is the concept of an end self defeating?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Bohemian Nightmare, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Bohemian Nightmare I am better than you Registered Senior Member

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    simply because every end is a new beginning?
    like, what is the furtherest point of the univers? where is the end? if there is one (some kind of brick wall) what is on the other side? there must be something right? so i conclude 'ends' are self defeating. with this premise in mind, you can come up with all sorts of existential shit. like death?
    = new beginning.
    what do you think?
     
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  3. Fathoms Banned Banned

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    Ah, I see you’re at the 'Gotta find away around death' stage of philosophy. The trouble with blending these romantic notions of eternal life bounded by some kind of cosmic will is properly dealing with the scientific side of things. As a staunch pessimist, I’d be lying if I said I weren’t deeply concerned with the moral ramifications of the fact that mortality may be exactly what it claims to be. There is a lot science has to say on the subject. And depending which camp you’ve pitched your tent in, either death = death or death = new beginning the concern is warrented. Right now the resounding scientific opinion is a cold truth. Death = death, there is no way around it.

    <I>like, what is the furtherest point of the univers? where is the end? if there is one (some kind of brick wall) what is on the other side? there must be something right? so i conclude 'ends' are self defeating.</I>

    Well in truth one could argue that our concepts of ‘end’ and ‘begin’ are not necessarily applicable truths in nature. Especially the case when dealing with universal extremes such as the edge of the universe because it is impossible for the human mind to visualize the curvature of it, so in fact one could say there is no ‘edge’ to the universe. No end, and hence no afterthought, no external begin.

    <I>with this premise in mind, you can come up with all sorts of existential shit. like death?
    = new beginning.
    what do you think?</I>

    A nice thought. But I suggest you exhaust your energies in a comprehensive analysis of the issue if you’re truly interested. Nice thoughts do not always equate with facts. I know that ‘proof’ of an afterlife (given that it exists) is likely impossible, so perusing the experience of life beyond scientific abandon in the best course of action. Through meditation, philosophy, Lucid Dreams, and Out of Body experiences I hope to come closer to a favorable conclusion based on experience. From what I’ve tasted thus far I’m positive the journey will be exiting if nothing else. But I’ve always believed that no matter what, a person can never know for sure until it happens.
     
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  5. Hoth Registered Senior Member

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    Actually Fathoms, death isn't an end... it's just the matter within the body changing form. Body loses cohesion, brain decomposes, mind can't exist without brain, and thus there's nothing to be conscious of. However, it doesn't mean death is an objective end... objectively it's just another transformation. It's just that it's an end to the subjective self, and thus you'll no longer exist as a subjective entity to percieve the objective.


    As far as the universe, there seems to be a furthest point to it but of course if you could try to go beyond it you'd simply be becoming the new edge of it.
     
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  7. Bohemian Nightmare I am better than you Registered Senior Member

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    Dude..dont be so presuptious. just be cause i like to speculate about death doesent mean im running away from it. death is the eternal question so naturaly im interested. science seesm to me to know a whole lot about how but jack shit about why. so i dont let it do my thinking for me. actually someone in another thread just said something interesting about death not being an end at all. its only the end of the conscious self. but really, all it is is a transformation.

    Well in truth one could argue that our concepts of ‘end’ and ‘begin’ are not necessarily applicable truths in nature. Especially the case when dealing with universal extremes such as the edge of the universe because it is impossible for the human mind to visualize the curvature of it, so in fact one could say there is no ‘edge’ to the universe. No end, and hence no afterthought, no external begin.


    yes that interesting. but just because we cant comprehend it, doesent make it any less true. if we COULD comprehend, what would we be comprehending?
     
  8. Bohemian Nightmare I am better than you Registered Senior Member

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    there is? can you explain a little about that please? i thought the universe was, suposedly, infinite.
     
  9. Aware watcher Registered Senior Member

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    i tend to beleive that it must be true that because i am alive today in the physical world (i meening my conciousness) even though my physical form will of course degrade and die at one point, i will live forever in some state of exsitance. i wonder, if science is correct, how many times this universe has imploded and exploded. or am i getting this mixed up? for some reason im think i heard that the universe will at one point revert back to its purest form of all hydrogen and other chemicals that started the big bang. anyone clarify this?
     
  10. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    9,188
    Hoth,

    This does depend on how we define death or the end. A transformation I think is quite different.

    For example if there is a house built of bricks, we can say the house exists. If we then demolish the house and stack all the bricks in neat piles then the house clearly no longer exists. The existence of the house has come to a definite end. However, we could then use the bricks to build quite a different house. This new house is a different entity to the first house.

    So has one house died and a new house been born, or has the first house been transformed into the second house?

    When a person dies, the building bricks (atoms and energy) will dissipate and disperse into the surrounding environment where they will go on to perhaps be part of other structures.

    So has the person been transformed into something else? Well yes, but will the result be another person? Probably not. What of your mind and its memories? Those energies and structures have also simply dissipated into the surroundings. Will you as a person be reconstructed as you were? Only if you could find all those tiny building blocks and reconstruct the energies into the same patterns. Is that likely? Hmmm, somehow I doubt that.

