1. Melbourne, Australia
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    11 May '12 13:57
    A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation.

    To be a Functional Unit amongst
    and transcending
    other functional units,
    means it can never be maximal.
    It must be All and Absolute.

    To be a Functional Unit alone,
    means no differentiation.
    Does it then "exist"?

    A Maximally Great Being cannot not-exist.
    To not-exist requires also a differentiation.

    Maximally Great is a comparative.
    How can that which is comparative
    be maximally great?

    A Maximally Great Being neither exists
    nor does it not-exist.
    Nor does it exist and not-exist at the same time,

    If unto "itself" alone, it remains undifferentiated.

    If a Being amongst other beings, it is comparative
    and not maximally great.

    What manifestation can ever name its Source?
    Is "God" finally nameable?
    Many sacred ways question that possibilty.

    Does that which is unnameable and without form "exist" or equally, shown not to exist?
  2. Standard memberSwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
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    11 May '12 15:48
    Originally posted by Taoman
    A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation.

    To be a Functional Unit amongst
    and transcending
    other functional units,
    means it can never be maximal.
    It must be All and Absolute.

    To be a Functional Unit alone,
    means no differentiation.
    Does it then "exist"?

    A Maximally Great Being cannot not-exist.
    To n ...[text shortened]...
    Does that which is unnameable and without form "exist" or equally, shown not to exist?
    If someone would be so kind as to translate this for me, I will respond.
  3. Joined
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    11 May '12 16:00
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    If someone would be so kind as to translate this for me, I will respond.
    I think this has been written in 'spiritual'... The language of nonsense.
  4. Joined
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    11 May '12 17:07
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    If someone would be so kind as to translate this for me, I will respond.
    I like to say God is so great He can work His wonders without actually existing. Is this the short form?
  5. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 May '12 19:40
    Originally posted by JS357
    I like to say God is so great He can work His wonders without actually existing. Is this the short form?
    Probably - it doesn't make sense either. 😛
  6. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 02:50
    Ok step by step, if you want to genuinely engage beyond encounters with the like-minded.

    "A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation."

    Do you know what a differentiation is?

    White upon a white wall cannot be differentiated, agreed? There requires some difference between background and foreground to delineate a form. And let''s not get into concrete thinking about walls etc. - it's a simple analogy.

    No form will "exist" without some degree of differentiation. Thus, any so called "Being" that REQUIRES something else to exist cannot be "maximally great" for it still has dependence. And its existence is also dependent - it does not "exist" unto itself alone. The Buddhist position is that all is co-dependent on the rest of reality, even our mind constructed concepts of self and being. There are relative, functional, transitory "selves" and "being" obviously, but that may confuse, as it leads to big words like "absolute". 😉

    There is no "thing" that does not have parts. If you know of any kindly bring them forth. Thus no "thing" or "being" can exist without dependence on the parts that constitute it. Parts also include non-physical "parts", like music and its mental appreciation for it to be "music".
    No being can be "maximally great" if by that you mean not dependent on anything else at all. If this reasoning is in error I am willing to be shown by argument, not by bare unfounded counter assertion and low grade deprecatory comments. If you do not wish too, that's ok, we can both return to the comfortable. If it remain gobledegook for you, then I will desist.

    A pleasant autumn day here in Melbourne, Australia. Hope your days are going well.
  7. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    12 May '12 04:31
    Originally posted by Taoman

    "A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation."

    ... .
    Your "logic" seems easily disporoved.

    You assert that "To exist requires a differentiation" (why? is this a Buddhist axiom?)

    Surely a stark differentiation is existance/non-existance , and then therefore your "Maximally Great Being" can exist.
  8. Cape Town
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    12 May '12 05:18
    Originally posted by Taoman
    White upon a white wall cannot be differentiated, agreed?
    Are you claiming that the white patch on my white wall does not exist?
  9. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    12 May '12 05:56
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Ok step by step, if you want to genuinely engage beyond encounters with the like-minded.

    "A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation."

    Do you know what a differentiation is?

    White upon a white wall cannot be differentiated, agreed? There requires some difference between background and foreground to delineate a form. ...[text shortened]... day here in Melbourne, Australia. Hope your days are going well.
    OK, I think I see an intention to communicate now. 🙂

    If a MGB existed, wouldn't it have - dare I say it - MAXIMUM differentiation?

    I'm not sure why MGB requires something else to exist. I think I need a better understanding of what you mean by dependence. Can some galaxy on the opposite side of the universe be thought of as co-dependent with ours? Can a historical person be dependent on my existence? (In other words, can the dependency work 'backwards' through time...?) I'm driving towards the idea that maybe MGB was the first thing that existed. But even if it came into existence simultaneously with everything else, I still don't really see the problem with that.

    I'm not willing to affirm that everything has parts. Do quarks, gluons, electrons and photons have 'parts'? We don't know. My guess is that we will eventually find something that cannot be divided into parts (if we're not there already). But the jury's still out.

    MGB is Plantinga's idea. But I'm not sure he needs MGB to be 'independent' - again, this hinges on what you mean by dependence.
  10. Joined
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    12 May '12 07:441 edit
    Originally posted by Taoman
    A Maximally Great Being cannot exist.
    To exist requires a differentiation.

    To be a Functional Unit amongst
    and transcending
    other functional units,
    means it can never be maximal.
    It must be All and Absolute.

    To be a Functional Unit alone,
    means no differentiation.
    Does it then "exist"?

