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Thread: Consciousness after death

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Well that cat pdf was a interesting read. They also find that the decorticated cats were essentially reduced to reflex animals. No signs of affection or social behaviour etc. To me it looks like they only showed Pavlov like conditioning can work without a neocortex.
    It shows a lot more than that - visualisation (walking in direct lines towards openings in walls, attempting to get through plexiglass covered openings) and abstract reasoning (using a paw to test a surface before climbing down). Its hard to argue the cats weren't capable of "imagination" given these facts.
    Might all be still part of their "genetic program", the decorticated cats only deviated from the normal cats after the first 1-2 months, which would suggest things like, for example, the classic pounce play of kittens is in the genes. I might be terribly wrong on this tho. Maybe Timaios can shed some more light on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/2012/videos2012/vid3.html Hemi-Sync is the company he is shilling for.
    Thanks. I have mixed feelings on this one, i do think that he is honest in what he describes and it is quite normal after a spiritual experience of this magnitude that you want to get the word out. On the other hand he talks about proof when he has very little and together with the misleading book title it could also very well be a cash op. Anyways no proof makes it just another near-death experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Simmons View Post
    I have to say that honestly, the concept of a scientist who is also a Christian completely baffles me. These people make closet cases look well adjusted, with the labyrinths of bullshit they create to justify their faith and claim it doesn't impinge on their work.
    Bible christian yes, religious/spiritual not so much. Einstein for example believed in a creator. Just not a personal one that cares about good or evil. Or take a look at quantum physics where things get rather philosophical. Some quotes from Einstein on the subject:

    Quote Originally Posted by A.Einstein
    A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
    Pretty much buddhism in a nutshell.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.Einstein
    The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia entry on A.Einstein
    Einstein referred to his belief system as "cosmic religion" and authored an eponymous article on the subject in 1954, which later became his book Ideas and Opinions in 1955.[36] The belief system recognized a "miraculous order which manifests itself in all of nature as well as in the world of ideas," devoid of a personal God who rewards and punishes individuals based on their behavior. It rejected a conflict between science and religion, and held that cosmic religion was necessary for science.[36] He told William Hermanns in an interview that "God is a mystery. But a comprehensible mystery. I have nothing but awe when I observe the laws of nature. There are not laws without a lawgiver, but how does this lawgiver look? Certainly not like a man magnified."[37] He added with a smile "some centuries ago I would have been burned or hanged. Nonetheless, I would have been in good company."[37]
    Eben desribes pretty much the same if you dont let yourself confused by him labelling it heaven, a deep sense of unity filled with unconditional love for all of creation. No big white bearded daddy in the sky. At the core all major religions are the same, some just got more abused then others over the course of history. To be fair tho, Einstein did not believe in the immortal soul.

  2. #22
    Dorvil Barranis's Avatar
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    Read a book called Life after Life www.lifeafterlife.com as a young, easily influenced Christian. Seems like the same sorta shit people were selling books about 25 years ago, with the added bonus of "trust me I'm a scientist."
    "Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win." - Zhuge Liang


  3. #23
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    Oh, I don't discount the possibility of an "other" up there somewhere that we can't quite sense or detect. If you've read the Hyperion and Endymion books by Dan Simmons, I quite like his treatment there of what he calls "the void which binds". Which is sort of a series of layers of energy and psychic energy made up from the consciousnesses of every living creature in the universe, alive and dead. It's a bit like a spiritual version of string theory and brane theory in that there may be layers of extra dimensions wrapped up inside or around our visible universe.
    Last edited by Al Simmons; October 31 2012 at 11:06:54 AM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Care to elaborate on the lying part? The science goods are rather low yes, but then again it's not exactly a field we can measure yet. His point is that he should not have been able to experience anything because his neocortex was completely shutdown. Or in other words, consciousness is not created by the brain.
    From what I gather, we only have his word on what he may or may not have experienced. Human memories are notoriously unreliable, so even if he believes he experienced all kind of things while being technically braindead, unless it was somehow monitored / reproducable I wouldn't take his word for it. I've awoken from dreams that seemed so realistic, I had to check twice that I actually just woke up in my own bed at the time. Yet as a normal non-scientist person, I won't write a book about my unprovable sexual experience with Condoleeze Rice.

