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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Peter

I am in the process of reading your article related to gunas theory from your website. It appears very interesting; however, it is based on dualism/idealism (Dvait/Advait) that has problems; the problems of various views are discussed in:
Vimal, R. L. P. (2010). Quest for the Definition of Consciousness, Qualia, Mind, and Awareness. In review, available at .

My goal is to investigate if we can derive our innumerable subjective experiences (SEs), which appear irreducible in our normal state of mind. I do not know if they are reducible in samadhi state because I have not yet reached to that state. If you are able to reach to samadhi state, then I would be interested to know if your find colors (such as redness, blueness, and greenness) and other SEs are reducible to some elemental entities such as 3 gunas or some other elemental entities.

The derivation is speculated in this following article:
Vimal, R. L. P. (2009). Derivation of Subjective Experiences from a Proto-experience and three Gunas in the Dual-Aspect-Dual-Mode Framework. Vision Research Institute: Living Vision and Consciousness Research, 2(4), Available: . I request you for your critical comments on this.

My articles related to the dual-aspect framework can be downloaded from

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

Ram L.P. Vimal

22 Feb 10

From: Peter Wilberg
To: Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal
Sent: Tue, 23 February, 2010 3:54:14 PM
Subject: long answer
Dear Ram,

Thank you for you inquiry regarding my essay and your question as whether colours and other 'SEs' are reducible to some elemental entities such as the three gunas.

Feeling as I did the sincerity of your question to me - as an expression of an authentic search for Truth - I would urge you to first of all to begin a process of questioning and freeing yourself of the many unquestioned assumptions that are embedded in the very language of current academic discourse on consciousness - much of which, as Heidegger recognised, is both derivative and also highly distortive of early Greek thinking and words such as physis, eidos etc.

Having taken some time to look at your own articles, you will excuse me if I first preface my response with an extensive number of preliminary but very important remarks.
For before I can address your question in any way that is adequate, it is of the utmost importance that you fully understand my critique of this language and its terms, the distinctions I believe it obscures, and above all also the radicality of my basic philosophical and metaphysical perspective - which I call 'The Awareness Principle'.

Therefore I would suggest that you look at a few concise blogpages of mine - , and and - as well as perhaps studying one or more of the books they introduce, and my essay on the The Philosophy of 'The New Yoga'.

Here I can only attempt as concise a summary as possible of the key arguments contained in these writings, which I will seek to reduce to a number of basic points. I am of course aware that this very letter - and the further reading it so strongly recommends - will require time to meditatively study and digest. Yet having studied your interesting and well-written articles I feel sure that if you were to take this time our (any?) future correspondence could become most fruitful.

Some fundamental points:

1. What I call 'The Awareness Principle' is the recognition that awareness (understood as consciousness as such) cannot - in principle - be reduced to or be the property or product, function or epiphenomenon of any being or entity, self or subject that we are aware of ie. it is irreducible in principle to any specific content or 'object' of consciousness, and not the property of any localised subject or element of subjective experiencing, 'inner' or 'outer' that there is an awareness of. This principle was first summed up in the words of Sri Abhinavagupta: "The being of all things that are recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness" - thus making awareness as such, and in principle - the 'first principle' of all that is, exists or can be experienced. Not least awareness as such also cannot - in principle - be reduced to the language and terms of any verbal constructs (Vikalpa) or theories of consciousness - for these too assume a pure, word and thought-free awareness of such constructs and theories.

2. This position is not, properly speaking, a form of 'idealism' and nor does it become problematic by not explaining how insentient 'matter' can emerge from a supreme, universal and all pervasive consciousness. Allow me to explain - again necessarily very briefly - what I mean here and have argued very thoroughly in my books. It is the modern scientific world view that, far from being 'materialistic', has, since Galileo and Locke, been 'idealistic' in principle - treating its own abstract 'ideas', its mental and mathematical concepts and measurable quantise as more real than the subjectively experienced phenomena or qualities (eg colour) that they are supposed to 'explain'. Thus the abstraction of quantitative frequencies of light are treated as more real than the experience of colour.

3. 'Matter' as such - understood as some primordial 'substance' is not a given but a mental construct. For whilst we have SEs of such qualities as hardness, density, solidity, weight etc. there is nothing in our subjective experience that corresponds to any supposed 'substance' of which these qualia are mere 'secondary qualities'. Physics has long since dematerialised its notions of matter as such, only replaced them with no less 'ideal' , ghostly and immaterial mental constructs such as energetic quanta. In contrast to this hard-line idealism that passes as scientific 'materialism' Samuel Avery has argued very cogently in his books ‘The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness’ and 'The Transcendence of the Western Mind' that ‘matter’ – is a mental construct based on potential SE's. We think of something as 'material' rather than imaginary because we do not only 'see' it as mental image but are aware of it as something that can potentially be experienced in a tactile way - as dense, hard, having weight etc. 'Matter' in other words has essentially to do with potential dimensions of subjective, sensory experiencing - it is not a given or thing in itself. And let us also not forget that what the Greek word eidos originally referred to was not an 'idea' in the modern sense (a result of distorted Platonism) but a subjectively experienced 'aspect' or quality of something - a quale. The most basic scientific fact of all is not the existence of a pre-given world of 'physical' phenomena or 'objects' but a subjective experiencing of that world and its quale - not forgetting that the very term 'physical' derives from the Greek phuein - meaning exactly to 'arise', 'emerge' or 'come to presence'.

3. If we drop the term 'idealism' there is nevertheless a question of how a highly differentiated world of subjective experiencing or 'SEs' can arise or emerge or come to presence from an absolute reality understood as Pure Awareness (Chit). In one of your articles you correctly point out that there is an issue of infinite regress if we understand the Supreme Awareness as the property or function of a Supreme Self (Paramaatman). For whence came or comes then this 'Self'? That is why I have consistently argued throughout my writings on The Awareness Principle that since we only know of any being or self through an awareness of it, that awareness cannot - in principle - be the private property of any being or self, human or divine, finite or supreme.The entire thrust of my work is to draw on Indian epistemological thought to overcome the inherent ontological or entitative bias of Western thinking - which has always asserted the primacy of being or existence (Sat) over awareness (Chit) and seen reality as a mere step by step construction of pre-given entities, whether in the form of spirits, beings, particles, quanta or 'strings'.
Being and any beings or entities are unthinkable without awareness of being. Yet awareness is not confined to awareness of being or of beings (entities). Awareness is also awareness of 'non-being', not as understood in the Buddhist or pseudo-scientific way - as a realm of emptiness or quantum void - but rather as realm of those potential shapes and forms, patterns and qualities of awareness that, when actualised become SEs. Indeed awareness is first of all awareness of 'non-being' understood as realm of potential beings - potential units, shapes, forms and patterns of subjective experiencing.

4. The question of how the actualisation or manifestation process occurs is not an inexplicable esoteric or religious mystery but something we all know from art and life. Speech, writing, thought, action, artistic expression etc all begin from an awareness of a multiplicity of potential words, thoughts, deeds or works of arts. The darkness of this great maternal womb or matrix (cognate with 'mater' or 'matter') is symbolised in Indian religious thought by Great Black Mother Goddess - Mahadevi Kali - just as the awareness of it is symbolised by Shiva. No sooner is there an awareness of a potential experience (I would like to re-think PEs as potential as well as 'proto-experiences') than it automatically begins to take on shape and form and become more of an 'actual' SE. If we begin to recall the history and question the assumptions buried in the current use of terms such as 'physical', 'object' or 'matter' - not to mention 'consciousness' itself - there simply is no question of how consciousness can lead to the emergence of a material object such as a tree or car. This 'expressionist' model of creation is no scientific hypothesis or religious dogma. It affirms and reflects the most fundamental, self-evidential dimension of our very existence and experience as beings -namely a primordial awareness of being and experiencing and (b) an awareness of potentialities of awareness itself - in the form of potential modes of consciousness, expression and experiencing (the potential as the realm of the non-actual or 'non-being').

5. All things, all beings and all 'selves' are but individualised portions and expressions of a singular or supreme awareness, each being experienced or perceived by others according to its own defining perceptual field-patterns of awareness and within its own subjective perceptual environment or 'patterned field of awareness'. One reason why animals figure so strongly in religious mythologies lies in the recognition that all species of life are species of consciousness - that what we, as human being, perceive as a 'cat', 'shark' 'spider' by virtue of our specifically human and species-specific field-patterns of perception bears no relation to how a spider perceives a cat, or how a shark perceives human beings - or even other sharks.What we take as given entities of beings are products of our species-specific perceptual patterning. Human 'science' and 'philosophy of consciousness' is in this sense as anthropomorphically biased as any human religion. Today 'environment' is a household word. But environmental thinking began with the German biologist Uexkuell - the first to recognise that the 'environment' or 'Um-welt' of that 'constellation of SE's', 'field-pattern' of awareness, or 'species of consciousness' characterising an insect such as a tic is by no means the same as the environment as humans perceive it - and believe it to be.

5. Just as it makes no sense to speak of something being 'outside' space or 'before' time ('outside' and 'before' being terms which already assume the reality of space and time)
so it makes no sense to speak of there being anything beyond, outside or before awareness. Yet just as it does make sense to distinguish space from its contents - even though they are inseparable - so it also makes sense to distinguish consciousness as such - awareness - from its contents or 'SEs', and also to distinguish the distinct realms of actual and potential SE's present within awareness. The two sides of a coin or sheet of paper are both inseparable or 'one' and at the same time absolutely distinct or 'dual'. The understanding of a-dvaita as a state of inseparable distinction ie. neither a state of dualistic separation nor a state of unity lacking all internal duality or distinction, is unique to my work, and makes clear logical and dialectical sense of the phrase "non-duality of duality and non-duality".

6. Just as I distinguish awareness or consciousness as such from any specific contents of consciousnes or 'SEs' that we are consciously aware 'of', so I do also distinguish sensory qualities of experiencing such as colours, shapes and sounds from 'qualia' understood in a quite different way - as sensed qualities of awareness itself. These are comparable to colourations, shapes and textures of mood or 'feeling tone'. Thus colours and sounds as sensory qualities are the expression of corresponding psychical qualia. Thus the SEs or 'qualia' we experience as musical and vocal tones or as colours give expression to tones of feeling.

7. Creation is not a one-off divine act or physical event but continuous expression - comparable to linguistic, musical or aesthetic expression. Every mode of perception and subjective experiencing is an expressive and perceptual language of awareness. This linguistic-expressive model of 'creation' alone does not end up in infinite regress questions (like what existed before God, before the 'Big Bang'. That is because it recognises that the realm of potentiality and of potential worlds and patterns of subjective experiencing is as real - within awareness - as the realm of the actual or existing ones - the realm of 'being'. Awareness, from this perspective, is truly 'beyond being and non-being' and yet is the Fourth (Turya) that embraces them both and unites them as the Third - as be-ing or 'coming to be'). It is awareness alone which first lets things be or come to be - lets them 'be-come'.

8. This brings us to a place from which we can begin to distil, as in my essay, the metaphysical symbolism and essence of the three Gunas and also the fourth - Nirguna - allowing us to understand them in a way quite distinct from Samkhya philosophy. This is an understanding of the Gunas, not as elemental aspects of Prakriti - the 'actual' (energeia) or 'substance' - but instead as symbolising four primordial dimensions of the Supreme Awareness itself - not just as an illuminated realm of actuality or being (Sattva), but also as awareness of a dark realm of potentiality (Tamas), as the dynamic process of coming-to-be, or 'be-ing' (Rajas) from this realm and as the translucent and colourless light of awareness in which this process of actualisation occurs - in which all things and beings come-to-light and come-to-be.
Being this Awareness (Chit as Nirguna) is the highest Bliss (Ananda). This Samadhi is the deep meaning and mystery of the Sanskrit compound Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). This is a meaning however, which the current languages of academic-philosophical-scientific discourse (rooted as they are in the countless unquestioned assumptions buried in their historically amnesiac and distorted use of Latin- or Greek-derived philosophical terms, together with an almost total marginalisation of Sanskrit terms and Indian thought) can never get close to comprehending, let alone experiencing.

9. The average Western-style intellectual is not even aware of the process of their 'own' thoughts and experiencing miraculously emerging from a trans-personal realm of wordless, thought- and content free awareness - even though this realm is the primordial truth and reality they search for and seek to 'think'. They have their libraries, books, papers, lectures,journals and conferences in which to express their thoughts verbally - but they have no yogas of awareness by which to refine and experience the One Awareness which is their source. Even their intellects pale in comparison with the exquisite refinement of that of the great Indian sages - also with their deep language awareness and the subtle, poetic and polygenic wisdom of their discourse. I was honestly shocked to read some of the cruder quotations you cited by thinkers critical of so-called 'pan-psychism'. For example "panpsychism is so implausible and counter-intuitive that it cannot be true" (Skrbina), or "there is no evidence whatsoever of a nonphysical dimension to the elemental units of nature" (Seager, 1995). To Skrbina and others of the same view, I would ask 'implausible and counter-intuitive for whom and since when?'. For the larger part of human history pan-psychism, thought not even a philosophical term or theory was nevertheless an everyday experience - and has long had the status of being an intuitive truth in most traditions of Indian thought. To Seager I would say, following the Advaita tradition and yet paraphrasing his own words, that "there is no evidence whatsoever of a physical dimension to the elemental units of nature". I would go further and ask him from where exactly he obtains 'evidence' of his own 'physical existence - of his 'physical' being and body - except through a subjective awareness or perception of it???!!! Yet as Abhinavagupta pointed out - if the 'objective' realm of 'physical' nature were dualistically separate from and distinct in principle from the 'non-physical' realm of subjective awareness, knowing and experiencing - then how could we know of such objects in the first place. Interestingly, there is actually no word corresponding to the Western concept of 'object' in Sanskrit. Its Sanskrit counterpart means simply something 'known' - which implies and assumes a [subjective] knowing. Have these contemporary 'philosophers of mind' not even heard of phenomenally or phenomenology? If they are unfamiliar with Indian thought have they not even read Husserl's 'Crisis of the European Sciences' which already - and in the Indian tradition - took to pieces their "naturalist" assumption of a pre-given world of insentient object or entities independent of consciousness? Have they not heard of or read (philosophy 101) Bishop Berkeley's refutation of Locke's argument that behind all qualitative SE's are quantitative 'primary qualities' - in reality reified mental constructs for which there is no direct experiential 'evidence'?

10. What is 'implausible' about 'panpsychism' is that is has the audacity to challenge the relatively new and still fledging religion of modern 'science' and its central dogma - namely that truth or reality is 'objectivity'. In contrast and in opposition to this dogma The Awareness Principle offers the foundations for a new understanding and approach to 'science' - a subjective science and science of subjectivity, one in which subjectivity is recognised as the essential nature of both knower, known and process of knowing and all SE's are understood as inter-subjective. Thus all colours not just those associated with the three gunas, are but the outwardly perceived SE of states of consciousness or psychical qualia - qualities of awareness. Through meditating and letting awareness flow into the sensed inwardness of a particular colour, it ceases to be merely 'seen' as a colour but is instead inwardly sensed and felt as a distinct quality of awareness or state of consciousness. Modern scientists insist on applying correct technical experimental research procedures that can be replicated and thus validated. Yet all those who follow the right yogic or subjective research methods can also confirm and validate experientially the nature of the inner qualities, textures, tones, colourations and shapes of awareness that are perceived outwardly as sensory qualities or 'forms' of matter.

11. Trying to persuade 'physicalists' and 'objectivists' of the aware interiority of 'elemental units of nature' is like trying to persuade someone who can't read that behind the ink marks on a page of writing is a wholly invisible world of meaning - a world that no amount of physical, chemical or spectrographic analysis of ink and paper will ever provide 'evidence' of. Yoga is like learning to read - being as necessary to perceiving the multi-dimensional universe of awareness behind the entire sensory world as reading is necessary to perceive the multi-dimensional world of meaning behind the written word. Even Christian and Jewish thinkers understood the world of 'nature' as a world of linguistic marks, signs or linga ie. as God's living word and not simply as a the 'work' of an anthropomorphic creator-god.

Acharya Peter Wilberg

22 Feb. 2009


Avery, Samuel The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness, Compari
Wilberg, Peter The Awareness Principle new expanded edition, New Yoga Publications 2009 see
Wilberg, Peter Tantric Wisdom for Today’s World New Yoga Publications 2007
Wilberg, Peter The Qualia Revolution – from quantum physics to cosmic qualia science
New Gnosis Publications 2008 - see
Wilberg, Peter The Science Delusion – why God is real and science is religious myth
New Gnosis Publications 2008 - see
Wilberg, Peter Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought New Gnosis Publications 2008 – see
Wilberg, Peter Event Horizon – Terror, Tantra and the Ultimate Metaphysics of Awareness New Yoga Publications 2008

Dear Acharya:

Thanks for your very interesting answer to my query and comments on my work.
I am still trying to absorb your framework. Please let me know if I misunderstood.

My goal is to investigate if we can derive our innumerable subjective experiences (SEs), which appear irreducible in our normal state of mind. I do not know if they are reducible in samadhi state because I have not yet reached to that state.

You seem to agree that SEs are reducible to some elemental entities such as 3 gunas and a PE: is this correct?

If this is correct, then please help me in precisely deriving SEs redness, greenness, and blueness from 3 gunas and a PE. Let us concentrate only on this question.

After reading about gunas, I am a sort of convinced that SEs related to emotion can be derived from 3 gunas and a PE (please see the updated version, Section 5.3.1). However, it is still not clear to me how SEs related to color can be precisely derived (Section 5.3.2).

I have included your 2007 article in Section 5.2 and our correspondence at the end of article, and acknowledged your effort in Acknowledgement section. Please feel to edit them to make them precise. I hope that it is okay with you.

23 Feb 10

Dear Ram,

One the unavoidable difficulties but also important challenges of our discussion is that our frameworks draw from differing philosophical 'intra-languages'. Mine draws not only on the languages of Indian thought and Kashmir Shaivism in particular, but also very much on phenomenology - Husserl and Heidegger - as well as on the writings of Goethe and Rudolf Steiner on colour. So I will do my best here to answer your question through an 'inter-language' capable of interweaving our respective frameworks. The challenge presented by the influence of Heidegger on my thinking however, is that he does not present, argue or debate intellectual propositions so much as question the very words used in those propositions. Hence so much of his thinking is effectively a questioning of what can be understood (and should not be assumed as given) by single words. That is why he has been called 'the philosopher of the single word'). In his writings both philosophical and everyday words are phenomenologically 'bracketed' in order to avoid the common assumption that just because a word or term exists or is in common usage in particular contexts there is necessarily some 'thing' that corresponds to that word (eg. the false assumption that 'we all know what 'matter' or 'energy' is). Thus much if not all that Heidegger writes is an answer to implicit or explicit questions that take the specific form What is...? (for example What is 'being'? What is 'energy'? What is 'science'? 'What is 'a mood'?' What is 'the body'?' What is 'a thing' - and last but not least: What is 'thinking'? So to answer your question I need to begin, Heidegger-style, with my answer to the basic questions: 'What is 'colour'?' and 'What are 'colours'?'. Through doing so I intend to give a necessarily brief - but I hope also useful answer your key question as to how SEs such as redness, greenness etc. arise, and the experience of the nature of 'colour' in Samadhi.
For the sake of conciseness I will once again present my answer through a series of consecutive principles, introducing also, as you do, an element of symbolic formalisation

1. I do not see colour SE's as "irreducible" in normal states of mind. If that was the case colour and colour tones (such as those of a sunset or painting) like musical tones and tone colours, would not be capable of evoking or expressing feelings. Nor would colours be used in different ways and in different cultures as metaphors for psychical states eg. being in a 'black mood', 'feeling blue', looking 'jaundiced' (yellow), being 'green' with envy, 'reddening' with anger etc. Finally, nor would musicians speak of tone colours.

2. The use of colour language is more than 'mere' metaphor. Instead it points to a fundamental distinction between colours as:

(1) sensory qualia or SQs (for example the greenness of a leaf)

(2) colours as psychical qualia or PQs (for example a black mood).

