Could someone please discuss with me their understanding of the concept of the observed vs the observer?

Or perhaps you would like to point out the error, or contradiction, of this very question.

Either way, I have no answer...I am not looking for an answer to justify any opinion that I already have...I know very little of this concept.

Thank you


Feel free to get quantum on me.

Update 2:

Udaya..I love you i honestly do. You have helped me out a lot along the way. But i get so confused because I am told "this and that" about what reality is...and the oneness of reality...(not just from you)and what i get from your answer is that basically i will never understand the concept so long as i keep asking the question because the question creates conflict..but then again you have answered my question which takes effort on your part of reading the question then thinking about your response...deciding to type it out..all of this is separation. So how can you and i communicate with each other without feeling like we are in conflict due to the fact that we are observing each other objectively if only through the internet. Maybe i misunderstood your answer. If my question is conflicting then does that make your answer a conflict? If so is there any point in discussing? I bow to you. No disrespect meant. But really…is there any point in even talking about any of this? How else?

6 Answers

  • Yoda
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The word "observe" originates from Latin, from the roots "ob" (over) + "servare" (to watch): thus its meaning is literally to watch over. The question is: what do we mean by watching over?

    There is watching in the sense:

    1) when you are in the flight and fight response (when the brain has stopped identifying)

    2) when you are interpreting data from the eyes causing the identification of objects etc.

    The observer is either whole or fragmented: as the whole, the observer is the observed; as the fragmented, the observer is memory which attention passes over.

    For instance: if you wish to measure a straight line, there must exist the image of a line in memory, and the technical knowledge to measure it. If there is no image of a line in memory, no identification is possible, until the brain has focused upon the line and identified it as separate from the piece of paper. If there is no measurement, the line does not exist, but then, neither does the observer. Thus: when the observer is not operating (the brain), all that the mind feels is the flow of images, yet there is no identification.

    We cannot understand what it means to be the observed, because when the brain is not the observer, nothing is recording. Thus in that trifle: it is possible for the observer to be absent, but not possible for the observer to know that it is absent.

    In other words: the only way for the observer to be absent (one with the observed) is if the observer (brain) is not comparing/contrasting e.g. identifying, but if this happens, no memory of it happening will be recorded.

    This strangeness has implications for quantum physics. When measuring very small particles, the measuring device effects the measurement: e.g the observer causes the effect, implying that the effect may not exist until it is measured.

  • 10 years ago

    There are moments when there is no split between observer and observed. When dancing, making music, making love ... any time we are completely at one with experience. Our civilisation ushers us away from this, abstraction is valued too highly, we spend all too much time in our heads. The value of meditation is that it helps us reconnect with reality.

    Western science - understanding none of this - began with the belief that the distinction between observer and observed was an absolute part of reality, not just a psychological effect. What a shock they had when they found that at the deepest level of physics - the hardest of the sciences - this breaks down! It is not possible to define an atom separate from the observer.

    This means that it is not possible to be 100% objective about anything. Of course, it is often possible to be sufficiently objective to make good use of our minds. We can often work out when the newspapers are lying to us; scientists can decide intelligently what appears to be true in the world; we have a workable - if very imperfect - legal system.

    100% subjectivity is achievable.

  • 10 years ago

    a timeless example would be ; "if a tree in the forest fall and no one is around n to hear it, does it make a sound?" this is more difficult to answer than it appears because it is filled with assumptions such as ; what counts as sound? the fact that it can be heard (by an "observer")? or what is meant by "no one hears" it? is the idea of that tree making an impression on the surround environment counts as noise (through the vibrations and such it causes)? or by the fact that one cannot claim experience on the matter prove any answer to be 100% conjecture? THis is the relationship between the observed and observer. the medium, by which relates the two, is highly ambiguous to even give you a clear answer. something cannot be "observed" without there being an "observer". this can be solved, subjectively, the idea that the subject is both the object an the observed; and that's in all cases, animate objects or not (like rock, trees, and such).

  • 10 years ago

    Here is my understanding of the concept you have stated:

    This concept is complicated and yet, simple when we realize we are both the observer and the observed. Looking at your question and response to a responder, I have an image in my mind based on my past and present experiences. i either liked, disliked or compared it with my own values and judgments. As an observer, I make judgments and doing so, I am creating more images from my experiences and present images. Thus I become the depiction because I have unconnected and have become the observer. In this state I created quarrel with the images which I believe are the cause of my conflict. This causes me to build more negative images which continues to engulf me. When I become conscious of this dilemma, I'm on my way to knowing there is a middle portrait with all the images I have created and are creating for myself. This knowledge makes me the adjudicator of my images.

    This awareness frees me to look at the various conflicts and images and now I know that the observer is the observed and this causes me to dispel any conflict because the image is myself. I am no longer separate from these images so I will not act on them. This oneness causes no conflict and I now know that I am that which I have created.

    This is my own understanding of this concept which I continue to evaluate and attempt to gain a deeper understanding.

    Source(s): The Sage is both the observed and the observer.
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 10 years ago

    Duality is the essence of Conflict. Observer and Observed exist as long as duality exist. Duality exist as long as material plane of consciousness exist. Once the consciousness transcend the material plane, all the duals merge, the micro and macro cosmos merge, no more observer or observed exist. But for those who are still on the material plane of consciousness everything exist, as usual and as before. Since we are trying to interpolate two levels of consciousness, the doubts arise about contradiction.

    PS: Sorry if I have confused you., that was not intended. Please ignore my answer. My path is my mind and is far away from text books.

  • 10 years ago

    When you observe something, it loses its wave potential of being and settles into one objective state of becoming. If awareness (observing) with attachmentt is strong, it does not. I suppose you mean I should come back tomorrow to continue this discussion. I will. I gotta go tie down my sailcloth for now.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.