic stagnation bereft of market forces of innovation and competition, so to does a dictionary attempt to halt this evolution. But the imperfect will always change and hence a dictionary can only record transitory definitions. 

Which brings me to duality for it must be present if there is to be any consciousness. Since we know there is consciousness we know that there is duality. If we assume the mantle of God and attempt to form a universe from scratch, what is the most finite principle we can create? We begin with the concept of value itself and the most finite value is one. But one cannot exist or recognize its existence without duality so two must also be formed. At this point consciousness can recognize itself by what it is not.

The failure of language is that it requires words to define other words and so is self-limiting. It is also limiting to education and experience of the speaker and listener. This is one of the failing of religion which I believe is philosophy for the conceptually disabled. The Buddha and Lao Tsu understand concepts beyond the limiting purview of  language. It was their failure at the time to elucidate what they were saying. Their understanding however often transmutes their explication of that knowing. The Tao which can be told is not the eternal Tao.

But this reincarnation I believe in is not really personal. It is the reincarnation of the spirit and not of the individual. It is more similar to a collective soul, a rebirth of consciousness independent of the individual but that is for another time.


  1. >Since we know there is consciousness we know that there is duality.

    The Upanishads would argue to the contrary.

    If Tat Tvam Asi, then we have consciousness and monism.

    1. If you see consciousness as one consciousness that is experienced directly I believe this is a more accurate description of how things be can be both one and yet experienced as duality. A dog's consciousness is then the same as your own but the dog lacks any awareness of this. In the context of reincarnation, the Buddha may not have been too far off. We graduate to greater levels of consciousness throughout many lives which we experience directly.

      I am undecided on if this reincarnation ever occurs as a personal reincarnation, meaning that a person retains memories and experiences from a previous life.

    2. Buddha for a New AmericaJune 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      I think you'd enjoy studying the Sad Darshan or 6 philosophical schools of Hinduism.

      Vedanta can be studied in the US (if that's where you are), the other schools you might have to go to India for, but start with a good Vedanta scholar-practitioner.

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  3. Buddha for a New AmericaJune 5, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    vultureofcritiqueMay 20, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    >Since we know there is consciousness we know that there is duality.

    The Upanishads would argue to the contrary.

    If Tat Tvam Asi, then we have consciousness and monism.

    Depends on which Darshan your Upanishadic interpretation is based. If Vedanta, remember Adwaita (non-dualism) is just one sub-set of that. There is also Dwaita, and Vaishist-adwaita, and so on.