    A Maximally Great Being cannot not-exist.
    To n
    Does that which is unnameable and without form "exist" or equally, shown not to exist?
    Do you make this stuff up yourself and then pretend you understand it?
  11. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 12:20
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Are you claiming that the white patch on my white wall does not exist?
    No, I am not. But where does the patch end and the wall begin? Phenomenologically it does not exist until there is a differentiation of form. If one begins to make concrete reasonings about white patches being visible on white walls the point of the analogy is not seen either.
  12. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 12:301 edit
    Originally posted by divegeester
    Do you make this stuff up yourself and then pretend you understand it?
    Which further part would you like to discuss in further detail? I can expand if it would be helpful. I do not pretend to be always as clear in expression as I would seek. But the reasoning does appear quite clear to me. I do not make it up, but seek to convey an ancient logical argument that had a profound effect on me. There are many highly respected Buddhist philosophical sources of this form of argument.

    One was... 'Acharya Nagarjuna (ca. 150–250 CE) who was an important Buddhist teacher and philosopher. ... he is credited with founding the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism.

    Nagarjuna is sometimes credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajña Paramita sutra, and being associated with the Buddhist university of Nalanda. In the Jodo Shinshu and Shingon schools of Buddhism in Japan he is considered the First Patriarch. In some Mahayana traditions, Nagarjuna is regarded as a second buddha.'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna
  13. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 13:36
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    OK, I think I see an intention to communicate now. 🙂

    If a MGB existed, wouldn't it have - dare I say it - MAXIMUM differentiation?

    I'm not sure why MGB requires something else to exist. I think I need a better understanding of what you mean by dependence. Can some galaxy on the opposite side of the universe be thought of as co-dependent wit ...[text shortened]... eds MGB to be 'independent' - again, this hinges on what you mean by dependence.
    Thank you for your considered response. With all due respect to an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, before whom I would quail, I question from a Buddhist perpective the validity of the first premise as raised. He argues also apparently the validity of belief itself as an epistemological basis. I am not convinced of that, coming from a scientific perspective. He has ontological arguments and I know little of them, but this idea of the MGB appears to arise from those ideas.

    A maximum differentiation would certainly not be a subtle one, would it? That is how I can only understand the phrase "maximum differentiation". It would stick out so obviously we could all pack up and go home, as it were. "God" doesn't stick out maximally like that, existent or not. Not the last time I looked anyway.

    >>"I'm not sure why MGB requires something else to exist."
    This underlines the conundrum of the argument.
    Supposing the MGB does not require something else to exist. This then leads dangerously close (from a theist point of view) to something closer to a buddhist view.
    There is thus nothing else but ""God". We are left asking then what are we and this manifested existence? Are we thus also "God"? Or if not, if God "exists" apart from us, is then "God"" not all, but an existent (much bigger) amongst other existents and thus not maximal?

    As to co-dependence, it is scientifically illustrated from quantum non-locality experiments. Two co-related particles have been shown many times (Alain Aspect experiments can be good start to explore) to immediately change in unison, in response to any change to either. This apparently totally ignores our concepts of space and time, including concepts of the speed of light and physicists tell us it appears it would occur if they were on the other side of the universe. Quantum entanglement. If this is true the everything of every time and space is somehow connected. This is akin to Madhyamika counterintuitive discoveries. All is now.

    This is probably the biggest thought a mind can try to get around - unsuccessfully.

    The argument about parts is an extended one and for the sake of brevity, I will link to straightforward and short explanation of the Buddhist understanding. I personally have not been able to isolate anything without parts of one sort or another.

    http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vol3/madhyamaka.html

    The principal descriptive issue for me at present is with the adjective 'maximally' (which is needed to argue from theism). As to existence, Buddhist philosophy does not say things do not exist. Nor does it say things do exist unto themselves alone. But that we appear suspended between the two, just as particles are in quantum, mysterious, 'there-not there' existence. As to "God" I simply cannot name or point to him,her or it, but are happy to hang around, so to speak..
  14. Joined
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    12 May '12 14:021 edit
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Which further part would you like to discuss in further detail?
    Well none of it makes any sense to me, so feel free to explain any of it in terms a simplton like me could understand.

    For me much of the Buddhist philosophy posted in this forum remains little more than contrived mystic goobledygook. Sorry if that seems harsh, but it is my honest opnion.
  15. Joined
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    12 May '12 16:18
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Probably - it doesn't make sense either. 😛
    Me: I like to say God is so great He can work His wonders without actually existing. Is this the short form?

    You: Probably - it doesn't make sense either.

    Eastern traditions tend to assert that an idea is absurd by stating the idea in ways that take it for real, and state the implications.

    When this is done correctly, it states the truth of the matter with clarity to a person in that tradition.

    Those accustomed to another tradition may miss it. You are known to demand Western clarity of expression, which is useful for all sorts of things.

    The problem lies in the combination of words "maximally great being".

    Any three words can be put together.

    "Invisible pink unicorn" captures this nicely. It fails from the get-go, by virtue of the meaning and implications of the words "invisible" and "pink". When added to the idea of a "being" and treated as an existent being (see Wikipedia) the absurdity of an MGB is being satirized.

    A MGB would be beyond categorization, which would invalidate the idea of one, also from the get-go. This is because categories like comparativity (suggested by "maximally" ) and greatness, and being (versus non-being) are "beneath" the greatness of this being, but this means that an unrealizable absurdity is presented by the very concatenation of the three words.

    Unfortunately for the Western way, this does not quite mean that the supposed entity can be deemed nonexistent, at least formally. But it should be sufficient to declare the idea absurd. There is a sound tradition in atheism of deeming the concept of God absurd, instead of deeming it to point to an entity having no existence.

    But the "idea" of a maximally great being has great power -- it works wonders in that sense. That's the funny catch I meant to get at. Ha Ha.

    Of course any Western interpretation of an Eastern expression may miss the mark and be greeted with a head thump, so I will add a 😵
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