Bee: The thing that still bends my head out of shape is, for instance; Say we're at some NPMR locale I pick up what appears to me to be a rock and hand it to you, do you perceive it as a rock, or have I handed you a radish?
Tom: Your basic problem is thinking of NPMR as just a weird PMR with different rules. Its rules are so different that it is not like a PMR at all. Your habits of thinking force it to be more like a weird PMR in your mind and indeed make it seem more like a weird PMR when you go there because of the way you interpret your experiences [you must interpret all inputs (data collected in NPMR) in terms of the experience stored in your physical brain because you are projecting your awareness into NPMR from inside PMR - in this case, PMR is your base state]
There are no rocks or radishes in NPMR unless you use a rock or a radish as a metaphor for something you experience there. More generally, there is no stuff - except in your mind as a metaphor for (interpretation of) some data/energy exchange, or as you create them with your intent by habit or intentionally (like a chair to sit on, or a body to represent yourself or who you are talking to, or clothes).
Bee: I've heard it so many times now that errors in translation of subjective energy can creep in, so how can we agree on any level of objectivity in NPMR?
Tom: There is no objectivity that is like what we experience in PMR because the less constrained rule set of NPMR does not generate "objects". There is no meaning to the word "objectivity" if there are no objects. Objectivity requires a direct measurement and a direct measurement requires an object to measure. In your mind an object is a 3 dimensional thing with form and solidity (volume and mass). You have no sense of the term "object" except within a PMR context. If you do, please describe to me an object without using the 3-D PMR concepts of volume and mass or any artifacts of the PMR human senses (touch, sight, feel, smell, and sound). Can't do it? See what I mean when I say you are, out of habit, forcing your perception of NPMR to be just a weird version PMR.
For example, those same habits generate expectations about NPMR that make having an OOBE very difficult for most people. If it is not as they expect (as others have described it - actually interpreted it), then they believe that they must not be there. Before they can consider themselves successful, they must duplicate someone else's subjective experience - a subjective experience that is based on the experiencer's unique PMR experience set. That strategy works in an objective PMR (where other researchers must be able to reproduce the experiment) but it is a great source of confusion and frustration for those trying to experience NPMR. I do not wish to add to that difficulty. The lore of what the OOB reality looks like, and descriptions of the process of accessing it, and of of all the stuff that is there constitute just another set of belief traps (for you) that make it more difficult for you to explore the larger reality of consciousness on your own. That is not to say that these descriptions and processes are "wrong" or ineffective, but that they are limiting because they are not fundamental. Such descriptions also constitute a set of suggestions (called leading the witness in a legal forum) that often lead to your needing, creating or interpreting just such a thing. If enough people create similar metaphors, then it becomes an "object" or shared metaphor of group consciousness and thus takes on a "life of its own" independent of the individuals but dependent on the group. However, this similarity of metaphor is not always just a matter of leading the witness, but rather of NPMR explorers sharing similar cultures, thus sharing similar experiences, thus sharing similar metaphors and symbols. They are, after all, experiencing the same general thing, but just interpreting it into PMR language differently according to their own unique experience/understanding/belief set.
So, when you want to know what NPMR trees rocks, radishes, buildings, and beings look like, you are asking a meaningless question. If you want to know what I experience, I will (if I were willing to indulge your misguided curiosity) tell you the metaphors and symbols that I translated my experience in NPMR into so that I could communicate it to you. However, realize that I would be restricted to metaphors and symbols that are in my PMR brain (that are within my experience set) and to those that I think you would understand (that would also be in your experience set). To optimize our communication I would have to have some idea what was in your experience set - i.e., we would have to talk and get to know each other a bit. Yes indeed, People with larger experience sets can communicate what they experience more accurately, can define their experiences more precisely, but they can only do so with another who shares that larger experience set. They would only confuse and create beliefs in those who do not share their larger experience set - thus creating dysfunctional belief traps for these people.
