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Thread: Nothingness After Death

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    I'm not sure what "evidence to the contrary" you're thinking of in citing the Stoics.
    Simply the fact that the world is obviously far from perfect and that it takes quite a tortuous and convoluted argument to try to imply otherwise.

    If by perfection you mean "the universe does what it's designed by God to do" then, yes, I suppose the Stoics sought perfection in the universe, but this fails to take into account that their idea of perfect or good isn't what we post-moderns a couple of millenia later consider to be perfect and good. For moderns, the idea of a perfect world is some heavenly otherworld
    wherein God and the angels dwell; for the Stoic there was no such thing, except perhaps when the soul returned to Zeus at the time of physical death, but this was more a case of reabsorption into the source rather than regeneration into a new form.
    Stoic corporeality posited that the structure of the physical universe was the "body" of God, with the "mind" of God suffusing it. Thus the universe was perfect by design, nature, and operation- humans, from limited perspective, tended to judge the universe as a hostile place.
    None of this detracts from the fact that the notion that "the world must be perfect because the highest being who created it would necessarily be perfect or else he would be the highest being" is a circular argument and a thoroughgoing sophism.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

  2. #82
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    Post Random Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadur View Post
    I've had this slightly philosophical thread in mind for a while, and now I finally bothered to make it.

    Our usual assumption is that when you die, it's all over, and nothing remains. However, I find this just as devoid of reason as saying there is a heaven or any afterlife at all. "Realistic" people might try to tell me that when I die there will be "nothing", only an eternal blackness. But what is the base for that claim? Absolutely none.

    Anyways, discuss and give your input.
    I think the main problem with the thought that there is "nothing" after death ignors the fact that there is constant regeneration in nature. There are cycles in nature and we are part of nature. Read the Voluspa; even the gods die and are replaced by their offspring...just as we die and are replaced by our offspring.

    Another point, the eternity of the Old Testament Jews is a very specific length of time -- 6,000 lunar years; it is not the forever of the Christian viewpoint.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulfhedinn View Post
    I think the main problem with the thought that there is "nothing" after death ignors the fact that there is constant regeneration in nature. There are cycles in nature and we are part of nature. Read the Voluspa; even the gods die and are replaced by their offspring...just as we die and are replaced by our offspring.

    For the cycles of nature to lead to reincarnation of individual human beings, the universe would need to be infinite and nature eternal. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough time to explore all of the permutations that would need to be explored in order for so complex an arrangement of atoms as you or I to come about again by pure chance.

    Whether or not the universe is infinite is something that is yet to be established.


    Another point, the eternity of the Old Testament Jews is a very specific length of time -- 6,000 lunar years; it is not the forever of the Christian viewpoint.
    That simply isn't eternity it's just the longest period of time that a primitive tribe of desert nomads could imagine.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    For the cycles of nature to lead to reincarnation of individual human beings, the universe would need to be infinite and nature eternal. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough time to explore all of the permutations that would need to be explored in order for so complex an arrangement of atoms as you or I to come about again by pure chance.
    Your "you-ness" is a specific arrangement of atoms? But your atoms are changing all the time...
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablutive View Post
    Your "you-ness" is a specific arrangement of atoms? But your atoms are changing all the time...
    Well it would depend on how memories are encoded. I would consider my individuality to be a product of my physical make up and my memories. As far as I know memories are encoded in the brain by some physical process coupled with a pattern of neuronal firing.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    Well it would depend on how memories are encoded. I would consider my individuality to be a product of my physical make up and my memories. As far as I know memories are encoded in the brain by some physical process coupled with a pattern of neuronal firing.
    Were you "you" before you acquired your current memories then? As a child were you you?

    Edit: Also would you accept that memory is quite a fluid thing and lots is lost and gained constantly?
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablutive View Post
    Were you "you" before you acquired your current memories then? As a child were you you?
    That is a difficult enough question to answer. I was certainly different then than I am now.

    However, I was still myself at that time at least because the self that I currently am (that you are inviting me to compare my earlier self against) did not exist at that earlier time. Therefore there is no dichotomy between past self and present self. There is only the same self changing through time.

    Edit: Also would you accept that memory is quite a fluid thing and lots is lost and gained constantly?
    I would accept that yes. In the case of Alzheimer's for instance I think that after enough memories would have been lost the being that I now recognise as myself would at that point cease to exist.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Well I guess what I am getting at is that, if I am me on the basis of my memories, I am a different person from day to day, moment to moment since I am constantly acquiring new memories and constantly forgetting old memories (although the most emotive memories tend to linger).

    I still say that I am me not because I remember being who I was before, but because of the continuity of body and mind (and even if I got something like Alzheimer's there would be a continuity there, but one that would be confused and disrupted by disorder).

    But continuity can be extended to things outside myself, parents, children, descendants, ancestors (even mental continuity, my thoughts are mine because they grow out of my older thoughts, but don't my thoughts also grow out of the thoughts my parents and culture spoke to me?).

    So can memory actually, the memory of an event can be written down and re-imagined by other people - and in truth this is not different to experiencing it directly because we don't remember "what happened" but tend to remember specific salient details and narratives constructed from within - all of which can be faithfully shared with others.

    The barrier between self and other is not what it seems I think.
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablutive View Post
    Well I guess what I am getting at is that, if I am me on the basis of my memories, I am a different person from day to day, moment to moment since I am constantly acquiring new memories and constantly forgetting old memories (although the most emotive memories tend to linger).
    People change, but only imperceptibly on a day to day basis. I think after a certain formative period in adolescence has passed the rate of change slows markedly until by middle age people are hardly changing at all in terms of their outlook.

    I still say that I am me not because I remember being who I was before, but because of the continuity of body and mind (and even if I got something like Alzheimer's there would be a continuity there, but one that would be confused and disrupted by disorder).
    So if you lost all your memories you would still be "you" in your opinion? Do you think the people around you would recognise you as being the same person, given that you wouldn't recognise any of them or remember the times you shared together?

    But continuity can be extended to things outside myself, parents, children, descendants, ancestors (even mental continuity, my thoughts are mine because they grow out of my older thoughts, but don't my thoughts also grow out of the thoughts my parents and culture spoke to me?).
    You are saying that you are partly the sum or the ideas you hold to be correct? To some extent this may be the case, but it seems to be like saying that all paintings are the same because they all employ the same colour spectrum.Yet every painting is individual.

    The barrier between self and other is not what it seems I think.
    I'm not exactly sure what you are saying here, but while on psychedelic drugs I've had the sensation that the division between myself and others was entirely illusory and that we are all just effectively the same mind experiencing different lives. Once I even surmised that the division between myself and the carpet was a meaningless construct. However, when I sobered up I concluded that these impressions were the result of a collapse of my minds innate model of the world and not to be taken at face value as examples of higher consciousness, but simply different consciousness.

    The division between individuals is I'm afraid a brute fact of reality and to believe that it isn't so is to approach the edge of mental disorder.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    I think that it's clear that discrete objects exist, including individual human beings. I think it's also self-evident looked at closely that the boundaries between all things are very fuzzy.

    Since the boundaries are fuzzy I have to wonder, is the boundary between me at age 4 and me now a larger or smaller boundary than between me now and my mother. I do not think it is at all clear that it is smaller.
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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