Have you existed before?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by birch, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member

    When the metaphysical community speculate about past lives, they are usually localizing it to experience on earth. The multiverse hypothesis is the notion one could possibly be existing right now somewhere else literally but in a different physical locale.

    The problem i have with the idea of death is not so much the finality but that even through billions of years of evolution, you may have existed before and pop up in some way, probably not exactly each time but close enough that it was you and will be again.

    People assume this is the first and last time they have ever existed but you may have existed many times before between vast stretches of space/time made of the same stardust as before and will never know.

    The localized version is the idea you carry some memory from one to the next besides genetics, which does have some validity to the notion of past lives as you may have inherited more genes from a particular ancestor etc.

    But more likely you have existed way before. We tend to forget that this linear forward progression of advancement is something we are first experiencing yet we could experienced lives before.

    When we are gone, there is no evidence we ever existed just as you'll never know if a universe will re-create you once again by chance with all the variables among the monumental odds.

    Depending on your perspective, that's hopeful in that you may exist again and just pop up somewhere like a mushroom like where am i at this time? Who woke me from my RIP and for what NOW?
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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    If I don't remember it, then it doesn't matter.

    BTW - I'm not even the same stardust I was when I was born almost 60 years ago. So the odds of me ever reforming from the same stardust are (pardon the pun) astronomical.
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Nope. Not possible .
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Thondup,
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Why post this here? Science can't stop itself from saying or allowing nutty things... So desperation thought philosophy was the last hope?

    The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…)

    SAM HARRIS: [...] But unfortunately, this concept of a multiverse, judging from your discussion of it in your book (and this is what I didn’t understand before I picked up your book), seems overdetermined. There are other ways of arriving at this multiverse concept, which we’ll get to. Scientifically speaking, there are many reasons to believe in a functionally infinite number of copies of ourselves living out lives, for all intents and purposes, that are exactly similar or differing to every possible degree, right? So it’s true that everything that can happen does happen under this rubric?

    MAX TEGMARK: That’s right. To distinguish the bit where we know and where we don’t know for sure: The part we don’t know for sure is that space is infinite—that there’s an infinite number of anything. For people who feel really bothered by these implications and want to get rid of the infinity, I have a whole section in the book where I attack infinity and list all the ways in which you can get rid of it.


    MAX TEGMARK: [...] We’ve had the overinflated ego, where we want to put ourselves in the center and assume that everything we know about is everything that exists. And we’ve been proven wrong again and again and again, discovering that everything we thought existed is just a small part of a much grander structure.

    A planet, a solar system, a galaxy, a galaxy cluster, our universe, and maybe also a hierarchy now of parallel universes—it would just continue the same trend. And for somebody to object on some sort of philosophical grounds that things can’t exist if they’re outside our universe, if we can’t see them, seems very arrogant. Much like an ostrich with its head in the sand, saying, “If I can’t see it, it can’t exist.”

    SAM HARRIS: Right. But things begin to get very weird, given this fact that inflation, as you said, is the best current picture of how things got started. Given that inflation predicts a universe of infinite extent—infinite space, infinite matter—you have, therefore, a universe in which everything that is possible is, in fact, actual. Everything happens. Everything happens, in fact, an infinite number of times. Which is to say that you and I have this podcast an infinite number of times and an infinite number of different ways.

    We’re still talking about the level-one multiverse here. So we’re just saying that if you could travel far enough, fast enough, you would arrive on some planet disconcertingly like Earth, where you and I are having a virtually identical podcast but for a single change in term, or I might just decide to shave off my eyebrows in the middle of this conversation.

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  9. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Ummmm could it be they have only ever experienced Earth? ONE TIME. The time they exist in when they are speculating?

    I think that is a fair assumion

    Ummm could it be already happening here on Earth without having to overthink about multiverse as in identical twins who started off as one before splitting into two

    Even they consider themselves separate not one person

    The genes you inherited are made up from totally different atoms from distant ancestors

    Even if you have come down the centuries eating your ancestors memory is NOT carried by genes

    In fact memory only occurs when certain chemical / electrical pathways are stimulated within the brain

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  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    There is no part of me or you that is beyond our atoms and the emergent properties/events that have arisen from those atoms.

    The very definition of "I" or "you" means that, whatever else there might be in the universe, elsewhen or elsewhere, it is certainly not I or you.

    I am certainly glad that I am unique, that there was never someone before the "I" that I made myself in this lifetime - and I'm likely not the only one who will be glad that - once I'm dead - there will never be another me.
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In terms of an example person designated here as "Jane", that feeling / interpretation of having been revived would rely on memories being present from yet another historical copy or concurrent copy (recently deceased) of Jane. That wouldn't be possible under familiar circumstances, where a human begins postnatally as a vacant-minded baby.

    There might be a cosmos (in this supposed overdetermined multiverse scenario) with a different governance than this local region of ours, or one that lacked constantly reliable rules that it was conforming to (akin to the instabilities of a dream world). Wherein a mature copy of Jane#1 could spontaneously appear like a Boltzmann Brain in some sustaining Earth-like environment (but persist over years rather than fluctuating away). And that instant Jane#2 would just happen to have the adult memories of the Jane#1 of this realm. Such fantastic odds, again, made possible via the pseudo-endless amount of multiverse membership featured in those claims. In which case, then that Jane might indeed feel that she had been "revived".

