Rational spirituality: transcending your metaphysics

This is a linkpost for https://monktastic.github.io/blog/pages/dream/rational-spirituality.html

Hi all! First time poster. I'll be honest: I'm feeling a bit nervous posting this here.

I want to share some thoughts about consciousness and the nature of reality. The basic idea is that reality is, in fact, a dream, and this can be discovered for oneself beyond any reasonable doubt. Roughly, the method is to grok the fact that your metaphysical assumptions are not rationally grounded in the way you normally assume.

The main obstacle to its discovery is a subtle cognitive process that continually reinforces our metaphysics. I demonstrate how these beliefs (such as those regarding the nature of time) are not based in reason, contrary to intuition. Yet even if one understands this intellectually, s/he will find it very hard to confront seriously. That misguided certainty is precisely what keeps the dream apparently stable and mundane.

If you're wondering why you don't see evidence of this around you, it's because this is your dream. How convenient, right?

There is a brief foray into quantum mechanics and the many-worlds interpretation. It's hard to avoid the criticism of "quantum woo" in a context like this, but I stay true to the math and experimental evidence, and hope you will draw your own conclusions.

The site may appear to be pushing an idealist metaphysics, which seems to go against the claim of transcending metaphysics. But the idea is to have the experience itself, at which point metaphysics becomes a tool for communication, rather than something we grip very tightly (usually without realizing it, as in the everyday life experience that the Buddhists call samsara).



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From the linked post:

When you are having a nighttime dream, it is very hard to convince you that you’re dreaming. Your mind will have a just-so explanation for any oddity that is pointed out.

This may seem straightforwardly true upon a quick or casual read, but if you think about what this sentence is saying, it doesn’t actually make any sense.

Who, exactly, is trying to convince you that you’re dreaming, while you’re having a night-time dream? Suppose someone is dreaming, and I want to convince them of this fact—how would I proceed? Any way that I have of talking to them would wake them up, and then it would no longer be the case that they’re dreaming.

How can the situation of “someone is trying [unsuccessfully] to convince you that you’re dreaming” actually come about? I’m struggling to imagine any plausible scenario that fits this description.

Oops -- that was an accidental inclusion of part of a draft. I'll remove it. Still, let me try to explain where it was going.

Various things can happen in your dream that might spur you to consider that you are dreaming. A green dragon may fly through the sky, or a dream character may tell you "you're dreaming!" In either case, the mind can quickly generate a very convincing explanation: "duh, green dragons always come on Tuesdays."

If you had your daytime rationality available, you could see through this deception. But you don't, and similarly, in our normal waking state, we lack the cognitive ability that would reveal the dreamlike nature of this reality. "Yes, I have no reason to believe in a past, but duh, it's true anyway because ...."

Thanks for commenting!

Various things can happen in your dream that might spur you to consider that you are dreaming.

I’ve never had characters in my dreams tell me I’m dreaming (or maybe I have—who knows? I rarely remember my dreams; but, in any case, to my recollection this has never happened), so I can’t speak to that.

As for green dragons, well, why should that make me conclude that I’m dreaming? If a green dragon flew across the sky while I was awake, I certainly wouldn’t conclude from this that I’m actually dreaming (why should I?).

(As for the rest of your comment—and your post—I may comment later, when (if) I’ve finished reading all of the linked posts, since you do refer to quite a few previous posts in this one, it seems.)

By itself it should not convince you that you're dreaming. I don't know if you've ever had a lucid dream, but often they are triggered by an oddity that you (for some reason) decide to take seriously in a particular way. A green dragon may prompt you to introspect in that way, but only if you don't accept the mind's trick offering. At that point it does become possible to know that you are dreaming.