    Also, if consciousness is not created by the brain, where do you believe it comes from? The heart? The liver?
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    From what I gather, we only have his word on what he may or may not have experienced. Human memories are notoriously unreliable, so even if he believes he experienced all kind of things while being technically braindead, unless it was somehow monitored / reproducable I wouldn't take his word for it.
    All fine and dandy, i just don't see how you could call him a lyer on that tho, unless you can actually prove it? I was hoping Synapse actually had some points when he said 'some lying'. In his own words the experience was nothing like a dream as it was completely coherent. Even on the few occasions i was lucid dreaming the experience was anything but coherent. I know, where is the proof! He can't. All you can do is look at his background, what he describes and possible motivations and then decide on your own if you choose to believe his story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    Also, if consciousness is not created by the brain, where do you believe it comes from? The heart? The liver?
    I spent the first half of my life in a communist country so no religious background at all, never been to church etc. One of the first things i learned in physics was that nothing can be created out of nothing, which in my mind leaves only one logical conclusion: there has to be some kind of infinite creator from which all things come. Which leads to the classical question, if there is an almighty creator why does he let bad things happen in the world? When i look at the human body i see a machine. Lot's of pipes, oil, sensors, needs energy to function, etc. Yet we don't act anything like machines. How can a machine have feelings or act as irrational as we do? Ask parents and they will tell you that their baby already had a disctinctive personality the moment it popped out.

    At this point in time this is what makes the most sense to me in a very condensed form: The universe is an infinite hologram, created for the sole purpose of exploring an infinite amount of possibilities. The human brain/body is just one interface of many to take part in this exploration. Evolution is an expression of that exploration. From the most simple forms of consciousness on to awareness of self and who knows what is next. In a sense we are god that chose to be not aware of himself for the sake of exploring freedom of will. After all, can an aware god truly explore/experience things like sadness? Like with every hologram even the smallest part contains the image of the whole. Historic figures like buddha, jesus, etc found access to the whole, or at least parts of the whole, picture so to speak, simply by looking inside.

  6. #26
    Donor Mi Lai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    All fine and dandy, i just don't see how you could call him a lyer on that tho, unless you can actually prove it? I was hoping Synapse actually had some points when he said 'some lying'. In his own words the experience was nothing like a dream as it was completely coherent. Even on the few occasions i was lucid dreaming the experience was anything but coherent. I know, where is the proof! He can't. All you can do is look at his background, what he describes and possible motivations and then decide on your own if you choose to believe his story.
    As long as he is making a pretty remarkable claim, he should bring convincing evidence. Pretty much the same as religious and other supernatural experiences: some people very close to me believe for instance in things like Jesus, claivoyance, ghosts, etc.. I want to believe them, as I hate calling them lyers, but unless they got decent evidence, I find it hard to go with their believes.




    I spent the first half of my life in a communist country so no religious background at all, never been to church etc. One of the first things i learned in physics was that nothing can be created out of nothing, which in my mind leaves only one logical conclusion: there has to be some kind of infinite creator from which all things come. Which leads to the classical question, if there is an almighty creator why does he let bad things happen in the world? When i look at the human body i see a machine. Lot's of pipes, oil, sensors, needs energy to function, etc. Yet we don't act anything like machines. How can a machine have feelings or act as irrational as we do? Ask parents and they will tell you that their baby already had a disctinctive personality the moment it popped out.

    At this point in time this is what makes the most sense to me in a very condensed form: The universe is an infinite hologram, created for the sole purpose of exploring an infinite amount of possibilities. The human brain/body is just one interface of many to take part in this exploration. Evolution is an expression of that exploration. From the most simple forms of consciousness on to awareness of self and who knows what is next. In a sense we are god that chose to be not aware of himself for the sake of exploring freedom of will. After all, can an aware god truly explore/experience things like sadness? Like with every hologram even the smallest part contains the image of the whole. Historic figures like buddha, jesus, etc found access to the whole, or at least parts of the whole, picture so to speak, simply by looking inside.
    I know there are still plenty of things we / scientists can't yet prove. While the concept of 'something created out of nothing' or perhaps it is 'something that allways was', or something even weirder to our current understandings is hard, I find it hard to then automatically assume an allmighty creator.
    You mentioned evolution. From what I understand from evolution, it allways is the simple building blocks that evolve into more complex structures (from a simple single light-sensitive cell to something as complex as eyesight in more advanced species). To assume something we can't yet explain should have come into existence (something from nothing) from even something infinitely more complex as an allpowerfull creator seems actually illogical to me. It also doesn't answer the question on where this creator comes from. Did he/she/it evolved from a simpler allmighty creator? Is there another bit-more-allmighty-creator that created it?

    When going into the part 'being an interface to take part in exploring the hologram', I think that is going more towards philosophy. More on what is the meaning of life and the universe, and not on the why / how is there life and the universe. I'm pretty uncomplex in that regard: I'm here because my parents had sex, and I end up doing what my combination of genes, psychological disturbances and surroundings point me to.
    WOT & WT: Kyril

  7. #27
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    I think it should be pretty obvious that, despite the claims that this man has made, the idea that there is consciousness after death is still very much a belief rather than a science.

