This post is in some ways a continuation of Faith, Fiction & Ideas: What explains the rise of humans?
This time, however, it is more framed from the Buddhist perspective.
There is a booklet, titled “Concept and Reality” written by Bhikkhu K. Ñāṇananda. In it, he speaks in more detail about the Buddhist description of “Not-Self” or “Empty” when talking about reality.
In short, that humans live their everyday lives in abstractions; we call these abstractions ideas, and concepts, and from them we create conceptual networks, and from those more ideas and concepts in a never ending feedback loop.
This keeps us chained to the rounds of Dependent Origination, and binds us to craving, conceit and delusion.
Buddhas remedy to this, is to silence the mind with mindfulness (after it has been developed) and then see the reality of what is via Vipassana.
By doing this, we get away from “re-cognizing” to just “cognizing”. That is we get away from concepts, and ideas, and slowly we start seeing the world as it is, versus how we are conditioned to perceive it from the learned and carried over habitual tendencies in our society (language and concepts; i.e, Conceptual proliferation) and past kamma. We cognize the sense-data as sense-data, and do not identify with it:
Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.
— Ud 1.10: Bahiya Sutta — Bahiya (Listen)
In short, anytime we try to explain something with words, we are dealing with delusion. This is why the Buddha taught that freedom from concepts has to be experienced. It cannot be explained, because as soon as you try, you bind it to the thing you are trying to free yourself from.
For anyone seriously interested in Buddhism, this is a must read.