alt.slack: The Next Penetration

By (Peter Hipwell)
Date: Sat, 4 May 1996 (Rob [Not-Bob]) writes:
> WHAT IS THIS Western preoccupation with the irreCONcilable
>nature of philosophical dualities, anyway?

It's a part of cultural heritage so deeply dyed into the Western thought
patterns that most people can't imagine what life would be without
it. Those flailers that snatch on to a "MAYBE" or onto perhaps a nice
reasuuringly "FUZZY" logic are STILL trying to latch their thoughts
onto a framework that dissects and describes the Objective (an even
more deeply embedded concept).

> I give you the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2: "The Rise of Relative
>Opposites" (From "The Wisdom of Laotse", Lin Yutang, trans. and ed.; New
>York: The Modern Library [a division of Random House], 1976):

> Being and non-being interdepend in growth,
> Difficult and easy interdepend in completion,
> Long and short interdepend in contrast,
> High and low interdepend in position,
> Tones and voice interdepend in harmony,
> Front and behind interdepend in company

Hmmmm. A little too "MYSTICAL" for some people, perhaps? A little more
solid grappling? I shall butt in with an extract from:

"Presuppositions of India's Philosophies" by Karl H. Potter, Motilal
Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi 1991. (written 1962).

[Apologies for inability to put in diacritics]

The Jain Theory Of Negation and Error


When Indian philosophers review the various theories of error, it is
interesting to note, the Jain theory of error is rarely given. If
it is mentioned at all, it is lumped together with Nyaya-Vaisesika,
Prabhakare and Kumarila. The fact is that the Jain has no particular
theory ... over and beyond saying that every judgment, in as much as
it is partial, is erroneous. If we say that x is not y, we have
omitted to indicate that as regards property F they are the same; they
share F. If we say that x and y are the same, we have failed to
indicate that x lacks property G which y has. Complete truth, it would
seem, could only be gained by taking x's relations of sameness and
difference with every other thing into account, and this, the Jain
submits, goes beyond the abilities of language and conceptual

The obvious retort is that this was not the sense of "true" that had
to be explained; what we want clarification of is the difference
between the two judgments above [true/false]. The Jain has no
analysis of this difference except through appeal to verification and
falsification, which he sees once more in pragmatist terms. In this
common, unphilosophical (to him) sense of "true" and "false", a
judgment is true just so long as it leads us to what we are expecting,
and false just when it doesn't and we are disappointed. The Jain's
query is just this: why do we need any MORE of an explanation than
that? If we use "science" as the name of the activity of getting ahead
in worldly matters and "philosophy" for the contemplation of the
ultimate nature of things, we must admit, he claims. that they have
little to do with one another. A scientific truth may be a
metaphysical lie. This bifurcation of scientific truth and
metaphysical knowledge is fashionable in Western thought also. And why


Jain philosophers tend to distinguish at least five "levels" of
knowledge, of which only the first two are capable of literal
linguistic expression in the form of judgments. Arranged in an
ascending series, these are:

1) The level of sensory cognitions (matijnana)
2) The level of revealed knowledge (srutajnana)
3) The level of knowledge of modes (avadhijnana)
4) The level of knowledge of mental states (manahparyayajnana)
5) Omniscience (kevalajnana)

By (1), we are able to make judgments of sensory perception, more or
less adequate as our sense-organs are more or less well-trained. By
(2), we become able to make general judgments about the nature of
things known by (1), the difference being that (2) allows us to make
universal judgments whereas (1) properly speaking is limited to
specific reports of presented sensory contents. When we get to (3),
however, there is no appropriate verbal means of expression. Through
(3) we know the shapes of things not given to us through the
senses. Through (4) we come to know the essential nature of
interrelationships of such subtle items as minds, light, speech
(conceived neither as auditory or visual but as that which lies behind
speech-sounds and written words), and karma, that subtle stuff of
infinite variety which constitutes the material of bondage. Finally,
in (5) we come to know the exhaustive interrelationships of all the
contents contained in the previous four levels. These five kinds of
knowledge are not levels in the sense that one graduates from one to
the next; each one is capable of greater of less adequacy in a given

Besides these five levels of knowledge (jnana), there are several
varities of intuition (darsana). The difference between knowledge and
intuition seems to be that knowledge is outer-directed while intuition
is inner-directed. Most Jain writers seem to agree that in the fifth
stage knowledge and intuition coincide, but they are distinct outside
of that stage. In any case, as we have seen, right intuition or
"attitude" (as I translated it previously) is prior to right knowledge
in the chain leading to complete freedom.

[You're not going to get anything about the 14 stage path to
self-realization, because you've been NAUGHTY].

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