What is the difference between truly understanding/integrating a truth and the thinking mind coming to a conclusion that this truth is true?
The second part of the question – ‘the thinking mind coming to a conclusion’ is reminiscent of Plato’s notion of ‘true opinion’ and his showing how that is not a conclusive proof of something being real. Also sometimes the allegation is made that ‘(just) intellectual knowledge’ falls short of the truth, which is true. Depending on the area of knowledge – of every and any area – intellectual understanding is a first and necessary step. On the other hand, ‘truth’ and ‘certainty’ are slippery concepts. It cannot be a matter of degree, can it?
In the final analysis we have to rest on what you say at the beginning of your question: ‘understanding-integrating a truth’; that is the key, and it is based on maturity (not only intellectual maturity, whatever this may mean) and experience: that is what *integrates*. The right term for me is ‘knowledge-experience’, itself based on feeling and intuition (what used to be called ‘truth of the heart’). IOW, you make your bet and plunge in head first, as it were. By themselves, neither science nor philosophy has the final answers, mandatory and irreplaceable as they are. It is only long experience and deep thought, persistent reflection on the subject at hand, which gives certifying certainty. Ask a good cobbler or carpenter…
How can we prove people have consciousness if you are not the person?
Saying ‘have consciousness’ is a non-starter – you are already lost, confused . We do not have consciousness, we ARE consciousness; in the same way, we don’t have humanity, we ARE humanity – humanity is us, consciousness is us; these two are not adjectives, but substantival, standing by themselves. Consciousness and Existence are the same (category, let us say). These two are metaphysical principles, and as such they are indefinable and inseparable. IOW, everything is based on, is a consequence of, or in essence IS existence-consciousness, including sticks and stones. That is the essence of all life, everything else being a derivative or extension – or appearance: phenomenon. The objective world is an extension or ‘appearance’ of consciousness, because reality is ONE.
As a development of this theme n of Q&A, you might find this article interesting.
Venkat, I wrote this some years ago, and it has a lot to do with mythia, and with mythology:
We can enjoy reading history as if it were mere fiction from and about the past, and we must endure it as a necessary evil when we are thrown into its turmoil. History (the totality of events and men’s actions) is unpredictable, and there is little we can do about it, if anything.
Each one (purported individual) has a role assigned beforehand. Hitler had his and Jesus also had his. Better to be a spectator than an actor in the theatre of history, even though, like Arjuna, one must not abstain from all action, political or not. Even that is not possible.
It seems to me that only one who has no attachment to “I” or “mine”, or the suffering of “me” or “mine” can, without hypocrisy, argue that one should just be an unaffected witness to the suffering of “others”, as it is all unreal. If their suffering is unreal, so is yours; if your suffering is real, so is theirs.
The world is burning and there is a discussion here on whether computers can be enlightened. The comedy is unsurpassed.
Vedanta is not a philosophy of passivity. It is a matter of amazement to me that modern ‘teachers’ of Advaita manage to overlook the most basic context of the Bhagavad Gita. Here is Arjuna, who wants to escape from the battle into the life of a sannyasin. But Krishna sees the ego in Arjuna, and tells him he cannot escape the battle into passivity, because it would be hypocritical for one with an ego to do so, but that he must fight for what is right, for the good of the world, and with utter detachment for the personal fruits of his actions. And implicitly, in so doing, Krishna knows that such action will ameliorate the conditioning of Arjuna’s ego, so it is ready for the final truth.
Alexander Smit, who was Nisargadatta’s student, and who was Philip Renard’s teacher, had an apposite comment in his book, Consciousness:
“Whoever is living from that clarity can no longer be manipulated nor does he have any more fear. Such a person is without concessions and therefore complete, whatever may happen! Even before death you should have let go of everything of your own free will. If you live intensely, you will also die intensely. ‘Intensely’ meaning without concessions. Not without love, but without concessions. Self-realisation is to die each moment. It means to be running perfectly synchronously with existence, with the here and now. Letting go of the known, letting go of everything that is tied up with the manifested. It requires total dedication. And whoever begins to see things as they really are, will become a risk to interested parties, to politicians, to society. Because such a man is totally without any concessions, nor is he in any way open to manipulation.”