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The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 30 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

Finally some time for a more proper reply, though nothing, I'm afraid, that would justice to all the points you raise.

I'm not sure how you could get around the 'unexplained explainer' problem - certainly not with philosophy anyway.


Well, modern cosmology suffers from the same sort of problem:

Where did the universe come from? - The big bang.

Where did the big bang come from? - Quantum fluxations or quantum foam or something.

Where did that come from?

At least mental monism/panexperientalism can avoid the infinite regress: the rock bottom of reality is the irreducible archetypes.

Also, an evolving process hypothesis is analogous to cosmological and biological evolution and shouldn't generate any more nagging questions then they do.

As it stands, you and I both agree 'there must be more,' but for me that 'more' must remain a blank posit. I don't share your optimism regarding philosophy's ability to make anything stick.


Well, if the philosophical model can coherently account for the phenomena, then it (pragmatically, at least) "works".

Regarding the Blind Brain hypothesis, I think I understand why you might raise the old 'Cartesian Theatre' objection, but it really doesn't apply. I pursued the argument, in fact, to TROUBLE my 'there must be more' stance, which means that you're quite right to point out the automaton model of consciousness it seems to entail. What it does is provide a naturalistic explanation of the why and how of intentional phenomena - explaining them away in effect.


I don't think it really explains away intention so much as it shows the inadequacy of materialism. We can't really "see" ourselves as part of the world; but if we are part of the world, and the world is insentient, then we should be insentient as well. But because we are sentient, and if we are part of the world, then the world must be, in at least some "proto-conscious" form, sentient as well - it's either that or we declare dualism (which would make us separate from the world).

I feel this should be fairly obvious; but let me give an analogy. Over on the "On the Warrior Prophet" thread, someone earlier mentioned that our "blind spot" could be compared to a duck who cannot fathom why it can fly. I'm going to resurrect this concept.

Suppose a society of ducks exist that have a simple language and a penchant for philosophical musings. However, their tiny duck brains don't allow them to conceive certain concepts. For example, the concept of "air", or "atmosphere", will permanently elude them. It's not that they think the space around them is a vacuum, they don't think about the space around them at all. Anyway, the ducks have a problem. The current metaphysic of the ducks does not seem to account for the existence of flight. The nagging questions haunts them: "How can the mere flapping of wings produce flight?" The eliminativists among the ducks maintain that flight doesn't really exist, or is simply "folk aviation", where as the less extreme mainstream philosophers declare that flight is somehow an emergent phenomena of wing flapping, even though they have no idea how this occurs. The old dualists conjure up spirits that supposedly carry ducks when they fly.

The debates continue.

One day, a duck puts forward that perhaps they are incapable of understanding how flight occurs and that they should all just give up. This starts a commotion until one duck steps (er, waddles) forward and says that while the details of the ontology may elude them, they can say one thing for certain: The world (ontology) about them must have some undiscovered characteristic which accounts for the phenomena that they employ by necessity. They may not know what it is, but it should be obvious that there is something missing from their current world view that will allow flight. It's not that they can't see how wing-flapping causes flight, it's some factor beyond the wings themselves (air) that allows flight to exist.

This can be transplanted to your Blind Brain hypothesis. It's not so much that we are incapable of seeing how insentient, en soi particles of matter can create a POV - the nature of materialism necessarily does not allow for consciousness, save for an outside agency - we created the rules of the materialist metaphysic, and it denies us the tools necessary to explain consciousness. It should be obvious that, while we may not know (and may be incapable of knowing) the details, there must be some ontological factor unknown to us that is beyond the materialist deterministic model of the brain (panexperientalism? idealism?) that accounts for the phenomena (consciousness and volition) that we employ by necessity in our lives.

I feel this shows that the materialist paradigm, at least in its current form, is inadequate. Like the ducks' metaphysic, it lacks the tools to allow for an obstinate phenomena to exist.

But that's another story. If you want to explore it, we should probably start a different thread - one with a big warning sign!


And here we are --- no warning sign, though the title may scare people away <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 02 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

Seeing as you have spent so much time on your post, i thought it only fair that someone respond to it in someway.

What i wanted to discuss with you is what you said about sentience. Personally, i have no problem with the apparent contradiction of there being sentience and non-sentience without moving into dualism, but before i say more on that, it would good if you could say just exactly what you feel sentience is. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 02 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Hi Tak... Back from Canada Day shennanigans.

Regarding the unexplained explainer: The regress of justification ensures that we'll always bump into these, certainly - I took that as a given. What I was questioning was what warrants your 'mentalist' unexplained explainer. I need you to spell out to me, decisively (given the foibles of philosophical thought), how you get from 'Materialism is inadequate' to 'Mental monism is true.' Until then, your position strikes me as ad hoc at best: of the 'if it's not material, then it must be mental' variety. Why not something unknown?

Spinoza and Heidegger's 'frame complaint' comes to mind here as well. Whatever meaning we accord the term 'mental' (for Spinoza the term was 'God' and for Heidegger it was 'Being') arises from WITHIN the frame of experience. So the question is, how can we know that meaning is even remotely adequate for the frame itself. Now in cosmology we have comparatively robust emprical observations and mathematical models upon which to base our inferences (as well as a track record of breathtaking success). Here, on the other hand, all we have are metaphysical interpretations - which are doomed to be flimsey in the extreme.

I have some comments regarding the duck analogy, but they'll have to wait... view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 03 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

Seeing as you have spent so much time on your post, i thought it only fair that someone respond to it in someway.