    Even in the context of a block-universe where the past still exists (and the option selected is that awareness is literally flowing along the worldline of a brain), a hypothetical subjective replay of Jane#1's life would rob her of the memories she had acquired at the time of death (say 56). That is, she would lack those memories when her awareness returned to the earliest brain states where she had a measure of consciousness and memory retention not afflicted with childhood amnesia (age three to five?).

    One side question that arises in thought experiments like this topic is how a body state of a particular moment (like Jane's) could even deem itself as being the same person as five minutes before. How there is a "general identity" which all those specific body states over the years supposedly belong to. From a subjective standpoint, obviously (as above) it depends on being relationally connected to those other body states by memory. Even though family and friends -- surrounding Jane as an amnesic patient -- might assert that she is the same human / body which they knew in the past, it is just so much twiddle-dee to Jane herself who cannot remember being that individual. There are "records" in both the artificial social domain and the natural environment which attest to an objective continuance of Jane's body over over decades. But inwardly in terms of Jane's experiences the connection isn't there.

    In the case of memories of Jane#1 on this Earth winding-up in a Jane#2 copy at some remote segment of a multiverse, without that Jane actually having lived through those same occurrences, the psychological or subjective "knowing" aspect of being the same person seems fulfilled. But not the ontological or be-ing aspect. The body of that Jane is not casually or origin-wise connected to Jane#1 (even the same memories being present was dependent upon outlandish probability rather than direct transfer over impossible distances or through whatever cosmological barrier separated the realms).

    Additionally, in views of time that abandon the magical process of presentism[*], all the body states of Jane#1 can be integrated together as a kind of 4D "worm" to constitute a larger identity that subsumes them (they're components of a permanent physical structure rather than Jane's changes consisting of a sequence of modifications that ephemerally wink in and out of existence as they replace each other). But Jane#2, via being in another region of the multiverse, would not be structurally connected to that hyperspatial version of Jane#1 on this Earth. There would be a separation in terms that extra-dimensional spatial union or structural integration which barred them from being the same person (though their being psychologically the same may arguably apply via the memory duplication).

    - - - -

    footnote [*] Presentism's advocation of a global "now" (only this specious moment exists) boils down to the whole world constantly blinking in and out of existence as slightly altered versions of itself -- really just the universe maintained as an overarching general theme rather than as a concrete entity, never existing for more than a yoctosecond or Planck-time unit. And remaining miraculously coherent / consistent throughout billions of years of those blinks without nary more than presentism apparently appealing to a brute immaterial principle being responsible for the process and its coherence. (It has the option of formally introducing hidden, transcendent material machinery being responsible, though. But that's extending existence to another domain that this then somewhat illusory world would be nested within, introducing the former having its own problems of explaining its changes).

    "This moment" is specious because it's a duration of our own subjective consciousness which we select as the unit, which is milliseconds long and thereby supervenes over a co-existing sequence of microphysical events in neural tissue that are far shorter than that duration / division of personal experience.

    In the eternalism view of time, Jane's consciousness of her life from childhood to near-death is divided into those discrete millisecond moments correlating to their applicable chunk-series of brain states treated as the cause. Via that dependency on the limited information available to those neural states, each subjective moment accordingly has only awareness or experience of itself (not the others, thereby they seem "unreal"). But they're relationally connected (not the least due to memory) so their discrimination lends the sense of each taking its turn (as if the existence of Jane is flowing as represented by her consciousness). Memory and language or propositional knowledge may arguably fulfill their functions in a "future" direction, as well as that being the direction that biological life would expand, become complex, and diversify (in the opposite direction it's guaranteed the opposite as well as definite extinction). Accordingly, Jane's experiences are so oriented in that order / perspective.

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  12. river Valued Senior Member

    Past lives hypnosis , seems to bring out past lives .

    Books by both Michael Newton , Ph.D ( Journey of Souls ) and Brian L. Weiss , M.D. , ( Through time into Healing ) bare this out .
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Indeed! Power-of-suggestion.
  14. river Valued Senior Member

    True , that is a possibility that I have considered . When reading these books . And still do .

    Yet I know that I was reincarnated when I was very young , 5,6 yrs old , I just knew .
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    What made you sure of this?
  16. river Valued Senior Member


    When your young , very young , you are open .

    Reincarnation is not a philosophy , it is a sense of being .
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Well, yes, but that door swings both ways.
    You are open to truth as much as you are to imagination, even falsehood.
    It is only with age that we acquire the wisdom to tell the difference.

    Ah, you mean you weren't literally alive in another body before this one? You mean figuratively?
  18. river Valued Senior Member

    No , it is age that blocks the understanding . Education , enviroment , etc .

    No literally .
  19. birch Valued Senior Member

    Some aspect in my natal chart is described as being like a former holocaust victim. No wonder i never wanted to be here or come back. Also, it shows i give more than i have or should and easily feel pity which is taken advantage of which is true.
  20. river Valued Senior Member

    Regrets ?

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