Subject-object dichotomy

Any Advaitin worth their salt knows that the dichotomy of subject-object is not transcended by the unsupported mind, which in itself is inert.

Empirical experience seems to be undeniable, and with it that polarity, but one knows from Shankara – and only from Shankara – that it is based on ignorance, that is, failing to distinguish between the Self and the intellect or mind, which leads to the superimposition of either one on the other. Thus, the non-dual and undifferentiated Self – alone real – appears to be an agent and a knower, whereas, in reality, It is a ‘witness’ (a witness that is none other than pure Consciousness); and It is so by Its mere presence, not actively. The dichotomy referred to above does not exist – in reality

 ‘Reality’, that which is unsublatable, identical with the unique Subject (which is pure consciousness), is universal, transcendent, and is not encased in duality. This, along with all of metaphysics, is counterintuitive. The Eastern experience in this realm is almost opposite to the Western one, except for a few figures (Plato, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysios, Meister Eckhart, Nicolas of Cusa, the Victorines…). This tradition is basically intuitive, as well as agreeing with reason. I append here some comments from a recent post in Quora:

Truth as reality – Plato (Cushman)
(David Moore’s answer & my comment)

The notion of truth is (primarily) metaphysical, having to do with reality – what is. When truth/epistemology relates to the phenomena of the empirical realm, then it is involved with language, with duality.

The higher, metaphysical realm is non-dual in itself, and here we would have ‘truth’, and ‘knowledge’ as symbols of reality, not as the truth/knowledge of propositions. Thus, ‘reality’, which is indivisible, is not a symbol or a mere concept, since it signifies, points at, represents, or stands for ‘what is’ or the wholeness of existence or being.

As Robert E. Cushman wrote (Therapeia, xviii): ‘… Plato’s conception of Wisdom is governed by his conviction that truth relating to ultimate reality resists propositional status and cannot be corralled and contained. Truth about reality is subordinated to truth as reality… truth and reality are inseparable, for reality is embraced in immediate apprehension.’

Thus, good philosophy is an ‘apophatic architecture for reality’ which reveals relationships, but not substance. It is like a map for our guidance. Could we say then that ‘truth as reality’ is the terrain itself (and we are part of that terrain?)