3. In my book 'The Qualia Revolution' I argue that just as a vocal or musical tone can be described as having qualities of 'lightness' or 'darkness', 'clarity' or 'dullness', 'heaviness' or 'lightness', 'sharpness' or 'flatness', 'hollowness' or 'resonance', 'smoothness' or 'roughness' so are all qualia (both PQs and SQs) essentially tonal qualities. Hence the fact that something speaks in a 'sharp' or 'flat' way with 'sharp' or 'flat' tone indicates and echoes a 'sharp' or 'flat' tone of feeling'. Similarly, if someone dresses entirely in red or black this says or expresses something about the colouration of their mood or 'feeling tone'.

4. What I call psychical qualia (PQs) are qualities of what I call 'feeling tone', 'feeling awareness' or 'felt tonalities of awareness'. These are comparable to 'moods' in the very specific sense that I have come to understand them through Heidegger - not simply as 'emotional' qualities we experience (themselves specific SEs) but rather as tones and tone colours of awareness or feeling tone which 'tune' and 'colour' our entire Subjective Experience of ourselves and the world at any given time. To use your terms, they may be understood as non-linear and non-local field qualities of Subjective Experiencing (FSEs) rather than as specific localisable SE (LSEs).

5. This is why, in my essay on the gunas, I sought above all to go beyond crude psychological interpretations and labels for them (tamas as lethargy, rajas as passion, agitation or anger etc) and also to transcend any notion of their being 'positive' or 'negative' emotional states, qualities or 'energies'. Here again there is an analogy with tone. For there is nothing more 'positive' about the higher tones of a musical scale or instrument compared to the darker and deeper tones. I see the centripetal movement of awareness associated with tamas as essential to health and not just a sign of 'depression' - being a natural response to the gravitational pull of the innermost core of our being - its innermost centre of awareness. Only if we do not follow this natural and healthy depressive process - by letting ourselves be centripetally drawn down and into this core or centre - do people end up in chronic and static depressive states.

6. What I call 'Cosmic Qualia Science' seeks to both question and completely transcend the use of terms such as 'matter' and 'energy' in science - replacing faddish 'quantum physics' with a new form of subjective science based entirely on the relation between PQs (understood as field qualities of awareness or FSEs) and SQs (understood as localised sensory qualities we are aware of or LSEs).

7. Your first question:

Q. You seem to agree that SEs are reducible to some elemental entities such as 3 gunas and a PE: is this correct?
A. No, because my basic philosophical viewpoint is trans-entitative, since I understand awareness - itself 'no thing' and no 'entity' - as prior - in principle - to all entities. Conversely I understand all entities as essentially individualised portions and expressions of a singular universal awareness. For me the gunas are therefore not entities (ie possible 'objects' of subjective experiencing, but innate dimensions of awareness). Put simply, I do not believe in elemental particles or entities of any sort but in elemental dimensions and qualities of awareness.

8. Your second and most central question: how SEs related to colour can be precisely derived (Section 5.3.2).

(a) The first part of the answer to this important question relates to your earlier question about the experience of colours in Samadhi. In a state of Samadhi or Shiva-consciousness (pure awareness or Nirguna) all colours - indeed all 'LSEs' are experienced not as static sensory qualities or properties of some entity but as 'powers of action' or Shaktis. One does not experience an entity such as 'a tree' or a static quality such as 'blueness', 'greenness' 'redness', Instead one experiences the One Awareness constantly and continuously treeing itself, the tree branching, the branches twigging, the twigs leafing - and the leaves greening (or oranging or reddening). 'Samadhi' can in this sense be compared to a high-level field-state of experiencing or FSE in which all localised SEs or LSEs are experienced as constantly manifesting in the moment within and from an unbounded cosmic space or field of pure awareness. A wall is experienced as awareness walling, a table as awareness tabling, any body as a bodying of awareness, any shape or form as awareness 'in-formation' etc.

(b) Back to the question of how SEs related to colour can be precisely derived: Very simply: through the understanding that qualities such as 'blueness', 'redness' etc. arise from dynamic processes of 'blueing', 'reddening' etc. The colour dynamics are the very link between psychical and sensory qualia (PQ's and SQs). Thus when a person's face reddens with anger or embarrassment, goes whitish-pale with fear or their gaze darkens and blackens with rage we see an example of a psychical qualia (itself colourless) becoming an SE in the form of a colour. A colour SE such as redness can thus be said to 'derive' from the very process, power or capacity (Shakti) of reddening: understood as a transformation of a PQ (itself colourless) into an SQ in the form of a colour.

(c) These dynamic colour processes of greening, reddening etc are, however not reducible to somatic expressions of 'emotions', even though they may be experienced and thought of as such. Instead they express basic movements of awareness. Thus the essence of reddening is not reducible to any nameable emotion or even what I call a feeling tone or colouration of awareness. Instead, metaphysically, reddening is coming to presence. Red painted cars 'stand out' and have more 'presence' not simply because red is a 'strong' colour but because the essence of reddening is a movement or dynamic 'presencing' or 'ex-isting' - coming to 'stand out' or 'ex-ist' in awareness. In contrast to reddening, blueing is a movement of withdrawing from presence. Greening is a stable but passive balancing of the twin movements of standing out or ex-isting and withdrawing from presence. Similarly, yellowing is a movement of radiant dissipation back into pure awareness. Violetting is a movement of crystallisation into form. Oranging is a state of 'stable excitation' - not radiating or dissipating back into pure awareness and not fully presencing in and from that awareness.

(d) In Goethe's colour theory (which rejected all Newtonian notions of invisible frequencies or wavelengths of light) all colours are understood as expressions of an interplay (Leela) of light and darkness. The guna colours - black, white and red - have the particular significance they do because white is nearest thing to the 'colour' of light, just as black is the nearest thing to a colour of darkness. Hence both Goethe and Rudolf Steiner (who elaborated on Goethe's colour theory) understood red as 'light seen through darkness' and 'blue' as 'darkness seen through light. The very particular significance of red in the three guna colours however is that it symbolises Shakti or power of manifestation as such - the emergence point or bindu from which all things - all SE's - first come to light in awareness from out of a dark or 'black' realm or womb of potentiality or potential SEs (PSEs). This coming to light in awareness, however, occurs only through the light of awareness (Prakasha) - itself a translucent and colourless light. "Every appearance owes its existence to the light of awareness. Nothing can have its own being without the light of awareness." (Kshemaraja, pupil of Abhinavagupta).

(e) summary of the essence of the guna colours:

sattva, white ('preservation') - enduring or stable presence, understood as the realm of being or actuality that opens within a clearly illuminated field or space of awareness.
tamas, black ('destruction') - absence or non-being understood as a realm of potential being and potential SEs.
rajas, red ('creation') - emergence into presence or actuality of a potential SE.
nirguna, colourless/translucent - the light or space of awareness in which alone all things can come to presence.

The other colours represent movements of transition between the three primordial metaphysical dimensions of awareness that are the essence of the gunas and their colours.
Samadhi is essentially a state of Nirguna in which all colour SEs are experienced in their dynamic aspect - as processes of reddening, greening, blueing etc. - all of which in turn arise from an interplay of the twin movements of lightening and darkening, manifestation and de-manifestation, emergence and demergence, the centrifugal expansion or radiation of awareness towards a circumference and the centripetal centring or con-centration of awareness from a circumference.

9. On PEs. There are indeed proto-experiential 'units' of awareness. These are bounded shapes of awareness - not separated from each other but united by the field of awareness in which they take shape. Their very boundaries make them both distinct and inseparable from the space or field of awareness surrounding them. At their centre is a singularity of awareness or bindu, linking them to a singular, non-extensional or intensional space of pure power or potentiality. These PEs constitute the very 'aether' of awareness (Akash). In a state of Samadhi both empty clear space and all so-called 'material objects' are experienced as filled with minute emergence points or bindu - like miniature black-white holes. They also constitute the vitalising air or breath of awareness known as Prana - manifest as air itself, which is just the molecular form taken by basic animations or PE units of awareness.
Absorbed through the porous boundaries of our own subjectively experienced skin (not the nostrils or lungs) they powerfully vitalise all those units of awareness - atomic, molecular, cellular, organic - which make up our bodies. Pranayama is 'control' and not even just awareness of breathing but a breathing of awareness - absorbing the pure power or vitality (Shakti) or pure awareness (Shiva).

10. PE units of awareness manifest on many levels - from single cells to divinities. They may contain countless sub-units of awareness or constitute sub-units of 'larger' units. They can be visualised as circles within circles - the larger circles containing, embracing and bounding a larger more expansive space or field of awareness. Any outwardly manifest body is the outward form taken by a unit of awareness or by a group (Kula) of such units. The field or space of awareness surrounding or surrounded by any such bounded unit is called the 'non-group' or A-kula. In Kashmir Shaivism, Shiva, as a space of pure awareness, is identified with Akula. Shakti - the entire embodied cosmos consisting of bounded units of awareness - is associated with Kula. Hence the name of the so-called Kaula school of Tantra - Kaula being an amalgam of Kula and A-kula. Just as 'empty' space is distinct yet inseparable from all its contents, so is any space or field of pure awareness distinct and yet inseparable from all its bounded contents or SEs. This state of inseparable distinction is not only the true meaning of A-dvaita. It is also the very hyphen in the Kashmiri religious term for the absolute or divine: Shiv-Shakti.

Hope this of use to you. For your interest I also attach a section of my book The Qualia Revolution entirely devoted to the nature of colour.


PS Given your project of extending your equations to a variety of sensory systems such as auditory, somatosensory, gustatory, and olfactory systems I am convinced that you would find Samuel Avery's book on The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness (the dimensions in question being sensory dimensions - and reference being made also to potential as well as actual sensory experiences) of great value and interest.

It would be nice also to know a bit more about you, your background and history - and the nature and aims of your Institute!

Dear Acharya

Thanks for excellent elaboration. Please see references in “References’ section above and before email correspondences.

My view is dual-aspect (substance monism but property dualism) dual-mode PE-SE framework (Vimal, 2008b, 2010a) and your seems to Dvait®Advait (substance dualism and property dualism ® Advait-idealism i.e., pure consciousness) framework. Your framework is close to orthodox quantum physicist Prof. Stapp’s framework (see my discussion with him in (Vimal, 2009a)):

According to (Stapp, 2009), “Von Neumann (orthodox) quantum mechanics is thus dualistic in the pragmatic and operational sense that it involves aspects of nature that are described in physical terms and also aspects of nature that are described in psychological terms, and these two parts interact in human brains in accordance with laws specified by the theory. This is all in close accord with classic Cartesian dualism. On the other hand, and in contrast to the application to classical mechanics, in which the physically described aspect is ontologically matterlike, not mindlike, in quantum mechanics the physically described part is mindlike! So both parts of the quantum Cartesian duality are fundamentally mindlike. Thus quantum mechanics conforms at the pragmatic/operational level to the precepts of Cartesian duality, but reduces at a deep ontological level to a fundamentally mindlike nondual monism.”

However, this should not cause too much problem. You can assume my PE or mental aspect is in analogy to Purusha. The physical aspect is in analogy to Prakriti. PE interacts with 3 gunas is in analogy to Purusha interacts with Prakriti. I have assumed that Purusha and Prakriti are the mental and physical aspects of the same entity (such as Adi-shiva) and these aspects can never be separated (so not ghost, no zombie, no pretatma, no divvyatma, no angel, no Satan, no Paramatman, and no GOD); here Adi-shiva is NOT a third neutral entity, otherwise it will be (dual-aspect) neutral monism. But please do not use this analogy more than this.

1. In your ‘Principle 1’: To me and many other researchers, such as (Chalmers, 1995; Levine, 1983; Levine, 1998), SE is a first person experience such as Nagel’s ‘what it is like to be a bat’ (Nagel, 1974). In psychophysics, color has 3 attributes: hue, saturation and brightness (Vimal et al., 1987). Can you reduce the SE ‘yellowness’ to any elemental entity in normal waking state? I cannot, even though, being a color vision psychophysicist, I can mix red and green primaries to match yellow (Vimal et al., 1987). I am talking about this type of irreducibility. However, some Vedic scholars (such as personal communication with AryaPutra) claim that it is reducible in samadhi state; I do not know if this is true because I am unable to reach the very difficult samadhi state so far!

2. However, later (Principle 7 Q) you write that you DONOT agree that SEs are reducible to some elemental entities such as 3 gunas and a PE. I am Sorry, it is confusing to me; but which statement is correct: do you or do you not agree?

3. (Principle 8a) is very interesting: do you mean you are able to reach samadhi state and you experience One Awareness constantly? Let us suppose you looking at color wheel (see that has many colors; what do you experience in samadhi state: all reducing to One Awareness, meaning what? What happens to various colors of color wheel? Do they remain as they are, reduce to one color, or oscillate arbitrarily [randomly] as predicted by PQ®SQ transformation without subject’s control (please ignore serious and rigorous adaptation effect: see (Vimal et al., 1987) (all my papers are located in my web site: ). Please meditate and critically examine at samadhi state; this is very important and critical observation for my investigation.

4. Principles 8b and 8c are indeed very interesting but not clear to me; kindly elaborate it. Just saying PQ®SQ in the form of color is NOT satisfactory to me. Precisely how that can happen? This does not happen to me in normal state and there is no way to demonstrate in normal awake state. Is it the property of samadhi state only? My PQ (psychical qualia) = SQ in visual system. I am not synesthetic so I do not know how to equate vision to other modalities. Let us limit ourselves to color vision.

5. (Principle 8d,e) is interesting. Goethe’s theory is controversial and is NOT consistent with modern color vision theory (see also (Vimal, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 2000, 2002a, 2002b; Vimal et al., 1989; Vimal et al., 1987; Vimal & Shevell, 1987)). Can Goethe generate color wheel using white, black, and red primaries. White-black stimuli are processed via luminance channel; red is in Red-Green. In this, blue to yellow colors are not represented well; as they are processed via Blue-Yellow color vision channel. However, my question is independent of color vision theories as it applies to all.

6. (Principle 9,10) is interesting. In my dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework (Vimal, 2008b, 2010a), “In general, PEs are precursors of SEs. In hypothesis H1, PEs are precursors of SEs in the sense that PEs are superposed SEs in unexpressed form in the mental aspect of every entity, from which a specific SE is selected via matching and selection process in brain-environment system. In hypotheses H2 and H3, PEs are precursors of SEs in the sense that SEs somehow arise/emerge from PEs, as elaborated above and in (Vimal, 2009h, 2009i, 2009k)” (Vimal, 2010b).
If possible, please elaborate the difference between Kaula, Mishra, and Samaya tantra views. Or do you agree with

I am still in the process of reading your framework and references you motioned. Thanks for that.

I have now concisely written about me and Institute in “Subpages (1): About me and Institute” of my website and also uploaded this update. Thanks for asking.




24 February 2010
PS: My further updates are in pp. 19-22.

Dear Ram,

Thank you for the link to 'About me and the Institute'. This has helped to gain a much better understanding and overview of both the nature and possibilities of our dialogue. Clearly you deserve respect as a highly accomplished scholar and researcher in many areas of knowledge which you are seeking to integrate. Clearly also there is a wealth of articles we have both written - all deserving and needing time for proper study and meditation - in order for the wealth of knowledge we both have to be fully shared with and understood by one another. Yet precisely because your own work, like mine clearly seeks a rigorous and ambitious integration of the many perspectives, models and fields of knowledge with which you are familiar, I feel it even more important that we first of all acknowledge and take seriously the very different sources, frameworks and understandings of 'knowledge' (together with corresponding differences in research methodologies and modes of experiencing) that distinguish our respective 'projects' - for unless such a distinction is clear, our otherwise most exciting and bold attempt at cultivating fruitful areas of unity or overlap between them will be over-hasty and premature, and in danger of foundering through inadequate knowledge and consequent misunderstanding of each other.

If we are to take our dialogue as seriously as it deserves to be taken, I think we both have a lot of 'catch- up' work to do on our understanding of what constitutes 'knowledge' - in particular what might be described, crudely as a difference between 'exoteric' [public; external; third person] and 'esoteric' [private, secret, first person] knowledge and modes of experiencing. It was also what I was alluding [touch upon] to in quoting Abhinavagupta's view of philosophy - not as academic discourse but as "the elaboration of high-grade spiritual experiences" and as "inference for the sake of others" - helping them to come to the same liberating rich, and profound experiences of awareness. His remarks echo what I see as a fundamental distinction between writing or theorising about subjective experiencing, states of consciousness or awareness and writing from them. An important aspect of yoga - the one that makes it a sui generis [unique] concept - is the understanding, foreign to Western thought - that before we write about or create theories of experience, consciousness or awareness one must first of all engage in practices which cultivate, deepen and enrich them, and that the depth and truth of all thinking and theorising about experience can never exceed and instead will always be intrinsically limited by the breadth, depth and richness of the thinker or theoretician's lived and aware experiencing.

The importance of this distinction between different modes and understandings of 'knowledge' and 'theory' was perhaps the most important 'meta-level' insight that occurred to me in reading about your areas of expertise - and also in reading some of your comments and questions on my 10-points. In the light of this insight I can see in retrospect that it was highly misleading of me to simply mention Goethe and Rudolf Steiner - rather than emphasising Rudolf Steiner's esoteric understanding and development of Goethe's colour theory. For the latter belongs to a totally different domain of knowledge - and again, a totally different understanding of what constitutes knowledge - than those surrounding such questions as the generation of colour wheels from primaries. Thus whilst I totally accept your claim that Goethe's theory is not consistent with modern colour vision theory, the controversy surrounding this is not central to the type of esoteric experience and knowledge of colour that Steiner - and I too - wish to share with you. Expressed in my own terms - though resonant in many ways with what Steiner had to say in his lectures on colour - I can again only seek to highlight certain fundamental distinctions. These can be roughly summarised as follows:

1. a fundamental distinction between seeing colours with the eyes, from the outside and feeling them from the inside - in one's soul and with one's body as a whole.

2 a fundamental distinction between visual and feeling cognition - for I understand the essence of inner or esoteric knowing (gnosis) as the recognition of feeling as a more primordial mode of cognition than either the senses or the intellect.

3. a distinction fundamental to my own writing and subjective research between the 'objective' or 'physical' body (by which I mean the body, including the eyes and other organs themselves, as seen, measured, or studied from without using the eyes and/or technical instrumentation) and, on the other hand, the 'subjective' or 'felt body' - by which I mean the body, including the eyes, as felt from within - and understood not as a body made up of organs but as a body of feeling awareness or 'soul'.

4. a fundamental distinction between seeing with eyes and seeing as such. Heidegger view was that "We see, not the eyes." For Heidegger, capacities for different modes of sensory perception - visual, auditory, tactile etc. - was not a function of bodily organs but the other way round. Bodily sense organs were a bodying of sensory capacities ('Shaktis'). Thus it is that, not only in dreams but above all in the afterlife - the larger non-physical universe of awareness - we can see without eyes, hear without ears, have thoughts without brains etc.

This last point relates tangentially to the confusion over my agreement or disagreement with the 'reducibility' of colour SEs. Let me clarify. No, I do not agree that they are irreducible. Nor however do I see them as reducible to a structure or function of entities of any sort - whether gunas, PEs or anatomical entities such as neurones, receptor cells, sense organs - or any organs - including the eye and brain. Here we find ourselves in the domain of fundamental questioning central to Heidegger's work - his questioning of all understandings of reality or 'Being' as a structure built up of separable entities or 'beings' - whether in the form of energetic quanta, particles, atoms, cells, neurones or organs - or even implied entities as 'body, mind and spirit'. The relation to vision here is important, giving rise to another expression or example of 'The Awareness Principle' - namely that just as dreaming as such cannot be reduced to anything we dream of, and awareness as such cannot be reduced to anything we are aware of -nor can vision as such - seeing - be reduced to or explained anything seen or seeable within the field of our visual awareness.