Thanks! I wasn't expecting many people to respond (after all, this isn't a high traffic forum, and this is a weird subject), but the more replies the merrier! <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

What i wanted to discuss with you is what you said about sentience. Personally, i have no problem with the apparent contradiction of there being sentience and non-sentience without moving into dualism,


The contradiction is a subtle one, but real nonetheless. In any materialist model of mind, except eliminativism (which is self refuting as it requires consciousness to deny the existence of consciousness]), something else is added (usually without the theorist even realizing it) to the materialist metaphysic. This added something can be said to be a basic "point of view" - or the explanation is merely correlative ("when these neurons light up, the color red is seen") which are just "bolted on" to materialism and lack any explanatory value. We know there is neural correlates to consciousness - the question is how this neural activity can lead to consciousness. Materialism, by itself, just lacks the tools needed to answer this question. If materialism is true, it, by necessity, would have to have panexperiental or dualistic characteristics.

but before i say more on that, it would good if you could say just exactly what you feel sentience is.


By sentience, I mean the "something it is to be like" - or, the "inside" of a living thing. Like, for example, you have an "outside" (your body, your brain, etc.) and an "inside" (your mind, feelings, memories, etc).

If an object only has an "outside" (a "vacuous entity"), then it is considered insentient. Objects with and an "inside" as well as an "outside" are considered sentient.

Panexperientalism states that the basic units of reality aren't composed of insentient "things" but rather "occasions of experience" - or "actual entities". All objects in the world have this primal sentience. The primary building blocks that all "entities" (from electrons to stars) are composed of are "eternal objects," which includes experiences of colors, sounds, sensations, mathematics, mass, space, time(duration?), etc. Think about it, all "things" "have" these attributes - and these attributes is what reality is "made" of. Think about it like the eternal objects are "paint" and reality is a painting. One can "paint" any object (chairs, people, atoms, etc) into the "painting" - but the object will be made up of different combinations of "paint" (colors, sounds, space, time, whatever).

And no, panexperientalism does not say rocks and telephones can think, but their base units do have a sort of primordial sentience (an "inside"). Rocks and chairs are Aggregational Societies. People, animals, etc, are what Hartshorne calls Compound Individuals, which is (presumably through the brain, perhaps via quantum coherence in the microtubuals?) a "society" of experience "emerging" (not in the materialist meaning of the term) into a dominant individual.

Mental Monism is like panexperientalism, except I feel (now that I'm re-reading Griffin and Whitehead's Process and Reality) that panexperientalism may make more sense - or at least go into more detail.

For more information on the topic, I recommend Christian De Quincey's Radical Nature. It's a good starting point (though I disagree with him on some minor points), and it's written for the lay person.

[url:38z0swoj]http&#58;//www&#46;amazon&#46;com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931229155/qid=1088827186/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8758842-9813524?v=glance&amp;s=books[/url:38z0swoj]

And here is a short introduction to "Process Philosophy" - [url:38z0swoj]http&#58;//members&#46;aol&#46;com/NeoNoetics/Process_Philosophy&#46;html[/url:38z0swoj]

Hi Tak... Back from Canada Day shennanigans.


Is that like our 4th of July?

Regarding the unexplained explainer: The regress of justification ensures that we'll always bump into these, certainly - I took that as a given. What I was questioning was what warrants your 'mentalist' unexplained explainer. I need you to spell out to me, decisively (given the foibles of philosophical thought), how you get from 'Materialism is inadequate' to 'Mental monism is true.'


I'm not saying that. I'm saying, for a variety of reasons, materialism is, at least in its current form, inadequate in allowing experience to exist.

Mental monism, or panexperientalism, or even dualism (which has its share of problems) can allow for experience. Any materialist theory either gives correlative explanations (which don't answer the question - and imply some form of dualism or pan-ex-ism) or otherwise let an unspoken observer "in through the back door" so to speak. So basically, materialism inevitably ends up using some characteristic of a "mental" theory in its explanation. Something "outside" of the rules of materialism is put forward.

While the details elude us (and may indefinitely elude us, just as air eludes the ducks, or the concept of a cube eludes Flatlanders) I feel it is safe to say that in order for consciousness (and intention) to exist, some form of "experience" must be a foundation of reality.

Until then, your position strikes me as ad hoc at best: of the 'if it's not material, then it must be mental' variety. Why not something unknown?


And this unknown theory should allow consciousness and volition to exist, which should imply either the "unknown factor" should be an outside influence (dualism) or an intrinsic property (Pan-ex-ism). We may not understand the details (another dimension, quantum coherence, a "sentient vacuum", metamind, ?), but experience should be a part of it. Some form of mental monism, dualism, or pan-ex-ism are three broadly painted paths that are available to us. The most conservative would be pan-ex-ism, the most ontologically reckless mental monism (though, if pursued, it seems to turn into Whiteheadian Pan-ex-ism).

Why can't we know? Why should it be unknown? We are, no doubt, unable to know the nitty details of the foundation of reality, but I see no reason why the general idea should forever elude us. We should put forward different metaphysics, and see if the world works within them.

I think Whitehead summed up the purpose of metaphysics nicely when he stated:

Speculative Philosophy is the endeavor to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted


If a metaphysic can do this, and have better explanatory value than its competitors, then it should be considered a viable stance and, if not the Truth, then at least a step in the right direction.

Spinoza and Heidegger's 'frame complaint' comes to mind here as well. Whatever meaning we accord the term 'mental' (for Spinoza the term was 'God' and for Heidegger it was 'Being') arises from WITHIN the frame of experience. So the question is, how can we know that meaning is even remotely adequate for the frame itself.