    Personally I think that there is no such thing as a 'soul' or consciousness after death, and I think that the brain is the direct cause of the existance of consciousness. Take away the brain and there is nothing. I won't condemn anyone for thinking one way or another about this matter, but please refrain from calling this experience in any way scientific.

    Tangent: it is quite possible in physics to make something out of nothing, in fact it happens all the time. Matter/antimatter pairs spontaneously spring into existance, often annihilating almost instantly. However in some sense matter is more stable than antimatter which caused the abundance of matter in the universe. Exact reasons for this are not yet understood, but it is still quite firmly in the realm of possibility of physics.
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  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    As long as he is making a pretty remarkable claim, he should bring convincing evidence. Pretty much the same as religious and other supernatural experiences: some people very close to me believe for instance in things like Jesus, claivoyance, ghosts, etc.. I want to believe them, as I hate calling them lyers, but unless they got decent evidence, I find it hard to go with their believes.
    The problem is there is currently no way to proove or disproove that he indeed had or not had this experience while his neocortex was disabled. So instead of calling him a lyer why not take it as a possibility. If it sounds all to crazy for you thats fine.
    The believe that there is no god is just as much a believe that there is one. Until either side can proove their view, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    I know there are still plenty of things we / scientists can't yet prove. While the concept of 'something created out of nothing' or perhaps it is 'something that allways was', or something even weirder to our current understandings is hard, I find it hard to then automatically assume an allmighty creator.
    You mentioned evolution. From what I understand from evolution, it allways is the simple building blocks that evolve into more complex structures (from a simple single light-sensitive cell to something as complex as eyesight in more advanced species). To assume something we can't yet explain should have come into existence (something from nothing) from even something infinitely more complex as an allpowerfull creator seems actually illogical to me. It also doesn't answer the question on where this creator comes from. Did he/she/it evolved from a simpler allmighty creator? Is there another bit-more-allmighty-creator that created it?
    It is the classic chicken-egg paradox. Without assuming there is something infinite that was always there you will always run into the problem that at some point something had to get created out of nothing. I think this is the point where Einstein came to the conclusion that science needs religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    Tangent: it is quite possible in physics to make something out of nothing, in fact it happens all the time. Matter/antimatter pairs spontaneously spring into existance, often annihilating almost instantly. However in some sense matter is more stable than antimatter which caused the abundance of matter in the universe. Exact reasons for this are not yet understood, but it is still quite firmly in the realm of possibility of physics.
    From the same page you appear to have quoted from:
    "In particle physics, things pop into and out of existence all the time from so called nothing. But "nothing" is an illusion. There is a thing called "vacuum energy" that is not understood. What appears to be nothing is teaming with energy."

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    The problem is there is currently no way to proove or disproove that he indeed had or not had this experience while his neocortex was disabled. So instead of calling him a lyer why not take it as a possibility. If it sounds all to crazy for you thats fine.
    The believe that there is no god is just as much a believe that there is one. Until either side can proove their view, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
    [/QUOTE]

    A mate of mine was absolutely convinced he was taken out of his bed one night, flown over to Calgary where he performed in a Skinny Puppy concert, flown back, and was put back in his bed the morning after. I wasn't with him at the time, nor have I spoken to people that were, so I have no way to disprove his claims. The part of my brain that tries to deal with logic got in a twist, as I wondered how on earth this could be possible, considering things like flight time, the fact he didnt knew the bandmembers personally, why the band would need the skills of a fellow Dutchman specifically that night, etc. The more cynical side of me was considering he might have had a dream, taken a bit to much drugs that evening or he wanted for whatever reason to lie about the event. It's a bit like Russel's Teapot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot).

    If someone claims something extremely improbable, I tend to stay on the safe side, and accept tried and tested rules of nature. If individuals, like that guy want to believe otherwise, I don't really have a problem with it, and at the time it was a good laugh among other people in the group.
    When someone with influence claims extremely improbable things, like for instance a respected scientist or clergyman, I tend to react a bit peeved. I think accepting things without solid evidence can be a danger (suicide-bomb some unbelievers so the allmighty creator will shower you with pornographic gifts for instance).

