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    Default Afterlife

    How can the mind survive death if it can't even survive Alzheimers or insanity?

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    Cool

    I think like most people, confusion is generated between mind and soul. The brain is a organic thing which the soul uses in the material world but dies as all things organic must die. That is the material of all life. To be recycled. What goes beyond with the soul very few really know, myself not one of them. :

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    I personally think if my mind dies, I die. Something like when you're asleep and you're not dreaming. When you're not conscious it's like you don't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    How can the mind survive death if it can't even survive Alzheimers or insanity?
    I think the mind doesn't 'die' if a person has Alzheimer or similar diseases. I rather see it as a blurring of your mind, just like your sight is blurred if you have cataract.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    If I can't remember my kid's name I think you can safely say my mind is dead.

    But if Alzheimer is not working for you, how about complete insanity? There's a woman in my street who was a cool old lady very popular, everyone knew her and now she's gone totally insane. She stops you in the middle of the street and talks complete nonsense. It's so sad, I totally feel like she died. Only her body is there.

    ps. yeah in my country crazy people walk on the streets

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    Well, 1st error here is that you're equating brain == mind.
    2nd error is that you're equating mind == soul.
    Yes, that's right. We're talking about different things.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
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    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    How can the mind survive death if it can't even survive Alzheimers or insanity?
    A relatively new paradigm suggests that consciousness may emerge as an energy-based entity that survives biological brain death. However, one problem with that idea is that even though consciousness may emerge from the brain's biological foundation, it may still require that physical framework to exist and be perpetuated

    How could you test this? I don't know, necessarily. It would seem that biological degeneration of the brain impacting consciousness would refute the idea of some independent emergent quality. On the other hand, conflict between emergent consciousness and biological consciousness may point to certain dissociative phenomenon in personality... though I only say that to explore an idea. I don't seriously suggest that's even plausible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    Well, 1st error here is that you're equating brain == mind. Yet present science lacks sufficient knowledge re: the ontology of mind in order to safely draw that equivalence.
    I'm not literally equating it but what else do you suggest? That we think with our asses? That the mind somehow magically survives? You can literally test some brain functions when you open the head. Push the wrong button in the brain and see what happens. I don't believe in magic, everything can be explained scientifically, or will be explained.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    2nd error is that you're equating mind == soul. "I think, therefore I am" was probably one of the worst utterances ever in Western philosophical thought, and I gather would evoke hearty laughter among many a Buddhist.
    What good do I have from that "soul" if I don't know who I am, if I don't remember anything, don't know anything, my consciousness is not there, my thinking, nothing. Sorry, but your soul is useless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    I don't believe in magic, everything can be explained scientifically, or will be explained.
    Another gnostic who worships the eternal truth of science? People who say something like this are usually exactly as ignorant and stubborn as many extreme theists. There are things which can't be explained and they will always be there. Science is not an allmighty power.

    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    Sorry, but your soul is useless.
    I guess it's useless to discuss a possible afterlife with you. No matter what theories are brought up, you'll just say: "Nah, I am right and souls don't exist/are useless." If you're so sure about that why do you make a thread in the first place? Seriously, stop talking bullshit or at least don't flame people for correcting you.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    pedagogical definitions aside and other esoteric non sense, I think this is an interesting question, I'll draw attention to three aspects.

    First the connection between the body, mind, and spirit if you will.

    Second the definition of life and death.

    and Third, the science behind cognition and the brain.

    1) No doubt when a person dies the body is disconnected from the mind and the body dissolves into the earth as organic material... but the big question is first does the mind or spirit survive the body? and second is there really a distinction between the mind and spirit or is the notion of a person's spirit or essence merely an illusion of the mind? Or even deeper are the mind and body merely illusions of the spirit? I don't know people have differing viewpoints on this. I personally view the issue as the person having all three, and on death the mind dissolves, the body becomes organic material again, and the spirit survives.

    2) What is the definition of life and death? Specifically there is a list of criteria biologists have developed for what constitutes a living organism. However what about organism which seems to not entirely behave as living like viruses? Further what role does consciousness have in this biological definition? Are all living organisms conscious? Are there some unconscious living organisms? Are there some conscious non living organisms? Is a rock conscious, but merely a different form of consciousness? Are plants conscious? Are humans really conscious? Obviously biologists can't add consciousness as criteria for living organisms because its not something easily tested in a laboratory, but its still an interesting question to ask. And if life has a specific number of criteria then what are the criteria for death? And can things move between these critera? If something dies and is revived in a laboratory is it still alive? Does its consciousness remain? Specifically what are the definitions of the various states and how does this relate with the issue of an afterlife.

