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A friend innocently asked me to knock off some “20 words or less” definitions of a few related terms. I took him up on the challenge, but totally failed on the 20-word part. Here is what I came up with:

Non-duality
(a) An experiential ideal imagined to remedy an unsatisfactory aspect of conscious experience, based on the absent-minded failure to perceive clearly the activity of experiencing when doing so consciously.
(b) An attempt to overcome the very real deficiencies of objectivity (the great ontic fetish) by diving deeper into them, further exacerbating absent-mindedness by entrenching the projection of assertiveness onto the world and imagining that one is somehow (re-)connecting to some putative transcendent Primordial Awareness.
(c) A healthy and adaptive mode of conscious experiencing, normative but typically philosophically unexamined (because it doesn’t feel wrong, so few are motivated to question it) in depositional cultures unafflicted by native or acquired absent-mindedness, informed by the self-presentative — rather than re-presentative — nature of consciousness.

Fruition
A very real but negative (i.e., non-) experiential (ambiguously conscious) phenomenon reported usually by serious meditation practitioners comprising a specific momentary discontinuity of consciousness, the capacity for precipitating (or even voluntarily inducing) of which results from intensive practice using traditional techniques, typically insensitive to absent-mindedness. Fruition is imbued with transcendent mystical meaning due to the astonishing absence of all content whatsoever, even time, resulting in the paradoxical and difficult to explain subjective (non-)experience of “utter emptiness”, “infinity”, “the absolute”, “God”, etc., depending on the cultural context, when the phenomenon is reflexively examined after the fact. Within Buddhism, the (non-)experience of Fruition is reported to be, though Utterly and Transcendentally Empty “in itself”, extremely pleasant with respect to its immediate after-effects; it is highly desirable because it is considered to objectively delineate the acquisition of classical enlightenment or a specific stage (Path) thereof. This causes endless consternation and controversy due to the apparent conflict with the dogmatic tenet, central to the philosophical system of the culture and informing its individual and collective self-definition, that desire itself is at least correlated with, and perhaps even the actual efficient cause of, human suffering. A telling index of the neurosis of the whole dharma system can be discerned in the self-contradiction of the expressed or implied instruction: “Strive diligently, but abandon all hope of Fruition.” In fact, the integration of causal and final efficacy (purpose) is proper to consciousness, not reality; but when this is absent-mindedly projected, and desire is seen only in its negative aspect as a problematic reflection of an undesirable — indeed, pervasive — characteristic of the world, dukkha, then the only apparent remedy to is to escape the world (and one’s consciousness of it — that’s where the emphasis is always placed) by moving beyond or outside or away from it, and attain paradoxically consciousness of… nothing, which is by another name nirvana. Given the contours of the absent-minded presuppositions which lead into this quandary, it is not surprising that many who have anything even approximating the (non-)experience of Fruition, and who understand it with reference to its significance vis-a-vis the fundamental problem of human suffering from that point of view, attribute to it the greatest possible positive meaning, even while feeling beholden to play it down, play it cool, and not get too excited about it. “Oh, it’s nothing, really.”

Cessation
A general category for describing as a positive event the essentially negative arising of the ceasing-to-exist of undesirable phenomena, based on flawed ontological premises non-consciously perpetuated by apodictic speech and ontic self-definition.

Unknowing Event
A conscious glimpse of the deficiency of one’s self-understanding imbued with transcendent mystical meaning. A step in the right direction for many, yet quickly reversed in most cases by absent-minded (mis-)understanding.

Emptiness
(a) The gap (or zero-width “negative space”) between mutually relative phenomena such as subject and object.
(b) A projection onto the world (or reflexively onto oneself) of the non-existent essence of personal self-hood.
(c) An insight into the semantically neutral (yet apt-to-be-interpreted) nature of all reality.
(d) An enigmatic and baffling term used by some who have emerged from absent-mindedness, when they attempt to explain their experience to those who have not, in terms framed from the absent-minded perspective and crippled by apodictic habits of speech and thought; apt to be confused with meaninglessness and crazy-talk by those who are not on board with the relevant program.

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