    It is the classic chicken-egg paradox. Without assuming there is something infinite that was always there you will always run into the problem that at some point something had to get created out of nothing. I think this is the point where Einstein came to the conclusion that science needs religion.
    I'm more of an optimist. In my opinion, religion has been invented by people to deal with things they can't explain or accept. Just like we discarded the god of lightning when we discovered the true causes of it, we will do so with the gaps we have in our knowledge one day.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    Tangent: it is quite possible in physics to make something out of nothing, in fact it happens all the time. Matter/antimatter pairs spontaneously spring into existance, often annihilating almost instantly. However in some sense matter is more stable than antimatter which caused the abundance of matter in the universe. Exact reasons for this are not yet understood, but it is still quite firmly in the realm of possibility of physics.
    From the same page you appear to have quoted from:
    "In particle physics, things pop into and out of existence all the time from so called nothing. But "nothing" is an illusion. There is a thing called "vacuum energy" that is not understood. What appears to be nothing is teaming with energy."
    It was actually from memory. I don't often quote without citing sources if I have them
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Simmons View Post
    Oh, I don't discount the possibility of an "other" up there somewhere that we can't quite sense or detect. If you've read the Hyperion and Endymion books by Dan Simmons, I quite like his treatment there of what he calls "the void which binds". Which is sort of a series of layers of energy and psychic energy made up from the consciousnesses of every living creature in the universe, alive and dead. It's a bit like a spiritual version of string theory and brane theory in that there may be layers of extra dimensions wrapped up inside or around our visible universe.
    Well look at that i agree with a al simmons post.
    I liked simmons idea aswell. When i was younger i was ffascinated with people like rupert sheldrake, so hard to prove but so close.
    I dont believe in a god and i am baffled yearly by how the universe works and cant imagine its all evolution and chance, i want to think it has a grand design but feel its just my little brain not being able to cope with the interconnections, complexity and grand or micro scales.

    I have a buddhist mind set, zen. I want there to be something transcendental thart goes beyond dead, the mortal coil. I want it, cant proof it. The idea gives me solace tho. It makes me extend my own mortality, and that gives comfort.
    Schopenhauer:

    All truth passes through three stages.
    First, it is ridiculed.
    Second, it is violently opposed.
    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident..

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    When someone with influence claims extremely improbable things, like for instance a respected scientist or clergyman, I tend to react a bit peeved. I think accepting things without solid evidence can be a danger (suicide-bomb some unbelievers so the allmighty creator will shower you with pornographic gifts for instance).
    Blindly following believes can and will easily be exploited yea, the lesson is to think on your own. Gobble up all the informaton you can find then decide on your own and accept the fact it might all get crushed tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mi Lai View Post
    I'm more of an optimist. In my opinion, religion has been invented by people to deal with things they can't explain or accept. Just like we discarded the god of lightning when we discovered the true causes of it, we will do so with the gaps we have in our knowledge one day.
    In parts you are right, the base for that is mostly fear. But if you look for example at buddhism it is nothing like that, prolly the only major religion that was not abused for propaganda and control. I was lucky enough to end up at the right place at the right time somehow and got my own little experience of what i truly am. Once you feel it you know beyond doubt that there is more to the universe then just random chance. Prolly the reason i can relate easier to such stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    I dont believe in a god and i am baffled yearly by how the universe works and cant imagine its all evolution and chance, i want to think it has a grand design but feel its just my little brain not being able to cope with the interconnections, complexity and grand or micro scales.

    I have a buddhist mind set, zen. I want there to be something transcendental thart goes beyond dead, the mortal coil. I want it, cant proof it. The idea gives me solace tho. It makes me extend my own mortality, and that gives comfort.
    Hard to respond to that without coming off as a 'oh im so enlightenend' jerk. If you want the truth you have to seek it. Best to put away the doubts and just start working, try the methods provided by zen and observe the results. Do you sit?

  13. #33
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    This might be a very pragmatic view but it appears our consciousness is a natural stage in the connected series of energy exchanges that make up our synaptic patterns. At a certain stage, sufficient data storage, parsing and transport capability leads to the ability of self-inspection and eventually sentience. In that view, the realisation of an AI is inevitable, though how far off we are is hard to define at this stage. It's important to view what happens in our brain, in a pure and abstract forn, as an exchange of energy at a rapid pace. Why is there a need for the supernatural?

    Our bodies are mortal, and the vessel for the energy exchanges, i.e. our brain, which defines our thoughts and memories degrades over time. So the patterns are eventually lost, and with what I currently know, they appear to be gone forever. It's an unfortunate thing, but perhaps a necessity due to the complexity of the human organism and the youthful stage in our evolution. With technology, or time, we might evolve to a stage where we can store, maintain and expand these exchanges of energy, thus achieving sentient immortality (hopefully in our body but hey who knows).

    I can see reasons why people would wish that there is something more, and perhaps it's possible! Why, it could be that these exchanges of energy are also happening on say (purely hypothetically) on a 'hyperspace' level, whatever that may be or not be. And those exchanges continue on that level and not in the normal 4D space we live in. Is there any evidence of this right now? Not at all, there's that wishful thinking and the unfulfilled possibility which mostly comes from our inability to cope with finality. A lot of people feel the urge for there to be a *point* to existence.