The eye and brain are themselves - and first and foremost - objects of visual perception. Thus all knowledge of the nature of visual perception derived from the way we perceive these organs visually - even with the help of the most sophisticated technical instrumentation - is in some way circular, being necessarily shaped and limited by the specific mode of human visual perception embodied by those organs (or registered by the technical instruments they perceive). This brings me to a particularly pertinent example the type of 'basic question' that Heidegger so courageously put - namely 'What is 'vision'? Cannot the warmth sensitivity of a tic which allows it to locate a mammal, the chemical senses of dogs, the electrical sense of shark, or the subtle spatio-tactile sensitivity to objects (even at a distance) of a blind person - to name but a very few examples - be not also regarded as modes of vision? As for what we ordinarily take as vision - 'seeing' objects for example - we need to be wary of language. As Heidegger recognises we only see a hammer as 'a hammer' or 'a pen' as a pen, because we are aware of it as something that can potentially picked up, handled and used in a particular way. More generally speaking, it can be said that ordinary seeing is always 'seeing as' - seeing a thing as a hammer, kettle, laptop etc. or seeing a person as someone we know etc. Strictly speaking therefore, seeing - understood as seeing as - is never a mere 'sense perception' of the eyes but rather what may be termed a sense-conception - already shaped by a conception of the things within our visual field. Even seeing a colour such as 'blue' or 'green' is not unambiguous - what is conceived as bluish by one person is conceived and seen as greenish by another. And in different states of consciousness the entire night canopy of the night sky is quite literally ablaze with a spiralling rainbow of colours.
On a more ordinary level, one person may see the look in a person's eyes in one way, another in another. This brings us to another important distinction - between the look, the eyes, and the gaze.

The 'look' in a person's eyes is no mere object of visual perception. It reveals, through the light of their gaze, their entire way of looking out at the world and other people. Yet as soon as we observe the eyes in a purely objective way, in the manner of a doctor ophthalmologist looking at someone's eyes or doing an eye-test, or even someone trained to 'read' body language according to certain fixed categories or pre-conceptions - we immediately cease to be capable of seeing - let alone meeting - their gaze. Here I need to point out that the forms of tantric pair meditation unique to 'The New Yoga' and derived from 35 years of experiential research into what I specifically call 'The Yoga of the Eyes' - based on the close-up eye-contact and the mutual gaze. As well as being a most powerful medium of yogic healing, tantric initiation and tantric 'soul body' intercourse with others (maithuna), this highly developed form of pair meditation has also been my principal means of inter-subjective research into other dimensions of awareness, including the states of consciousness or PQ's manifest as particular colours. This is because the 'bi-personal' field opening up in close up 'eye-contact resonation' is a veritable portal into inter-subjectively verifiable dimensions and qualities of awareness (PQs), opening up a wholly new mode of 'seeing'. I have written a number of methodological and experiential research papers on this, one of them including findings relating to the red end of the spectrum and its relation to what is called kundalini or 'vril'. None of these papers are in the public domain, though you find description of the basic practice of TPM (tantric pair meditation) and the types of experience it can result in, in my books 'Tantric Wisdom for Today's World' and 'Tantra Reborn'. Then again there is the section of the New Yoga website called 'Experiences of Tantric Initiation' - which includes one account of siddhi induced experience and feeling experience of the colour gunas. Were you interested in these research papers I could send them. More importantly - were you interested in learning to experience 'seeing' (Vidya) in new ways yourself - as through 'The New Yoga of the Eyes' I would be only too happy to personally train and initiate you in this new form of Netra Tantra - something I have long experience of.

Referring back to the first of the distinctions listed above - between seeing and feeling colours, there are ways in which I can and also cannot understand your puzzlement and/or dissatisfaction with my simplified formula of PQ > SQ. I am assuming that for you the formula does reflect your everyday experience in normal states with respect to sound and tone - that you can feel a person's tone of voice (SQ) as the audible expression of an (inaudible) tone of feeling (PQ). I am sure also you have no problems with making a distinction between a physical sensation or feeling of warmth (SQ) on the one hand, and an awareness of 'warmth of feeling' or 'warm feelings' (PQ) on the other. Sensations of warmth belong to awareness of the ['physical'] body. Warmth of feeling is a potential PQ belongs to the 'psychical body' or 'soul body' - understood as a body of feeling awareness. On the other hand I can understand that this PQ/SQ relation may not be so common or easy to experience or cultivate in relation to colour, unless perhaps one is a painter, a 'spiritual-scientific' researcher such as Steiner - or a yogin. On the other hand, we should not dismiss the realms of imagination and dreaming from 'normal' states - realm in which a black cat or cloud may indeed symbolise a depressive feeling, a red devil symbolise and express an aggressive tone of feeling. Speaking for myself, I am always directly and immediately aware - in the very process of dreaming and not just after a dream and through symbolic interpretation - of all the tone, shapes and colours of feeling being expressed in the images and events I am dreaming. I feel what I dream directly - including everything I see in my dreams, and know the latter in the most direct way possible as an expression of tones of feelings. That is why I have no need to interpret my dreams.

Let me return however, to the 'meta-level' insight I shared at the start of this letter. I am of course aware from your site that there are many areas of specialist knowledge and expertise in many modes of specialist theoretical discourse with which you are far more familiar than I. Thus such terms as 'PEs' and 'SEs' were entirely new to me - even though I have sought, for your sake to understand and make meaningful use of them in our communication. All I suggest with this letter then, is that you acknowledge that there are other types of knowledge and modes of discourse - not to mention dimensions of experiencing - that I am familiar with but that may be new to you (I am not sure how familiar you are, for example with the works (in particular the later ones) of Martin Heidegger, with Phenomenology or Psychoanalysis, with Rudolf Steiner's world-view and lectures (not least those on colour), with another major source of mine, the SETH books of Jane Roberts ('Seth Speaks' in particular), with the Eugene Gendlin's phenomenology of 'felt sense' or 'felt bodily sensing', and, last but not least, with the 'Dialectic Phenomenology', 'Dialectical Logic' and 'Dialectics of Nature' of my erstwhile mentor - the physicist and mathematician Michael Kosok - for whose brilliant writings on 'non-linearity' I created, out of sheer respect for his great genius and neglected works, a dedicated website:

These references will, I hope, give you also a sense of the 'catch-up work' we would both need time to do in order to understand each other better, to enrich our dialogue - and make it as fruitful and exciting as I believe it could be. Hence my willingness to make start on this 'catch up' process with your articles, and conversely, by sending you links to some blogs which at least summarise the contents of a just few of my now quite numerous books. Great minds need not think alike - but they can, as I am sure you will agree, become a most valuable, if not indispensible, source of stimulation, encouragement, expansion and enrichment of each other's thinking!!! This includes the expansion, enrichment and deepening of both the experiential sources and language of that thinking - hence my offer regarding The Yoga of the Eyes. For in The New Yoga, the eye itself as felt from within (the true meaning of the 'inner eye') is understood and experienced as a microcosm of the inwardly felt body as a whole - what I call the 'soul body'.

I have already raised in the context most central to your work what Heidegger saw as the essence of a 'basic question' by posing the basic question: 'What is 'vision'?' (ie what can be understood by the very word 'vision', what its roots are, its relation to knowing or vidya - and how it is or can be experienced. Now I am thinking of the words 'samadhi' and 'tantra' as further words which call for such basic questioning. You have again, and validly, expressed interest in my experience of 'colour vision' in 'samadhi'. You will also notice how I phenomenologically 'bracket' all such terms. This is important in relation to both Samadhi and Tantra, for in one sense all the tantras - in the specific sense of religious-metaphysical 'treatises' such as those of Sri Abhinavagupta or Adi Shankarachya, and my own writings on awareness - are nothing but on-going and extensive explorations, elaborations and explications of what the word 'Samadhi' can be said to mean and the different ways it can be experienced - even if the word itself may not used even once in those very same treatises or 'tantras'. !!!

As regards 'tantra', whilst I found nothing 'incorrect' about positing a triad of tantras - Kaula, Mishra and Samaya - as in the site you referred me to, I found the propositions with which Kaula tantra was 'defined' were conventionalised, crude, clichéd and distorted in the extreme, as well as lacking any reference to the polysemic meanings and historical roots of the word 'tantra' as such. More importantly, the statements on the swamji site about Kaula were not merely incorrect but above all ignorant and unaware of what the word itself has to say - literally and historically - about its own meanings (the unity of kula and akula that I wrote of). Hence one of Heidegger's most important maxims or mantra: "Language speaks". Single words can themselves confine and imprison or expand our awareness and understanding - depending on whether we take their meaning as 'given', listen to what they themselves are saying - or, as is so often necessary in today's culture, call upon us to question the entire framework of thought and discourse that they bespeak. Thus, as Heidegger said, an entire book could be written about the history and forgotten dimensions of the single word 'energy'. And millions of dollars are spent seeking (...for mega-profits) the causes and cures of different labelled 'diseases' or 'disorders', without ever questioning or exploring their meaning - their subjectively sensed significance for the patient as the expression of a felt dis-ease (the theme of my books on Heidegger, Medicine and 'Scientific Method') and a forthcoming one entitled from 'Psychosomatics to Somasemiotics).

Here I come back again to the question of the unthought or still-potential meanings of the single word - rather than the truth or falsity, correctness or incorrectness of any theoretical propositions which simply employ that word or term without further ado - without questioning, exploring or coming to experience its unbounded interiority of still-unthought or potential meanings. Out of this unawareness of language arises the absurdity of propositions, arguments and debates surrounding the existence or non-existence of God, debates in which the fundamental question of what is or could be understood by the very word 'God' - not to mention 'existence' - is not even considered. This is the level of linguistic unawareness to which thinking has sunk in the current debates between religionists and anti-religionists - and yet such linguistic unawareness also pervades the theoretical discourse and debate in countless domains, not least those of the sciences. What is lacking again is a fundamental distinction - in this case a semiotic distinction between the given or already signified senses of words or terms on the one hand, and their directly felt or sensed significance on the other - the theme of much of Eugene Gendlin's work and my forthcoming book on 'Soma-Semiotics'.

Much to read, and much also to learn - but possibly also in more ways than one - including dimensions of wordless face to face encounter, which perhaps alone could allow us, quite literally, to see 'eye-to-eye'. Then again, "There is a wordless knowledge in the word". This wordless knowing can itself communicate dia-logically - 'through the word' and not just 'in words'. It is not only our verbal exchanges but our feeling receptivity to what communicates 'through the word' - as it can also communicate and 'speak' through colour, sound and other 'SEs' - that I see as central to our relationship not just as thinkers and writers but as human beings - as embodied souls.

with warm regards,


PS No doubt by now you are getting impatient for an answer from me to your question about the experience of a colour wheel in 'Samadhi' !!!

"Let us suppose you looking at color wheel (see that has many colors; what do you experience in samadhi state: all reducing to One Awareness, meaning what? What happens to various colors of color wheel? Do they remain as they are, reduce to one color, or oscillate arbitrarily [randomly] as predicted by PQSQ transformation without subject’s control (please ignore serious and rigorous adaptation effect: see (Vimal et al., 1987) (all my papers are located in my web site: ). Please meditate and critically examine at samadhi state; this is very important and critical observation for my investigation."

Since all things are individualised portions and expression of The One Awareness, being that Awareness (the condition for all modes of Samadhi) allows one, at will, to enter into and feel the aware inwardness of any body or sensory quality - for example the specific and highly individual colour hue of just this flower, just this wall surface or just this one colour hue belonging to a painting, landscape, skyscape, cloud or sunset. Precisely because of this however, there are, as I have also experienced, also sub-modes of Samadhi that can come simply and purely from meditating specific colours - but only one at a time - since it requires immense concentration and much time and patience.

The meditational methodology requires having an external reference colour (that of a flower, object or book cover for example) with a very specific hue. By alternately looking at it with the eyes open and then closing one's eyes and visualising it one can reach the point of sustaining a mental image of its exact hue - seeing it as if on a screen seen before one's inner eye, and as if the colour were lining the sensed inner surface of one's forehead. Having attained this stage, one can them begin the process of 'feeling' the colour and letting the particular 'quality of feeling' it manifests pervade and transform our entire, inwardly felt body as a whole, and with it our entire state of consciousness. When this stage is attained, the colour may cease to be seen, for it is now simply and full felt as a unique quality, tone or texture of awareness. As to what would happen if an entire wheel of colours, with primary hues, to be meditated in turn, I can only hypothesise - albeit from many direct, profound and blissful experiences of meditating the uniqueness of individual colours with very specific hues.

So first of all I will present my hypothetical answer - and at another time will seek to confirm and no doubt add to it through a session meditational research on a colour wheel. My hypothesis is that the colours would, in your terms, "remain as they are". In my terms however - and again, speaking from direct experience of meditating specific colour hues one after the other and then back to the first - each colour would not only remain the same but appear and feel radically more distinct from every other - and from any colour with even the slightest difference of luminance or hue - than in an 'ordinary' state of consciousness.

At the same time, each and every colour would be sensed as constantly and instantaneously manifesting in the instant - the red being sensed as a redding of awareness, the blue as a blueing of awareness with a particular hue etc. Ultimately, however, the more the movement from SQ > PQ took its course with one's eyes closed, ie. the more one was able to attain and hold to a pure feeling of the many different colours of the wheel from one's mental image of it - something very dramatic and extraordinary would occur.

The wheel would be experienced as a wheel or chakra of divinities - in tantric terms as a wheel of goddesses - understood as both powers of manifestation of awareness (Shaktis) innate in pure awareness, and as consciousnesses in their own right - each characterised by the particular PQ of the colour - but vastly intensified and magnified. This may in turn (as it has occurred to me in meditating individual colours) lead to both to a 'vision' of the Devi or Shakti of that particular colour and/or to an experience of one's felt body actually taking on the outward form and colour of that Devi as well as feeling its divine PQ - the particular quality, tone and texture of awareness that defines it as a distinct consciousness in its own right.

Since all the Shaktis are capacities or powers of manifestation of Paramashiva - of pure awareness - one would, being in Samadhi and thus being that awareness, experience the Shaktis as pervaded by the translucent and colourless light of that awareness (Prakasha). Yet one would also experience them as expressions of the interplay between light in this primordial, subjective sense and the dark or 'black' realm of boundless hidden potentialities of awareness (potential 'SEs') which constitutes Paramashakti - the Great Black/Dark Mother Goddess.

Given this, the inner, esoteric truth of the exoterically false or 'incorrect' Goethian hypothesis concerning the relation of the colours to light and darkness would be experienced directly as a free inter-play (Leela) and dance (Nata) - a circular dance or 'round dance '-of the colours as goddesses or Shaktis, albeit one 'choreographed' by the specific relation of light and darkness they each represent. For some this might appear simply as a vision of Shiva as Nataraj - Lord of the Dance - surrounded by an image of multiple dancing goddesses or Shakis, each with their own shape and colour. For others it might simply appear as a swirl or vortex of colours within or around their bodies, each colour expressive of a different colour PQ but also of a different relation of subjective light and darkness. The most advanced tantrika however, would experience themselves as not only seeing or feeling but being that dance of Shaktis around Shiva, would experience themselves being Paramashiva and Paramashakti, being Mahadeva and Mahadevi. Hence no colour visions would necessarily arise at all, save as way of intensifying and giving form to the feeling awareness of being Paramashiva and of embodying this wheel or chakra of Shaktis.

This may sound all a bit Bollywood. But then Bollywood itself is nothing if not a feast and singing dance of colours !!! And my long experience of practicing tantric pair meditation with others, both as a medium of initiation and inter-subjective research - has shown me that even Westerners with little or no knowledge of the iconography of Hindu Tantrism have had experiences of the sort I have described above - experiencing singing or sounding swirls of colour, 'seeing' and feeling their bodies from within as having the shape and form of a Hindu goddess with a hood of cobras - or as radiant with different colours - gold in particular. I myself have become Bhairava - black in and out, and yet with wildly widened eyes whose whiteness expresses and inner experience of the most expansive spatiality and most blindingly intense light of awareness. Similar 'colourful' experiences are also a feature of murti darshan, as reported by those of my students who have been taught to practice such Puja as a form of meditation according to my guidelines (see 'The Awakening of a Devi' by Silya Muischneek). Conducting meditational Puja in my own Shiv shrine and with my own Shiv Mandir and Murti, many times the quality of the air, light and colours in the shrine room - not to mention the visible form, visage and facial expression of the Murti itself, has most radically and radiantly transformed.

Jai, Jai Mahadev!
Om Namah Shivaya Om!
Om Namah Paramashakti Om!

Dear Acharya,

Thanks for further clarification. Your research is very interesting and I am still in the process of reading your articles. Kindly email me all your articles, especially related to 'Experiences of Tantric Initiation'.

Perhaps, I should re-phrase and clarify my queries and make them more focused. I am discussing only sensory qualia (SQ) ~ SEs in normal wakeful state and samadhi state; I am NOT discussing ‘psychical qualia’ (PQ), which is > SQ and appears equal to ‘SQ + emotion + …’. Thus, for my discussion in this article: SEs = SQ at normal wakeful state and samadhi state, which does not include ‘feeling’ and ‘symbolic interpretation’. The PQ (= SQ + emotion + …) is very interesting and important area of research, but I am NOT discussing at present time [perhaps, I will discuss PQ after reading your articles and may be we can collaborate in that later]. I certainly acknowledge that there are other types of knowledge and modes of discourse. I am not familiar with any of the researchers you mentioned, but I would like to know about their work. I hope that this will bring our discussion closer; it is certainly fruitful to me.

1. Can we derive SEs from the interaction of PE and 3 gunas as detailed in Eqs. (1)-(12) of Sections 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 of the attached updated version of the manuscript? What are your comments on this speculation?

2. All trichromats have more or less same SEs for color within their subjective variations (+standard error) For example, see (Vimal et al., 1987). If there are significant differences then that subject is NOT a normal (average) trichromat. Do you agree?

3. In close-eye meditation, yogis experience (including me!) various colors coming and going at third eye (area between left and right eyebrows). This is simply meditation-induced color phosphenes as detailed in (Vimal & Pandey-Vimal, 2007). This is neurophysiological/psychological effect and it is consistent with the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework. We do not need to invoke less parsimonious (as it has extra type of substance, namely two different kinds of independent but interacting substances: mind/Purusha and matter/Prakriti) Dvait®Advait framework. Do you agree with this?

4. In open-eye mediation on color-wheel, there will certainly be artifacts related to strong adaptation effect (see (Vimal et al., 1987) for normal wakeful state). We need to design the experiments carefully to address this adaptation effect.

5. Your hypotheses seems to be:
(I) The colors would, "remain as they are" at samadhi state.

(II) Cutoff (highest frequencies that can be detected) spatial, spectral, and temporal frequencies (Vimal, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 2000, 2002a, 2002b, 2009j; Vimal, Pandey, & McCagg, 1995) will increase at samadhi state, i.e. we will acquire extra ability to detect, discriminate and recognize visual spatial, temporal spectral patterns better.

(III) PQ > SQ and PQ will acquire extra dimension as we move from normal to samadhi state.

(IV) The merging of the triad (the observer, the observed, and the process of observation) will occur at samadhi state. Please edit and extend your hypotheses to make them more precise.

6. It would be interesting to design and perform experiments that can be done psychophysically.

7. Since you are a long-term practitioner of meditation, you may like to be a subject and/or collaborator our fMRI (functional MRI) experiments, which are dedicated to understand what extra brain areas are activated/deactivated in samadhi state. If you are interested, please let me know so that I can introduce you to our international research group.




26 February 2010

Dear Ram,

Thank you for your further clarifications, whose language I feel, helps bring us closer to questions do to with the fundamental nature and limits of scientific theory, language and methodology. Allow me to take your opening and further paragraphs to exemplify these, with a focus on those particular phrases I have underlined in them.

Perhaps, I should re-phrase and clarify my queries and make them more focused. I am discussing only sensory qualia (SQ) ~ SEs in normal wakeful state and samadhi state; I am NOT discussing ‘psychical qualia’ (PQ), which is > SQ and appears equal to ‘SQ + emotion + …’. Thus, for my discussion in this article: SEs = SQ at normal wakeful state and samadhi state, which does not include ‘feeling’ and ‘symbolic interpretation’. The PQ (= SQ + emotion + …) is very interesting and important area of research, but I am NOT discussing at present time [perhaps, I will discuss PQ after reading your articles and may be we can collaborate in that later]. I certainly acknowledge that there are other types of knowledge and modes of discourse. I am not familiar with any of the researchers you mentioned, but I would like to know about their work. I hope that this will bring our discussion closer; it is certainly fruitful to me.