    So yes when you die your components are transformed into something else. But the structures that represented YOU will have come to an end, you will have died, and that is an end.

    Cris
     
  11. Aware watcher Registered Senior Member

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    i think about the same thing as u say cris. i think all thoughts will cease to exhist because those types of things are of the physical world. and in essence, truely one can say it is the end of u yourself. But in knowing this one thing, i was actualy born and am unbelievably alive and aware of my surroundings and who knows how long time wise it took for my existance to appear. so....why could this not happen again. my beleifs always tend to lean towards some sort of reincarnation theory. one can say that when my body dies, all my thoughts will die with it as well as my knowledge of my exhistance, but that at a later date i will be born again whether timewise it takes 1 human day or billions of human years, one way or another i will be back unaware of my past life, but that this will occur because it already happened once.

    but do u see what i meen about the "im alive right now after billions of years" so why could it not happen again after i leave the physical world.

    one other view i like to think about is that our self awarness is mutual and when it is at its mutual peek is after the death of our physical bodies. so basically i think it may be possible that every living thing is apart of one another and that this "God" that everyone seeks is not seperate from us but IS all of us combined. its hard to explain this heh.

    one thing i think is true unfortunately, is that i dont beleive any of us will ever know what is truely going on. i hope im wrong about that.

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2002
  12. Teri Curious Registered Senior Member

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    Just throwing two cents in -

    Cris wrote
    __________________________________________________
    When a person dies, the building bricks (atoms and energy) will dissipate and disperse into the surrounding environment where they will go on to perhaps be part of other structures.

    So has the person been transformed into something else? Well yes, but will the result be another person? Probably not.
    __________________________________________________

    I subscribe to the fact that when we die the person we had been will transform into the surrounding environment of where we are buried.

    Cris said we would probably not become another person, and he's is right.

    However I was giving that scenario of being buried and transformed some thought and I came to the conclusion that some of those atoms and energy will eventually become plants, that will possibly be eaten by animals, that will probably be eaten by humans, who will reproduce other little humans, which could possibly contain an atom (or two) of the original person.

    I'm not trying to make a point here, but I thought it was kinda cool that one of my atoms will somewhere along the line possibly be part of some wonderful person

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    - or a serial killer :bugeye: - take your pick.

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    Cheers everyone
    Teri
     
  13. Hoth Registered Senior Member

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    Cris, I agree, that's why I said it's an end to the subjective existence. I in no way meant to imply any form of reincarnation, I was simply observing the conservation of matter and energy.

    It's worth noting that if you go by particles, you're not made of the same ones you used to be made of anyway (yes, Teri, people have already eaten some atoms of you

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    ), so the question of where the specific particles go after you die is unimportant since those particles aren't what gave you the awareness of yourself.

    If you rebuild a house one room at a time (tearing down one room only and then rebuilding the room with new materials, and doing the same for the next), is it the same house when you've finished? Seems like if it looked similar people would say yes, but if your remade version were very different in style they'd say no.

    Infinite in the sense that it's everything that exists, but finite in the sense that it's a theoretically measurable size.
     
  14. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Aware,

    Ah a nice idea but the law of entropy says that is highly unlikely and effectively impossible.

    For example take a block of ice and carve the shape of your face into it. Now drop the block into a pool of warm water. The ice will melt and will become part of the pool. Now, can you reverse the process? What would have to happen for that particular group of water molecules to reform into a block of ice in the shape of your face.

    You see the problem I hope. Once an ordered system has become disordered then there is no natural way for the order to be regained, i.e. entropy always increases. Negative entropy does not exist in natural systems.

    This means that your unique pattern will never re-occur once you disintegrate.

    Cris
     
  15. Aware watcher Registered Senior Member

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    i undestand what u are saying and to me u are describing something that is impossible to do correct? i see myself as being something rather impossible to be, as u know from my posts. it is truely a miracle that we are all here, living and breathing aware of our existance. therefore this event (my existance) that seems impossible (in my eyes because this can only be an opinion untill proven otherwise) which occured once, would lead me to think that it would be only a matter of time before it happened again after my physical form ceases to exist.
     
  16. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Teri 2 ...

    And if you were to be cremated?

    Take care

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  17. Porfiry Nomad Staff Member

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    All non-trivial human ideas (that is, the set of ideas that can be conceived of by humans) are abstractions. The notion of an "end" is an abstraction imposed upon the world such that humans can comprehend it and process incoming information quickly. We can take something that was 'alive' a few hours ago, shove it into the ground, fill out the paperwork and be on our merry way. As for Cris' house, at what point does the house stop being a house? When one brick has been removed? Or half of the bricks? Is there a critical mass that defines 'house-ness' (indeed there is, only in the minds of humans, and that is the essence of the abstraction).

    Furthermore, the notion of the 'end is a beginning' is another ill-constructed human idea based on the flawed idea of discrete causality. Nothing 'causes' anything else. There is no discrete cause and no discrete effect. Was my death caused by my jumping off a building? Was is the muscle contractions in my legs that pushed me off? Was it the years of depression that motivated me? Was it the formation of human civilization? Formation of the solar system? The big bang?