    3) What is the science behind cognition and the brain, specifically some questions like say a person is red-green color blind. They can see the color red or green, but they can't distinguish the difference between the two, they appear as a single color. However if the person is incapable of distinguishing what is red and what is green, then how do they know if the single color they see is red or if it is green? Further for that matter how do I know that what I experience as red, is exactly the same thing as you experience as red. Maybe what I experience as red is what you experience as blue, and what I experience as blue is what you experience as red, there would be no way to tell. This leads to the question of what exactly perceptions are, obviously they are information that is converted to electro-chemical signals in our brain which are created via sensory organs but once inside the brain what is responsible for the production of the perception. If people are purely electrical circuits then that is similar to saying an electrical robot full of photodetectors experiences something similar as humans do when they see... this does not seems correct, although it may be? But how does one determine if it is correct? How does one determine if it isn't? How does one determine why it is the same or different? And further how does the nature of perception link in the with mind-body-spirit and life-death discussion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    I personally think if my mind dies, I die. Something like when you're asleep and you're not dreaming. When you're not conscious it's like you don't exist.
    Picture yourself walking down the street, and someone shoots a bullet through your head, your heart gets nervous, your mind explodes and you dissipate, into thin air, into nothingness, you are not even air. You are not anything, not even nothing. There is no blackness, no time, no existence. You cannot feel yourself, no one and nothing can feel you, there is no one to know you because you don't exist for there to be anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polikujm View Post
    Picture yourself walking down the street, and someone shoots a bullet through your head, your heart gets nervous, your mind explodes and you dissipate, into thin air, into nothingness, you are not even air. You are not anything, not even nothing. There is no blackness, no time, no existence. You cannot feel yourself, no one and nothing can feel you, there is no one to know you because you don't exist for there to be anything.
    Yes, this is what I believe will happen to me. I don't exclude the possibility of us finding a way to live forever or even downloading our mind into some kind of biotechnological device but if my brain is crushed by a tank I don't believe my "soul" - whatever that is will survive.

    I don't believe I'm like the hard theists like somebody already mentioned in this thread because I don't believe in something that is not proven, in this case it doesn't even have any logical or scientific grounds. I think it's better to NOT believe in something that has absolutely no evidence than to believe. Also "not believing" doesn't indicate you're ignorant because I would GLADLY believe in God, afterlife, hell even Santa Claus and Rudolf and fairy tales if only someone would show evidence or at least logical grounds for a statement. I'd change my mind in a millisecond.

    We know from cases of brain damage and the effects of psychoactive drugs, that our experiences are caused by physical chemistry acting on our physical neurones in our brains. You get drugged up and you'll see God, you'll see the most beautiful things ever but it's all chemistry.

    Degenerative diseases of the brain that erode personality, and cases where brain damage causes sudden changes in character are both only possible if character itself is biological.

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    Picture yourself walking down the street, and someone shoots a bullet through your head, your heart gets nervous, your mind explodes and you dissipate, into thin air, into nothingness, you are not even air. You are not anything, not even nothing.
    My soul is indestructible. I'll live forever.

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    I don't believe I'm like the hard theists like somebody already mentioned in this thread because I don't believe in something that is not proven, in this case it doesn't even have any logical or scientific grounds. I think it's better to NOT believe in something that has absolutely no evidence than to believe.
    You have no inner truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    Well, 1st error here is that you're equating brain == mind. Yet present science lacks sufficient knowledge re: the ontology of mind in order to safely draw that equivalence.

    2nd error is that you're equating mind == soul. "I think, therefore I am" was probably one of the worst utterances ever in Western philosophical thought, and I gather would evoke hearty laughter among many a Buddhist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    Obviously there are measurable events that occur in the brain coincident w/ thinking—altered brainwave patterns, fluctuations in cerebral bloodflow, changes in synaptic connectivity, etc. Certain kinds of thinking can even be mapped to effects involving specific brain regions. But in the final estimate, these are only correlations—they say nothing about the causal origins of mind itself. It's still a 'chicken or the egg' paradox—which came 1st? Did the brain trigger the thought or did the thought trigger the brain?

    AFAIK, nobody's found a decisive answer on that yet.
    The brain may or may not have triggered the thought, but the thought definitely did not trigger the brain. Thoughts do not materialize physical objects... leastways, not human thoughts.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post

    2nd error is that you're equating mind == soul. "I think, therefore I am" was probably one of the worst utterances ever in Western philosophical thought, and I gather would evoke hearty laughter among many a Buddhist.
    Eckhart Tolle said the exact same thing, almost word for word.

