[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying and living

lemmett at talk21.com lemmett at talk21.com
Tue Jun 29 13:37:49 MDT 2010

I not sure that I followed what you mean so excuse this email if necessary. Derrida seems [to me] to be saying that we can't conceive of dying because we can't conceive of something utterly beyond determination. I agree with this, perhaps I have read it into him. The problem I see is not that to imagine something there is an imaginer that can't be abstracted from the thing imagined. 

The problem I think is that there exists no formlessness for the term to be about. So the name would have to be about another concept. However because that concept is determined, 'formlessness' would be about something that is not formless. 'Formlessness' can only be about something that partially lacks form. If 'X' is about unicorns and unicorns do not exist then "unicorns" are a concept and if there is a concept of unicorns then the concept itself is the unicorn. Just as: if Luke is human and there is a human Luke then that human is itself Luke.

That's not positing truth as representation of an external world but something much weaker [or is the term "stronger"? "Coarser". I don't know...].  

Also I do not understand because you seem to be saying that all things but death cannot be conceived of, when I believed that in Buddhism the formless was exactly the sort of the sort of thing that resisted conceptual thought.


>>>    I've read some of the material you've provided, though not all of it.  It seems to me, ultimately, that one cannot conceive of anything for one of two reasons.  One reason pertains to dealing with an unknown unknown such that it would not, and possibly could not, occur to us in any manner.  The other reason would be to conflate thinking with existing such that to think anything would be to exist as that thing.  In some schools of thought, namely those which accept Aristotle's epistemology, that which is known and the knower become intentionally one in the act of knowing, and so there is a sense in which to know anything is to be that thing.  Nonetheless, existentially, the knower and the known are not identical such that if one ceases to be the other necessarily ceases to be.  At any rate, this conflation of existing and thinking seems to be the only way one might, contrary to experience, claim s/he cannot conceive of dying.  That would
 also raise the same sorts of issues in!
  conceiving of living.  I think Jim Peavler's reflection on conceiving of the present is both true and a help inasmuch as he illustrates how it is that some reality may be conceivable even as it is elusive.

The rest of my remarks are to the point that experience is not knowledge.  Experience comports with sense data, which is non-reflective.  What gives it rational coherence is our ability to reflect upon what we experience and in some manner name it, which at that point portends knowledge.

Stan Ziobro


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