We can't know . . . though we can come up with theories that fit the experienced phenomena.

But you are right in that we are stuck within our own experienced mental worlds, so we are at an almost impossible disadvantage to discover what is "really" going on. And the meaning of "mental" should be considered "things that can be experienced"- this should cover about everything. It's the things that we cannot experience (or at least experience indirectly) that will permanently elude us. But, whatever it is that is outside our experience, whatever is "behind the curtain" should account for our experience.

The three obvious choices are:

That which we cannot directly experience is . . .

1) in another universe (dualism)

2) Intrinsically part of our universe (panexperientalism)

3) Is what is really REAL, and the world around us is its construction/illusion (Idealism).

Now in cosmology we have comparatively robust empiricall observations and mathematical models upon which to base our inferences (as well as a track record of breathtaking success).


Science has had great success at describing, predicting, and utilizing the physical world - but hasn't a clue as to what the world is. The folks in Plato’s cave may congratulate each other on their knowledge of the movement of shadows, but that's all they will ever know.

As Griffin stated in his article "Panexperientalist Physicalism and the Mind-Body Problem":

. . . that science, like any other activity, abstracts from the things it discusses, focusing only on those aspects germane to the questions being asked. As Chalmers (1995, p. 217) says, 'physics characterizes its basic entities only extrinsically, in terms of their relations to other entities. . . . The intrinsic nature of physical entities is left aside'-which is reminiscent of Whitehead's (1967b, p. 153) that 'physics ignores what anything is in itself. Its entities are merely considered in respect to their extrinsic reality'. This insight is ignored when Searle, for example, says that 'science tells us' what the ultimate units of nature are like in themselves. It does no such thing. It tells us about those aspects of those entities that its methods have been suited to reveal, and those aspects, for all 'science' knows, may well be abstractions from the full reality of those entities. Simply to equate those abstractions with the concrete entities themselves is to commit what Whitehead (1967b, p. 51) called the 'fallacy of misplaced concreteness'.


Here's a link to the article.

[url:38z0swoj]http&#58;//members&#46;aol&#46;com/Mszlazak/PanExpMind&#46;html[/url:38z0swoj]

Even if science discovers every single correlate of consciousness, they will still be ignorant of how this correlation can cause qualia.

Here, on the other hand, all we have are metaphysical interpretations - which are doomed to be flimsey in the extreme.


Which still doesn't mean science can answer these questions.

Though mysterianism may be the most conservative of choices, this is by no means a given, and there is no reason why we can't, at least, understand the general idea of how reality is structured.

Here's another link to a paper I came across that is of relevance; though, to be honest, some parts just left me confused. I'll read it more attentively when I’m more awake (it's 2 A.M.)

[url:38z0swoj]http&#58;//mcs&#46;open&#46;ac&#46;uk/sma78/belgium&#46;pdf[/url:38z0swoj] view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 03 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I've already acknowledged there's value in exploring 'frame questions' (my dissertation would be pointless otherwise!) It's your cognitive commitment to ONE answer - mental monism - that I'm dogging you on.

Regarding which, you seem ready to bite the bullet... Once you take the metaphilosophical picture into account, agnosticism really seems to be the only rationally defensible position. The fact is, we just don't know. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 03 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

By sentience, I mean the "something it is to be like" - or, the "inside" of a living thing. Like, for example, you have an "outside" (your body, your brain, etc.) and an "inside" (your mind, feelings, memories, etc).

If an object only has an "outside" (a "vacuous entity"), then it is considered insentient. Objects with and an "inside" as well as an "outside" are considered sentient.


Ok that makes sense. And whilst I have a different idea of what sentience is and think it is a mistake to really think there is such a thing as an inside and an outside, I have no problem with such a classification. From a certain point of view, it can certainly be helpful in describing it in such a way. The problem comes though when we get caught up in these classifications and begin to think they are real things by themselves.

Due to all the classifications we have in the world today, such as night and day, hot and cold, static and dynamic, inside and outside, sentience and insentience, it can often seem like we live in dualism. When you look closely at them though, you can see that this just isn't so. They are just labels we put on things to make it easier for us to discuss them. And as I said, the problem only comes when we take the label for something concrete, instead of looking closely at the thing it describes.

For instance, hot and cold are not really two different things, they are just different phases of heat. And heat is not something that stands by itself either.

The same goes for night and day, static and dynamic, inside and outside or sentience and insentience. They are all just phases.

Basically what i am trying to say is that nothing stands by itself and that even though it is hard to see, everything can be tracked back to see how it interrelates. This is why i said in my previous post that I really have no problem with there being insentience and sentience without moving into dualism, as to me, they are just labels.

Reading the rest of what you said, i think you pretty much grasp this though. Especially the bit about saying rocks have some primordial sentience; something that makes them really no different to us, just at a lower stage of development. So the question once again becomes the one I first asked you: Just what is this sentience?

Don't worry about answering that though as i don't really expect an answer. Its one of those questions that runs far deeper than it first appears and can perhaps take years to answer (and even if you do, there is always room to deepen that understanding). I am just hoping to point out that perhaps it is a question worth spending more time on.

The only other thing i would say is that while from a certain point of view i would agree that things are composed of "occasions of experience", i don't really agree that they are only made up of what you call external objects such as colours, sounds, mass etc. Whilst they are certainly a part of what makes a thing what it is, i think you would find your time much better spent looking for the source of these attributes. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 03 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Okay, reading this and almost being able to follow some of the subcurrents that are implied has made me acutely aware that I need to read up more on this. So if you guys would please help me here, what are some of the texts that would explain "mental monism," among other things?

