How can you justify “is”, the present tense, in the absence of time? Past, present and future tenses are not meaningful outside time
The “is” is merely the language of the analogy, and has nothing to do with the hand within the analogy. That being said, “is” is the only term that CAN apply outside of time, since it does not denote a sequence of events. Time is the flow of moment to moment, but outside of time there is only the “eternal now”, the moment that abuts all temporal moments. “Is”, then, is the most appropriate term, and is in fact the very term God uses to describe Himself (“I Am That Am”, or “I Am that Is”, in Hebrew).
Examine the very tips of the fingers. Are they inside time or outside the time line? If they are outside it then they cannot be detected from within time. If they are inside time then they are changing from “not yet present” to “present” to “formerly present”. Anything inside time must be changing; anything outside time cannot have an impact inside time because it is not present there.
You are mistaking the movement of time with change within the fingers. This seems to be an ongoing problem for you: you constantly apply terms that do not fall with the definition of the “nature” or “process” to the thing itself. That the experience of the finger is future, then now, then past, does not indicate a change in the finger at all, because “future, now, and past” describe my relation, in time, to the event of the finger. The terms describe my temporal relation, not the thing itself.
I disagree, the imagining is a compound act, which can be analysed into separate parts. It is convenient to treat it as a single act in many contexts but it is not fundamentally single.
The image is compound, the imagining is not. If the imagining were compound, one would have to imagine each individual trait and then compile them step by step. The imagining is simple, because it is a single act and movement of the will.
There are ways in which imagining can be considered compound, but not in the way you are saying. For the purposes of the analogy, the act is simple; the ways in which the act can be considered compound do not fall within the purview of the analogy.
We can communicate about unreal things provided we have reasonably similar ideas about those things: unicorns for example have a reasonably well established list of properties despite not being real.
You’re using too narrow a definition of “real”. You seem to be mistaking “real” for “actually existing materially”, but that is not a sufficient definition. The unicorn is “real” in the imagination: it is a real image, and a real idea. It just doesn’t exist outside the mind, except by some artistic representation.
What is not real is a true square circle, or any other self-contradiction; they can’t exist in any real way.
Change does not always negate communication. Provided change is slow, as with mountains, or confined within known boundaries, as with a river, we can easily communicate about changing things. Where change is fast I agree that we cannot always communicate: “Look at that bird!”, “What bird?”, “Too late, you missed it.”
If there are boundaries that are established, then there is something that is unchanging. The definition of river is set, even if the word comes to cover a broader or narrower category (from river of water to river of time, for example). If the concept of river changes, then communication is impossible. We can’t even speak of it changing quickly or slowly, because any change is an absolute change; materially speaking, the river is absolutely a different river from one moment to the next, and the mountain is absolutely a different mountain from one moment to the next. It is the form in the mind that is unchanging, and that is how communication is possible. You and I have literally never seen the same mountains or rivers, but we can speak of them as concepts and understand eachother because the ideas are stable, and the mind forms a real concept by abstracting from our experiences of mountains and rivers.
He did not. How can you extinguish something that does not exist in the first place? Is it possible to kill a unicorn? What is to be extinguished is the incorrect notion that we have an “I” or self.
One can certainly extinguish a lie without believing it to have had its own seperate reality. Extinguishing the “I” does not mean that there was a real “I” to extinguish, but to extinguish the faulty perception of “I”, the desires and sense of self that leads to suffering. Buddha also believed that flames were an illusion of matter, and didn’t carry their own fundamental, abiding reality, yet he spoke of extinguishing flames.
The “I” is the perception that arises from being caught up in various desires, which are like fuel to the flame. Remove the fuel, and the flame is extinguished, remove the desires and the “I” is likewise extinguished.
Peace and God bless!