    I don't think that there being no explicit *point* makes the universe or sentient life any less attractive. It is still a beautiful thing, and if death is final that is not as horrible to me as some seem to make it look. People are always entitled to their own ideas, and beliefs. If the belief that something continues after physical death comforts you, great, at least that belief serves a purpose. That doesn't mean that to me, such a belief seems as sensible as a caveman seeing a streetlight and being convinced it is of a divine nature. That is born, quite frankly, from ignorance, not inspiration. Personally, I am content to wait until I die physically, and if there is something beyond I will marvel and the energy that is me might continue in some form. Obviously I will ponder and question, always, but I will not debase myself to a level where I feel I must cling to some unprovable concepts purely because I am afraid.

    To cling to the idea that some things in our universe are unexplainable is foolhardy! If our consciousness is a form of energy exchange that allows us to examine ourselves and the universe around us, and our universe is one big pot of energy interactions (and lack of energy) then there is nothing in our way to know how anything and everything works. Just time.

  14. #34

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    Good post. Just a few points as food for thought. Pragmatism is always good and your view on things was pretty much the same as mine when i was in my early twenties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    I don't think that there being no explicit *point* makes the universe or sentient life any less attractive. It is still a beautiful thing, and if death is final that is not as horrible to me as some seem to make it look. People are always entitled to their own ideas, and beliefs. If the belief that something continues after physical death comforts you, great, at least that belief serves a purpose. That doesn't mean that to me, such a belief seems as sensible as a caveman seeing a streetlight and being convinced it is of a divine nature. That is born, quite frankly, from ignorance, not inspiration.
    Before i made up my mind i read up on the major religions. Christanity and islam mainstream looked rather derp at first glance. Buddhism however had a coherent concept where you are not at the mercy of some god, it was up to the individual to do the work. So i gave it a try. Ordered the smallest book on practial meditation i could find and gave it 6 months before i made my verdict. 10 minutes a day is not much of an investment after all. After 6 months the daily session was up to 60 minutes that felt like 5 minutes. The effects were just as described. Less thought clutter, a deep calmness that allowed excellent focus. It became apparent how much useless junk was taking up valuable cpu time before, so to speak. The longer session times were made up by only needing 6 hours of sleep as i slept like a baby after 3 months. Even the dreams cleared up to the point were i was in a meditative state during my rem phases. The whole experience made me a rather spiritual person as the journey went on. My point is, not everything in religion is based on fear or the unexplainable, there are practical approaches that everyone can try for themself. Dismissing those without trying could also be considered ignorant. Though it is understandable with all the surrounding mess. Believe gets you nowhere, seeking truth does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Personally, I am content to wait until I die physically, and if there is something beyond I will marvel and the energy that is me might continue in some form. Obviously I will ponder and question, always, but I will not debase myself to a level where I feel I must cling to some unprovable concepts purely because I am afraid.
    The easy way out tbh. In a perfect world it wouldn't matter, but the believe that death means game over can be rather dangerous for society. It implies that as long as you don't get caught there are no consequences for your actions. I'm not talking about any hell/heaven concept here. Why ponder and question and wait for death or science if you can start exploring on your own. It's your own mind. Experiment with avaiable methods, observe, conclude. Science! Except you can't proove shit. But atleast you know for yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    To cling to the idea that some things in our universe are unexplainable is foolhardy! If our consciousness is a form of energy exchange that allows us to examine ourselves and the universe around us, and our universe is one big pot of energy interactions (and lack of energy) then there is nothing in our way to know how anything and everything works. Just time.
    I fully agree except i would say everything is explainable but not everything is expressable. I don't believe we will ever be able to put love in an equation. We can describe it, measure the reactions in our bodies as we feel it, but in the end you have to feel it on your own to truly understand.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant
    The easy way out tbh. In a perfect world it wouldn't matter, but the believe that death means game over can be rather dangerous for society. It implies that as long as you don't get caught there are no consequences for your actions.
    To be honest, I would argue this reasoning is much, much more dangerous for society than the idea that death is game over. A moral person will not do bad things because it is against his morals. There is no need for a religion or afterlife to prevent people from being evil, in fact, I think religion removes the moral reasoning in lieu of an action/reward system.

    For example, what if (hypothetically speaking) someone came out and found undeniable proof that god does not exist? The nonreligious people will not be affected and will live their life as before. The deeply religious people will think the reasoning you gave above, that no consequences mean you can do whatever you want, and they will do whatever they want despite it not being morally right.

    This is in addition to the "religiously right = morally right" idea that causes people to touch little boys, go on crusades or blow themselves up for religion. The more you are taken in by religion the more you see it as the only truth, and people lose their morals along the way.

    I remember a quote that seems fitting for this reasoning: a good man will do good, an evil man will do evil. But for a good man to do evil, that takes religion.