I have a feeling that I should know this under another guise, but it's eluding me now...

So any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated - thanks! view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 04 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

I've already acknowledged there's value in exploring 'frame questions' (my dissertation would be pointless otherwise!) It's your cognitive commitment to ONE answer - mental monism - that I'm dogging you on.


Well, I'm not committed to it, but I see it as a fairly good possibility. Though, now that I'm taking it to its logical base:

{Minds}---&lt;---{Metamind(God)(Process?)}---&lt;---{Eternal Objects}

I see that Berkeley's (&amp; Lloyd's) Idealism seems like an unrefined form of Whiteheadian panexperientalism - just take account of Platonic forms and replace "Metamind" with "process". Though, of course, Whitehead would have denied he was an Idealist.

Regarding which, you seem ready to bite the bullet... Once you take the metaphilosophical picture into account, agnosticism really seems to be the only rationally defensible position. The fact is, we just don't know.


I guess I do bite the bullet, though not that hard.

I'm sure there is a limit to what we can know about our own ontology, but we can learn to an extent about our world, just like ducks can learn to an extent about theirs.

You're right in that in we can't know (or know for certain, at least), but I feel safe in stating that the true metaphysic will be, in some form, one of these three "frames":

Physical World (w/ intrinsic "experience" (*) )-&gt;-(creates)-&gt;- Mental World = Panexperientalism

Physical World --(interaction)-- Mental World = Dualism

Physical World --(created by)-- Mental World = Idealism

*-This is opposed to materialism's physical world, which is described as being composed of insentient "stuff," intrinsically void of any experience.

-----

Ok that makes sense. And whilst I have a different idea of what sentience is and think it is a mistake to really think there is such a thing as an inside and an outside,


Well, I don't mean to say that they are literally outside or inside; but this is the impression we get. The "world" (whatever that is) is "out there" where as we are "in here". I have a feeling this confusion results from us not recognizing that we are not ontologically distinct from "out there" - our difference is one of token, not type. Think of a conscious whirlpool in a sentient ocean. The whirlpool, because it is more "focused," and therefore has a higher complexity of experience, mistakenly believes that the ocean (which is what it is made of) lacks experience and is insentient. The whirlpool may ask itself "How can insentient water, twirling about, cause me to be conscious?" Well, the correct answer is: it can't. The assumption in the question denies it a suitable answer.

I have no problem with such a classification. From a certain point of view, it can certainly be helpful in describing it in such a way. The problem comes though when we get caught up in these classifications and begin to think they are real things by themselves.


Exactly. This is what Whitehead called a "fallacy of misplaced concreteness".

Due to all the classifications we have in the world today, such as night and day, hot and cold, static and dynamic, inside and outside, sentience and insentience, it can often seem like we live in dualism. When you look closely at them though, you can see that this just isn't so. They are just labels we put on things to make it easier for us to discuss them. And as I said, the problem only comes when we take the label for something concrete, instead of looking closely at the thing it describes.


I agree.

For instance, hot and cold are not really two different things, they are just different phases of heat. And heat is not something that stands by itself either.


Well, to us, hot and cold are experienced as sensations, which are eternal objects (the experience of burning/the experience of freezing) manifest within our minds.

The same goes for night and day, static and dynamic, inside and outside or sentience and insentience. They are all just phases.


Yes. Just as "cold" is just a lower level of "heat" - so is sentience. There is no "insentience" (at least not within Pan-ex-ism or idealism). Experience in a matter of degrees, not a fine line.

Basically what i am trying to say is that nothing stands by itself and that even though it is hard to see, everything can be tracked back to see how it interrelates.


This is part of Whitehead's cosmology, this interrelation.

This is why i said in my previous post that I really have no problem with there being insentience and sentience without moving into dualism, as to me, they are just labels.


But they can be confusing labels indeed! While "insentience" and "sentience" are useful everyday labels, when it comes to the mind-body problem, this "misplaced concreteness" really makes the issue into a world knot.

Reading the rest of what you said, i think you pretty much grasp this though. Especially the bit about saying rocks have some primordial sentience; something that makes them really no different to us, just at a lower stage of development. So the question once again becomes the one I first asked you: Just what is this sentience?


I think this is Whitehead's god, the "one who experiences." The "nothing" that is under all the layers. If I understand it right, there really only is one "one who experiences," though individual personalities are this OWE wrapped in different archetypes and eternal objects.

Whitehead's god is the one who experiences everything and who is constantly changing along with the "process" of reality.

Don't worry about answering that though as i don't really expect an answer. Its one of those questions that runs far deeper than it first appears and can perhaps take years to answer (and even if you do, there is always room to deepen that understanding). I am just hoping to point out that perhaps it is a question worth spending more time on.


Well, this thread and the one before it have encouraged me to re-read Whitehead and re-access it in comparison to mental monism. I don't really understand Whitehead's metaphysic entirely, but it seems to encompass all of the problems.

The only other thing i would say is that while from a certain point of view i would agree that things are composed of "occasions of experience", i don't really agree that they are only made up of what you call external objects such as colours, sounds, mass etc. Whilst they are certainly a part of what makes a thing what it is, i think you would find your time much better spent looking for the source of these attributes.


Whitehead's eternal objects are the "universals" of reality. Mountains may rise and fall; suns may form and die, but the color green remains. The problem is, these eternal objects don't have any "real" existence (except in the Platonic Realm) but only as potentials - unless they combine into "Actual Entities". Take an apple. It has the eternal forms of color, taste, mass, volume, duration, etc. Individually, these EO's cannot be Actual Entities, but only in combination can they exist.