It was notable that you conceived of one of sources I referred to as 'researchers'. Martin Heidegger was certainly no 'researcher' in the scientific sense of this word. Historically, he was perhaps the most profound European philosophical thinker of the 20th Century - if not of all times. His message however, was that what we call 'science' and 'scientific research' had replaced all deeper modes of philosophical reflection and thoughtful questioning - to an extent where science itself was no longer capable of questioning the limits of its own theoretical terms and frameworks - and with the result that there was now a danger of it leaving no room at all for thinking as such, understood as 'meditative thinking'.

So whilst I am glad that you would like to know more about the thinkers I mentioned, and of course appreciate the current "area of research" most important to you, paradoxically the very compartmentalisation of thought into pre-defined "object-areas" or "areas of research" was one of the key characteristics of a specific mode of scientific methodology and discourse of the very sort that Heidegger sought to challenge at its very roots.
The leaves me with a difficult dilemma however: how can I answer, in the terms you would like me to do, the questions of most importance to you - if the very terms in which the questions are posed seem to be to first of all to demand deeper questioning of a sort that can only come from 'other types of knowledge and modes of discourse'

Thus from a Heideggerian perspective, all modes of theoretical and scientific discourse - including your own theoretical language and its formal symbolism - are themselves modes of 'symbolic interpretation'. As for 'feeling', it was Heidegger's understanding that all thinking is tuned and coloured by a certain fundamental 'mood' or 'tone of feeling'. Even those modes of scientific or theoretical discourse characterised by a seemingly emotion- or feeling-free tone of 'neutral' observation and 'objectivity' are themselves expressions of a basic mood or feeling tone - in this case a basic mood or tone of neutral indifference to feeling or emotion. This will perhaps help you to appreciate why your request that we temporarily exclude issues relating to 'feeling' and 'symbolic interpretation' is a difficult one for me, and why in general - and even at this stage of our dialogue - I cannot simply give you a neat answer to questions in the terms they are posed, and nor can I simply postpone for convenience a (hopefully helpful) introduction to those 'other types of knowledge and modes of discourse' which question those terms.

On your questions and comments:

1. Can we derive SEs from the interaction of PE and 3 gunas as detailed in Eqs. (1)-(12) of Sections 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 of the attached updated version of the manuscript? What are your comments on this speculation?

Here again the dilemma I referred to rears its head. For here again the very terms in which the question is posed raises huge questions for me.
To begin with it is not entirely clear to me what you mean by the word 'derive', with its rather mathemetical or formulaic connotations and 'tone'. Nor is it all obvious to me why, for whom and for what purpose the question of this possible 'derivation' of SEs is important. Last but not least, my essay on the gunas must be considered inadequate if it failed to get over its central aim - namely to see them as pre-given 'things', and not to simply assume but begin to question more deeply what it is that can be understood by the very term 'gunas' - and by the discourse, symbolism and modes of 'symbolic interpretation' surrounding this term.

My essay on the gunas can only be considered adequate if has to any degree succeeded in undermining all simplistic understanding of them (or any PQ's) as simply 'SQ + emotion'. For though very far from even approaching a comprehensive exploration of the nature of what are termed 'gunas', the central message my essay seeks to get over is that we can distinguish between any and all mental-emotional-somatic states or behaviours and the more fundamental tonalities of awareness or feelings tones underlying them. My purpose is not simply to argue a theoretical position but through it, to help other human beings ("inference for the sake of others") to free the entire realm of their mental-emotional-somatic experiencing from 'superposing' itself on, distorting or judging those word- and symbol-free dimensions of feeling awareness of which it is an expression.

2. All trachomats have more or less same SEs for color within their subjective variations (+standard error) For example, see (Vimal et al., 1987). If there are significant differences then that subject is NOT a normal (average) trichromat. Do you agree?

Here I need more time to study the article you reference. The only thought that arose reading this question was that from a phenomenological as opposed to neuro-psycho-physiological perspective, I am not sure if I accept the notion of 'pure' hues. Phenomenologically, I subjectively experience no such 'SE' as 'redness' per se - only hues of red. In a certain sense, therefore I see colour hues as phenomenologically more primordial that triadisms or 'trichromaticisms' of so-called 'primary' and secondary colours.

3. In close-eye meditation, yogis experience (including me!) various colors coming and going at third eye (area between left and right eyebrows). This is simply meditation-induced color phosphenes as detailed in (Vimal & Pandey-Vimal, 2007). This is neurophysiological/psychological effect and it is consistent with the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework. We do not need to invoke less parsimonious (as it has extra type of substance, namely two different kinds of independent but interacting substances: mind/Purusha and matter/Prakriti) DvaitAdvait framework. Do you agree with this?

I believe I understand and know from experience what a colour phosphene is. One of my disagreements with the teaching of Steiner's colour theory is that it concentrates too much on what would scientifically be called phosphenes, as opposed to mental images - including of the sort that are experienced also in dreams. If all that a yogi experiences is indeed phosphenes coming and going in the region of the third eye, then in my view they know nothing of the meaning of 'inner seeing'. If I do colour meditation with the eyes closed I do so by first of all recalling and holding in my 'mind's eye' images of objects with a particular colour (like a banana for yellow). Similarly the colour meditation procedure I outlined in my last correspondence is based on holding an image of before one's mind's eyes - one that is projected onto a region inside the entire forehead (and ultimately felt as inwardly lining and pervading one's entire body.

4. In open-eye mediation on color-wheel, there will certainly be artifacts related to strong adaptation effect (see (Vimal et al., 1987) for normal wakeful state). We need to design the experiments carefully to address this adaptation effect.

I would need to do much more reading to simply understand the language of this question - terms like 'adaptation effect' are new to me. The same applies to some specialist terms you use below, such as 'cutoff frequencies'.

5. Your hypotheses seems to be:

(I) The colors would, "remain as they are" at samadhi state. I will be bold and provocative here and repeat again that the entire range of colour hues can be experienced as a range of samadhi states and not just 'at' or 'in' a singular 'samadhi state'.

(II) Cutoff (highest frequencies that can be detected) spatial, spectral, and temporal frequencies (Vimal, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 2000, 2002a, 2002b, 2009j; Vimal, Pandey, & McCagg, 1995) will increase at samadhi state, i.e. we will acquire extra ability to detect, discriminate and recognize visual spatial, temporal spectral patterns better.

(III) PQ > SQ and PQ will acquire extra dimension as we move from normal to samadhi state. Agreed.

(IV) The merging of the triad (the observer, the observed, and the process of observation) will occur at samadhi state. Please edit and extend your hypotheses to make them more precise.

There is a awareness of a particular tone (or 'hue'?!) of language resounding as an undertone from your use of the terms 'the observer, the observed and the process of observation'. The terms 'observer', 'observed' and 'observation resound with the tone of Western scientific terminology and modes of discourse rather than Indian philosophy. Their equivalent in the latter would be better translated as knower, known and process of knowing. I myself would prefer to speak of the process of experiencing and of what is experienced - with the important qualification that from my particular Dvaita-Advaita perspective there is ultimately no 'experiencer' - except pure awareness or awareness as such.

6. It would be interesting to design and perform experiments that can be done psychophysically.

7. Since you are a long-term practitioner of meditation, you may like to be a subject and/or collaborator our fMRI (functional MRI) experiments, which are dedicated to understand what extra brain areas are activated/deactivated in samadhi state. If you are interested, please let me know so that I can introduce you to our international research group.

Simple question: why would it be interesting? For whom would it be interesting and for what reason? For behind these questions is a more basic questions: How would it benefit their lives and those of others?

It is not clear to me in what way experiments on people's experience (including my own) can help them to be more aware of and to more fully cultivate, deepen and enrich their experience with awareness?

How would knowing, through experiments with 'a practitioner of meditation' .... 'what brain areas are activated/deactivated in samadhi state ' help us and others to understand more deeply and experience more intensely what it means to 'be a ... practitioner of meditation', what it means to be 'in samadhi state' - and to experience the extraordinary life-enriching benefits that come from doing so?

The New Yoga of Awareness is all about offering new, more insightful, healing and life- and relationship enriching answers to the questions of what it means to 'meditate' or to be 'in samadhi'.

Hence my most basic question to YOU.

How do you understand the purpose or 'why' of your work and Institute?

Is it simply to pursue with as much rigour, originality and intelligence as possible a particular specialist field or fields, whilst at the same time incorporating understandings coming from Indian thought within them?

If so, does this serve the purpose of uncovering and deepening our understanding of the the riches of Indian thought - or to impoverish it precisely by confining and enframing it within the conventionally accepted framework of specialist 'areas of research' and their specifically Western modes of academic and scientific discourse?

An even more direct question - is your interest in the human brain or in the human being? In enriching experiencing or in experimenting on it?
Perhaps you do not see any dualism here. Nevertheless the question of most importance to me is still what you and your research group's primary interest and purpose is.

As for myself, though I have no objections in principle to being placed in a tube for my brain to be scanned (though it not the ideal space or posture for meditation) I would far rather meet you and your international group in person and as human beings, sharing my experiences directly rather through my scans - and introducing you and your group, perhaps through provocative and lively seminars and debates - to some of those other modes of knowing and discourse. In fact, this is what Heidegger himself did in the course of the so-called 'Zollikon' seminars - in which he sought to share and discuss his radically different understanding of the nature of the body and 'illness' with a select group of highly trained and qualified doctors and psychiatrists.

He did this not in order to persuade them of the truth of a new medical 'theory' or 'doctrine' but to point to new distinctions and to open up for them new, previously unthought, lines and directions of questioning which they could incorporate in their work. Of course there was an element of radical challenge too - as when he put it to them that "it is not that organs have capacities but rather that capacities have organs." So too there is an element of challenge in the very simple but radical proposition that seeing cannot, in principle, be derived from or reduced to anything seen - whether in the form of a colour meditated upon by an experimental 'subject', the structure of the eye, or a scan of the brain - itself something seen and studied by the eyes. This is an expression of a general principle of I call the 'field-phenomenology' of awareness: namely that no phenomenon present or 'observed' within any given field of awareness (eg. a visual or auditory field) can be derived from or explained by its interrelateness to other phenomena in the same field. Instead all phenomena within a given field of awareness are formed expressions of that field.

In preparation for a possible experiment of a different sort - that of meeting - and also as a precondition for the further most interesting pursuit of our dialogue so far - I would suggest that we give it more time structure. Each of my letters to you takes up to ten hours or more to meditate, write, amend and correct - a little bit too much work for me - not least at my age - to put in every day or every other, however enjoyable and stimulating it has been. Therefore I suggest we limit ourselves to one exchange of letters per fortnight. Such a limit would open up time - giving us each a week's time to fully study and meditate each other's letters and other writings (b) giving each of us a week's time to more deeply meditate and expand on our next written response to one another.

Perhaps we could also help each other in the prioritisation of our reading - particularly in those areas in which we both lack basic background knowledge of each others sources and terms. With this in mind, and besides the chapter from The Qualia Revolution on 'Light, Colour and Qualia Dynamics' that I sent you - which I would most be interested to hear your reaction to - I am attaching with this letter a short extract from another book of mine (Heidegger, Medicine and 'Scientific Method') together with an essay entitled 'Beyond the Frame' - both of which offer more of an introduction to Heideggerian thinking in particular, and specifically in relation to scientific discourse, terminology and and theory (see also for more on this 'field-phenomenology'. Their primary sources are in turn The Zollikon Seminars and The Question of Technology (Martin Heidegger).

Perhaps we could also devote more of our correspondence to feedback on other pieces of each other's writing we have read, thus letting each other know which our respective articles, essays, book chapters or 'recommended reading' we have actually found time to study.

It also occurred to me that our dialogue could perhaps best be thought of and understand as a dialogue that between vision science and current 'philosophy of mind' on the one hand and philosophy of science on the other - for the latter embraces both discourse analysis, deconstructionism, phenomenology and 'phenomological science'. Given, this perhaps there might be room in your site for a dedicated pages and/or forum dealing specifically with philosophy and phenomenology of both science and subjective experiencing - one in which our own corrrespondence - being at the sharp edge of a significant interface of science and philosophy - might indeed be quite appropriately 'compartmentalised'. This would also avoid confusion between the types of question we raise - and instead thematise their very difference.

I think in relation to both vision and brain science this interface of philosophy, science and phenomenology/phenomenological science is now extremely important. We are all aware, for example, of popular- and/or quasi-scientific phrases such as 'memories located in the brain'.
From a philosophical point of view any proposition that declares a subjective emotion or experience to be 'located' in the brain is, in principle, experimentally unverifiable - not because there are not genuine correspondences between subjective states and activity in different brain regions, but because subjective experiences of any character, cannot - in principle - be said to have an objective location in space or in an object in space. Things we see or experience may have an apparent location in space, just as brain activity can also be localised - but the same cannot be said for seeing or subjective experiencing as such. Thus a linguistic proposition such such as 'memories are stored/located in the brain' would constitute what Gilbert Ryle termed a 'category error'.



PS I also attach two subjective-scientific research papers of mine (MR and SSResearch1), both written many years ago.

Dear Acharya

Thanks for the articles. I am in the process of reading them. It will take time for both of us to appreciate our views. I will keep on updating the article life-long whenever there are significant changes; the updated version is and will be located at . Please feel free to download.

1. I agree that emotions cannot be avoided in psychophysical experiments. However, the experiments are designed to minimize subjective biases that include PQ. The color matching and color naming involved in our psychophysical experiments for SQ are robust, in a sense that even highly biased subjects such as yourself will detect, discriminate, match colors, and name colors within acceptable standard error very close to normal healthy trichomats (if you are trichromat) in awake state. CIE (International Commission on Illumination) color system is based on this and photometers are built out of CIE system. My goal is to understand first simpler SEs such as SQ. Since Hypothesis H1 of PE-SE framework generates Type-2 explanatory gap, the derivation of SEs from a few cardinal/primary entities should address this gap in Hypothesis H2 of PE-SE framework. This seems to be now accomplished in Section 5.3 and its subsections (please review the updated version).

2. The term ‘derivation’ means that our innumerable non-tractable SEs which appear to us as irreducible and fundamental are really derived, secondary, not fundamental, and reducible to a few countable and tractable cardinal/primary entities.

3. Perhaps your effortful color-meditation based mental images are different from my effortless meditation-induced phosphenes. However, once we experience color (does not matter how) the relevant neural-nets must include activated color area V4/V8/VO. One can test this hypothesis using fMRI.

4. You mean that there are many levels of samadhi states. I was referring to the highest state such as Patanjali’s eight-state in his Ashtang yoga.

5. My interest is both in the human brain and in the human being.

6. Please feel free to insert our correspondence in your independent 'blog'. I have also included it in this article. I hope that it is ok with you. The goal should be that our communication should reach to population at large.

7. I think that you will agree over 6000 years we have been trying very hard for peace and happiness and well being of our world-family (vasudhaiv kutumbakam = whole universe is our family!). However, we have failed and still failing to achieve this because of war and suffering. Why? In my view, our foundation (metaphysical view) has serious problem. If foundation has problems then no matter how strong building we build, it is going to fail. That is precisely what has been going on. Unfortunately, there are many views in consciousness research and it is impossible to prove or disprove any view. Therefore, the best we can do is to search for an optimal framework that has the least number of problems and then build the rest based on that optimal framework. Materialism and substance dualism (including Dvait-Adavit framework) are at two opposite poles and both have serious problems. India is based on Dvait-Adavit framework; if you visit India and examine critically everybody’s daily life, it is all based on Dvait-Adavit view. This has led to serious superstitions and misleading life-style (although the family-value is very high). Other parts of world also have problems. Unless this is fixed, it is not very useful to do other things, because we are going to keep on failing endlessly. So far, the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework appears to have the least number of problems. We need to work on this further and critically examine if it can be rejected. It is just 2-3 years old framework although dual-aspect view has also been since rigvedic period in India in neutral-monism form (Brahma/matter and Vishnu/consciousness are the two aspects of the third neutral Adi-Shiva entity) and also in other parts of world. If this turns out to be indeed optimal and can explain almost all data and address the current problems of world, we might be in right track. Then it will be useful to do what you suggest to help others but based on this type of framework. Perhaps then we will NOT keep on failing to such a high degree. I feel that it is our duty/obligation to enhance the subjective researches of our rishis (seers) further by critically examining and fixing the problems of various views for the betterment of world. I think that you have excellent knowledge and logical/critical power to contribute in this endeavor. If possible, please critically examine if you can interpret all your data and findings in terms of this optimal framework. But for this, first you need to understand the framework completely; I can help you on that. May be, you will be able to reject this framework, which will give us clues for better framework. What do you say?




1 March 2010

Dear Acharya:

I have started reading about Heidegger's framework, which has 'brute fact' problem; Globus is a sort of his follower and I discussed with him. For detail, please see :

"The mode-convention in Vitiello’s framework is the same as in the PE-SE frameworks, but is different from that in the dual-mode-double-universe-thermofield-holoworld framework. In the dual-mode-double-universe-thermofield-holoworld framework (Globus, 2004; Globus, 2006; Globus, 2008; Globus, 1987; Globus, 1995a, 1995b, 1996; Globus, 1998, 2002, 2003; Globus, 2005; Globus, 2007) when the interaction occurs between (a) the non-tilde future (an ‘alter time-reversed’ quantum mode) approaching towards present and (b) the tilde cognitive past (‘our’ mode) approaching towards present and the conjugate match is made, the ‘world-presence’ (‘Now’/’present’) is disclosed in the match for the ‘belonging-together’ (Heidegger's (Heidegger, 1927/1962) zusammen-gehoeren of die Ursprung=belong together of the origin) of a specific between-two. This framework explains well the ‘Now’/’present’ component of the phenomenal time (Vimal & Davia, 2008), whereas its content (whatever is disclosed phenomenally) remains the ‘brute fact’. "

It involves quantum physics and Globus development is hard to follow, but the dual-aspect framework is better.




2 March 10

Dear Ram,

Please do not take what I have now to say below as patronising or in any way 'critical' - for I wish above all to encourage and to nurture your enthusiasm and idealism, and not diminish it.

For me the question is not one of accepting or 'rejecting' your framework, but of helping you to understand your own framework better - by being able to see in the light of a broader and deeper 'framework' - that of The Awareness Principle or 'Dialectical Field Phenomenology'.

From both a human, worldly and philosophical perspective surely one important mark of an optimal framework it the breadth and depth of both its sources and applications. The fact that The Awareness Principle - as shown in my writings and books - is capable of immediately and easily applying itself to an immense range of areas of life and thought - from history, religion and science to sociology and human relations, economics and global politics, education, medicine and psychotherapy - and the fact that is has already shown itself capable of profoundly transforming the lives of many individuals - surely says something in itself.

As for its sources and nature, The Awareness Principle is not reducible to traditional Dvait-Advait but offers instead a radically new understanding of 'Dvait-Advait'. Nor does it derive solely from Indian thought, but has its sources in the most profound and radical traditions of 19th and 20th century European thought - including Hegelian dialectics, Marxism, Freudian, Kleinian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, Anthroposophy, Phenomenology, Body-oriented (Reichian and neo-Reichian) psychotherapy, linguistics and semiotics.

The Awareness Principle and its practice - The New Yoga of Awareness - has taken me 50 years to evolve, and is in turn rooted in traditions going back not only centuries but - thinking also of its resonances with the Trika Shaivism or Shaiva Advaita of Abhinavagupta - entire millennia. Do not forget that it took almost an entire millennium for the significance of Acharya Abhinavagupta's life work (Trika Advaita) to begin to fully appreciated - for until relatively recently it had been marginalised, left in historic oblivion and forgetfulness.

You mention that the PE-SE framework is just 2-3 years old. I mention this because it would take at least 3 years even just to begin to understand the key sources of The Awareness Principle, together with its countless practices, applications and world-transforming potentials. Indeed it would probably take a 3 years at the very least just to begin to profundity and significance of any one its sources - for example the work of Martin Heidegger, one of the greatest Rishis of the West.

