A simple question about absolute death

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Andrew256, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Andrew256 Registered Senior Member

    Here's a fact - you've been born into this world at least once. I think you won't argue with that.

    A set of underlying properties and laws of our universe somehow resulted in elemental particles being assembled in a certain way that ultimately have formed your consciousness, your "sense of self", and, for some reason, bound you to "you". And to no one else.

    But, for now, let's skip the idea of what makes you - "you".

    And here's a question - can you name at least one good reason why it can't happen again?

    We don't know what state your consciousness have been before you were born. Even if that state is "nothingness", it is still a state, in a sense that we can name and acknowledge this state. But, we know that you were born, at least one time, and after you die, and your consciousness cease to exist, you will return again to this state. Let's name this state "pre-born" or "post-death" and let's agree that they are equal, because in both cases your consciousness is equally non-existent.

    Now, let's operate with facts:
    Fact 1 - You have been in this state before birth
    Fact 2 - You've been born into this world
    Fact 3 - You will inevitably return to this state after death (I know this is open for discussion, but if you disagree with this fact, I will gladly listed to a logic behind your reasoning)

    Considering the above facts - can you assume that there is a high probability that it won't happen again?
    I can compare this with the "Are we alone in the universe?" question. Assuming the universe is infinite, if life happened at least once on a planet, there is a 100% chance it will happen somewhere again, and on top of that - it will happen infinite times! (Infinite monkey theorem)

    So, assuming the space-time is infinite, and "you" happened at least once, the probability tells us that "you" will happen again. Infinite amount of times. Although that doesn't tell us anything about who or what you will be, or even if you will be anything resembling human is up to a question. I'm talking purely about "sense of self", about the identity of "you".

    So, back to my original and very simple questions - why not?
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  3. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    I can't answer your question, but exploring who you really are is a worthy endeavor.
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  5. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    I might also suggest that you should live this life as though it is your first and your last. Seek happiness. If not elsewhere, then where you are in the present moment.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    "We" are, if nothing else, our memories. If all my memories were gone, I could not act like me. I couldn't hug my wife; I couldn't perform my job. I'd be somebody else.

    Since we are born with only the memories we've acquired shortly before birth and after, it is impossible for us to have the thing that makes us who we are.

    On the contrary, it is the very core of the discussion to establish what makes you "you". Otherwise, how can you even compare one "you" to another? How could you, even in principle, determine that the last guy was "you" or not "you"?
  8. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    So you are nothing more than a thought? I don't understand. Explain.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I am many things.
    But most of those things are also what many, many other people are.

    So, how does one distinguish me from all those others, in the sense that "I" could be reincarnated as the same person? (There must a be unique trait that only I have, and it must be associated with my identity (otherwise, a funny-shaped mole would be enough).)

    Even if I were cloned, so that its genetic makeup is identical to mine, that clone is still not me.
    What makes me and my clone unique are our experiences, which manifest internally as our memories.
  10. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    The accumulation of events that lead to an individual, the genetics alone prevent it from happening twice exactly the same, and then considering formative events in life, it's practically impossible.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Right. So assume a clone. Assume it's genetically identical in every practical way.
    Is it "me"?
    No. As you said, it is the accumulation of events.
  12. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    So you are a memory?
  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    I understand when you say you are talking about the sense of you

    But even ignoring the life and experiences of you which contributed to the sense of you it would be extreme odds

    Concevable I could come back as a green sentient lizard in Andromeda

    Problem is even were it to happen it would be unknowable

    Hi Michael. That green lizard body suits you

    Because it would require someone who knows the pink skin version me as being the same as the green scaled version. Which of course entails that person to also to have had their me reproduced

    The odds are getting longer

    Can you think of a plausible way to shorten the odds? To my way of thinking adding more options, as in infinite Universes, decreases the odds not improves

    In all honesty I would make a executive decision and put it in the impossible tray, with perhaps a micro second hesitation over the next to impossible tray

    Then I would send for coffee which, not being a executive, I will go and ask the breakfast waitress to bring me

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  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Still no.

    I see 15 billiard balls on a table. How do I identify which one I was holding on my hand earlier?
    Well, the round one.
    They're all round.
    The 2" diameter one then.
    They're all two inches in diameter.
    The one made of chalk.
    They're all made of chalk.
    The one with the number 4 on it?
    I can identify it - not by its common qualities - but by the one quality that makes it unique from all others.

    So that one "is' its 4? (read as: you "are" a memory?)

    What? No. It's a ball, it's round, 2" inches in diameter and made of chalk. It's all those things.

    The only thing I can use to prove that the ball I held in my hand earlier is that one there, is the one trait that makes it unique from all other balls.

    Compare to the OP, trying to decide if someone from some past life "is" me. Everyone was bipedal, many are white, some are lefties, some are software developers in Canada. You could make an exact copy of me, down to the last detail, and it still wouldn't be "me", because it has not acquired the experiences I've had.
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Explain how that green sentient lizard would be, in any way, you. What about it is you?
  16. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    There is more substance in an empty container than "I"
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    So, my answer to the question is: it can't happen again because it would require everything I've experienced to happen again - which is, in essence, all the parts of the world and the universe I've experienced, and that includes you - and you .. and you... and you...
  18. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Agreed, the sum of our experiences can shape the individual, but is that who we are?
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Inasmuch as it is the one thing I could not do without.
    You could remove any body part of me and I would still be me.
    You might even be able to upload me to a computer matrix, and I could argue I'm still me.
    What's left of me, but the contents of my mind?
  20. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    If you lost all the contents of your mind, would you still be you?
  21. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    What if you'r mind was uploaded to an identical clone body... woud ther be 2 of you.???
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    A good question. Is a person with complete amnesia still themselves?
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Also a good question.
    I really like stories about identity. ST:TNG had an ep where there to two Rikers.
    There is an awesome short story by James Patrick Kelly called 'Think Like a Dinosaur' which I highly recommend. (It has nothing to do with dinosaurs and everything to do with identity.)

    The clone would also consider itself 'me'. And who would I be to argue*? There would now be two of me, pursuing independent lives.

    *until it went after my bank account. And my girl.

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