The forms attach by way of process, which seems like evolution. I'm going to have to read up on it to better understand what this means.

As to the origins of EOs, well they are timeless (since, IMO, time is an EO as well) and irreducible. They are the end of the line, or at least the end of the line we are ever going to see. And they aren't unexplained explainers either, as any ontology starts with a reality that is presumed to be fundamental. And, at least with EO, we know they exist. They are what comprise our experience. They can't be reducible, since any reduction would be only a correlative.

-----

Okay, reading this and almost being able to follow some of the subcurrents that are implied has made me acutely aware that I need to read up more on this. So if you guys would please help me here, what are some of the texts that would explain "mental monism," among other things?


Well, mental monism is the position that "mind" is the foundation of reality and what we call the physical world supervenes upon mind. Mental monism is also called "Subjective Idealism," or, more often, idealism (though there are many different kinds of idealism).

I have a feeling that I should know this under another guise, but it's eluding me now...


Don't feel bad; two years ago, I wouldn't understand myself either <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->

So any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated - thanks!


Here are a few

Radical Nature by Christian De Quincey: A good introduction to Whiteheadian panexperientalism, though I feel Quincey suffers from a bit of "misplaced concreteness" himself. Still, a good book.

[url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//www&#46;amazon&#46;com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931229155/qid=1088922013/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8758842-9813524?v=glance&amp;s=books[/url:1m4yrhmh]

The Self Aware Universe by Amit Goswami: I strongly disagree with Goswami's "Objective Idealism" (which is basically ill-conceived dualism) (*), but his book does cover all of the different positions in a clear (and humorous manner.

[url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//www&#46;amazon&#46;com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0874777984/qid=1088922185/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8758842-9813524?v=glance&amp;s=books[/url:1m4yrhmh]

The Mysterious Flame by Colin McGinn: This book presents a good coverage of all of the different positions from a materialist minded mind-set (though he doesn't think we can ever know the answer). He also gives a rather disappointing dismissal of panexperientalism, IIRC. Good intro book, though.

[url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//www&#46;amazon&#46;com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0465014232/qid=1088922548/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8758842-9813524?v=glance&amp;s=books[/url:1m4yrhmh]

Here's an link to an online "Philosophy of Mind" encyclopedia: [url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//www&#46;artsci&#46;wustl&#46;edu/~philos/MindDict/[/url:1m4yrhmh]

Here's another made by a Buddhist. It contains some good arguments against emergentism and the materialist model of mind. [url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//home&#46;btclick&#46;com/scimah/[/url:1m4yrhmh]

*-See [url:1m4yrhmh]http&#58;//easyweb&#46;easynet&#46;co&#46;uk/~ursa/philos/goswami&#46;htm[/url:1m4yrhmh] view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 04 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

Nice reply, and this Whitehead you mention seems to have some interesting ideas. I still think your focusing too much on external objects though. I don't really agree that they are timeless nor irreducible, and that instead, they all interelate and come about due to the manifestation of something else. What this something is though is a tough question, and it is one that can really only be answered by each person by themselves.

Just to pick up on something you said to Scott

You're right in that in we can't know (or know for certain, at least), but I feel safe in stating that the true metaphysic will be, in some form, one of these three "frames":

Physical World (w/ intrinsic "experience" (*) )-&gt;-(creates)-&gt;- Mental World = Panexperientalism

Physical World --(interaction)-- Mental World = Dualism

Physical World --(created by)-- Mental World = Idealism


Im not keen on any of those, so i'll give you another one to think about&#058;

Physical World-&lt;-("It" creates)-&gt;-Mental World

Not really sure what you would call that though.

Quote: &quot;Aldarion&quot;:1m23duuo
Okay, reading this and almost being able to follow some of the subcurrents that are implied has made me acutely aware that I need to read up more on this. So if you guys would please help me here, what are some of the texts that would explain "mental monism," among other things?[/quote:1m23duuo]

Don't worry you are not alone on that. Having really no background in philosophy, I often have no idea what they are talking about either when they use terms such as these either. Infact a lot of the time I have to read through what they are saying about five times before I get an idea of what they are trying to say. Sometimes its enough to make me suspect that philosphy student are actually given lessons in making things more complicated that they ever need to be <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 04 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Ah, just the typical confusion when jargon synonyms are used. I'm a bit familiar with Subjective Idealism, but that's more in relation to epistomological approaches toward constructing metanarratives to describe possible outlooks on the historical world.

Thanks for the book recs - I'll see if I can spare some money when I go up to Nashville again on my Monday off from work. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

Nice reply, and this Whitehead you mention seems to have some interesting ideas. I still think your focusing too much on external objects though.


Eternal objects, not external.

I don't really agree that they are timeless nor irreducible, and that instead, they all interelate and come about due to the manifestation of something else. What this something is though is a tough question, and it is one that can really only be answered by each person by themselves.


Well, they are timeless in that they do not "age," nor do they change with "time" (which is an EO itself). They are, basically, "outside" our time and space coordinences (which are manifestations of EO themselves). Mountains rise and fall; the experience of "red" is eternal.

And they are irreducible in that we can't intelligibly reduce them. While it is possible there is something beyond EO, whatever that is is incomprehensible to us. If I understand Whitehead right, the EOs are a part of Whitehead's "god" (which is not like the anthropomorphic Christian god). Whitehead's view of reality can be broken up into three parts: The Realm of Eternal Objects (the "material"), The Creative Force (process, evolution), and "god" (That's who's really looking back at you in the mirror; the "nothing" behind all entities).

