Reality Series: Self and Not-Self v. Self or No Self

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.

This morning it crossed my mind that I need to clarify something for you. Often, readers presume that an author creates with a specific, concrete plan and distant goal. Such concrete plans and goals commonly underlie papers, theses, and books. But, this is not how these blogs come into existence from non-existence. By temporal and workload necessity, blogs are generally written on the day they are posted and without more than a passing reference to prior blogs.

In other words, dear reader, each blog series is planned and not-planned, thought and not-thought, serial and parallel in explanation, and so on. Or, we could say, [1] each blog has an educational purpose to clarify and be complete in itself and [2] the intent behind any series of blogs is to expand your mental space so you can experience concepts, feelings, and actions from a richer perspective, unique to your psychofugal state. I cannot predict how your mindbrain will react and so I cannot really plan anything for you–so I non-plan for you.

I think you will understand more clearly after today’s blog on the critically important linguistic distinction between ‘self and not-self or non-self’ and self and no self.’ For if one does not appreciate the distinction, he or she will remain ‘lost in the forest of errors.’

If you recall, yesterday, I discussed the fourfold logic using four short phrases. Placing the fourfold logical statements into dyadic form, the first dyad stated, “Self exists and self does not exist.” Perhaps, the meaning of the dyad is simpler to see if I write, “Self exists and not-Self exists?”

If you consider these two terms for a moment, you will see that the dyad of ‘self and not-self ‘ possesses a supporting and conjoining relationship which each other. Each member of the pair is inclusive, and not exclusive of the other. Together, they form one unified, conceptual space. Moreover, such unified conceptual space, presuming the pair members exhaust all allowable possibilities, is a closed, complete set. In fact, they may be a complementary expression of the Absolute.

The linguistic structure of this dyad can be applied to many other ways, including, averring ‘God exists and God does not-exist.’

I think none of you will have much difficulty appreciating the reasonableness of this first dyad and how it can join concepts which seem opposed and exclusive, but, in truth, are not.

Commonly, people use a different formal dyad when they consider selves and God. The vulgate dyad goes, ‘there is a self or there is no self,’ or ‘there is a God or there is no God.’ Notice the exclusionary grammatical conjunction ‘or’ and the denying adjective ‘no’ in the vulgate dyad. Framing the dyad is such a manner creates a divisive tension between the two pair members. The dyad follows the ‘law of the excluded middle.’ Either one is true or the other is true, if one is true the other musts are false.

If one reviews the Buddha’s discourses, one will find that the Buddha argued against all such divisive metaphysics positions. The primary reason being that Buddha saw great benefit in teaching a better way to live ones life and no benefit to arguing philosophy with people who lacked sufficient understanding.

Putting aside suffering and its cessation, divisive dyads are unacceptable utterances and formal positions in linguistics (mathematics) and philosophical thought. The reason being that such dyads form sentences which are self-contradictory and meaningless. For instance, take a more complete, but equivalent sentence, “All selves say there is no self.”

To pose any question, some type of entity must be present so to ask the question. A linguistic analysis of the sentence notes that if ‘self’ is the plural of ‘self’ it contradicts itself. For at least one self must exist to write the sentence. The sentence is ambiguous for it can be interpreted to mean that the ‘set of all selves knows that a certain category of object cannot be classified as a self.’ Again, the sentence is impossible to interpret as the set of all selves is undefined. Or it might mean that the ‘set of all existing selves knows that no self does not exist.’ Regardless, the sentence is not singular in meaning and so should not be asked.

Such sentences are self-contradictory for they refer to themselves inherently. The congruous sentence uttered by a Cretan, “All Cretans are liars,” is similarly ambiguous and self-contradictory. Such sentences in mathematics are said to violate Gödel’s two incompleteness theorems.

The logistic problems which exist with such self-referent sentences are that by being divisive and exclusive, they create two detached circles in linguistic space, i.e., a Venn diagram formed of two noncontiguous and nonintersecting circles which exist in a state of exclusionary tension. Regardless of where we ask the question, we end up in the meaningless space between the circles.

Such cannot happen when we use the inclusive form of the dyad. This dyad is a Venn diagram formed of two contiguous and intersecting circles which share a common area allowing both portions of the dyad to be present as a unit.

As an exercise to further understanding, I recommend a similar analysis of the two remaining dyads so to show why they are not self-referent and are understandable after careful thought.

Tomorrow, we continue with the importance of differentiation as to the various types of questions one can ask meaningfully. Ciao.

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