When I speak of the 'sources' of The Awareness Principle therefore I must emphasise again that I am not referring to researchers or to the numberless specialist scholarly, scientific or academic books and articles written by the intellectual pygmies of today. No, I am speaking of intellectual giants such as Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Martin Buber, Martin Buber, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Ivan Illich, Levinas and Lacan - giants whom today's generation of specialist academics and scientists and researchers are often totally ignorant, knowing and even teaching them, if at all, only through secondary sources - and often in a way with that reduces them to the status of mere footnotes in the history of human thought - their thought.

The sheer degree of cultural-historical-philosophical ignorance revealed by today's academics, philosophers and, as Einstein recognised - physicists too - is simply shocking, if not frightening. That is why in the essay I sent you called Beyond the Frame - World Awareness and where it leaves us, I pointed out (as Heidegger recognised 80 years ago or more) that the real danger facing humanity has already come to pass. This is not the danger of whole continents drowning or suffering drought through climate change - and that possibly within the space a few decades. Instead the real and essential danger is the drowning of whole continents of knowledge - one that has already taken place in recent decades as a result of a changing 'climate of consciousness' - leaving in its place a drought of deep knowledge and awareness.

In particular their is a drought of historical knowledge regarding giants of thought - whose work that has been literally drowned out by countless modern 'frameworks' which show no knowledge of those giants - the very same giants on whose shoulders my own work rests.

What united the thinking of these giants - in particular Marx, Steiner and Heidegger - was a recognition of the way in which thinkers in every age tend to view 'past' thinkers and ways of thinking only through the limiting terms of their own contemporary culture and its 'frameworks' - rather than letting those giants open their eyes to far broader and deeper perspectives transcending their present culture and its frameworks.

In the last four decades human thought has not progressed but significantly regressed - not least through sheer ignorance or shallowness of knowledge of the 'giants' of whom I speak. Today's world and its problems is possibly the worst-ever expression of this type of historical ignorance (itself also a key characteristic of American culture). For still in the 1970's you could not find a single serious thinker or philosopher of 'consciousness' for whom such figures as Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Levinas, Illich, Lacan and Laing were not familiar names - however much or little they knew of their work. Today however, it would be difficult to find a single professor even of economics or history who has actually read, let alone truly understood the major works of Marx - even though his name - by virtue of the financial crisis - has not yet been erased from history or cultural consciousness.

Marx's understanding was that human consciousness was shaped by man's "social being" - that is to say by human relations. Thus, in a capitalist culture which - not just in theory but in practice - reduces relations between human beings to relations between things (commodities) and which reduces the value even of things themselves to their value, it is not surprising that 'consciousness' too is seen as an object or thing, or that it is reduced to quantitative measurements of brain activity.

In my own historical survey of the evolution of human awareness I draw from Marx. I do so by seeing the idea - and experience - of consciousness as private property (the property of either beings or brains) as an idea which reflects the evolution of economic systems based on private property - in contrast to early communistic tribal economies and cultures. For in those [pre-historic cultures consciousness was not experienced as something bounded by the human body. Instead human beings experienced human consciousness as fluid and boundless - able to naturally enter, merge and mix with the consciousness of a plant, to flow with the consciousness of a river, to rising and raging with that of storm cloud, to shine as the sun, and extend to the furthest horizons of their vision and of the cosmos as such.

To study human consciousness without being able to see - as Marx, Steiner and Heidegger each did in their own most way - the many profound and dramatic transformations which that consciousness has undergone in the course of history - is fatal for any 'framework'. For not being aware of these historical transformations of human consciousness restricts us to understanding 'consciousness as such' only in the terms of those specific, highly limiting and confining intellectual and experiential 'frameworks' that reflect and characterise the present mode of human consciousness - those that dominate today's world.

I am sure you would not want your own framework to be unknowingly culturally restricted and limited in this way. Yet there are some way in which it still is. This is nothing to be ashamed of - for in the course of my own life I myself many times arrogantly believed I had found 'THE' framework - only to find myself corrected by the awesome genius of giants such as Heidegger - giants whom in my ignorance (and, I have to admit, also youthful arrogance) I had not bothered to give sufficient time to or to seriously study and learn from before, or whom my first academic teachers - in their ignorance - were themselves ignorant of or had not pointed me to.

The real point I wish to make to you here is a different and deeper one, namely that every sincere and persistent thinker however, will come to eventually transcend his or her 'framework' of knowledge and its terminology - incorporating or subsuming this within one that is broader and deeper. This can only happen through their thinking becoming more historically knowledgeable - and also more grounded in their own directly lived and enriched experiencing.

If I can be true service to you and to the inevitable evolution and transformation of your framework, it is through the way in which my long history of meditative study, thinking and experiencing could (a) help you to both understand your own framework better and from a new points of view, and (b) help you yourself to enrich, enlarge and ultimately transcend that framework (rather than simply seeking to perfect, finalise and 'fix it' as truth).

For this potential help from me to bring the evolution of your own life and work all the benefits it could however, you would need at least to study in depth many more of the philosophical essays on the Archive page of my site - and to obtain and study a minimum number of my 13 books (in particular but not only The Qualia Revolution, The Awareness Principle, The Science Delusion and Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought).

Really taking the time to deeply study, meditate, reflect on and correspond with me on these essays and books - as well as those writings I have already sent you - would in turn prepare the ground for you to meet and learn from me directly - on a traditional one-to-one basis - as many unusual and inquiring souls have come here to the UK to do - whether from England, Europe, the USA or even as far away as Australia.

This is my open invitation to you and to others you work with.

I am aware that this invitation may seem like a diversion from the clear directions of work laid out by you current 'framework'. But often taking a side path - off the beaten track - can bring one back to that track enriched by wholly new languages, terms and ways of thinking by which to understand, deepen and broaden it. It is also like taking time out to explore others countries and continents - not in order to exploit or 'use' their resources for one's own native country or domain (geographical or intellectual) but in order to learn their languages. These new continents and languages (languages of thought and of the soul) may at first seem very 'foreign' - and may need a lot of time to study and learn - but they end up adding whole new vocabularies and dimensions of meaning to one's own 'native language'.

The main aim of my correspondence with you has been and still is to make you more aware of the vocabularies and languages of different theoretical frameworks of thought - including your own - with the help of thinkers such as Heidegger who recognised that such theoretical frameworks are essentially nothing but languages - 'modes of discourse' created from specific intellectual vocabularies - but therefore also all-too easily bound to and bounded by these vocabularies. By writing and even posing question in quite different terms to your own - and by even questioning the very terms in which your own questions are phrased - I aim only to indicate how the terms and vocabulary of any 'framework' can be more or less taken for granted, more or less confining, and more or less concealing of a far greater and richer diversity of languages, vocabularies and continents of thought.

My view and that of Heidegger himself is clear: the way to a new theoretical language of 'consciousness' or 'awareness' must, in our era, begin with a new 'awareness' or 'consciousness' of language itself - one founded in a new, more historically aware and critical relationship to language.

This is the deep reason why one of Heidegger's most important collection of writings is entitled simply 'On the Way to Language'.


Dear Acharya:

Thanks a lot. I must say that you write very well and your writing is very powerful. I am still in the process of reading your articles and trying to understand your view. It is going to take time, as you said, over 3 years! So let us go one step at a time.


So far, what I understood are as follows: Your fundamental metaphysical hypothesis is:

1. There is the experiential entity God; other names are Purusha, paramtaman, spirit, pure awareness, cosmic awareness, supreme awareness, consciousness-as-such, sat-chit-ananda, and so on.

2. There is the material entity called Prakriti.

3. Purusha and Prakriti are independent from each other (one can exist without other), but they interact to form universe including us.

Please let me know if I misunderstood your metaphysical view. Please answer yes or no; please do not confuse me by introducing other principles at this step 1. They will come after I understood your metaphysical view (THE ROOT) clearly.




2 March 10

Dear Acharya:

I have started reading about Heidegger's framework, which has 'brute fact' problem; Globus is a sort of his follower and I discussed with him. For detail, please see

" The mode-convention in Vitiello’s framework is the same as in the PE-SE frameworks, but is different from that in the dual-mode-double-universe-thermofield-holoworld framework. In the dual-mode-double-universe-thermofield-holoworld framework (Globus, 2004; Globus, 2006; Globus, 2008; Globus, 1987; Globus, 1995a, 1995b, 1996; Globus, 1998, 2002, 2003; Globus, 2005; Globus, 2007) when the interaction occurs between (a) the non-tilde future (an ‘alter time-reversed’ quantum mode) approaching towards present and (b) the tilde cognitive past (‘our’ mode) approaching towards present and the conjugate match is made, the ‘world-presence’ (‘Now’/’present’) is disclosed in the match for the ‘belonging-together’ (Heidegger's (Heidegger, 1927/1962) zusammen-gehoeren of die Ursprung=belong together of the origin) of a specific between-two. This framework explains well the ‘Now’/’present’ component of the phenomenal time (Vimal & Davia, 2008), whereas its content (whatever is disclosed phenomenally) remains the ‘brute fact’. "

It involves quantum physics and Globus development is hard to follow, but the dual-aspect framework is better.




2 March 10

Dear Ram,

First of all a few necessary remarks again - were it possible to present my essential or root metaphysical view as a response to three 'yes or no' questions I would have had no need to write several entire books and countless articles on it!!! Imagine asking Einstein or Freud to sum up the essence or root of general or special relativity through a brief yes or no response to three questions!!!

Secondly I must admit to feeling something of an over-hastiness and in your replies and further questions. For if you were to read again - but slowly and meditatively - all the mails I have sent you, you would find answers to all the three questions you have put to me regarding my 'root' philosophy. It is really difficult for me when your letters often seem to repeat questions to me which I have already given lengthy answers in previous mails - rather than responding to those answers, and expressing your own thoughts about them.

Yet since I also appreciate the sincere eagerness of your questioning I will of course again reply - but with this strong and forceful reminder that what you will read below is nothing but a repetition of points already most carefully and painstakingly elaborated in my previous correspondence.

For example you summarise my view by writing:

1. “There is the experiential entity God; other names are Purusha, paramtaman, spirit, pure awareness, cosmic awareness, supreme awareness, consciousness-as-such, sat-chit-ananda, and so on.”

NO! For again, as I have painstakingly sought to explain:

1. My metaphysical view is essentially trans-entitative. Since we can only know of or 'experience' any entity through an awareness of it, that awareness cannot - in principle - be itself an experiential entity. Awareness transcends and is at the same time the source of all experienced entities or being, all of which are essentially unique and individualised portions and expressions of the One Awareness. Awareness as such or pure awareness (chit) is nothing experienced, and certainly not an experienced entity. It is the ultimate experiencer. And if do you a search for sat-chit-ananda in my mails you will find a highly refined interpretation of this important term - which is no mere synonym for pure awareness (which is only the chit aspect of sat-chit-ananda).

2. “There is the material entity called Prakriti.”

NO! My view is that there is not such 'thing' as 'matter'. In other words matter itself is 'no-thing'. As I have explained with reference to the books of Samuel Avery, the idea of material 'substance' is a mental construct superposed upon the awareness of potential as opposed to actual dimensions of subjective experiencing. We conceive of something as 'material' only because, in seeing it, there is also an awareness of different potential ways of experiencing it - for example feeling it as having qualities of hardness, density, solidity, weight etc. These potential sensory qualities or qualia are not qualities of some basic substance called matter - instead 'matter' is a mental construct of such a substance. We can experience something as having tactile qualities associated with the concept of 'matter' - such as hardness. Such potential are not properties of 'matter'. Instead 'matter' is a mental construct of something invisible substance possessing such properties (from a Marxist point of view an ideological intrusion of the notions of ownership and property again) We do not and cannot see, feel or in any way sense or experience any 'thing' that might be called material substance as such. The notion of Prakriti derives from Samkhya philosophy - crudely speaking the principal Indian equivalent of Western 'materialism'. Yet as I have also pointed out, this 'materialism' is actually a form of 'idealism' - since it treats abstract mental ideas or constructs such as 'matter' or material substance as more real than the actually or potentially experienced sensory qualia they are used to 'explain'. Western science as a whole derives from John Locke's false division of qualia into so-called 'primary' and 'secondary' qualities, and his assertion that primary qualities - in essence nothing but measurable quantities such as size and extension, were more real than experienced qualities such as colour. This idealism came from Galileo, who first proclaimed the dogma that the real is only that which is quantitatively measurable - and that the entire realm of our qualitative experiencing of reality needs to be derived from or reduced to pure quantities. To sum up again - in my view there simply is no such 'thing' as 'matter' or 'material entities'. The idea of material entities does not derive from actual sense-perceptions but is a sense-conception - a mental concept superposed on sensory experiencing and perception. All that we can we actually perceive through the 'evidence of the senses' are but outwardly experienced portions, shapes, patterns, and qualities of the One Awareness itself - not 'matter' or 'material entities'.

If we go back to the Greeks, it is the philosopher Democritus who is associated with the idea of the world of experience being ultimately composed of indivisible (and invisible) units or atoms - the root of so-called 'materialism'. Yet Democritus himself saw the flaw in - and eventual fall of -his own philosophy, as expressed in the quotation below where the word 'understanding' refers to the intellect and its mental concepts or constructs.

“According to common speech, there are colours, sweets, bitters; in reality however only atoms and emptiness. The senses speak to the understanding: ‘Poor understanding, from us you took the pieces of evidence and with them you want to throw us down? This down throwing will be your fall.’” Fragment #125; Diels, 1992, p. 168; Dahlin’s translation.

As Dahlin comments:

“… Democritus was [here] anticipating one of the fundamental difficulties involved in teaching natural science to children and young people today. This difficulty has to do with the “idealising” tendency of modern science, i.e. its reduction of our experience of the world to abstract representations and mathematical formulas in which the concreteness and contingencies of everyday life are annihilated, as it were – or at least set aside as belonging to the “not real”. This has lately come to be regarded as a major stumbling block for students’ learning in science.”

3. “Purusha and Prakriti are independent from each other (one can exist without other), but they interact to form universe including us.”

If you are asking in these words whether this is an accurate representation of my metaphysics, again the answer is definitely a big NO! For again, the very language of the statement runs counter to all I have been writing to you. This is because its very wording implies (a) that Purusha and Prakriti are entities - thus conflicting with my non- or trans-entitative philosophy, (b) that they are separable or independent entities. As I have again, painstaking explained, my whole understanding of Advaita or non-duality is a new one based on the idea of inseparable distinction (like two sides of the same coin). This means that reality is neither a set of distinct but separable or independent entities nor are all entities merged into a state of undifferentiated unity lacking all distinction. The language of both Dvaita and Advaita traditions consistently confused distinction and duality with separation, just as if also confused unity or non-duality with a lack of all distinction or differentiation. Two sides of a coin however are both 'non-dual' in the new and specific sense of being inseparable and yet at the same time 'dual' in the sense of being absolutely distinct. That is why I wrote to you about the centrality of the concept of inseparable distinction in coming to a new and much clearer explanation of what in the Kashmiri Trika tradition is called 'the non-duality of duality and non-duality'.
All this is already spelled out in my letters - and elaborated in much greater detail and from many further angles in many of my essays and books - as well as in the writings of my mentor, Michael Kosok - to whose articles I referred you in my correspondence via the site I created for them ( And in my last but one letter I made a special point of spelling out a central principle deriving from Mike's 'field phenomenology' - one also relevant to the statement of yours above: namely that no phenomena that are experienced within a field of awareness - that 'stand out' or 'ex-ist' within it - can be explained by other phenomena experienced in the same field - or by their 'interaction'. Instead all phenomena are essentially distinct but inseparable expressions of the field as such. The "universe" in my metaphysics is understood as a singular field of awareness. That field is not a construction or structure built up from the phenomena experienced within it, and nor is it a product of their interaction. How can it be, since this singular field of awareness is the pre-condition for our experience of any and all phenomena within it - each of which in turn, is but a distinct but inseparable portion and expression of that field?

Both in its Greek roots and epistemologically, the verb to 'ex-ist' means to 'stand out', in particular to stand out as a 'phenomenon' - as something that shows itself or comes to light (Greek phainesthai) in a field of awareness).

A final remark - my very last letter stressed the profound significance of language awareness. So I will gently and lovingly play the role of the strict teacher and tell you off!!! For the reason your summation of my philosophy was wrong on all three counts was because of looseness of language. This is important, because it is impossible to understand any new philosophy without being aware of, noting, taking in and taking on board the precise language with which it is expressed, and the new linguistic distinctions it introduces - for example and in the case of my philosophy, the distinction between entitative and trans-entitative philosophies, between pure awareness and experiencing, or between a singular field of awareness and the multiple phenomena experienced within them.


PS Purusha and Prakriti are above all terms central to Samkhya philosophy and not the philosophy of Trika Shaivism from which The New Yoga draws - in which the central terms are Shiva (understood as pure awareness or chit) and Shakti (understood as pure power or potentiality for experiential manifestation).

Dear Acharya

Thanks for the elaboration of your metaphysical view. Your framework does not seem too much contradictory to my dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework, in some sense (such as both are anti-materialist frameworks). Our real fight is against the dominant Type-B materialism (Vimal, 2009a) in neuroscience and we both together need to work cooperatively.

I try my best to understand your emails and articles, but I am very enthusiastic and curious 62 year old investigator and I am working full time on consciousness research; so queries pop out that are NOT clear to me from your writings; that is why, I write you as soon as possible, which show how seriously I am interested to know your views and more importantly if your view can really answer my simple questions, such as: where subjective experience (SE) redness come from, how that happens in brain, and what are its precise mechanisms? [We should have freedom to ask any question and in any manner we like]. I request you to bear with me until I find in my own way if your view can answer my questions satisfactorily.

The view “inseparable distinction and 'the non-duality of duality and non-duality' seems to me a sort of close to (a) substance monism but property dualism, which is called dual-aspect view: my framework, and/or (b) orthodox quantum mechanics based Stapp’s framework : Cartesian duality at the pragmatic/operational level, but reduces at a deep ontological level to a fundamentally mindlike nondual monism.

Please define the terms, ‘singular field of awareness’ and ‘dialectic’: not clear. The distinction between entitative and trans-entitative philosophies, between pure awareness and experiencing, or between a singular field of awareness and the multiple phenomena experienced within them: NOT clear. It will be nice if you have a glossary where you define all the terms you use to avoid confusion and provide understanding; this is because readers may have different meanings. I recommend inserting this glossary into your website for readers.

To sum up, you metaphysical view is not clear to me. Please compare and contrast trans-entitativism vs. constructivism vs. Globus’ dual-mode-double-universe-thermofield-holoworld framework vs. Trika Shaivism (Shiva-Shakti) vs. dual-aspect view vs. Stapp’s framework vs. Dvait®Advait Vedanta, and so on. If you do this clearly then it would be easier for new comers to understand your framework faster. I have tried to do that to some extent for my framework.


Kind regards,


4 March 10

Dear Ram,

It will naturally be very difficult for you to "understand" my e-mails and articles, if instead of giving yourself time to meditate them more deeply and take in what they are saying, you simply let queries "pop out".

To understand the words of another it is not enough to understand them intellectually. What is important is to sense what the other is saying through them. Whole dissertations can be written or whole lectures delivered that say nothing, whereas a single line or word can speak volumes.

Poems and even silent works of art such as paintings say something.

If you were responding to a poem you read or that was sent to you, one that you did not fully understand, would you simply react by demanding that the poet 'defines' this or that word to your satisfaction - or would you seek to more deeply take in and meditate what the poet might be seeking to say through that word - however precisely or imprecisely it is 'defined'. Heidegger strongly emphasised the kinship between meditative and poetic thinking - a kinship that shines through Indian thought.

There seems to me to be several recursive problem in your difficulties in "understanding" what I am seeking to say to you through my words and those of Heidegger. One is your attempt to understand it solely in your own terms - in terms that fit your existing framework or mindset. Yet if all we seek is to understand the other in our own terms we are not really truly seeking to understand the other at all. If what you call a "satisfactory" answer to your questions - or mine - is only one that fits our already established terms, nomenclature and frameworks - then what is the point of dialogue?

It often seems to me also that the queries that so quickly "pop up" when you read what I write, are a type of defence against taking enough time to meditatively reflect on and take in what I am saying - something possible even if not every word or term is clearly defined.