    I do not know if buddhism has the same type of fanatics/fundamental extremist as christianity or islam (certainly I dont hear of them often) but the reasoning above is dangerous no matter what belief system you follow. The goodness or evilness of actions does not need to be graded by its consequences.
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  16. #36
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    Buddhism has the unity of all things as a core concept. To harm others is to harm everything, including yourself.

    Most of the other large religions have the concept as well, but they tend to pack a lot of extra stuff in, and it gets obscured.

    I think you can easily discover it in science as well, everything interacts with everything else. All actions by an observer have an effect on that observer as well as on the observed.

    But life after death? To me it's a horrifying concept. The idea that the inherent morality of your actions is only judged after you die is terrifying. You could use the concept to convince people to do anything (and indeed horrible things have been done for the hope of a reward in an afterlife.)

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Before i made up my mind i read up on the major religions. Christanity and islam mainstream looked rather derp at first glance. Buddhism however had a coherent concept where you are not at the mercy of some god, it was up to the individual to do the work. So i gave it a try. Ordered the smallest book on practial meditation i could find and gave it 6 months before i made my verdict. 10 minutes a day is not much of an investment after all. After 6 months the daily session was up to 60 minutes that felt like 5 minutes. The effects were just as described. Less thought clutter, a deep calmness that allowed excellent focus. It became apparent how much useless junk was taking up valuable cpu time before, so to speak. The longer session times were made up by only needing 6 hours of sleep as i slept like a baby after 3 months. Even the dreams cleared up to the point were i was in a meditative state during my rem phases. The whole experience made me a rather spiritual person as the journey went on. My point is, not everything in religion is based on fear or the unexplainable, there are practical approaches that everyone can try for themself. Dismissing those without trying could also be considered ignorant.
    Begging your pardon, but not being in my early twenties anymore myself, I can put your mind at ease and say I've studied more than just the mainstream religions in details. Taking meditation aside for a moment, as I heartily agree it provides some major benefits, Buddhism has a lot of 'packaging' (as I term it) designed to make it easier to ingest and process. Karma and rebirth are also taken in a far more precise context than I'd care to agree to right now. Whilst the energy we consist of, on the physical level, is always 'recycled' there's nothing to point out that it somehow keeps an aspect of ourselves or is singularly returned in some new life.

    Now back to meditation, I'd happily recommend it myself although perhaps without the spiritual packaging. If anything I'd consider it, in crude terms, to be analogue to a defrag and shutting down unwanted thought processes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Personally, I am content to wait until I die physically, and if there is something beyond I will marvel and the energy that is me might continue in some form. Obviously I will ponder and question, always, but I will not debase myself to a level where I feel I must cling to some unprovable concepts purely because I am afraid.
    The easy way out tbh. In a perfect world it wouldn't matter, but the believe that death means game over can be rather dangerous for society. It implies that as long as you don't get caught there are no consequences for your actions. I'm not talking about any hell/heaven concept here. Why ponder and question and wait for death or science if you can start exploring on your own. It's your own mind. Experiment with avaiable methods, observe, conclude. Science! Except you can't proove shit. But atleast you know for yourself.
    Pacefalm was exemplary in expressing the views I share on this point (in most aspects). There are never any consequences unless you get caught, or unless you weren't convinced of your own actions but that's for you to live with then. Society polices itself and needs no divine baton to keep things in line (or should not anyway).

    On the notion of probing what death could be like, I'm fairly certain only death can truly do that. There's an absolute stop of brain activity, no more neural activity. As far as I know that's not something you can induce and then come out of, so the true test is a once-off. If you mean explore what the mind can do, and where the limits lie, then I heartily agree once more. It was very interesting to note how psychotropics worked on the senses and perception of time and your surroundings (in Amsterdam of course). Still, you have to be careful with altering your mind state too much, the main way is drugs and we're all well aware of the dangers those hold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacefalm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant
    The easy way out tbh. In a perfect world it wouldn't matter, but the believe that death means game over can be rather dangerous for society. It implies that as long as you don't get caught there are no consequences for your actions. I'm not talking about any hell/heaven concept here.
    To be honest, I would argue this reasoning is much, much more dangerous for society than the idea that death is game over. A moral person will not do bad things because it is against his morals. There is no need for a religion or afterlife to prevent people from being evil, in fact, I think religion removes the moral reasoning in lieu of an action/reward system.
    Added the part you forgot to read in my quote. Hell/heaven or action/reward is exactly not what i was talking about. My point simply was that the believe that death is final makes it very easy to conclude that everything is fair game. If you give up your morals because a religion tells you to do so thats obv stupid. Same as going to war and killing people because your government told you to do so. It's a general problem. As Einstein said so well: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity".

