Is ownership just an illusion?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Dugu » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:51 am

I was watching this movie and one of the main character has a terminal disease and on her final moments in life with her lover by her side, she says "Suddenly I feel like...I have never owned anything at all" That line in the movie made me think about how much in our society we focus on acquiring things and yet we can lose it all suddenly as if it was never ours in the first place.
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:57 am

Dugu wrote:I was watching this movie and one of the main character has a terminal disease and on her final moments in life with her lover by her side, she says "Suddenly I feel like...I have never owned anything at all" That line in the movie made me think about how much in our society we focus on acquiring things and yet we can lose it all suddenly as if it was never ours in the first place.


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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:18 am

Spot on, bhante!

:thumbsup:

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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:37 am

Hi Dugu
For the character in the movie, she made the profound realisation on her deathbed.
Sadder still is that the vast majority of people don't.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Dugu » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:22 am

Ben wrote:Hi Dugu
For the character in the movie, she made the profound realisation on her deathbed.
Sadder still is that the vast majority of people don't.
kind regards

Ben


So true. :buddha1:
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby catmoon » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:49 am

Ben wrote:Hi Dugu
For the character in the movie, she made the profound realisation on her deathbed.
Sadder still is that the vast majority of people don't.
kind regards

Ben


So false. She didn't realize anything, she was just an actress reading the lines in the script. Or are you feeling empathy for a figment of someone's imagination?
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:05 pm

What's the difference if the figment is in your mind or someone else's? You're still cultivating empathy aren't you?
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:01 pm

I'm always reminded of this skit when we talk about ownership:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 482448693#
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Su Dongpo » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:17 pm

So false. She didn't realize anything, she was just an actress reading the lines in the script. Or are you feeling empathy for a figment of someone's imagination?


You are assuming, methinks, that the imagination, and in this case an imagined persona, is less real than material reality and "real" people.
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:43 pm

Dugu wrote:I was watching this movie and one of the main character has a terminal disease and on her final moments in life with her lover by her side, she says "Suddenly I feel like...I have never owned anything at all" That line in the movie made me think about how much in our society we focus on acquiring things and yet we can lose it all suddenly as if it was never ours in the first place.

Bingo. We cling tightly to nothing at all. Isn't that silly? :tongue:
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:36 pm

Catmoon
I suggest you re-read what I said above and please be mindful of your erroneous perception.
Ben
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:28 pm

Novels, Films, Plays, etc., all depend on creating an illusion that we must buy into if we wish to enjoy them. Even though we know it is an illusion, we have to lose awareness of reality while watching or reading in order to enjoy the story.

The Nature of Illusion is totally convincing regarding self-view.

Even if I tell you that the squares A and B in the optical illusion below are an identical shade of gray, you may not believe me. After checking with a colour-picker, you will see that it is true, but the illusion remains.
Image
The self-illusion is equally persistent. Even after practising insight meditation to a stage where the illusion is dispelled to some extent, the illusion (about pleasure) persists after stopping meditation. Only a Stream-winner can eradicate the self-illusion completely, but sill some illusion will remain in a Stream-winner.

Reading good books about Buddhism will convince us that the self is an illusion, like using a colour-picker, or one might just have faith in monks that they don't usually tell lies. :) Still, that is only intellectual acceptance of the Dhamma. To go any deeper, we must practise insight meditation — there is no substitute for developing mindfulness of the mental and physical processes.
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:59 pm

Thank you Bhante for your insightful post.
Just to be clear, I don't think anyone here is suggesting that the character in the movie discussed by the original poster is anything other than an element in a work of fiction. And you are right, for us to engage in the story, whether it be for the sake of enjoyment and/or learning from the author's 'message' (if any), we must suspend disbelief.
On the subject of self-view, you may find the work of the Neuroscientist/philosopher Thomas Metzinger to be of interest. http://www.amazon.com/Ego-Tunnel-Scienc ... 368&sr=1-1
I imagine that it would be available either from your local library or the British Library via inter-library loan.
metta

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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:33 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Novels, Films, Plays, etc., all depend on creating an illusion that we must buy into if we wish to enjoy them.