I feel something both ‘rajasically’ passionate and at the same time impatient about your responses to my writing, which seem always aimed at hastily 'pinning something down' or confining it to narrower terms and questions - without taking time to first inwardly opening yourself to what is being said.

Pace and speed of thinking and rapidity of response can be a very real obstacle to meditative depth of thinking. That is why, even in conversation, I never respond immediately to what another person has said, but always give myself an interval of meditative silence - often lasting a very long time - in which to first fully take it in. Before asking the other person about something whose meaning I don't fully understand, I make it a rule to first ask myself what it might mean - taking time to inwardly feel myself into and sense its fullness of potential meanings or senses.

I do not simply ask the other for quick, summary 'definitions'. For to de-fine a term is precisely to make it finite - to seek to finitise it. In my understanding however, every word and term has a rich and non-finite inwardness of potential meanings or senses - one that can never be encapsulated or bound within a single definition but that can still evoke a direct felt sense of meaning which we can then take time to slowly meditate and give form to in thought.

You may not fully understand what I am writing here and now in this very letter, just as you may not understand what all of the words and phrases I have used in it 'represent' or 'refer to', but that does not mean you cannot sense what I am trying to say to you through these words or phrases.

But words and phrases are first of all ways of saying something to another person, and not simply more or less precise 'representations' of well-defined 'things'.

Your habit of rapidly responding to me with those questions that immediately "pop up" in your mind, or with demands for neat and tidy definitions, feels to me to be the very thing that prevents you from fully taking in and therefore understanding better what I write - by which I mean what I am seeking to say to you and not just the words I am saying it through.

What I really wish to say to you is: SLOW DOWN!!!! Allow your reading the time that is necessary to first of all open up a broader and deeper space in yourself in which to take in what you read.

My feeling is that your rapid, 'quick-fire' and 'pop' responses come from a rather 'speedy' and overly rajasic state of consciousness.

This question of the state of consciousness in which we read something - and from which we respond to it - is also a central one. For our state of consciousness can either help us or block us from understanding what we are reading - which might be the expression of a very different state of consciousness.

Our state of consciousness is also central to understanding the very questions and themes being discussed. Your questions concern where the experience of 'redness' and other colours come from. Yet you seem to approach these questions only from a state of consciousness dominated by the intellect.

A question to you: you spend a lot of time thinking and posing theoretical questions about colours? But what is the longest time you have spent meditating a colour or colours - for example those of a flower? By meditating I mean immersing yourself more fully and more intensely in the pure, wordless sensual experience or SE of that colour, not just as you see it but as you can learn, through practice, to feel it. By first taking time to meditatively lengthen and intensify our sensual experiencing - and by doing so coming to feel a particular 'SE' in a new way - can we give birth to new and important thoughts about it - thoughts that express a meditatively deepened and intensified experience of that SE.

So when I say SLOW DOWN I mean also - give yourself more time to meditate colours and not simply to mentally intellectualise about them.
That way alone can you truly "understand" - understand experientally and not just intellectually - what I mean when I say that every colour hue is itself the expression of an exquisitely subtle or intensely powerful 'state of consciousness'.

I would urge you to spend more quality time with flowers - a lot more time. Deepening and intensifying your own subjective experiencing of colour will bring you deeper answers to your questions than you can even imagine, answers that make questions of neural brain mechanisms seem trivial in comparison.

What is needed is more meditative intimacy and initiation into colours - not simply more mental intellection surrounding or 'about' them.

Meditational research is itself an important way for us collaborate in the fight against crude materialism in neuro-science, something I agree we can do, whatever the differences in our world-view.

I agree also about our frameworks not being too contradictory for this collaboration. Indeed re-reading your article on the gunas again I noticed many points of correspondence between it and what I have written - for example a reference to the understanding of Prakriti or 'Prima Materia' as pure potentiality rather than any imagined material substance - made up of nothing but potencies or powers of manifestation (Shaktis) of Purusha itself - of pure awareness (Shiva).

Hence Kashmir Shaivism is a monism of awareness or subjectivity (not a Brahmanical monism of 'being' or a monism of any type of 'substance') and also a monism which does not exclude or deny reality to the differentiation of awareness - its individualisation as distinct beings or consciousnesses, eg. those of atoms, cells, organisms, planets, stars etc. I call it 'absolute subjectivism'. Subjectivity, however, is understood in Kashmir Shaivism as awareness and not as 'mind' - as chit and not as chitti or buddhi (intellect).

Finally, I do myself have a question regarding your terminology. Could you explain more fully what you understand by a 'PE', and how you came to this concept?

with warm regards,


PS On the Difference between Philosophical and Scientific Questioning

Part 1: The ‘as such’

When we ask scientific questions - indeed when we ask questions about anything - whether houses or cars, thoughts or emotions, matter or mind, nature or the cosmos - we imply that they are. Yet we do not ask what it means for anything that is - any ‘being’ or ‘entity’ - to ‘be’. We do not ask about the ‘beingness’ of any being. We do not ask about being as such. On the other hand, we would not be in a position to ask ‘scientific’ questions about the specific nature of things - about what they are - without in someway already understanding that they are.

That is why the most basic ‘philosophical’ question asks about the nature of being as such rather than particular beings or entities. This basic - ‘the question of being’ - is no mere invention or plaything of philosophers. For the question only arises because - for all human beings and not just philosophers - there is always and already a pre-philosophical awareness of being - not simply an awareness of specific beings or entities and what they are but an awareness also that they are - an awareness of being as such.

We take this basic awareness that things are as so obvious however, that it never occurs to us to speak of it or to question it. Running through all ‘scientific’ questions about the nature of specific beings or entities is therefore a forgetfulness of an even more basic philosophical question. This is ‘The Question of Being’, the question of being ‘as such’, the question of what it means for any being or entity to ‘be’.

This most basic question is not artificially superimposed by philosophers on the everyday experience of human beings, and nor is it a mere optional ‘add on’ to the types of questions asked by scientists.

On the contrary, the ‘philosophical’ question arises out of human being’s forgetfulness of a basic awareness - the awareness of being as such. This forgetfulness is not limited to scientists, but is a feature also of many philosophers and their philosophies. Indeed it has become part of our nature as human beings to forget this basic awareness of being - the awareness that we are. Yet it is precisely this awareness that we are that is the pre-condition for any questions - philosophical or scientific - regarding what or who we are, our ‘nature’ as beings.

This most basic awareness of being is fundamental not only to our own being but to all beings or entities we experience. For it would not be possible to experience or speak of any being or entity - or to ask any questions about what they are - without a prior and more basic awareness that they are - the awareness of being as such.

The awareness of being as such is quite distinct from the awareness of particular beings and their qualities. The awareness of particular beings arises from an ‘experience’ of their particular nature and qualities. The awareness of being as such on the other hand transcends the particularity of all beings. This awareness must therefore be regarded as more basic than any ‘experience’ of particular beings, and more basic also than any scientific questions concerning their nature.

Without these basic philosophical distinctions - the distinction between Being (being as such) and beings, the distinction between the awareness that something ‘is’ and the ‘experience’ of its particular nature - all scientific questions and all scientific explanations of the nature of things are forced down a blind alley - including questions and explanations about how things first come to be. The blind alley is the attempt to question and explain the nature and origins of beings or entities by reference to other beings or entities - the endless search to ‘explain one thing in terms of another’. By constantly seeking to explain beings or entities in terms of their relation to other beings or entities however, science persistently side-steps the more fundamental question - the philosophical question of what constitutes the beingness of any being or entity.

This basic philosophical question is one that no scientific experiment can - in principle - ever answer. Its only answer lies in the recognition that neither specific beings or entities, nor even ‘Being’, ‘beingness’, or ‘being as such’ is the most basic or fundamental reality. That most fundamental reality is instead a basic awareness of being, an awareness distinct - in principle - from any and all experiences of specific beings. This distinction - in principle - between awareness and experiencing is central to what I call ‘The Awareness Principle’.

This principle recognises that the awareness that things are (their being) is more fundamental than any experience of what they are - their nature or specific qualities as beings. This applies also and above all to our own being. For the basis of our own being too, is an awareness of being - of being as such - and not an ‘experience’ of our individual natures as beings.

Thus far I have explained the deep philosophical reasoning, meaning and truth behind Sri Abhinavagupta’s assertion that “the being of all things recognised in awareness in turn depends on awareness.”

Yet that assertion has implications far transcending the specific type of text in which it occurs, and the specific historic and cultural context in which it was made. For it was an assertion made without reference to European thought, without elaborate arguments of the sort presented above -and also well before ‘science’ as we know it today had begun to develop.

Thus though the assertion expresses a form of revealed and intuitive truth, it was made without awareness of its implications in the context of today’s world - a world in which science has effectively replaced philosophy, and in which science seeks answers are sought for countless questions that are not actually true questions - for they are questions of a sort that do not in any way question their own in-built presuppositions.

Thus the question of how the universe itself and all things first came to be is asked without questioning what it means for anything to ‘be’. As a result, the question is answered by reference to something that ‘was’ - the ‘Big Bang’. Yet ‘was’ is but the past tense of ‘is’ and of the verb ‘to be’. To ‘explain’ the origins of the universe - of all that is or exists, of all beings or entities - without first questioning the nature of being as such can only lead down a false alley. Thus it is that scientists came to claim that something - indeed the entire universe - could simply come to be at a dateable point in time.

In this way science not only ignored the philosophical truth that the being of any and all things is dependent of an awareness of being. It also side-stepped another basic philosophical question - the question of the relation between being and time. For just as atheists can validly ask what existed before ‘God’, how ‘God’ first came to be - who or what ‘created’ Him - so can philosophers point out the logical circularity and paradox involved in speaking of time as such as something ‘beginning at a certain point ‘in’ time.

Time as such can have no beginning ‘in’ time.

Being as such can have no beginning in any particular being, entity or event - including the Big Bang.

Last but not least, awareness as such cannot have its beginning in anything ‘experienced’ - in any beings, entities, events or thoughts that there is an awareness of. For ‘experience’ is awareness of something, and yet awareness of anything logically assumes and presupposes the more fundamental reality of awareness as such.

That is why, as Heidegger recognised, the single phrase “as such” - as in ‘being as such’, ‘time as such’, ‘awareness as such’ - is so central and unique to philosophical thinking, in contrast to both scientific and everyday thinking.

Through the single phrase “as such”, we are able to recognise, reveal and question the hidden assumptions already present in scientific questions, and instead pass on to another, deeper type of questioning - one that asks questions more basic and fundamental than those of science.

It is this deeper mode of questioning and the more basic and fundamental questions it gives rise to that distinguishes ‘philosophy’ from ‘science’ and from scientific ‘questions’.

The ‘as such’ as foundational philosophy:

Being as such is not a being.
Existence as such is not any existing thing.
Space as such is not a thing or things in space.
Time as such is not an event or process in time.
Awareness as such is not any thing we are aware of.
Experiencing as such is not any thing experienced.
Seeing as such is not anything seen or seeable.
Dreaming as such is not any thing that is dreamt.
Redness as such is not any particular hue of red.


Being as such is not reducible to or derivable from a being or beings.
Existence as such is not reducible to or derivable from any entity or entities.
Space as such is not reducible to or derivable from any things or bodies in space.
Time as such is not reducible to or derivable from any processes or events in time.
Awareness as such is not reducible to or derivable from anything we are aware of.
Experiencing as such is not reducible to or derivable from anything experienced.
Seeing as such is not reducible to or derivable from anything that is seen.
Dreaming as such is not reducible to or derivable from anything dreamt.
Redness as such is not reducible to or derivable from any particular hue of red or red object.

In other words:

Being as such is not a property or product of particular beings.
Existence as such is not a property or product of any entity or entities.
Space as such is not a property or product of any thing or things in space.
Time as such is not a property or product of any events or processes in time.
Awareness as such is not a property or product of any thing we are aware of.
Experiencing as such is not a property or product of anything experienced.
Seeing as such is not a property or product of anything seeable.
Dreaming as such is not a property of product of anything dreamt.
Redness such is not a property or product of any thing that is red.


Hardness or solidity as such is not a property or product of any 'physical' object or 'material substance' that is hard.


Heidegger, Martin The Essence of Human Freedom, An Introduction to Philosophy Continuum Impacts 2005

PS On your comments:

The distinction between entitative and trans-entitative philosophies, between pure awareness and experiencing, or between a singular field of awareness and the multiple phenomena experienced within them: NOT clear.

I am very surprised by this remark and by the question it implies. For all three distinctions were precisely what was explained in the short essay I sent you on the difference between philosophical and scientific questioning.

Thus the difference between entitative and trans-entitative thinking is the difference between a thinking that thinks only in terms of existing things ('beings' or 'entities') and a thinking which asks about Being 'as such' or 'per se' ie. what it means for any thing to 'be'. For clearly, the beingnesss of any being or entity is not itself 'a being' or 'an entity' - just as the awareness of any being or entity, of any thought or thing is not itself a being or entity, thought or thing. So awareness also belongs to the realm of the trans-entitative, being 'no-thing'. In the same essay, I explain the distinction between pure awareness and experiencing by understanding pure awareness as 'awareness as such' - in contrast to any of the multiple and specific things we are or can be aware of. Experience is defined as awareness of something specific, in contrast to awareness in general or 'as such’. As for the distinction between a 'singular field of awareness' and 'multiple phenomena experienced within them' - this is no more mysterious than the difference between space (which is singular) and the multiple things in it, or between the spatial field of our vision (singular) and any of the multiple things we can see within that spatial field or horizon.

Please define terms and phrases: being, “as such”, “being as such”, “time as such”, awareness, “awareness of being”, “awareness as such”.

Just as space is distinct from any thing it contains, so is awareness, as a singular spatial or space-like field, distinct from any of the multiple things we are aware of within it. To speak of space or awareness 'as such' therefore is one way of recognising such very simple distinctions. The Awareness Principle affirms that awareness as such has a spatial or field character - and therefore is not reducible or derivable from any of the specific things we experience or are aware of in any field of awareness - for example a visual field. Here again, this is not more complicated than saying that space is not reducible to or derivable from any 'thing' within it. Awareness is thus understood as a space or field distinct from all its contents - in the exactly the same way that empty space is distinct from all it contains, even whilst embracing them all - a point made in previous letters.

The additional importance of the term 'as such' however, is that it helps us to avoid having to using arbitrary or loaded adjectives such as 'pure'. Thus if we speak of awareness or consciousness as such, we are less likely to think of it merely as one type of consciousness among others - something implied by adjectival terms such as 'pure'. The use of the term 'as such' also allows the extension of the same type of distinction between the One and the Many to all things - for example the distinction difference between 'this table' or 'that table' - any of many tables - and tableness 'as such' - meaning what it is that constitutes the tableness of any table. This is but the rudimentary ABC of Platonic thought. Thus when you yourself speak of 'redness' you imply 'redness as such' - as opposed to any of the countles hues of red displayed by multiple red objects. Plato's question was (a) what does it mean to talk of 'redness' (singular) when all we can actually experience is the particular reds of a particular objects (plural), and (b) which is more primary - redness (as such) or the multiple hues or reds or red objects we experience? Platonic 'idealism' sees all hues of red, like all types of table, as something derived from redness as such or tableness as such - ie from the pure 'idea' of redness or tableness - something distinct from any specific hue of red or any specific table. His argument - and the foundation of 'idealism' is that because we can never cannot see or experience redness or tableness 'as such' or 'per se', they must derive from and belong to realm of 'pure ideas' distinct from the realm of experience.

PS Some extract from my book Heidegger, Medicine and ‘Scientific Method', New Gnosis Publications 2003)

Phenomenological Realism

We see that an object, a tree or table for example, is there. We take this as evidence of its existence. But the existence, ‘is-ness’ or ‘being-ness’ of the tree or table that is there – in other words what Heidegger called its Da-sein (German) or ‘there-is-ness', is not in itself any natural or manufactured ‘thing’, nor is it the object of any possible visual perception. The German word ‘Da’ can mean either ‘here’ or ‘there’. As far as we are concerned, we stand here and the object that we see stands there. But our seeing of the table is neither here nor there. It is not itself an object we can localize in space, either in the space around us or in some body-object such as eyes, optic nerves or brain. We do not see the object only because it stands in the light. A blind person can be aware of the table or tree, know its shape and sense its distance and in this sense ‘see’ it, even without functioning eyes. Whether we direct our vision or our thoughts towards the tree or table, turning it into what Husserl called an “intentional object” of consciousness, is irrelevant. For not only our perception of a thing but the very thoughts we have about it arise within a non-localized field of awareness. This field of awareness is not itself a possible object of consciousness for a ‘subject’. It is not in itself an “intentional object”. On the contrary, awareness, in its non-local or field character, is the very condition of emergence of any localized objects for any localized subject or ‘intentional’ consciousness, and thus more fundamentally real than the latter.

Phenomenological Reversal

Heidegger designated the non-local or field character of awareness through a poetic use of the words Feldung and Lichtung - a cleared field or forest ‘clearing’ in which things stand out in the light and first come to light. Light, as we know, plays a major role in modern physics. Not only Einstein’s famous equation but also quantum physics makes it into a linchpin phenomenon for the physical-scientific research of the intimate relationship between matter and energy. But can light be truly regarded as a purely physical phenomenon at all? Things become visible only in the light of our own awareness of them, not simply because they radiate or reflect physical light. Both the physics of light and the neurophysiology of visual perception still fail to address, let alone answer, the fundamental questions of optics - namely, what sort of ‘light’ is it with which the brain supposedly produces illuminated perceptual images of physical objects - not only in the waking state, but also in our dreams? Recent research has shown that a two-way relation exists between brain and eye, the brain actually sending signals via the optic nerve to the eye in waking life as it does when we dream. But even such research offers no answer to the fundamental question, which can be put as follows: what is the relation between our awareness of light on the one hand, and the light of awareness on the other?

Within the spiritual traditions of the past, light, and with it, enlightenment and illumination, played as central a role as it does in physical science today. Today however, terms such as enlightenment or ‘light of awareness’ are seen as mere poetic metaphors. In this stance, modern science stands in gross contradiction to itself. More specifically the physics of light stands in gross contradiction to neurophysiology, which claims that what appear as illuminated objects, are images or effigies created by the brain. Classical optics claimed that to explain visual perception, it was necessary to distinguish two types of light - the natural light received by the eye (lumen) and the subjective light radiated by the eye (lux). The neurophysiological understanding of optical perception is a concealed version of classical optics, recognizing that what we perceive as objects in the world are subjectively projected and illuminated. The cosmologist however, though making use of optical instruments to perceive the stars, decisively ignores all fundamental questions to do with the nature of visual perception as a subjective spatial projection of images, and a subjective projection of spatial distance and depth. Optics, as a science that must seek to unite both ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ dimensions of perception, remains the Achilles heel of a purely objectivistic approach to science, requiring from both the physicist and the brain scientist what Heidegger called a type of “double or triple accounting” with regard to the subjective dimension.

“When it is claimed that brain research is a scientific foundation for our understanding of human beings, the claim implies that the true and real relationship of one human being to another is an interaction of brain processes, and that in brain research itself, nothing else is happening but that one brain is in some way ‘informing’ another. Then, for example, the statue of a god in the Akropolis museum, viewed during the term break, that is to say outside the research work, is in reality and truth nothing but the meeting of a brain process in the observer with the product of a brain process, the statue exhibited. Reassuring us, during the holidays, that this is not what is really implied, means living with a certain double or triple accounting that clearly doesn’t rest easily with the much faulted rigor of science.”

As Ronchi rightly suggests, ancient physics was closer “in our modern terminology, to the physiology of the senses”. Or rather the essential focus of ancient physics was neither human physiology nor the physics of the cosmos per se, but man’s sentient awareness of the cosmos. Where modern physics speaks of ‘light’, ‘heat’, ‘gravity’ and ‘sound’ as entities independent of the senses, the focus of ancient physics was on our sentient awareness of light and darkness, warmth and coldness, weight and lightness, as well as of elemental qualities of fluidity or solidity, airiness or fieriness. Dreams made it self-evident to the ancients that sentience in all its forms had an intrinsically subjective character. The change to the modern scientific world view began with optics, which began as a science of visual perception involving an aware and sentient perceiver and has ended up as a wave optics - one which not only bears no relation to the subjective awareness of light through phenomenon such as colour (the classical notion of lux) but also fails to distinguish this from the invisible light of awareness (the classical notion lumen)by which alone all visible things 'come to light' in awareness.

