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sketch for a proof of rebir th

general experiences there is noticeably a longer ‘premonition’.) By reflecting I can never discover any necessary connexion between the present field and a peripheral field. A coming event, it seems, casts its shadow before, but I am never sure it is a coming event—indeed I find that by voluntary action I can substitute another. (Before proceeding we must remark that whatever we say has to be applicable to all modes of perception of spatial extension. Perception of spatial extension, though convenient for reflexion, is misleading in that we may be led to suppose that all temporalization is spatialization. But in other kinds of perception, even visual, temporalization takes the forms of qualities that are not essentially spatial—the flavour of honey, for example, or a particular shade of blue—, and here such expressions as ‘surrounding zone’ and ‘peripheral fields’ must not be understood spatially. Time appears in every sensual world, but not space. Furthermore, what we say has to be applicable to intersections of mixed fields—a red-hot lump of iron, for example—; and, finally, it must be applicable at all levels of generality.) It seems, then, that we encounter the following difficulty. In my ‘observation’ of a stable field I never discover any other field that I know to be the alternative of the present one; it is only when a field actually changes that I discover it to be capable of changing. And we have already seen (appendix vi) that it is enough merely to admit the possibility of an alternative field for the present field to change forthwith. It seems that in order to ‘observe’ a field as it really is we have to disturb it: a field reveals itself as able to change only by changing—but then it is no longer the same. Perhaps, then, we are wrong in assuming that a field ‘really is’ at all; perhaps the original question is inherently unanswerable. It may be that a field only exists as an ambiguity. If this is so we must be prepared to resort to equivocal language in order to describe it. Let us see what happens if we do so. We are faced with the paradox that a field is always replaced by one out of a multitude of contrary fields, and yet at the moment of changing a field is the one it is replaced by. We suggested earlier that a field is always the field that would supplant it were it to change at that instant; but this was not satisfactory. Let us modify it by saying that a field is always all those fields that might supplant it were it to change. But since a field is always replaced by a contrary field, we must also say that a field is always not any of those fields that might supplant it. We can reconcile these two statements by saying that a field is always all its alternative fields and that these fields are absent. But what is an absent field? Clearly it must be a field that is not present; but it must be not present in such a manner that its absence is evident. In a word, it must be in some sense relatively not


Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...