tiltbillings wrote:Basically, I am asking what could Nanavira possibly mean by this: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval?
I'll try to explain what I think Nanavira means by this.
For Nanavira an "existing thing" is an experience (german: Erlebnis) or in other words a phenomenon which is either present or absent. For him there is no "thing" that cannot exist. A "thing" which doesn't exist doesn't exist and there isn't anything to say about no thing being not there other than nothing. That means, that there cannot be an experience of a "thing" which is neither present nor absent, which doesn't exist at all or in other words a phenomenon which doesn't exist cannot be experienced. It is worth mentioning, that just for the sake of being able to explain it the "phenomenon which doesn't exist" of which I was talking about in the sentence before is in fact an existing (i.e. experienced) phenomenon which I assume to be not existing theoretically. However it is actually a phenomenon present assumed to be absent. I only mention this to make the point clear that there is no other way of talking about "things", they are either experienced as present or absent. What isn't experienced is immeasurable.
I try to give an analogy. A chair can be either present or absent. But a chair as an experience exists. A chair, whatever a "chair" might be, can possibly be
and that's why I can think and talk about a chairs presence or absence. Namely because the chair exists or can possibly exist.
A [ ] is neither present nor absent. There isn't anything within the brackets to be experienced. That which is to be experienced within the brackets and the brackets themselves aren't what I mean. It simply doesn't make sense to refer to a "thing" not existing at all.
This analogy is crappy to be honest but I don't know another way to make myself any clearer. I hope you get the point nonetheless.
To get back to Nanavira I repeat, according to Nanavira an "existing thing" (the experience of a phenomenon) is either present or absent. If a "thing" doesn't exist, there's simply nothing, and to talk about a "thing" not existing is not nothing it's something. The phrase could also be formulated this way:
"an experience endures unchanged for at least a certain interval"
One also needs to know that for Nanavira the concept of "continuous change" is a contradiction. Nanavira believes that change happens discontinuously. The concept of flux for him is a huge misconception. The concept starts with the assumption that there are discrete moments, which consist of shorter and shorter discrete moments and that they all put together form somehow miraculously a homogenous flux of continuous change. This idea just doesn't make any sense. It's completely insignificant how small a discrete moment is assumed to be, even when so short that the shortest moments cannot be experienced individually anymore but those discrete moments will never become suddenly indiscrete. For if they do, they wouldn't be discernable anymore, because you cannot say A is A when A is also B.
So when one thinks that "things" (or experience) doesn't endure unchanged for even the tiniest interval imaginable because of applying the concept of flux, then one ignores that discrete moments can never become indiscrete. One just assumes discretely discernable moments to become indescretely in theory where they cannot be experienced anymore. It is to believe that when the experience of A changes into B, there is something not experienced in between the experience of A and B which is not completely A anymore while still being quite A somehow but also not already being B but already being enough B to not be A anymore while still being A somehow at least to that extent to remain discernable as belonging in between A and B. If so one would have to rely on deduction only because the missing piece (neither being completely different from A while being different enough to become B but not yet being B) between the experience of A and the experience of B cannot be experienced. The Dhamma is to be seen here&now, isn't it?
This doesn't exclude the experience of something which is different from A and different from B for example C lying in between when A changes to B. However this wouldn't be continuous change anymore but it would be discontinuously, i.e. no flux.
I'll try to come to an end. What is meant by "something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval" means, that a phenomena (present or absent) in order to be experienced must endure unchanged until it is experienced otherwise there would not be an experience, or in other words a "thing" must endure unchanged for as long as it takes to be a "thing" otherwise it would not be.
Although the terminology may appear to imply time as being necessary but it isn't. It's not time which is necessary for a "thing" to be. What is necessary for a "thing" to be is the experience of a "thing".
One must not make the mistake to forget that time itself is derived from the experience of change. It is not the other way round...
best wishes, acinteyyo