What I call the Phenomenological Reversal is the insight that a term such as the light of awareness no mere metaphor but points to something more real and fundamental than the body’s sensory awareness of 'physical' light, even though both physicists and physiologists and neurologists of visual percpeption alike still cling to the myth that the light is essentially a physical phenomenon perceived by the eye.

Dear Acharya

I think our frameworks (dual-aspect metaphysical view) are more or less similar with some minor differences.

• Please see my comments in red the attached doc files and notes in pdf files.
• Continuation of my previous email related to Trika Kashmir Shaivism (TKS): In addition, the mental aspect of whole universe including us might be Shiva’s consciousness whereas its physical aspect would be the Shakti. In samadhi state(s), we might experience Shiva’s consciousness, which is equivalent to merging ourselves with Shiva; and observer/knower, observed/known, and process of observation/knowing unify. Do you agree? If you email me the relevant chapter(s) of your book (Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought) or article(s), which discuss TKS, I can quote and refer them; and examine further if TKS/your view is close to my dual-aspect framework.
• Globus seems to interpret Heidegger's view differently: see his holoworld framework: and references their in related to Globus.
• Thanks for Morphic Resonation (paired meditation) method.




Dear Ram,

1. Response to your comments.

Classical optics claimed that to explain visual perception, it was necessary to distinguish two types of light - the natural light received by the eye (lux) and the subjective light radiated by the eye (lumen)

You comment:

[no: radiance measured by radiometer vs luminance measured by photometer that has cornea to photoreceptor sensitivities included].

I see the classical concept of lumen as the last surviving acknowledgement of an essentially invisible light of awareness (the soul) that radiates through the gaze. No form of photometry however, can measure the penetrating intensity or radiant luminosity of someone's gaze. Nor, as I emphasised in an earlier letter can the light of someone's gaze and its different qualities (dull or bright, penetrating or withdrawn, warm or cold, clear or muddied) even be seen if their eyes are viewed purely as objects in the manner of an ophthalmologist.

What I call the Phenomenological Reversal is the insight that a term such as the light of awareness is no mere metaphor but points to something more real and fundamental than the body’s sensory awareness of so-called 'physical' light, even though both physicists and physiologists and neurologists of visual perception alike still cling to the myth that the light is essentially a physical phenomenon perceived by the eye. [light is boson; each of elementary particles (fermions and bosons) has dual-aspect; in that sense light has also mental phenomenon but in covert/superposed form]

Assertions such as "light is boson" belongs to the domain of purely theoretical notions of light (as opposed to pre-theoretical experiences of light) and therefore stand entirely outside the domain of my remark concerning the more primordial nature of light as the "light of awareness". This very phrase reaffirms the principle that awareness as such is irreducible to any thing we are aware of - including any objectifying theoretical concept of it - whether as bosons, photons, quanta etc.

Theoretical concepts arising in consciousness, including theoretical concepts OF consciousness or 'subjective experiencing' are themselves first and foremost phenomena that we subjectively experience and are aware of - thus already assuming and presupposing the more primordial reality of consciousness as such (what I term 'awareness').

If there is a dual-aspect dimension to my thinking congruent to yours, it is nevertheless not a symmetric dual-aspectism in which the mental and physical aspects are co-valent, but rather one which the all seemingly 'physical' phenomena - including the brain - are essentially nothing but external perceptions/conceptions or 'exteroceptions' of other consciousnesses. By 'other consciousnesses' I mean other and different field-patterns of awareness, each of which in term shapes a different perceptual environment or patterned field of awareness. Thus what we, as human beings, perceive as 'a shark' or 'a tree' is but the perception of a non-human field-pattern of awareness - a different 'species of consciousness - within the perceptual field or patterned field of awareness constituted by our own specifically human field-pattern of awareness.The human brain too, is nothing essentially physical, but rather a subjective 'exteroception' of the complex structure and functioning of those field-patterns of awareness that characterise our specifically human mode of consciousness or field pattern of awareness - one quite different from that of other 'species of consciousness' - those which human beings (and human beings alone) perceive and name 'as' sharks, trees, spiders, microorganisms, rocks and plants etc.

Thus the way a tree experiences its perceptual field or 'environment' - its patterned field of awareness - together with the way it perceives other species of consciousness or field-patterns of awareness within it - such as those of sheep, dogs, birds or human beings - is radically different from the way in which human beings perceive both the tree itself and any other species specific field-patterns of awareness as part of their own perceptual environment or 'patterned field of awareness'. Thus we 'see' trees. Trees, on the other hand do not see human beings in the same way that we see them, and yet they can nevertheless sense and identify individual human beings with just as much accuracy as we can see and identify individual trees. They do so not by human forms of sight however, but by the unique 'signature' of each human being's way of breathing and through the subtle movements of air set in motion by this and by their way of walking.

2. Dual-Aspectism as an intrinsic dimension of Inter-Subjectivity

What I am strongly emphasising here is the inter-subjective dimension of consciousness. From an inter-subjective perspective the 'dual-aspect' dimension of ultimate reality, understood as a singular and unitary awareness - has to do with the distinction or duality between the exteroception and enteroconception of other subjectivities or consciousnesses - other 'field patterns' or 'field structures' of awareness. 'Physicality' is essentially a specifically human form of exteroception (taken as embracing both 'exteroperception' and 'exteroconception') of what you call the 'mental', and what I term organising field patterns, structures, functions, flows and qualities of awareness (for example those that we perceive and conceive, from the outside, as sharks, trees, plants, rocks, anatomical organs - or as brains). Perhaps it is time for me to qualify any misunderstandings given rise to by my previous correspondence by saying that a monism or awareness or 'pan-psychism' based on an intersubjective understanding of 'dual-aspectism' does not 'dismiss' the brain as an organ or the wondrous or extraordinary complexity of human physiology and neuro-physiology. On the contrary, it affirms that the more detailed our exteroceptive knowledge of organs and organic functions such as perception, respiration, circulation, digestion and metabolism etc. the closer we can come to an enteroceptive understanding of these complex organs, understanding them precisely as an exteroception (perceptual and conceptual) of complex organising patterns of awareness that can be enteroceptively experienced. Thus what we perceive and conceive as digestive and metabolic organs, systems and functions are an exteroception of the way in which we experience ourselves take in, digest, and metabolise and absorb the nourishing and life-giving meaning of our subjective experiencing.

This perspective has of course significant highly practical relevance to the field of medicine (as explained in 'Heidegger, Medicine and 'Scientific Method') offering as it does a wholly new approach to medicine. This approach would enable us to understand digestive problems or disorders for example, as having essentially to do with the many different ways in which individuals may have difficulty, or give themselves insufficient time, to fully take in, digest and metabolise their subjective experiencing, thus drawing from it life-giving meaning in the form of new dimensions of awareness or in-sight. Similarly, heart problems can be understood as expressions of highly specific ways in which individuals have come to 'lose heart', feel a 'loss of heart' or 'disheartened', become 'cold hearted', feel pressurised or de-pressed (heart pressure) or are unable to 'slow down' (heart rate) in the living context of their existential life-world and relationships. Thus arose the view of illness and the so-called pathobiographical approach to medicine developed by Louis Chiozza in Argentina - who brought together psychoanalysts with medical and biological specialists to form a collaborative team, the aim of which was to interpret a patients symptoms and organic pathology in a biographical way - as a living biological expression of their subjectively experienced life world and life story. Many years ago I wrote a long treatise on 'The Nature of the Human Organism' which understands the so-called 'physical' body as nothing but the the self-exteroception of a fundamentally psychical organism, one made up essentially of cellular units and organising field patterns, flows and transformations of awareness. My own methods of healing are based on siddhis which facilitate a direct enteroception of and in-sight into another person's body or 'organism'.

3. Leaving the reincarnational cycle - on the larger reality or multi-verse of trans-physical worlds, bodies and realities

My own larger perspective is that what is taken as 'the' universe is but a tiny 'pocket universe' within a greater multiverse that consists of countless trans-physical worlds, dimensions, planes of reality, and that even what we perceive as planets are but exteroperceptions of other planes of awareness. What makes it 'physical' is (a) overwhelming dominance of exteroception over enteroception (a dominance so great that consciousness itself both conceived and experienced as something contained within exteroceptively perceived boundaries of bodies - or brains) and (b) a false separation of exteroception and enteroception. Leaving the reincarnational cycle does not just mean entering an eternal but static state of 'samadhi' or merging with the absolute. Instead it is the beginning of an entirely new journey of the soul, one in which it has literally an eternity to learn to enteroceptively explore and inhabit infinite new dimensions, levels and planes of 'trans-physical' - enteroceptive - reality.

Trans-physical realities are experienced also in the realms of the 'afterlife' and 'life-before-life' - the 'life between lives'. Here light and colours, shape-shifting bodies and forms, thoughts and feelings - and other consciousnesses - are experienced more richly, intensely and lucidly than ever before - yet entirely without what we perceive in this reality as a physical body or brain.

A dual-aspect theory that does not take into account the reality and nature of subjective experiencing in the afterlife or in the infinite dimensions and planes of trans-physical reality to which it is the gateway - experiencing that occurs without a 'physical' body or brain - will never be comprehensive or adequate.

The extreme separation between exteroception and enteroception that defines the nature of our 'physical' sub-universe and planet, begins to breaks down the longer we stay in the 'afterlife', or the more, as yogins, we have allowed this separation to break down before we die. Yet the breakdown of this separation does not mean than even in trans-physical realities and worlds there is no longer a duality or distinction between them. It is just that in most trans-physical realities, the enteroceptive is the dominant medium of experiencing (we feel ourselves within thoughts and within what would otherwise be perceived as colours, sounds, other beings etc and also within a larger all-pervading consciousness). At the 'highest' levels of trans-physical reality the enteroceptive is the sole means of experiencing. Yet even when we first begin to awaken to the nature of trans-physical reality after death, everything exteroceptive experienced is always immediately and simultaneously experienced in an enteroceptive way - and never in a purely exteroceptive way.

This type of 'dual-non-dual' or 'non-dual-dual' experiencing is well described by William James in 'The Afterlife Journal of an American Philosopher' by Jane Roberts.

In section 6 of this letter you will find a short extract from this description with commentary - one that is important because is describes so vividly not only the 'light of awareness' but also how all 'possibilities' or 'potentialities' are experiential possibilities and potentialities of awareness itself.

It thereby confirms my own cyclical Trika or Triadistic metaphysics, which understands the three primary dimensions of the one singular Awareness as (1) awareness of 'non-being' as a womb-like realm of unactualised potentialities (Greek dynamis) understood as potentialities of awareness - potential or possible consciousnesses or modes of consciousness (2) awareness of the realm of being or 'actuality' (Greek energeia ) (3) the process of actualisation and emergence into manifest being (Greek physis) brought about by awareness of potentiality [return to (1)]. Pure awareness or awareness 'as such' is of course the '4th' realm (Turya) distinct but inseparable from these three.

In this metaphysical context, I disagree with your statement that "possibilities are not mindlike" whilst strongly agreeing with your later conclusion in the same paper ( ) that: "(1)...‘superposition of multiple possible experiences’ is valid; (2)‘superposition of multiple possible experiences’ is equivalent to ‘superposition of possibilities of experiences’; and (3) thus the ‘superposition of multiple possible experiences’ in the mental aspect of elementary particles is valid concept in the dual-aspect view."

4. On the nature and function of the brain

In your terms I see it as the basic function of the human brain "to collapse/actualize many possibilities of experiences to one specific SE". To be more exact, I see the brain itself as an exteroception or exteroceptive SE of a "morphic field" (Sheldrake) or "field pattern of awareness" (Wilberg), one which specifically serves to selectively accept only exteroceptive or so-called 'physical' SEs.

In Rupert Sheldrakes theory of 'morphic resonance' a 'morphic field' is stabilised by 'self-resonance' with its own expression in an emergent biological 'form' (Greek morphe). I see biological or physical form - in this context that of the brain in particular - as nothing more or less that an exteroception of form or formed exteroception stabilising a morphic field or field pattern of awareness - one which serves principally to selectively exclude enteroceptive experiences of multiple trans-physical SEs and dimensions of reality.

I have drawn this mode of expression of my own dual-aspect monism of awareness (explicating it through use of the terms extero- and enteroception) from the paper of yours referred to above, and Johnjoe McFadden's argument that the essence of dual-aspectism can be simplified by the understanding that:

"... all entities can potentially have a subjective aspect (viewed from the inside) and an objective aspect (viewed from the outside)." and that "Such a change in viewing position is equivalent to a change of frame of reference in physics which can, for instance, change an electrical phenomenon into a magnetic one - the same phenomenon viewed from different frames."

My use of the terms 'extero-' and 'entero-ception' in this letter have purely do to with experiencing from the outside (extero-) and inside (entero-) respectively.

My understanding of enteroception however, is very different from the one you cite when, in reference to the experience of 'redness' you cite Nagel, 1974: “what it is like to be on the inside of electromagnetic field-encoded information that corresponds to the statement,” ‘the long wavelength light detected has a wavelength in the range of around 650 nm'."

On the contrary, I see "...the statement,” ‘the long wavelength light detected has a wavelength in the range of around 650 nm'." as a reductive quantification of the essentially qualitative dimension of the SE of redness, and thus having nothing at all to do with what it might mean to be 'inside' this qualitative SE - to experience it enteroceptively rather than exteroceptively.

I see the importance of a dual-aspect theory based on the extero-/entero-ception distinction as vital in clarifying what the essence of distinctions such 'mental/material' or 'psychical/physical' actually is. For the meaning of terms such as 'psychical', 'physical', 'psychophysical' etc. as well as terms such as 'mental' and 'material' is by no means clear in itself and something we can just take for granted as just 'given'. For if we go back to their origins, the root of the term 'psychical' is the Greek psyche which initially meant simply 'life breath', whilst the root of the modern term 'physical' - the Greek verb phuein - meant simply to emerge, grow or swell - as in a womb (deriving from the Indo-European root bheu). And as I have a strongly emphasised in earlier letters, what today we call 'matter' and think of as some actual thing or 'substance' was, in earlier ages, understood as essentially to do with the very opposite - with unactualised 'potentia' or potentialities like those held within a womb - mythological that of the great cosmic mother or mater - the root of the word 'matter' itself.

In the extract from William James's 'After-Death Journal' below you will find many expressions that resonate with the root meaning of physical as 'growth' and 'expansion' and also with the idea of a nurturing womb or repository of potentialities. These I have underlined. I also wished to include the extract below in my letter to emphasise that your work and research - like my own, and that of William James - will not cease when you die - but will instead blossom, flourish and bear fruit in ways impossible even to imagine within this current life in the 'physical' realm!!!!

5. Extracts from 'The Afterlife Journal of an American Philosopher' with commentary (from Tantric Wisdom for Today's World Wilberg 2009)

“The living often equate death with darkness, for how can the dead see? How can the spirit have vision disconnected from the organs of sight? Yet here I am, surrounded by illumination that emanates from everywhere – colours more sparkling than any I knew on earth, a light of enchanting varieties, not even or monotonous but seemingly alive in its own fashion. It emanates from what I see, but also seems to be inherent all about me, whether or not there is anything to be perceived otherwise.”

That this ‘light’ is essentially a subjective light or 'light of awareness' is clear to James when he describes it as a “knowing light”.

“…it is more mobile and possesses qualities not normally associated with light. I would say it was a knowing light, everywhere existing at the same time, at once…it appears out of itself at every conceivable point in the universe. Physical perception ‘sees’ only a small hint of this light, and from it springs all of the lights and colours physically visible.”

“Nowhere have I encountered the furnishings of a conventional heaven, or glimpsed the face of God. On the other hand, certainly I dwell in a psychological heaven by earth’s standards, for everywhere I sense a presence, or atmosphere or atmospheric presence that is well-intentioned, gentle yet powerful, and all-knowing.”

James senses the atmospheric presence as a field of awareness of which all beings are a uniquely individualised expression, and which at the same time nurtures and brings to growth new qualities and creative potentialities of awareness within them.

“Each person, living or dead is somehow a unique materialisation or actualisation, psychologically ‘perfect’, of this basic, loving condition or atmospheric presence.”

“The psychology, if one can use the word in this regard, of such an atmospheric presence is such that it ever seeks the most creative, expansive, loving expression, in such gargantuan terms that our usual ideas of motivation utterly fail us … and I feel within myself the coming birth of a new kind of creativity, involving all of my own characteristics, abilities and idiosyncrasies, as if each nook and cranny of my knowing being was preparing its own delightful surprise expansion, and further expression.”

“The words ‘psychological growing medium’ come to mind, as if this atmosphere … provides the spiritual and psychological medium arousing the creative development of even the smallest incipient seeds of personality”.
“Qualities and characteristics that I never suspected I possessed now surface within me so that I feel to myself like a garden ever coming to growth, containing far more flora and fauna than I ever realised; as if earlier I had identified with only one crop of abilities that I called my own.”

His conclusions as a scientist, philosopher and psychologist are:

“I can think of no more challenging activity than the exploration of what I can only call divine psychology”.

“It is as if this atmospheric presence were a psychological repository for all possible subjective beings, of such import that no one could comprehend these at once or in any combination of ‘times’… a repository of individuation and perceptive abilities. As all required elements for life spring up from the ground of the earth, which also nurtures them, this medium seems to perform the same services, only giving birth to psychological entities and the entire universe that sustains them.”
“There is no demanding quality to the atmospheric presence or its light, yet it seems possessed of what I can only call a divine active passivity … This presence is responsive. I am sure that it reacts to me, yet while it is everywhere, it is not obtrusive but again, like the summer day, it is more like a delightful medium in which all living is bathed ... I suspect that the dimensions of its existence reveal themselves or are revealed according to the attention one accords them.”

There follows the most perfect description of the essence of ‘tantra’ – as the 'loom' or weave of awareness whose infinite patterns make up the texture, warp and woof of the universe:

“It is as if the universe were a multidimensional cloth with infinite patterns, and figures that did not remain flat but sprang alive, lived, moved and died, and came alive again, while the fabric of which they were made never wore out but miraculously revitalised itself and rewove its parts…And I know that I am cut from the same cloth”.


PS On the Difference between Philosophical and Scientific Questioning

Part 2: Heidegger in Burghölzi

How then, do we begin to address and answer philosophical or ‘transcendental’ questions, questions about the nature of things ‘as such’ – whether ‘space’ or ‘time’ as such, ‘light’ or ‘gravity’ as such, ‘mind’ or ‘matter’ as such, ‘soul’ or ‘body’ as such ‘God’ or ‘human beings’ as such?

The first thing we must do is precisely to free ourselves of the preconception that just because words ‘exist’ for any of these ‘things’, whether everyday words or specialist scientific terms, there necessarily exist ‘things’ – encapsulated entities or beings - denoted by these words or terms. And yet space as such - like time as such, or light as such - is ‘no-thing’. To seek to inquire about and investigate it as if it were some ‘thing’ is to reduce it to the status of a mere object of scientific investigation and experimentation, and not at all to think its essential nature.

Secondly, we must we not fall into the error of thinking that terms such as ‘dreaming as such’ or ‘space as such’ are mere empty mental abstractions. For clearly there is a difference between dreaming as a state of consciousness (dreaming ‘as such’) and particular dreams or things we dream of, just as there is also a clear distinction between particular spaces – in a room or box for example – and space ‘itself’ or ‘as such’.

Thirdly we should not assume just because dreaming, space and time are such obvious features of our everyday experience, we therefore know what they essentially ‘are’. For one thing there is a question regarding the psycho-physical dualism that opposes the essentially subjective space of our dreams, with what is regarded as the ‘objective’ or ‘physical’ space in waking life.

