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

sjziobro at cs.com sjziobro at cs.com
Wed Jun 30 14:49:07 MDT 2010

I think the short answer here is that your take of Derrida misarticulates a known unknown for an unknown unknown.  We can conceive of a known unknown and either verify that it is a reality (in which case it becomes a known known) or that it is not any kind of reality (in which case it becomes a known non-existing known or is a known unknown).  But death is a known known, and so we can easily conceive of it.

Stan Ziobro

-----Original Message-----
From: lemmett at talk21.com <lemmett at talk21.com>
To: Buddhist discussion forum <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
Sent: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 3:37 pm
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying and living

I not sure that I followed what you mean so excuse this email if necessary. 
errida seems [to me] to be saying that we can't conceive of dying because we 
an't conceive of something utterly beyond determination. I agree with this, 
erhaps I have read it into him. The problem I see is not that to imagine 
omething there is an imaginer that can't be abstracted from the thing 
The problem I think is that there exists no formlessness for the term to be 
bout. So the name would have to be about another concept. However because that 
oncept is determined, 'formlessness' would be about something that is not 
ormless. 'Formlessness' can only be about something that partially lacks form. 
f 'X' is about unicorns and unicorns do not exist then "unicorns" are a concept 
nd if there is a concept of unicorns then the concept itself is the unicorn. 
ust as: if Luke is human and there is a human Luke then that human is itself 
That's not positing truth as representation of an external world but something 
uch 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 
annot be conceived of, when I believed that in Buddhism the formless was 
xactly 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 
eems to me, ultimately, that one cannot conceive of anything for one of two 
easons.  One reason pertains to dealing with an unknown unknown such that it 
ould not, and possibly could not, occur to us in any manner.  The other reason 
ould be to conflate thinking with existing such that to think anything would be 
o exist as that thing.  In some schools of thought, namely those which accept 
ristotle's epistemology, that which is known and the knower become 
ntentionally one in the act of knowing, and so there is a sense in which to 
now anything is to be that thing.  Nonetheless, existentially, the knower and 
he known are not identical such that if one ceases to be the other necessarily 
eases to be.  At any rate, this conflation of existing and thinking seems to be 
he only way one might, contrary to experience, claim s/he cannot conceive of 
ying.  That would
also raise the same sorts of issues in!
 conceiving of living.  I think Jim Peavler's reflection on conceiving of the 
resent is both true and a help inasmuch as he illustrates how it is that some 
eality may be conceivable even as it is elusive.
The rest of my remarks are to the point that experience is not knowledge.  
xperience comports with sense data, which is non-reflective.  What gives it 
ational coherence is our ability to reflect upon what we experience and in some 
anner name it, which at that point portends knowledge.
Stan Ziobro

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