After death = Before being born

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Cyperium, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    No one experience a now that is still and exactly "now", it is always running past us, even so, we can't imagine any short duration of time where we aren't conscious in this stream, if we try we would still find yet smaller moments, even if they consists of many moments they come together as one moment as small as any. Relative to the conscious existence it's basically a matter of how fast you can realise two points in time, cause you can always get a sense of a now that is smaller than what you previously sensed, it's rather that you loose track of them, just as two points too close together become indistinguishable from one single point. Sensing such a small moment as the planck time is of course absurd but yet that is a series of moments that somehow this moment consists of even though it is made up of many moments. The planck moments themselves are probably impossible even for reality to keep track of, even reality gets confused at that level both position-wise and moment-wise, so in that regard reality should be considered illusionary by the same rules as consciousness would, a series of moments that themselves have no distinct reality but together forms a coherent moment.

    To cut to the chase though, reality might have several layers of "real", but nothing can't really be defined as anything else than what it is (or rather what it isn't), and that's really at the heart of this idea, that avoid of time and space, time and space arises, and along with that everything that time and space gave rise to, including the existence of conscious beings. Since the state of nothing is unique, the end result should be exactly the same (in this idea, it is the same).

    So in other words; even though we might be an illusion, when we are not a illusion then that is definitely not a illusion but the actual nothing, and why would that nothing be any different from the nothing that gave rise to space and time? To existence itself?

    The idea comes with a big IF though, and that is IF existence started at some point and that there was nothing before.

    One thing that might overthrow the idea is if there are different nothings, that nothing isn't unique, it shouldn't surprise us if that were the case as there are different subjective existences, but it would still be very hard, if not impossible to understand, and could by its own right overthrow the idea that conscious existence is a illusion, how could it be a illusion if it even has its own nothing?
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  3. FrogBoot42 Registered Member

    I have to ask you guys how you account for the other percentage of Earth’s questioners who claim we are non-material entities and cite metaphysical “proof” (past life evidence, for example) of one sort or another.

    I am not religious and also ask the same question of them. I’m always puzzled that the two are so flatly mutually repelled. (So as to not be too mysterious I will say I suspect our better answers lie somewhere in between.)
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Something that can be detected or empirically encountered by multiple observers as a particular, an instance, or an object with a location in space would accordingly just be another item classifiable as "material". So there's no point in _X_ group referring to souls, spirits, gods, etc as "non-material, immaterial, etc" -- IF they or even their opponents then proceed to literally and inconsistently expect to find or measure such somewhere in nature. This corrupted category of "immaterial" needs to be either rolled back to or repaired alternatively to a definition that actually makes it distinct from what it is supposed to differ from. Rather than being an addled synonym in disguise.

    Among the inhabitants and adjectives of a rehabilitated "immaterial" set / category (some of them probably redundant) would be: The principle, the conceptual, the generalization, the non-spatial, the appearance-less, the place-less, the size-less, the world-less, the nonobjective, the non-particular, the power to, the NOT real in a phenomenal context, etc.

    As an example, a body or a batch of so-called "material stuff" is never going to tangibly run into the general entity, the abstract system, or the potential to exist of "mind". Only an empirical instance of mind as the particular brain, a robotic equivalent, an extrasolar biological organ, a dirty plasma agency, a distributed intellect like the Borg, etc. As well as the printed word itself or a descriptive meaning of the term or other sensed representation of the idea.

    Another example: John Smith's "soul" couldn't be ridiculously weighed, or exposed within Descartes' infamous version of the pineal gland, or appear glowingly on a scanner. As either an immaterial principle that ensured John Smith would fall out of the universe's processes, or as an abstract collection of all John Smith's possible body states that could arise in the regulated tendencies of this reality or others, John Smith is ensured to never have inter-subjective "proof" for that belief in a soul as far as this life / cosmos goes. ["Inter-subjective" here referring to the capacity to reveal convincingly to the broad public his supposed private revelations -- those other than groupies or those making similar belief claims.]