Like, dreaming, space and time, sickness too, is part of human experience - yet that does no mean that the essential nature of sickness as such has been questioned. Only in recent centuries for example, did medical ‘science’ begin to see the subjective experience of bodily pain, discomfort or dis-ease as ‘caused’ by some objective ‘thing’ such as a virus or as the expression a diagnosable ‘disease’, understood as a thing or entity in itself. Before that time, physicians who ‘diagnosed’ were seen as quacks. And today we see an ever-greater proliferation of diagnostic labels for new ‘diseases’ or ‘disorders’, all of which are seen as objectifiable things – and yet none of which recognise that disease as such is first and foremost no ‘thing’ but a subjective experience of somatic or emotional dis-ease. The entire medical and health industry therefore, is the application of a specific view of disease as such - one which assumes, without further questioning, that diseases have objective causes rather than subjective meanings. The human body as such is understood merely as a biological complex of genetic and neuro-physiological mechanisms rather than as a living embodiment and a living biological language of the human being - a language rich in expressive and embodied meanings.

Thus the idea of philosophically questioning what it is that constitutes the essence of the body or of disease as such is not a form of idle speculation based on an empty abstraction. On the contrary, these examples show just how vital such philosophical questioning is in recognising the unquestioned nature of so many current understandings of the “as such”. For these are understandings whose consequences are far from abstract but pervade the entirety of social life, institutions and practices - as well as playing a decisive role in shaping both the thinking and everyday experience of individuals. Yet even on a purely theoretical level it is surely notable that though the abstract concept of ‘energy’ is central to all its theories, physicists (much like proponents of ‘energy medicine’) cannot say what energy as such essentially is. In contrast, nothing could be less abstract and more fundamental to our own being and that of all beings than the awareness of being as such – the mystery and wonder that anything is at all, that there is anything rather than nothing. It was out of a sense of wonder at this primordial mystery that philosophical questioning first arose.

Hence the fundamental philosophical question of what it means for anything to ‘be’ in the first place. This question was approached in early Greek philosophy, but quickly obscured by an identification of being ‘as such’ with the mere constant presence of beings (things that are) or, in Eastern Buddhist thought, with their perpetual and co-dependent ‘origination’ or ‘arising’. The question of what constitutes that space or light in which things alone things appear to ‘stand out’ or ‘ex-ist’ was quickly occluded in Western thought. Similarly, the question of whence and whereby all things ‘originate’ was occluded in Eastern thought by reducing this origination to a mere causal interplay of beings through which they arise and pass away. Origination or ‘becoming’ - understood in its essential sense - as the ‘coming to be’ of all things - was thus reduced in both Western and Eastern thought to a mere product or interplay of things that already are - a type of logical circularity. Thus for centuries no further light was shed on the fundamental questions of why anything is or exists at all and what it means for anything to ‘be’ – both questions fundamental to any understanding of whence or how things ‘arise’ or ‘come to be’. Both Eastern and Western though remained entrapped in ‘metaphysics’ in the specific sense Heidegger understood it – namely as any philosophy which is essentially ‘entitative’ - which seeks to derive being ‘as such’ from a fixed structure or dynamic interrelation of already existing beings or entities of any sort (whether atoms, gods, tattvas, gunas, particles of matter or quanta of energy etc).

Thus it has come to be that not only the scientific community, but thinkers both Eastern and Western, whether secular-scientific or religious, have long ceased to be able to question the unthought presuppositions of their own terms and propositions – regarding all such deeper questioning as a type of redundant philosophising. All the more important then, that we do indeed begin to understand again the fundamental difference between ‘philosophical’ and ‘scientific’ questioning – a difference hitherto obscured by the history of both Eastern and Western thought. THE decisive start in this direction was made by Martin Heidegger – renowned both for his deep knowledge and explorations of the origins and history of Western thought, and also for his uncanny attunement to traditions of Eastern thought – Zen Buddhism and Taoism in particular.

Like Western thought, neither Buddhist nor Taoist thinking succeeded in explicitly identifying awareness (Sanskrit chit) as logically prior to, even though inseparable from ‘being’. Nor did their practices focus clearly and explicitly on the cultivation of awareness or recognise its centrality to ‘enlightenment’. Finally, neither Buddhist or Taoist thinking come to the explicit recognition of all beings as individualised portions and expressions of a singular, universal and guiding awareness. Buddhist posited instead an absolute ‘Emptiness’ behind the flux of experiencing. Taoism on the other hand offered only a philosophically vague and also highly eclectic mysticism and alchemical science of ‘The Way’ – albeit understood as THE Way ie. as ‘the way of things’ as such rather than as any particular way or ‘path’. In this sense Taoism retained a spirit of philosophical understanding in contrast to what Heidegger termed ‘metaphysical’ (entitative) understanding. The Sanskrit word dharma also meant the ‘way’ or ‘order’ of things as such, and not merely the structures and practices of a particular social or caste order. Awareness itself is indeed always ‘underway’, always in a process of constant manifestation. And if we listen to it in deepest silence, awareness is also constantly ‘pointing the way’, indicating to us the best possible ways to take on our own life path, those most in tune with The Way.

Just as languages are ways of speaking, so are beings also languages – ways of giving expression to different potentialities and capacities of awareness. The understanding of all beings as nothing but the ways taken by individualised portions and expressions of a singular awareness is central to what I call ‘The Awareness Principle’. Yet in a lecture that Heidegger gave on September 8, 1959 in the Burghölzi Auditorium of the University of Zürich Psychiatric Clinic, he already spelled out in no uncertain terms a radical new understanding of the human way of existing or being that is very much in tune with The Awareness Principle. He himself called this human way of existing ‘Da-sein’ (literally there-being) and the understanding of it ‘Daseinsanalysis’ (in contrast to ‘psychoanalysis’). What he said at the commencement of his lecture was as follows:

“Human existing in its essential ground is never just an object which is present to hand; it is certainly not a self-contained object. Instead this way of existing consists of ‘pure’, invisible intangible capacities for receiving-perceiving [being aware of] what it encounters and what addresses it. In the perspective of Daseinanalysis, all conventional, objectifying representations of a capsule-like psyche, subject, person, ego or consciousness in psychology must be abandoned in favour of an entirely different understanding. This new view of the basic constitution of human existence may be called ‘Da-sein’… To exist as Da-sein means to hold open a domain through its capacity to receive-perceive the significance of the things that are given to it, and that address it by virtue of its own illuminative openness. Human Da-sein as a domain with the capacity for receiving-perceiving is never merely an object present at hand. On the contrary, it is not something that can be objectified at all under any circumstances.”

Heidegger emphasised that the ‘there’ (Da) in his use of the German expression Da-sein (‘there being’ or ‘being there’) did not refer to presence at a specific location in space, but referred instead to a state of standing ‘outside oneself’ in an open region or domain which he called, quite simply ‘The Open’. This ‘standing outside’ is the essential meaning of the Greek derived terms ‘ec-stasy’ and ‘ex-istence’. For Heidegger the openness of space was but an expression of ‘The Open’ or of ‘Openness’ as such – with its resonance not just of ‘emptiness’ but of being open and of clearing an illuminated space - like a forest clearing - for the awareness he called ‘receiving-perceiving’. That is why Heidegger’s philosophical use of the everyday German word ‘Dasein’, though notoriously difficult to translate into English terms or concepts, could best be understood as a referring to state of ‘being in the open’ or ‘being open’ – with this openness of being understood as the very essence of being or ‘ex-isting’ as such.

“How does Dr. R comport himself to the table here? The table shows itself to him through space. Space is also pervious for the appearance of the table. It is open, free. A wall can be put between the observer and the table. Then space is no longer pervious to seeing the table but is open for building a wall. Without its openness a wall could not be built between them. Therefore the spatiality of this space consists of it being pervious, being open, and its being a free (domain). In contrast the openness itself is not something [purely] spatial. The open, the free, is that which appears and shows itself in its own way. [As human beings] we find and situate ourselves in this openness, but in a different way than the table [itself].

The table is in its own place and not there where Dr. R is seated … but as a human being Dr. R is situated in his own place on the sofa and he is also simultaneously at the table. … He is always simultaneously here and there [where the table is].”

[Note: the German word da has the double meaning of here and there.]

What we see demonstrated in these words of Martin Heidegger and in his whole manner or way of speaking is precisely a way of thinking that deftly but deeply transcends those understandings of ‘existence’, ‘being’ and ‘space’ as such that otherwise go unquestioned in ‘scientific’ psychology, with its objectifying concepts of a “capsule like” ‘subject’, ‘psyche’, ‘person’, ‘ego’ or ‘consciousness’ etc. He applied the same manner of thinking and philosophical questioning to medical and biological science as a whole, as well as to many other areas of scientific ‘knowledge’, not least physics itself.

Yet what of the relation between both philosophical and scientific thought and religious questioning and experiencing? Here Heidegger was more cautious, though firm in his belief in the need to also clearly distinguish philosophical and religious questions - however closely bound up they might be with one another. On the other hand he provided us with a clue to their relation which The Awareness Principle helps to explicate. For there is indeed a diversity of ways in which human beings can and do experience both Being and Awareness as such – the essence of profound religious experiencing. They do so in and through the essential nature of their being - understood as a capacity (Shakti) for “receiving-perceiving” which is not just open to the perception of things such as tables and chairs, but also and above all receptive to wordlessly sensed meanings – to that which “addresses” or speaks to them through the experiencing of different beings.

For experiencing itself (‘as such’) is a richly differentiated but wordless language of pure awareness (Shiva). From this it follows that every experienced being, as a unique portion and expression of that awareness, is also a living ‘word’ spoken by it.

Hence the sayings of Martin Heidegger:

“Language speaks.”

“Language is the house of being.”

For through these sayings Heidegger reveals how language as such is not, as it is ordinarily understood, a mere tool by which human beings speak and denote the ‘things’ they experience or the ways they understand them. On the contrary, language is the very matrix (Matrika) of experiencing that both speaks us as beings and that also speaks to us through every thing and being we encounter. It does so through the ‘pure’ and open realm of that capacity for a direct “receiving-perceiving” of meaning that Heidegger understood as the very essence of human being.


Heidegger, Martin Zollikon Seminars Northwestern University Press 2001

Part 3: biology and “the theoretical comportment”

Here, drawing on Martin Heidegger’s 1918 lectures on ‘Philosophy as Primordial Science’ and on ‘Phenomenology as Primordial Pre-theoretical Science’, I seek to show why it is that Heideggerian thinking cannot, in principle, be fitted into the frame of scientific ‘biology’ - or indeed any form of theoretical science or scientific theorising.

According to Heidegger himself, science is “ a quite unimaginable degree, through and through dogmatic; dealing with un-thought-through conceptions and preconceptions.” (Zollikon Seminars). For though science assumes itself to be neutral and free of presuppositions, this is itself a highly questionable presupposition. The term ‘pre-sup-position’ is rooted in the very ‘to pose’ or posit’. And in reality the theoretical constructs of the ‘positive’ sciences pose or posit in advance (‘pre-sup-pose’) the nature of their own object-domains as well the significance of all possible outcomes of scientific experimentation. The sciences and scientific thinking in general are but one example of what Heidegger called “the theoretical attitude”. This is an attitude which imposes its concepts on what is most central to phenomenology – namely the nature of pre-conceptual and pre-theoretical experiencing. An example of such im-position is the way in which it is simply taken as given – presupposed – that subjective experiencing is something based on primary ‘sense data’, for example a ‘sense datum’ such as the colour brown. In his 1918 lectures, Heidegger thoroughly deconstructs this notion. Referring to the lectern before which he is standing he asks:

“What do ‘I’ see? Brown surfaces, at right angles to one another? No, I see something else. A largish box with another smaller one set upon it. Not at all. I see the lectern at which I am to speak.”

The question here is what, if anything can be said to be “immediately given” in lived, pre-theoretical experiencing:

“What is immediately given! Every word here is significant. What does ‘immediate’ mean? The lectern is given to me immediately in the lived experience of it. I see it as such. I do not see sensations and sense data. I am not conscious of sensations at all.
Yet I still see brown, the brown colour. But I do not see it as a sensation of brown … What does ‘given’ mean? Do I experience this datum ‘brown’ as a moment of sensation in the same way as I do the lectern? … Evidently not … the sensation is itself there, but only in so far as I destroy what environmentally surround it, in so far as I remove, bracket and disregard my historical ‘I’ and simply practice theory, in so far as remain primarily in the theoretical attitude.”

“It is the general prevalence of the theoretical which deforms the true problematic. It is the primacy of the theoretical. In its very approach to the problem, with the isolation of sense data … the all-determining step into the theoretical has already been taken.”

This is the reason why philosophy, understood as primordial science - as science that is truly presuppositionless - must be ‘phenomenological’ science. That is to say it must be grounded in pre-theoretical experiencing a way that, unlike “the theoretical attitude”, takes nothing as simply ‘given’ in that experiencing.

“… in environmental experience there is no theoretical positing at all.”
“For environmental experience itself neither makes presuppositions, nor does it let itself be labelled as a presupposition.”

This applies not only to the theoretically posited or presupposed ‘givenness’ of sense data as basic ‘elements’ of experience, but also and not least to theoretical posits such as those imposed by such terms as ‘psychical’ and ‘physical’ - and with them the entire, purely theoretical debate surrounding the nature of their relation.

“I experience. I experience something in a lived way. When we simply give ourselves over to this experience we know nothing of a [‘psychic’ or ‘physical’] process passing before us. Neither anything psychic nor anything physical is given.”

Thus “In the experience of seeing the lectern something is given to me from out of an immediate environment [Umwelt]. This environmental milieu1 (lectern, book, blackboard, notebook, fountain pen, caretaker, student fraternity, tram-car, motor car etc. does not consist of things, objects, which are then conceived as meaning this and this; rather, the meaningful is primary and given to me without any mental detours across thing-oriented apprehension.” [my stress]

“I see something brown, but in a unified context of significance in connection with the lectern. But I can still disregard everything that belongs to the lectern. I can brush away everything until I arrive at the simple sensation of brown, and I can make this itself into an object.”
Yet “When I attempt to explain the environing world theoretically, it collapses upon itself. It does not signify an intensification of experience, or any superior knowledge of the environment, when I attempt its dissolution…” [of environing meaning]

This is but “Explanation through dismemberment, i.e. destruction: one want to explain something which one no longer has as such, which one cannot and will not recognise as such in its validity.”

Let us again bring to mind the environmental experience: the lectern. Starting from what is here experienced I proceed to theorise: it is brown; brown is a colour; colour is a genuine sense datum; a sense datum is the result of physical or physiological processes …”

Heidegger describes the theoretical process (in whatever way and through how many stages or alternate sequences it is presented) as essentially a process of "devivification" (German Ent-leben) of experience. Like the word Ent-leben (de-livening) German words for ‘an experience’ (Erlebniss) or ‘experiencing’ (Erleben) both derive from the German for life (Leben) and living (leben). In this sense the term ‘lived experience’ is, in German, an oxymoron – experience being first and foremost something lived on a pre-theoretical plane and not an object of theorisation. All the more paradoxical then, that from a set of theoretically posited and separated elements such as sense data, nerve cells, wavelengths of light etc. (all of which constitute a de-struction of lived, pre-theoretical experiencing) scientific theory then attempts to re-construct the nature of lived experience - indeed to arrogantly explain or define life itself - as a step-by-step construction of those artificially separated elements it has abstracted from lived experience, thereby ‘taking the life out of it’.

What then, from the perspective of philosophy as ‘primordial’ or ‘phenomenological’ science, i.e. from out the realm of pre-theoretical experiencing - is ‘life’? As the German language indicates, the essence of life (Leben) is experiencing as such (German Er-leben) and thus nothing (no thing and no process) that is merely experienced and nothing that can be objectified and explained through the lifeless theoretical constructs and the explanations constructed from them. That is why philosophy as Heidegger understood it can in no way be integrated into the theoretical sciences or scientific theorising. For philosophy as phenomenology is essentially a primordial, pre-theoretical science of a sort that completely undermines the basic “theoretical attitude” of the sciences. If philosophy is essentially primordial science then scientific theorising is a type of superficial philosophising - one which remains bound to the “theoretical attitude”.

What is decisively lacking in this attitude is any recognition of the inherent unity of the two senses belonging in the word ‘sense’, namely ‘sense’ in the sense of ‘the senses’ and ‘sense data’ on the one hand and ‘sense’ as sensually experienced meaning (German Sinn) on the other. The environmental world of sensory experiencing in which we dwell is, first and foremost in a world of immediately apprehended and lived meaning and no mere collection of objects or assemblage of sense data - this is the message that Heidegger brings to the fore, inspired in part by on the revolutionary ‘environmental biology’ of Uexkull. And since meaning-full experiencing (Sinnvolles Er-leben) is the sensual essence of life (Leben) itself, neither ‘experiencing’ nor ‘life’ can be reduced to or ‘explained’ through the theoretical frame of ‘biology’ as a science. The essence of biology, is, as Heidegger remarked, nothing ‘biological’ in the scientific sense. Instead it is quite literally the word (logos) of life (bios). ‘Life’ (bios) understood as ‘word’ or logos – is essentially a medium of expression of meaning or sense - one whose most meaningful and primordial language is the language of pre-theoretical experiencing as such. Thus to split ‘life’ or ‘experiencing’ into theoretical compartments such as ‘psychical’ and ‘physical’, ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ dimensions, is to devivify and do violence to both. And however intellectually sophisticated and ‘scientific’ the attempts to then theoretically ‘unify’ these separated compartments and dimensions, it cannot be forgotten that the whole “theoretical attitude” itself a lived attitude and an attitude towards life - albeit one characterised by particularly lifeless mode of expression and one divorced from the lived experiencing (Er-leben) of the scientific theorist. For whereas the “theoretical attitude” of science is one which takes as given a set of already signified senses of specific words or terms (for example the terms ‘psychical’ and ‘physical’) the pre-theoretical attitude of phenomenology is one which starts from the immediately sensed significance of lived experiencing in the life of what Heidegger called “factical existence” – a term that has nothing to do with presupposed ‘facts’ but with attitudes and acts – with the enactment (facere) of experiencing on the basis of particular life attitudes.
Heidegger, Martin Towards the Definition of Philosophy Continuum Books, 2000

Note: Heidegger and Uexküll

1. Heidegger’s use of the term “environmental experience” echoes the language of the revolutionary zoologist Jakob Johann von Uexküll (1864-1944). Uexküll’s use of the term ‘environment’ however, should not be understood in any conventional or contemporary sense. For Uexküll’s principle insight was that each organism inhabits its own unique sensory ‘environment’ (Geman Umwelt or ‘surrounding world’). This unique environment is not shaped by the organism’s sensory apparatus alone but by the unique meaning or significance it attaches to different sensory ‘cues’. Thus for a tick there is simply no such thing in its perceptual environment as a rabbit, rat, cow, sheep or human being. Instead there is simply the smell of mammalian sweat, and the tactile sense of mammalian hair and skin warmth. Whereas for the human animal, ‘mammalian’ is merely a generic concept (signifying a genus of environmentally perceptible sub-species) within the unique sensory environment of the tick ‘mammalness’ is a dimension of immediately sensed significance that allows no environmental distinction of sub-species. It enacts this sensed meaning or significance through dropping from a tree onto a mammal, letting itself be guided by its hair towards its skin, and then using heat cues to begin sucking blood - which it neither sees nor tastes. For Uexküll, as for Heidegger, the ‘subjectivity’ of an organism is not that of a ‘subject’ or ‘I’ experiencing an ‘objective’ environment. Instead it is a subjectivity constituted by its manner of environmental experiencing - the environment itself being itself a subjective space or field of experiencing and not a set of objects. Uexküll also echoes Heidegger’s views on the basic flaw of scientific ‘questioning’, ‘theory’ and ‘research’:

“Research cannot possibly proceed without questions that make assumptions (hypotheses) in which the answer (thesis) is already contained. The ultimate recognition of the answer and the establishment of a knowledge-claim follows as soon as the researcher has found a sufficiently persuasive number of manifestations in nature that he can interpret as positive or negative in terms of the hypothesis. The sole authority on which a knowledge-claim rests is not that of nature, but that of the researcher, who has answered his own questions himself.” Uexküll, 1920


Harrington, Anne Reenchanted Science – Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler Princeton University Press 1996