    You seem to confuse actual religion with the historical and ongoing abuse that happened to christianity and islam. At the very core they are good and true, both got claimed for power and control. The mockery that both are today is really not worth calling a religion. The word cult comes to mind. If you are in religion for anything else then self improvement you are doing it wrong. It is easy to dismiss christianity with the way things went, i did so myself initially. Years later a christian friend me gave some material with actual quotes from jesus and while it's way more metaphorical then for example buddhism it is all the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami
    Why is there a need for the supernatural?
    I think this sums up the common misconception quite nicely. There is nothing supernatural about religion. Essentially it is about raising your awareness. Evolution of the mind so to speak. Jesus, Buddha, etc became aware of how things really are and tried to help their fellow people to achieve the same. Thats all there is to it. There are countless ways to do it, meditation, arts, drugs, rituals, prayers, running a marathon, freak accidents like the doctor had. Some will only give you a glimpse while the slower methods are more reliable and lasting.

    Quote Originally Posted by SAI Peregrinus View Post
    But life after death? To me it's a horrifying concept. The idea that the inherent morality of your actions is only judged after you die is terrifying. You could use the concept to convince people to do anything (and indeed horrible things have been done for the hope of a reward in an afterlife.)
    The only judge can be yourself, how is that different to while you are alive? It will only be terrifying if you lived your life without judging your actions. There is no place for right or wrong in unity, only lessons to be learned as our consciousness evolves in this splendid illusion we call universe. This is the optical delusion Einstein was talking about. Isn't it worth to ponder why one of the most renowned scientist and the teachings of buddha come to the exact same conclusion of what reality is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    I think this sums up the common misconception quite nicely. There is nothing supernatural about religion. Essentially it is about raising your awareness. Evolution of the mind so to speak. Jesus, Buddha, etc became aware of how things really are and tried to help their fellow people to achieve the same. Thats all there is to it. There are countless ways to do it, meditation, arts, drugs, rituals, prayers, running a marathon, freak accidents like the doctor had. Some will only give you a glimpse while the slower methods are more reliable and lasting.
    I would happily consider the *possibility*, having circumvented the notion whether or not these individuals existed, that they were exceptional in their time in seeing the world from a bigger picture. Jesus, Buddha, etc are not religion, they are the focal objects OF religions. There is plenty supernatural about claiming a single divine entity created everything (in some cases as little as 6000 years ago) and all the various malarkey that goes with it. Granted, perhaps the original authors of such obviously fantastical musing thought it was the only viable tool to transfer the very simple but valuable lessons at the center of it. However, in reality these concepts were grabbed and abused, transformed into tools for the cunning to wield as power.

    In the terms lived by the majority of practitioners, the mainstream religions are followed in their entirety and the core messages either fall far into the background or are lost altogether. Man has come far enough that these fantastical wrappings are no longer required, yet millions still cling on to them for dear life.

    That being said, I have no problem with Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc who do as you say, and use their beliefs as a tool for introspection and trying to make sense of the world around them. If they need this mental crutch, so be it, not everyone can 'walk' unaided. The issue arises when these beliefs are no longer the guide, but the 'truth', and when actions are taken based purely on these truths. That's, indeed, when good men do evil things.

    Your definition of religion is far different from what the term is commonly used for, and I do not think it equivocally necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelephant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SAI Peregrinus View Post
    But life after death? To me it's a horrifying concept. The idea that the inherent morality of your actions is only judged after you die is terrifying. You could use the concept to convince people to do anything (and indeed horrible things have been done for the hope of a reward in an afterlife.)
    The only judge can be yourself, how is that different to while you are alive? It will only be terrifying if you lived your life without judging your actions. There is no place for right or wrong in unity, only lessons to be learned as our consciousness evolves in this splendid illusion we call universe. This is the optical delusion Einstein was talking about. Isn't it worth to ponder why one of the most renowned scientist and the teachings of buddha come to the exact same conclusion of what reality is?
    I live my life because it is worth living, for myself and for those around me. I don't worry about a finally tally at the end. Morality was born from our multitude. Were you alone in this universe as a single being, you would need no stick by which to measure your actions. But we are not alone, we might all be made from the same energy, but for now our consciousness is our own for all intents and purposes. Society requires moral standards and the bigger it grows the more complex they must become.

    When it was just 20 of us living in small communities surviving on the lands, we needed only simple rules: do not harm each other, work to feed all, do not endanger our livelihoods or housing. There probably was little concept of stealing, everything belonged to everyone and there was little to be jealous of (or time to worry about it for that matter). Now that we range in the billions, we need complex laws to govern the vast array of situations that can occur between ourselves. In that regard, we are judged by society, and rightfully so as we choose to live in it. There is no final answer either, society will evolve and the moral standards will evolve as they always have.