Furthermore, if I did not understand that reality was a netted digital information system, I would share my metaphors and symbols with you as if I were describing an objective NPMR that I had experienced. I would tell you that it was difficult putting my experience into words; that our PMR concepts didn't really fit my experience very well, but that I was describing (interpreting) my experience as accurately as I could. And you and I both would take it all literally or roughly literally to account for my difficulty in finding the right words. In fact nothing you hear should be taken literally - it is all just metaphor and symbol for a data exchange experience that is likely to have absolutely NO -- that was a "NO and not even close" in case you missed it -- PMR analog. If an experience has no PMR analog, then how accurate and literal will the PMR metaphors be that describe it? How personal (dependent upon the individual's unique experience, beliefs, etc) will that description be? And what if that persons experience set is very limited relative to what he is experiencing?
Bee: I suppose even here in the PMR learning lab our perception of anything is ultimately subjective, since our own viewpoint is unique, colored by beliefs/perceptual filters.
Tom: Yes, exactly.
Bee: Or are these errors in viewing NPMR a result of us forcing our PMR viewpoint on objects and events?
Tom: Yes, exactly.
Bee: Maybe I should have asked are there commonly identifiable structures within the like of OS, .. It'd be helpful to know where 'stuff' is. The last thing I'd want to happen on my first trip out (So to speak), is end up plopping into the equivalent of Dante's inferno, for example.
Tom: There is no stuff. You will not pop up in the middle of someone else's metaphor. You will have to deal with whatever you encounter - same as here. Do not fear the unknown.
A thought experiment to develop perspective: Think of being in a dark quiet room without walls or gravity or the ability to move your body (total sensory isolation chamber) and only connected to the rest of the world by the internet. Now imagine you were born in that condition and so was everybody else (many millions) on the internet. What would you and your net friends (and enemies and persons barely known) eventually figure out and do with your time? What would you learn? What would be the objective nature of your reality? Or would it only be subjective. If subjective, how would you know the others were real? How close would that experience compare to walking around and interacting with others physically outside your isolation chamber room? And visa versa?
Would you and the gazillions of others eventually make a big multi-player game with a rule-set to provide structure that provided goals and challenges and interactive feedback. Wouldn't that be fun - my how the time would fly then. Would more than one game likely spring up on the net? Could you play more than one game at a time?
Yes, there are identifiable structures in NPMR - but not objects - not physical structures - that is a PMR thing - as is a personal virtual structure (interpretation) perceived by a PMR inhabitant's perception of NPMR.
There is a personal structure (you - your intent, your entropy) and there are information structures (databases and messages), and functional structures (causality and rules of interaction), and relationship structures (communication meaning and content). There are also virtual PMR structures (the PMRsubk). There is a multitude of each of these types of structures, and they are persistent, consistent, dependable, interactive and real - i.e., they are there, and the same, every time you look. In fact they are more fundamentally real than what we usually call real because they are the consciousness system - at least in our neighborhood. One gets to know and gain competence working with and using these structures as one becomes familiar and experienced with the actual fundamental nature of NPMR (as opposed to the jumble of published personal metaphors and symbols that now definite the nature of NPMR in the popular literature.) A small sense of interacting with the structures within NPMR can be glimpsed if you imagine what your existence would be like if you were blind and had no nerves in your skin, could speak and hear normally, and were gifted with telepathy -- what would your reality be like then?
I started the same way as you. I more or less reproduced the experiences of others -- I traveled the OOB reality of Monroe and others for years -- I do personally relate to what others report especially if our metaphors and symbols (knowledge and limitations) are similar enough (i.e., we come from similar cultures and thus have similar personal realities that produce roughly similar interpretations). I have experienced NPMR rather extensively from that extremely limited perspective -- the perspective you wish to achieve because you can imagine no other. I had been there and done that for many years before I more fully understood the true nature of the larger reality and realized that even though all of it was my personal, real experience of an extant larger reality, none of it was fundamental. Data, information is fundamental, as soon as we touch it with our interpretation, it becomes personal. Personal means subjective. Consciousness is subjective by its nature. One cannot build something that is fundamentally objective out of something that is fundamentally subjective. "Objective" is found only in multi-player virtual reality frames with rule sets that are sufficiently constrained to define an objective mutual "setting" (the game) within which its inhabitants interact to have experiences and exercise their intent.
This is just a glimpse that is slanted to answer your questions - probably not too eloquent and not detailed or complete. I hope it helps ease your confusion more than it creates more confusion - always a risk when one has this kind of conversation.