On Jun 2, 2008, at 9:02 PM, Cameron Burns wrote:
I am curious, do you make your living with www.nothing.net? I am not saying it is a bad investment, I am just wondering as to why someone with as a good perspective on philosophical Ideas as you have would go about discussing paradox's of nothing on a website. I simply posted multiple posts to get your attention. I did not do in an egoist sort of way, and do not care what kind of negative response i may have. I find your opinions interesting as with your somewhat comic representations of the uses and contradictions in certain phrasing of the word. When I said, "Only in a dream can Nothing be experienced along with anything. As Bue-Bye said: "Ain't no place that there never was."" You're right that I could have just said nothing, but my meaning in saying that is that you cannot experience absence of perception along with Perception in the same "reality" unless you are dreaming. Some would say that that is the goal of meditation, yet all the while meditation leads to an "enlightened" state of mind, and if you have an "enlightened" state of mind then surely you have not rid your mind of all perception. When you are dreaming you are both there, yet you are also completely non present when it comes to your state of mind in a sense that you cannot logically determine what you are doing; Unless You are conscious of the fact you are dreaming, or rather "lucid dreaming". Everything IS meaningless without a revelation of that something. That is why I speak of dreams so much. Dreams are the essence of action through non-action. Dreams unlock the minds ability to express unconditionally. When I said, "Perception is reality and without there is a dream." I meant that without reality there is a dream, and by that I mean a literal dream like while you are asleep, in the accord that reality is waking life and without there is a dream. But that sentence right there is a paradox. If perception is reality then a dream can be just as much of a reality if you are perceiving it, for example, in a lucid dream. I am not obsessed with dreams as you may suggest in your e-mail, but I do want to ask you one thing. Have you ever had a dream, where you realized it was a dream, and then you tried to figure out where you are by doing things you would normally do in your waking life? That quote I wrote at the end of my last E-mail, I saw in a dream where I did just that. I found the sun, and tried to follow it, only it did not look like the sun and I could look at it directly. It led me to a large pyramid with water flowing off the sides. I even drank the water and it tasted just as real as water when you're awake. I climbed to the top and at the top was a gravestone of sort that read, "Bue-Bye: "Ain't no place that there never was."" After reading that I got kind of surprised and woke up suddenly. The next day I went to class and my history professor gave me a very old book of poems after I randomly told him about the dream. In the book he pointed out the same quote by an ancient Chinese man, that my professor had seen previously and remembered because of the curiousness of the saying. By telling you this I am merely suggesting that when we dream, If we take control of our dreams, It is quite possible that one can experience different perceptions of reality. I do not presume to understand it well at all.
To which I responded:
Share and share alike. I'll answer this letter from the bottom up and in a (hopefully) far less verbose manner than my previous response.
You asked, "Have you ever had a dream, where you realized it was a dream..." Yes, all the time...
When I was younger the natural state of my dreams was lucid and the default nature of my waking hours was as if in a dream (or at least accompanied by dreams). Being a chronic insomniac all of my life I learned at a very young age that one MUST dream. If you never sleep, you will still dream, it just happens while you're awake. Learning to cope with real-life situations - active daily life - interacting with my own dreams was a useful skill once I actually did get some sleep. I would trick out my sleepy-time dreams with colors that can't possibly exist in reality and layers of abstraction that are impossible to express with any form of communication. I would rarely change what I personally did in my dreams but I was really a god of my own universe so I would change the world around me, of course I'm not too uppity to admit that I would tend to fly, float, hover and drift a lot in these dreams, and I was almost always omniscient. I know, flying is what all the lucid dream geeks do. Sorry if I've shattered my public image through that statement.
But enough about me and my silly dreams. Let's get back to nothing important...
As for meditation, many believe (as you have mentioned) that unburdening and freeing the mind of all thoughts will bring one to a higher level of consciousness. I believe the enlightenment that is achieved through such a practice is a sort of dumbing down, more of a "lightening" of the mind rather than a "shedding of light" onto or into the mind. If you look at my blog posting from Tuesday May 29th 2007 "Q&A Your first "encounter" with nothing?", you'll see a brief account of the most such an experience can accomplish. ( http://xymyl.blogspot.com/2007/05/q-your-first-encounter-with-nothing.html )
Now that you've explained more of the background behind the story I appreciate your method of interjecting an obscure reference as though it should be common knowledge. I was already thinking, "this reference sounds like a family bedtime story, am I expected to know this?" - but I never suspected that you would be making a direct reference to one of your dreams as one might choose a phrase from a movie (as I overheard a group of young ladies in the 90's doing - "I know of this great blowfish place") as a pseudo inside joke or bonding crutch. I'm fairly certain you didn't expect me to get it, or did you? Was I supposed to say, "Oh yeah, that's a reference to that dream you had!" or write back a cryptic message that only you and I would understand to let you know that I was on your page?
By way of response to your wonderment at my choice of philosophical endeavors, I can only say that nothing means more to me than spending my time on making money or changing the world or just about anything. As for the value of my investment, I think I've done very well. With a non-stop stream - and often overwhelming floods - of traffic to nothing.net I could have sold advertising, made the tee-shirts more prominent, made nothing into more of a gimmick so people could understand "it" as it, and many other things. Yet, I've stuck to my original plan. Nothing, pure and simple (with jokes). And I'm proud to say that after 12 years and millions upon millions of visitors I have been able to consistently lose money on this educational project. Everyone involved with nothing appreciates and strives for that type of success.
And to answer your question, no. Part of the fun about nothing.net is that there is no reason for it to exist yet it does exist and primarily for the purpose of promoting a deeper understanding of what doesn't exist (and yet has a somewhat misleading name). The secondary function of the site is to combine the inherent flaws in (english) language with the natural inclination of the masses to attempt to see beyond the obvious - without establishing logical parameters from which to judge - to make the same joke over and over and over again.
I hope this information helps you understand why nothing is close to my heart.