    The seventeenth-century philosopher Descartes, regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, gave expression to this primary error with his famous dictum (which he saw as primary truth): "I think, therefore I am." This was the answer he found to the question "Is there anything I can know with absolute certainty?" He realized that the fact that he was always thinking was beyond doubt, and so he equated thinking with Being, that is to say, identity --I am -- with thinking. Instead of the ultimate truth, he had found the root of the ego, but he didn't know that.

    It took almost three hundred years before another famous philosopher saw something in that statement that Descartes, as well as everybody else, had overlooked. His name was Jean-Paul Sartre. He looked at Descartes's statement " I think, therefore I am" very deeply and suddenly realized, in his own words, "The consciousness that says "I am" is not the consciousness that thinks"

    What did he mean by that? When you are aware that you are thinking, that awareness is not part of thinking. It is a different dimension of consciousness. And it it that awareness that says "I am." If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn't even know you are thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesn't know he is dreaming. You would be as identified with every thought as the dreamer is with every image in the dream. \

    Many people still live like that, like sleepwalkers, trapped in old dysfunctional mindsets that continuously recreate the same nightmarish reality. When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream. another dimension of consciousness has come in.

    The implication of Sartre’s insight is profound, but he himself was still too identified with thinking to realize the full significance of what he had discovered: an emerging new dimension of consciousness.
    Basically, thinking & awareness are too entirely different entities.
    Last edited by fox; 01-14-2011 at 08:33 AM.
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    Even if consciousness continues after death, which is a big if, there's something we know for sure: our body doesn't survive, our brain doesn't survive, and even our mind probably doesn't survive. So we gotta take this life for everything it's worth, like there's no fuckin tomorrow. If there's a self that survives, it's a radically different "self," so we gotta let go of the hope of holding onto ourselves for ever and just burn through this fuckin life until there's only ashes left. And then, maybe there's a consciousness left over, maybe not, but at least we used up our bodies and brains and minds.

    Cuz what if you spend your whole life just trying to hold onto yourself and suspend yourself in eternity, hoping that there's an afterlife, maybe even hoping you'll go to "heaven" or something, and then you die and you're reincarnated as a cactus? So then you just spend 100 years sitting in the desert with a bunch of needles stuck in you thinking "damn, I shouldn't have worried so much about the afterlife, why did I even want there to be an afterlife, I should've just enjoyed the during-life."

    On a different note, it's possible that material reality is only a cross-section of reality -- but it's also possible that this is all there is. Some people will say "there has to be a higher power for the material world to make sense." Well, what if the higher power is the fact that the material world doesn't make sense?

    As far as consciousness existing after death...yeah, maybe consciousness exists after death, but what makes it YOUR consciousness? What makes your consciousness different from my consciousness? Fuck, consciousness is confusing. Even if there is an afterlife, we're too narrow-minded to understand it. We frame all our concepts in terms of material reality, so how could we understand something beyond material reality? Even if it's an afterlife, it's not an afterlife.

    Anyway, I don't think there's an afterlife.

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    There is no afterlife.

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    Create a model of existence including an afterlife without violating Occam's Razor... GO!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewZ View Post
    Create a model of existence including an afterlife without violating Occam's Razor... GO!
    This.

    Untill we see phenomenon that is reliably observable, that suggests a possibility of consciousness after death, then any claims of an afterlife is speculation coupled with wishful thinking.

    I know belief in the afterlife it can be emotionally gratifying, it's why the idea is so attractive, but how strongly you want something to be true is irrelevant.

    But hey, if real evidence shows up, even if it's only evidence, you bet I would want to investigate.
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    My personal belief is that we live with what we die with. My honest belief is that there will be something between life and nothingness, that we live on in a kind of subjective swirl, not even in the same sense that we are conscious, but almost in the sense that you get what you were expecting...I personally think that death basically forces you to come to grips with your life, and feel the consequences that the way you have lived your life have had on your own personal barometer of morality and rightness, which I believe is ultimately the same for all of us, not necessarily in the concrete sense, but at least in terms of their being a kind of relativistic sense of good and evil that is in some sense proportionate to the circumstances under which you have been forced to live in this life.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    While we don't necessarily have evidence that there isn't an afterlife, the implications thereof (notably Dualism) are simply absurd. While, in the strictest sense, once can't disprove the notion of an afterlife any more than one can disprove the notion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the most rational conclusion is that is probably no afterlife, such to the point that it is worth living based on the assumption that there isn't one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewZ View Post
    Create a model of existence including an afterlife without violating Occam's Razor... GO!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor[1]), often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae, translating to law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness, is a principle which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects.[2]
    What is known -- There is no reliable information as to what happens after death to what humans perceive as their consciousness.