If you want to label the manifestation of eternal objects, "God" is as good a term as any. I prefer "The Infinite" as it's a less loaded term.

Just to pick up on something you said to Scott

[quote:9x656ag2]Quote:
You're right in that in we can't know (or know for certain, at least), but I feel safe in stating that the true metaphysic will be, in some form, one of these three "frames":

Physical World (w/ intrinsic "experience" (*) )-&gt;-(creates)-&gt;- Mental World = Panexperientalism

Physical World --(interaction)-- Mental World = Dualism

Physical World --(created by)-- Mental World = Idealism



Im not keen on any of those, so i'll give you another one to think about&#058;

Physical World-&lt;-("It" creates)-&gt;-Mental World

Not really sure what you would call that though.[/quote:9x656ag2]

It sounds like dualism to me. Presuming the "It" isn't the material world itself, then the "It" would have to be an outside agency that interacts with the physical to "create" the mental world.

[quote:9x656ag2]Aldarion wrote:
Okay, reading this and almost being able to follow some of the subcurrents that are implied has made me acutely aware that I need to read up more on this. So if you guys would please help me here, what are some of the texts that would explain "mental monism," among other things?



Don't worry you are not alone on that. Having really no background in philosophy, I often have no idea what they are talking about either when they use terms such as these either. Infact a lot of the time I have to read through what they are saying about five times before I get an idea of what they are trying to say. Sometimes its enough to make me suspect that philosphy student are actually given lessons in making things more complicated that they ever need to be <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->[/quote:9x656ag2]

You should read Whitehead; he is the epitome of philosophical jargonized frustration. He had the annoying tendency to make up his own terminology (as there were no pre-existing words for the concepts he described - ex. "Actual Entity," "Aggregated Society", etc) and then not explain what he meant by them. Or, if he did explain what they meant, he did so in an earlier work and assumed anyone who was reading his current work had read those previous ones. That's why it's best to read Whitehead only after you've read some descriptions of his terminology. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

Eternal objects, not external.


My mistake.

Well, they are timeless in that they do not "age," nor do they change with "time" (which is an EO itself). They are, basically, "outside" our time and space coordinences (which are manifestations of EO themselves). Mountains rise and fall; the experience of "red" is eternal.


Interesting. I can see what your saying, but have to wonder if this is necessarily true. For instance, from a certain point of view red did not exist back when there were only primative lifeforms on the earth. It was only until animals with eyes developed that red actuallly appeared (and perhaps not even then as quite a lot do no see colours the way we do).

Red is just a part of our developed ability to see light in different phases. You have to wonder though if we had developed differently wether we would see something else (quite possible as there a people who are colourblind who already do this).

Whether the experience of red is eternal or not though does not matter all that much in the end. As I said it is just a function of light and our ability to see it, and as such is interconnected. I think it would be a mistake to focus on things such as this whilst not looking for the very thing that gives us the ability to percieve red in the first place.

The same thing can also be said of time. It is just a function of the what you could call the movement of the universe. It is not really something that stands "outside". Again, it would be much to look at what it is that moves the universe and not the byproducts of it.

It sounds like dualism to me. Presuming the "It" isn't the material world itself, then the "It" would have to be an outside agency that interacts with the physical to "create" the mental world.


No it's not dualism. I know it can seem that way though as on one hand you have this "force" and then it seems on another you also have this energy that it interacts with. It is something i used to struggle alot with, but it can be resolved.

You might want to check out 'Zen and the art of motocycle maintenace' by Robert M, Prisig (can find it online in a lot of places). He had some interesting ideas on this, and whilst I don't think he truely grasped it, from an intellectual point of view he certainly came up with one of the better theorys.

You should read Whitehead; he is the epitome of philosophical jargonized frustration. He had the annoying tendency to make up his own terminology (as there were no pre-existing words for the concepts he described - ex. "Actual Entity," "Aggregated Society", etc) and then not explain what he meant by them. Or, if he did explain what they meant, he did so in an earlier work and assumed anyone who was reading his current work had read those previous ones. That's why it's best to read Whitehead only after you've read some descriptions of his terminology.


Think I'll pass <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

Can understand that is neccersary though. Language was never really designed to explain the underlying nature of reality and instead is more used to describe just the surface of it. I doubt Whitehead is as hard to read as Dogen though. Not only does he use new words, he combines existing ones, twists sentances around, and even contradicts himself on purpose. It makes for very hard reading. Once you get a sense of what he is doing though, its almost enough to make you stand in awe of the way he does it. Perhaps I'll post something on him soon. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Friggin philosophy 101 over here. This is AWESOME.

Don't mind the jargon, Replay, it's just shop-talk. And always remember the one sure fire way to get a philosopher to shut-up: pay for your pizza and tell him to get the hell off your porch... <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

I swear, if Causation is ever argued here to any large extent, I'll boycott this part of the site. I still have too many nightmares of Foundations of Graduate Study in History to ever, ever want to even think about the Causation arguments again.

But if this section will avoid that for my sake, I'll be more than happy to read up on some of the things being discussed and more importantly, I'll think about what's being said here. Deal? <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

[quote:2xcbz5wt]Quote:
Well, they are timeless in that they do not "age," nor do they change with "time" (which is an EO itself). They are, basically, "outside" our time and space coordinences (which are manifestations of EO themselves). Mountains rise and fall; the experience of "red" is eternal.


Interesting. I can see what your saying, but have to wonder if this is necessarily true. For instance, from a certain point of view red did not exist back when there were only primative lifeforms on the earth. It was only until animals with eyes developed that red actuallly appeared (and perhaps not even then as quite a lot do no see colours the way we do).

