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Date Posted: 10:45
Author: Eponymous
Subject: Re: How About This?
In reply to: Cowboy 's message, "Re: How About This?" on 10:44

I’m reminded of a dialogue attributed to Lincoln and an unknown interlocutor, a dialogue which I’ll paraphrase. Lincoln asked, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” The interlocutor answered, “Why, five, Mr. Lincoln.” To which Lincoln responded, “No, four – calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

Similarly, calling a state of nonawareness “pure awareness” doesn’t make it a state of awareness. If you want to say that nonawareness is a state of some purported "pure awareness," I don't think there's any meaningful way I can respond. Obviously, I take it for granted that there is a meaningful distinction between awareness and nonawareness. And I take it as an empirical fact that anesthesia (among other things) can induce nonawareness.

To put it into a personal context, when I had my wisdom teeth pulled (all four at once – yikes!), the surgeons put me on a general anesthetic before the operation. My perception was that I closed my eyes and then opened them and the operation was done. I was all of a sudden a bit groggier, but I had absolutely no sense of time having passed, and no recollection of any sort of phenomenal experience whatever. In my case, then, anesthesia induced utter nonawareness during the entire period of the operation. I take as obvious that it did so through some physical mechanism.

Now, if you want to insist, “No, no Mike – you were actually aware during that time; you just didn’t know it because it was PURE awareness!” (or the like), I would have to ask just what mean. And you would have to give a very clear exposition of the idea, because from this distance, the notion seems nonsensical.

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