    Theory 1 -- The consciousness dissolves at death
    # of new assumptions = 1

    Theory 2 -- The consciousness does not dissolve after death
    # of new assumptions = 1

    They seem to be both equal with respect to ockham's razor unless you accept what is known first as something different, then belief in an afterlife would require more new assumptions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor



    What is known -- There is no reliable information as to what happens after death to what humans perceive as their consciousness.

    Theory 1 -- The consciousness dissolves at death
    # of new assumptions = 1

    Theory 2 -- The consciousness does not dissolve after death
    # of new assumptions = 1

    They seem to be both equal with respect to ockham's razor unless you accept what is known first as something different, then belief in an afterlife would require more new assumptions.
    But you ARE making an assumption, that assumption is dualism. You actually need to show a mechanism for which consciousness can still exist after death.

    Assumption one, consciousness survives death = the implied assumption that there is a mechanism for this to happen, thus making your second assumption.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isotope View Post
    But you ARE making an assumption, that assumption is dualism. You actually need to show a mechanism for which consciousness can still exist after death.

    Assumption one, consciousness survives death = the implied assumption that there is a mechanism for this to happen, thus making your second assumption.
    well not precisely, first of all I said that what we perceive as consciousness. So I'm not assuming dualism, I'm being indeterminate. A materialist could argue that what we perceive as consciousness is merely a matter of our brain's functioning. An idealist could argue what we perceive as consciousness is in fact everything. A dualist could argue that it is separate from the material world. Either way, I referred to it as what we perceive as consciousness.

    Second I think your bringing bias into it when you assume that a mechanism for survival of the consciousness must be proven. Why doesn't there need to be a mechanism for death of the consciousness?

    and remember, what I refer to as consciousness is merely what one perceives it to be in any given case, and not necessarily a view on whether or not it exists as a separate entity from the material world.

    death is purely a material process which doesn't affect the consciousness, while even this seems to be a dualist view, consider that it weren't, lets assume materialism, then if this were the case we are unsure whether a person who is dead still has that illusion of consciousness still after the reordering of their biology into a presently classified dead organism -- just because a body is laying there unable to talk or move doesn't necessarily make it lack a sense of consciousness, at least without purchasing another assumption =p. The reason we are unsure is the same reason that I am unsure whether you have a perception of your own consciousness. I can't directly experience how you perceive your consciousness, I can only directly experience how I perceive you perceive your consciousness, or how I perceive my own consciousness... in the same sense, I can't look at a wasted skeleton that is long dead and perceive whether this random assortment of biological material perceives its conscious.

    It seems your taking a leap in logic by assuming that a random assortment of biological material perceives its consciousness differently than a human being, at least from the materialist viewpoint.

    From the dualist viewpoint its fairly straightforward.....

    If you're confused at what I'm trying to get at by now its this....

    Whether you assume dualism, materialism, or idealism.... the argument is still the same. It is symmetrical about a shift in philosophy, and dualism/materialism/idealism appear to form a closed set of possible outcomes concerning the existence of a consciousness.

    The only thing I would agree with you on, is that my analysis did require the assumption that consciousness is perceivable as something by people, whether or not it truely exists separate from the material world. If that's the case, then all things become 2 steps removed and it drops a level, requiring one to assume a second assumption based on whether consciousness is perceivable or imperceivable.

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    While im still not convinced, you have actually given me something to think about. I tip my hat to you sir.

    In any case, if there is one area were I want to be shown to be misguided, This is it! However, i'm not going to tell myself things, just beacuse it's what I want to hear.
    The mode of goodness conditions one to happiness, passion conditions him to the fruits of action, and ignorance to madness.

    Chapter 14, Verse 9.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton2 View Post
    Absence of evidence ≠ evidence of absence. Might want to remember that next time you accuse others of 'wishful thinking'.
    Anyone could use that statement for any silly assumption they make that can't be proven wrong. Like saying there are pink carbon dioxide breathing bunnies on Pluto. Hey absence of evidence ≠ evidence of absence.

    Something like:


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    ^ The difference is in claiming something versus arguing against something.
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    All I'm saying is that there's better grounds for believing there is no afterlife than believing there is. I don't know either but I'm like 99% sure there isn't, because of brain observations, effects of drugs on our experience of the world, mental diseases and so on...

    I can't seem to find any rational explanation pointing the other way.

  31. #31
    the flying pig Capitalist Pig's Avatar
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    I reiterate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    There is no afterlife.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by entj View Post
    How can the mind survive death if it can't even survive Alzheimers or insanity?
    You tell me after you die.

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