Red is just a part of our developed ability to see light in different phases. You have to wonder though if we had developed differently wether we would see something else (quite possible as there a people who are colourblind who already do this).[/quote:2xcbz5wt]

True, red did not, at one point, "really" exist, in that it was not an "actual entity". But in that it is a potentiality, it is eternal. If all conscious entities were to suddenly perish, the experience of seeing red would exist only as a potential. Something that "can" exist, though for its existence to be actual, it must be manifested along with other EOs.

Look at math, for example. If no one knew any mathematics, the quadratic equation would still exist, even though no one knew what it was and it wasn't written down anywhere. It would exist as a potential in a Platonic Realm with colors, sounds, etc, "waiting" to be manifested in some form. In this way, these EO are "outside" reality.

Whether the experience of red is eternal or not though does not matter all that much in the end. As I said it is just a function of light and our ability to see it, and as such is interconnected. I think it would be a mistake to focus on things such as this whilst not looking for the very thing that gives us the ability to perceive red in the first place.

The same thing can also be said of time. It is just a function of the what you could call the movement of the universe. It is not really something that stands "outside". Again, it would be much to look at what it is that moves the universe and not the byproducts of it.


Well, I'm getting ahead of myself now. I'm still learning about Whitehead's philosophy myself, and, while I can "mostly" understand his view, or at least the general idea, I don't understand it well enough to explain it to someone else - not yet, anyway. But here are some links to some pages that, perhaps, explain it in a more clear fashion. Check these out and tell me what you think.

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//web&#46;ionsys&#46;com/~remedy/Whitehead's%20Process%20Philosophy&#46;htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//grad&#46;cgu&#46;edu/~combsc/glossary&#46;html[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//www3&#46;sympatico&#46;ca/rlubbock/ANW&#46;html[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//www&#46;alfred&#46;north&#46;whitehead&#46;com/AAPT/discussion_papers/birch_01&#46;htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

As to colors existing only in our minds (and not necessarily being the same in different minds - ex. colorblind people), I agree, but it is these very "occasions of experience" that is what reality is composed of. When it comes down to it, all actual entities, from atoms to aircraft carriers, posses, or, to use a Whiteheadian term, prehend certain eternal objects. In a primitive sense, the basic objects "experience" their "mass," "volume," etc. Colors and sounds can only be experience by Compound Individuals, which includes animals and people. All of the "occasions of experience" (neurons) are unified as one, either through Penrose &amp; Hameroff's Orchestrated Objective reduction process or "something" (probably quantum in nature). Colors are eternal objects that can be experienced by these Compound Individuals. The cause of these colors is, I suppose, an emergence of experiences from the unified occasions. The colors are manifested; though I guess they can be said to be reducible, but not in the way materialist use the term (in which experience is excluded/explained away). I suppose one way of saying it is that the colors and sounds are "built" from more primitive experiences, which would mean that "red" is an EO, though it could be broken down into "smaller" EOs, mush the same way a piece of music can be broken down into pure tones. Hmm, I'm not sure about this. I'll have to read up on this.

[quote:2xcbz5wt]Quote:
It sounds like dualism to me. Presuming the "It" isn't the material world itself, then the "It" would have to be an outside agency that interacts with the physical to "create" the mental world.



No it's not dualism. I know it can seem that way though as on one hand you have this "force" and then it seems on another you also have this energy that it interacts with. It is something i used to struggle alot with, but it can be resolved.

You might want to check out 'Zen and the art of motocycle maintenace' by Robert M, Prisig (can find it online in a lot of places). He had some interesting ideas on this, and whilst I don't think he truely grasped it, from an intellectual point of view he certainly came up with one of the better theorys.[/quote:2xcbz5wt]

I'll check it out, though it sort of sounds like "Triasm," or a three sided ontology. You have the physical world, the mental world, and a "go between" force that works to generate the mental world from the physical.

In any case, Mr. Bakker is right when he says that we just don't know. However, I feel safe in saying that experience is, in some form, fundamental to reality. It certainly isn't some curious after-effect that pops up ex nihilo - and if it is, then reality is dualistic in that a outside agency is required to attach the experience. Consciousness and volition are not something that can be explained away - something is missing from the materialist metaphysic.

Though I feel we can be reasonably certain about the "frame" of reality, I doubt we are capable to understanding all of the details. Whitehead’s view of reality, which is very complex, may be the closest we can get.

-Tak

Postscript&#058; This is why I am interested in parapsychology, because reason and logic are all well and good, but to actually have hard evidence of mental causation (and perhaps backwards causation) is something else. The ganzfeld just creeps the hell out of me and I get the impression skeptics like Ray Hyman are the same way - they don't want to accept the data, because it would undermine their world view. I spent weeks looking for a "sensible" explanation to the ganzfeld, and all came up lacking. Every one of the explanations given by skeptics has been shown to be inadequate. Fraud and error have been ruled out, poor randomization has been shown to be not an issue, sensory leakage has been ruled out, and Wiseman and Milton's 30 experiement study (which showed only chance effects) was shown to include studies that were nonstandard and were done primarly to show the characteristics and limitations of the psi effect rather than merely show it exists (for example: one of the test used music instead of images or movies - it had a effect only consistent with chance), these pulled down the average and Milton and Wiseman neglected to mention this. The ganzfeld, as far as I can see, is a real effect.