    As something supersensible, John Smith's soul is untestable on the sensible side which science explores -- is valueless to the interdependent phenomena of nature which serve as causes and effects of each other. Metaphor-wise, it's like the character in a sophisticated virtual reality game of the future trying to get past the software barrier to verify (at least to himself) that there are transcendent manipulations being converted into the appearances how things work in the game world. A doomed quest -- John Smith never knows / confirms whether any "experiences / signs" are wishful hallucination or genuine revelation oozing feebly through. The belief in "soul", of having an eternal, more generic identity at a world-less level with the potency to naturally emerge hither and thither as particular instances of itself (i.e., "material bodies" in worlds), might serve John Smith therapeutically if he recognizes the futility and avoids certainty and zealotry. Or it can turn him into a political pest or outright pathological danger to others if he refuses the sanity of epistemological humbleness.

    "Manifestations without concepts [cognition] are blind. Concepts without manifested content are empty." --Immanuel Kant, liberal paraphrasing

    When speculative reasoning is directed at our outer experiences (the material world so to speak), there is "shown evidence" potentially available to either support a theory or cause its rejection. Even if when it's only indirectly via instruments and planned interrogation of nature (experiment), there is still manifested content of some kind to work with. That's analogous to a faculty of "understanding" having a faculty of "sensibility" to provide it with non-inferred content which is not falling out of systematic thinking alone.

    But when speculative reasoning is directed at a Platonic or noumenal level / side (not our outer experiences slash the material world so to speak), there is no faculty of sensibility supplying "shown evidence" for that domain. Because the latter involves abstract / generalized things rather than concrete / particular things. A metaphysical claim or proposal can neither garner evidence to confirm itself or to falsify itself. Its backers can only provide arguments for why believing in whatever is beneficial or practical, and the theory / doctrine must be internally consistent with itself.

    NOTE: Back in Kant's day, before there was technology that enabled testing, one might have called scientific theories about early atoms "internal metaphysics" which concerned nature or the phenomenal world of experience. When one occasionally still hears "string theory" or whatever item in physics referred to as "metaphysical rubbish", that would still be the "internal" variety. The mathematics-guided speculative reasoning that transpires in science has nothing to do with the older transcendent traditions and conceptions which assimilate the natural world without interfering with its investigation. Since (at the very least) these ideas of physics are still crouched in a spatiotemporal context.
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  7. FrogBoot42 Registered Member


    I feel thoroughly answered, C C, thank you for you trouble. (I apologise for not responding quicker – life happened – and I was hoping to try catch up a bit on Google on what you are saying but haven’t really been able to. Hopefully I understand enough.)

    The brain essentially being “the individual”, if I understand correctly, is the point of conflict, I think. That is what science says, and the “spiritual” side say something else harder to crystallise, something I don’t fully understand and I get the sense they don’t either really, but are trying to with wild guesses and creative leaps which don’t do much for their credibility.

    I’m pretty much confirmed on the spiritual nature of humans though (“spiritual” for me meaning specifically, as far as I can tell, a point not measureable by mechanical means, that is simply aware that it is, capable of thought, decision, perception, location and relocation and memory). I have observed this subjectively too many times to mistake it as anything else though I appreciate all I have is my perspective and no evidence.

    What’s prompted this questioning is that for a long while now my thoughts have been that humans should be studied only as humans, preferably from scratch – I might be wrong but I think the only real study of humans has been psychiatry/psychology and they both mostly observe animals instead, with a view to figuring out people. (I have never been able to get my head around that, even as a kid when I first encountered the notion.) They have the brain theory firmly in place and no need to question its validity, I guess, yet their sciences are not making the world better. (Here’s the actual crux of the thing for me: I believe our societies are heading into trouble and have been doing so steadily for a good few generations and there is no hint of a solution, which I would imagine would have everything to do with understanding the actual nature man. Clearly: what we got, can’t be right.)
  8. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    The idea about studying animals is that we get a view that should have applied to humans in the past as well as now and also doesn't have cultural influence (most progress in humans has been on the intellectual level for the past thousands of years). It can be hard to know what is intellectual progress and what is physical progress without looking at shared behaviours with animals.
  9. FrogBoot42 Registered Member