    All we can say here is that future events can't influence those of the past, but that's a pretty trivial proof given their definitions. So sure, in some simple way you can say 'the end' is another 'beginning', but that's a statement almost devoid of interesting content.
     
  18. Teri Curious Registered Senior Member

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    607
    Chagur, my friend

    In answer to your question, cremation would be even better.
    My last will and testament would stipulate that my ashes be strewn over the ocean.

    Think of all those fish going in all those directions swallowing a piece of me, later to be caught by some good looking fisherman and eaten by a campfire.

    With any luck he'll be camping with his wife and find romance under a moonlit sky too hard to resist.

    This then, may lead to the conseption of a little person who just happens to have inherited a few of my atoms!

    I like that idea.

    You take care too.
    Teri
     
  19. Bambi itinerant smartass Registered Senior Member

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    Teri 2,

    It's a little weird talking of "your" atoms. You are really not atoms, but a particular arrangement of atoms. If I take your body and scramble it in a blender, I would still have the same atoms but no longer would I have you.

    Plus, consider the fact that your atomic makeup is constantly changing, even with every breath you take. The atoms in your body one year from now will be totally different ones and the atoms in your body right now will be elsewhere.
     
  20. Teri Curious Registered Senior Member

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    607
    Bambi

    Please don't take my post too seriously, I am just expressing a lighthearted scenario about the atoms that, at the moment, make up myself. I think we all agree that matter is forever changing form and it's never destined to stay in the same configuration forever.

    So I have to apologise to Bohemian Nightmare for going off on a tangent about where 'my' atoms might eventually end up. I was amused when Chagur asked me what would happen to the 'Teri' atoms if I were to be cremated.

    From what I've read in this thread the discussion seems to be trying to make sense of our consciousness or self awareness if you like, as human beings once we are no longer human. ie dead and decomposing.

    The question seems to be, where does that consciousness go once we turn into a different form of energy? I think it's a wonderful question, and if I was given the chance for immortality, as discussed in another thread, then I hope that question would be one of the ones answered.

    Cheers.
    Teri

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  21. Fathoms Banned Banned

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    It is such a touchy subject thats split up into two schools of thought. 1) Consciousness rocks, you can't see it so how can you assume definition of it. As well, how can you say that it will cease once it's 'vehicle' expires? 2) thats easy, it's an arrangement of neurochemical interactions. Everyone knows that! Experimental data shows that the mind is 100% dependent on the brain in order for it to exist. The brain is not a vehicle because of this, it is intrinsically related to mind 1) But again, why all the assumptions on the nature of consciousness? Perhaps, by chance it's abstraction lends itself to yet more abstraction. Concepts we can't really imagine, such as the fact of consciousness in the first place. 2) Thats a romantic notion but the fact remains the same. The mind cannot exist without the brain. What of Amnesia? of brain injury? Must one imagine in some fantastical scheme that the personality or 'soul' of the person has not changed and will live on after death? 1) You're making too many logical assumptions and deductions based upon so-called empirical evidence. I've never witnessed a persons concousness directly, never seen it in a jar, never seen it move, it gives no real tangible clue of it's existence other than possible electrical charges in the brain. How can electricity, and indeed anything physical be aware of it's existence? It sounds like an complete slap in the face of logic 2) And yet, expiremental evidence demonstrates otherwise.

    and so the circle of debate continues onward! I think it takes alot of soul-searching, judicious inquiry, an open mind and ultimately personal experience to define ones basis for their choice of belief on the subject of awareness. At least if you find certain niche's of the subject troubling. Reluctantly, I must concede that I'm not yet convinced there is an afterlife... Though the concept of non-existence is impossible to imagine, we experience something what must be quite close to it every night. Or so our understanding permits us. I find awareness to be a mysterious thing, and who is too say that 'awareness' 'consciousness' whatever aren't the only things that are intrinsic parts of the fabric of our soul? Whatever it might be!
     
  22. Hoth Registered Senior Member

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    Fathoms, here's what I consider the obvious way out of the circle. For consciousness, if you just consider the consciousness to be the observer and the mind/brain as the observed, then you can see easily how the consciousness is separate from the mind/brain yet will still disappear when brain dies. Without the brain there's nothing for it to observe, which leaves consciousness as a totally meaningless concept. Conscious awareness can't really be thought of by itself, it has to be consciousness of something... so when the brain dies there's nothing left for it to be of, and the concept of consciousness loses meaning.
     
  23. Teri Curious Registered Senior Member

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    Curious

    Hi all,

    I like this thread because none of us would be able to prove the answer.

    I was just wondering what you all thought of the conscious awareness of animals, possibly even insects?

    We all know that as humans we possess this phenomenon, but what of mammals or insect colonies that communicate with each other by whatever means?

    I don't think you'd be able to convince me that a dog doesn't have some sort of consciousness, so to me it follows that all animals must have 'something'. Yes? No?

    I also wanted to ask whether the soul and our self awareness are considered two different things? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Cheers
    Teri
     

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