In our modern culture they do, but we don't have to participate in this infantilization as we engage with media. We can engage media consciously. Most of my friends have taught or are teaching their children not to forget that it's an illusion they're witnessing as they engage with media. My parents also did this. Suspending reality when engaging with media is irresponsible - in the same exact way that becoming intoxicated is. In our media-saturated world, its extremely important for everyone (and particularly children) to critically deconstruct the medium and the media and differentiate the "real' from the "illusion" while engaging with it. It's only necessary to buy into the illusion if we're willing to surrender our mind and subconscious to the well-strategized "enjoyment" intended by the maker of nearly all media - an enjoyment that almost always has ulterior motives and unacknowledged effects. If we train the sponge mind and our children's sponge minds to recognize precisely and inclusively what they are seeing as they engage the medium and the media - the total gestalt, then reality doesn't need to be suspended and its extended shadow effects are minimized. Of course, one of the effects of such training is that most media, when deconstructed as we watch it proves the intended "enjoyment" to be shallow and contrived with unexpected effects - not a bad thing to be aware of since the mind tends to default toward the mechanics of dust-bunny formation, easy patterning, and unconscious reactivity. Story telling (which is what all media is) has strayed very far from its premodern roots where stories were understood to be carefully constructed carriers of reliable time-proven and important information. Blindly engaging with stories as "entertainment" for sensory stimulation or mental masturbation is a relatively new corruption of information-sharing among humans. All stories of every kind should be deconstructed, not unconsciously guzzled and then swallowed whole.
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Clear Light is Union
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Aloka » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:57 pm

.

I agree that its important to be aware of what's happening when we engage with the media. Certainly in UK secondary schools, some attempt is made to help children understand the lure and subtleties of advertising and of the methods of the media in general,.. though probably not nearly enough . It is all unfortunately so much a part of peoples lives that we can still be incredibly influenced,in ways that we don't even realise .

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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:06 pm

My parents picked the programs I was allowed to watch, and not too much,.

Especially American comics got banned.

As an adult, they had no impact no me. Other than noticing incredible cruelty in them, I thought it was bizarre and dangerous, that comic characters got up again after having been made flat, and acted as if nothing had happened.

I can't even imagine which impact this has on the minds of children, who get dumped in front of the TV.

On the other hand I've watched very valuable American movies as well, educative, enlightening.

Perhaps it depends on ourselves, what we draw out of them and I would say the same counts for the actors.

Sense, depth and sensitivity of artists should never be underestimated.







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Last edited by Annapurna on Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:55 pm

Ben wrote:Catmoon
I suggest you re-read what I said above and please be mindful of your erroneous perception.
Ben


I read it pretty carefully. I wonder what you think is going on in my mind.
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:12 pm

catmoon wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Dugu
For the character in the movie, she made the profound realisation on her deathbed.
Sadder still is that the vast majority of people don't.
kind regards

Ben


So false. She didn't realize anything, she was just an actress reading the lines in the script. Or are you feeling empathy for a figment of someone's imagination?


Dear Catmoon, movies are like day-dreams or- like legends, perhaps the Jataka tales, if you will!

True or not, fairytale or legend, it doesn't matter, if it triggers, in the observer, a leap of insight and I admit, some good movies do that for me... :smile:

I've been shown a movie by my teacher, dear friend.

It had the intended effect, let me say so much.

The tool is irrelevant, just so long the teacher can pick up a student with it, where he's at.

If an ordinary audience realizes, while and through resonating with a character, that we do indeed, own nothing, -and can't take anything with us, then this is great, isn't it?

:hug:
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:20 pm

Annabel wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Dugu
For the character in the movie, she made the profound realisation on her deathbed.
Sadder still is that the vast majority of people don't.
kind regards

Ben


So false. She didn't realize anything, she was just an actress reading the lines in the script. Or are you feeling empathy for a figment of someone's imagination?


Dear Catmoon, movies are like day-dreams or- like legends, perhaps the Jataka tales, if you will!

True or not, fairytale or legend, it doesn't matter, if it triggers, in the observer, a leap of insight and I admit, some good movies do that for me... :smile:

I've been shown a movie by my teacher, dear friend.

It had the intended effect, let me say so much.

The tool is irrelevant, just so long the teacher can pick up a student with it, where he's at.

If an ordinary audience realizes, while and through resonating with a character, that we do indeed, own nothing, -and can't take anything with us, then this is great, isn't it?

:hug:


Realization is fine, but I can't help worrying about the possibility of mistaking the finger pointing for the goal. Parables are a time tested means of communication, but they have strange effects on the minds that receive them. Sometimes. I don't see the tools as entirely irrelevant. They are causes and they have effects. I dunno, maybe I'm arguing about the provenance of an arrow...
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Re: Is ownership just an illusion?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:55 pm

catmoon wrote:
Realization is fine, but I can't help worrying about the possibility of mistaking the finger pointing for the goal. Parables are a time tested means of communication, but they have strange effects on the minds that receive them. Sometimes. I don't see the tools as entirely irrelevant. They are causes and they have effects. I dunno, maybe I'm arguing about the provenance of an arrow...


Perhaps? Don't know. :smile:

I know we can all tell the soup from the spoon, though... :bow:
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