    I did not know the reasoning, so thanks for that. As you’ve gathered I am not schooled in any of this, but to be honest, and I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone in the sciences or its students, what you’ve said doesn’t make sense to me, from a number of aspects. I might be missing something else here, and it does feel like that.

    It seems to me that the fact that no animal has evolved as man has done obviously sets him aside as unique on the planet, and purely on the strength of that alone, how can anything else be studied to understand him? He isn’t like any other lifeform at all. I get the ape-to-man theory, but even if that’s valid somewhere along the line something clearly changed very dramatically and we surely can’t view man as an ape anymore. His mind at least has proved effective enough that he is above the physical strengths and abilities of animals they depend on for just basic life and death survival. Take away that spark that makes him man and you are left with a pretty pathetic creature that is not likely to survive much more than a generation in this world. How much more different can we be?

    I would have thought that our cultures are a vital part of the study package. In the interest of clean, uncluttered study, if I understand what you say, they are ignoring the very evidence that might reveal us for what we are. Our wars, technologies, crime, loves and arts are the most direct reflections of us, aren’t they? It’s the stuff we ourselves – the subject of the study – currently do, as opposed to an entirely other, comparatively ineffective species we may share a blurry, distant, physical link with. (I’m so thoroughly confused by that.) Our cultures can’t be incidental by-products of no significance. These are planet-altering phenomena, despite which we are somehow still basically chimps? I try to see it through their eyes and just can’t. Not every scientific discovery or theory ever made must necessarily be correct, surely. Even granting the benefit of the doubt, anyway, you’re not going to figure out a jet by studying a skate board, just because they’re both modes of transport. (I can get quite frustrated with this.)

    Just as a point of interest I would have thought our intellect to be a native, inherent potential, a thing needing to be exercised, rather than a quantitative element that somehow develops over time (unless I misunderstood?). So, what I'm saying is the only reason man didn’t launch satellites into space from his cave, in other words, is not because he was too close to being animal or lacked the intelligence, but because he had to discover the “technology” of fire first, and then start to fit the pieces together from there. Is that not more realistic, albeit harder to explain at this point? Otherwise, are we as a species more intelligent now with our wireless communications than we were a century ago at our first taste of electricity, or just possessing of more intervening technological discoveries and social adjustments? If anything, looking over the last few generations I’d be surprised if our average intelligence hasn’t done the exact opposite and in fact dulled and declined.

    (Come to think of it I have seen documentaries exploring our cultural aspects though I don’t know how scientific in purpose they were really meant to be as opposed to providing TV entertainment.)

    I know too little of the subjects but I can’t imagine the study of animals bringing about enlightenment as to what is happening in our world today and thereby hinting at possible solutions. I’m sure our researchers have broader objectives than that, so what field of science would then tackle our current self-destruct path? Are there any doing so? I would think it has to do with the basic nature of man, why he behaves as he does and the broad range of characteristics that he spans, from complete insanity to super-genius-competence, etc., which is why I keep coming back to this. Quite aside from my spiritual views I can’t understand this probing of the brain (as in it might have an “ethics department” for example, that we might tweak, since man clearly is capable of being ethical yet generally exhibits the opposite), but even so, isn’t it time to try another approach? Isn't it kind of urgent now? I’m sure people can be helped to become more ethical, to further that example, maybe even on a broad cultural level, without understanding the workings of their brains.

    I believe that a more square-on approach in our studies of humanity, aside from its much-needed social benefits, must inevitably lead to that spiritual bit – mentioned just to keep this kind of vaguely on-topic.

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