    Perhaps the only standard we can all feel some relation to is the desire to maintain life. Is it because there is so little of this complex energy exchange that we can find (so far) in our universe? Or maybe it's from the base fact that our universe started with low entropy, and we as beings strive to keep entropy at bay since we rely on order?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Begging your pardon, but not being in my early twenties anymore myself, I can put your mind at ease and say I've studied more than just the mainstream religions in details. Taking meditation aside for a moment, as I heartily agree it provides some major benefits, Buddhism has a lot of 'packaging' (as I term it) designed to make it easier to ingest and process. Karma and rebirth are also taken in a far more precise context than I'd care to agree to right now. Whilst the energy we consist of, on the physical level, is always 'recycled' there's nothing to point out that it somehow keeps an aspect of ourselves or is singularly returned in some new life.

    Now back to meditation, I'd happily recommend it myself although perhaps without the spiritual packaging. If anything I'd consider it, in crude terms, to be analogue to a defrag and shutting down unwanted thought processes.
    Sorry if that came off as patronizing. With old teachings you have to take into account the times they were written at. Karma in essence is a law of balance, if you look at the physical laws it is very much the same. I can agree with that. We have nothing to measure our consciousness. The question that arised for me is that if we are nothing but biological robots, how got energy aware of itself to the point that it became a creator in this universe? How can simple physical reactions drive a process as genius as evolution? And where do those laws come from in the first place? Random chance i find hard to assume.

    Meditation is all about raising your awareness. Once you become aware of the useless thoughts you become rid of them, no need to surpress or shutdown. You become aware that you are not the sum of your thoughts. You are still there when there are no thoughts. And from there realizations about your true nature become possible. They cannot be thought, they can only be felt deep down in our consciousness and this is what Einstein means when he said science needs religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    On the notion of probing what death could be like, I'm fairly certain only death can truly do that. There's an absolute stop of brain activity, no more neural activity. As far as I know that's not something you can induce and then come out of, so the true test is a once-off. If you mean explore what the mind can do, and where the limits lie, then I heartily agree once more. It was very interesting to note how psychotropics worked on the senses and perception of time and your surroundings (in Amsterdam of course). Still, you have to be careful with altering your mind state too much, the main way is drugs and we're all well aware of the dangers those hold.
    Wasn't really meant as what death would be like. I don't really think about what happens when i die, gonna happen anyway so why bother. What you can do is explore what you are right now. In a controlled setting the use of psychedelic drugs is fairly safe, but yea it's only worth to gain a quick glimpse. As a hippie once said: "Meditation and drugs is like walking by feet and taking a plane. You go faster with the plane but you will miss all the details." Drugs is not the main way and never should be. Daily training of the mind is far more effective in the long run.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    That being said, I have no problem with Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc who do as you say, and use their beliefs as a tool for introspection and trying to make sense of the world around them. If they need this mental crutch, so be it, not everyone can 'walk' unaided. The issue arises when these beliefs are no longer the guide, but the 'truth', and when actions are taken based purely on these truths. That's, indeed, when good men do evil things.
    Mental crutch is kinda mean, but yea whatever works for you to raise your awareness is good. An external religion is not needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    Your definition of religion is far different from what the term is commonly used for, and I do not think it equivocally necessary.
    Maybe i should say spirituality, but that has it's own stigmata.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rami View Post
    I live my life because it is worth living, for myself and for those around me. I don't worry about a finally tally at the end. Morality was born from our multitude. Were you alone in this universe as a single being, you would need no stick by which to measure your actions. But we are not alone, we might all be made from the same energy, but for now our consciousness is our own for all intents and purposes. Society requires moral standards and the bigger it grows the more complex they must become.

    When it was just 20 of us living in small communities surviving on the lands, we needed only simple rules: do not harm each other, work to feed all, do not endanger our livelihoods or housing. There probably was little concept of stealing, everything belonged to everyone and there was little to be jealous of (or time to worry about it for that matter). Now that we range in the billions, we need complex laws to govern the vast array of situations that can occur between ourselves. In that regard, we are judged by society, and rightfully so as we choose to live in it. There is no final answer either, society will evolve and the moral standards will evolve as they always have.

    Perhaps the only standard we can all feel some relation to is the desire to maintain life. Is it because there is so little of this complex energy exchange that we can find (so far) in our universe? Or maybe it's from the base fact that our universe started with low entropy, and we as beings strive to keep entropy at bay since we rely on order?
    It's amazing and kinda funny how much we are seeing things the same and yet come to a very different conclusion. Morality was born from our multitude is exactly right. The question is, how can multitude arise in the first place if not from unity. And how can unity arise from nothing if you were to assume it was not infinite.

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