This opens the door to other phenomena, such as PK or "survival science" - I don't know if they are real, but the evidence is hard to explain away due to the "usual suspects" (fraud, incompetence). Griffin's Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration and Stephen Braude's Immortal Remains and The Limits of Influence are good eye openers on the subject.

Here is some links on the Milton &amp; Wiseman controversy.

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//www&#46;skepticalinvestigations&#46;org/whoswho/ganzfeld&#46;htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http&#58;//comp9&#46;psych&#46;cornell&#46;edu/dbem/Updating_Ganzfeld&#46;pdf[/url:2xcbz5wt] view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 06 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

As to colors existing only in our minds (and not necessarily being the same in different minds - ex. colorblind people), I agree, but it is these very "occasions of experience" that is what reality is composed of.


Don't get me wrong, i agree that these things are part of what makes up the reality we experience. I just don't really see the point in focusing on them, as to me they are all just manifestations/effects of the movement of the universe. I'm personally much more interesting in knowing what creates this movement and allows us to experience in the first place is.

I'll check it out, though it sort of sounds like "Triasm," or a three sided ontology. You have the physical world, the mental world, and a "go between" force that works to generate the mental world from the physical.


Yeah as i said before it can certainly seem that way, and even though really in some ways it is a very simple thing, it is very hard to put into words. I'm trying to think up a good example of something that is similar that i could give, but just cant seem to find one at the moment. All i can really say is that it is all one thing, and that even though it is useful to talk about a physical world and a mental thing, in a way there really is no such thing. It kind of goes back to what we were saying about sentience before, and about how rocks have it in some primordial way. I know that doesnt make things much clearer, but I don't fully understand it myself and have more of a sense of it than anything. I'll try and be more precise though in another post after i've had a think about it.


In any case, Mr. Bakker is right when he says that we just don't know.


I think the word that needs to be focus on here is "know". If you mean in an intellectual sense then i would agree. I would argue that reality can never be truely understand purely from the intellect. No matter how solid an intellectual view of reality we create, it is still just a view. Its a bit like painting in that you can be the greatest artist on earth and capture a scene perfectly, but in the end it is still just a painting and not the very thing you were trying to capture.

However, I feel safe in saying that experience is, in some form, fundamental to reality. It certainly isn't some curious after-effect that pops up ex nihilo - and if it is, then reality is dualistic in that a outside agency is required to attach the experience. Consciousness and volition are not something that can be explained away - something is missing from the materialist metaphysic.


Id agree that experience is fundemental to reality. Infact id say the only way to really "know" reality is to experience it. You could also say that experience is the very thing that creates everything else. The question is of course, just what is experience?

Postscript&#058; This is why I am interested in parapsychology, because reason and logic are all well and good, but to actually have hard evidence of mental causation (and perhaps backwards causation) is something else.


I think your certainly heading on the right path after reading this. At some point I think a lot of people who hunger for the truth realise that philosophy can never really satisfy them. It like being a starving man and all anyone will give you is menus instead of the food itself. Not that philosophy doesnt have its uses--and it certainly can be fun to discuss--it is just that at some point, when you realise explainations are no longer enough for you, you really do have to move beyond it. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 07 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

[quote:24z4mpg5]As to colors existing only in our minds (and not necessarily being the same in different minds - ex. colorblind people), I agree, but it is these very "occasions of experience" that is what reality is composed of.


Don't get me wrong, i agree that these things are part of what makes up the reality we experience. I just don't really see the point in focusing on them, as to me they are all just manifestations/effects of the movement of the universe. I'm personally much more interesting in knowing what creates this movement and allows us to experience in the first place is.[/quote:24z4mpg5]

I don't know. This is connected to the question: "why is there something instead of nothing?" - Whatever lies behind this question is not likely to be known to us - not in this world, anyway.

As to what creates the movement? What is the First Cause? Who knows?

If you can find it, try and find David Ray Griffin's Unsnarling the World Knot - Whiteheadian Panexperientalism is a complicated metaphysic, but Griffin, while unmistakingly academic, is a very lucid writer. He can explain it much better than I. You can probably find the book in a university, or through an inter-library loan system.

Id agree that experience is fundemental to reality. Infact id say the only way to really "know" reality is to experience it. You could also say that experience is the very thing that creates everything else. The question is of course, just what is experience?


That Which Observes? I think that's Whitehead's god. All Actual Entities have "god" as the experiencer. It is the nothing behind the EOs.

[quote:24z4mpg5]Quote:
Postscript&#058; This is why I am interested in parapsychology, because reason and logic are all well and good, but to actually have hard evidence of mental causation (and perhaps backwards causation) is something else.



I think your certainly heading on the right path after reading this. At some point I think a lot of people who hunger for the truth realise that philosophy can never really satisfy them. It like being a starving man and all anyone will give you is menus instead of the food itself. Not that philosophy doesnt have its uses--and it certainly can be fun to discuss--it is just that at some point, when you realise explainations are no longer enough for you, you really do have to move beyond it.[/quote:24z4mpg5]

Which is why I want to "get to the horse's mouth," so to speak.

I plan on conducting my own investigations this summer. The easiest experiment I can conduct is to test for Electronic Voice Phenomena (or EVP). EVP is a phenomena where someone starts a tape recorder and starts asking questions into the mic. If all goes well, when one rewinds the tape and starts playing, they'll hear strange voices, either answering the questions or making some sort of comment. It supposedly works best in "haunted" places, such as old houses or graveyards.

A questionable experiment, to be sure, but there are a number of websites dedicated to this sort of phenomena and it has been well known for the last forty years (and there has been controlled experiements involving EVP in the 70's, though I'm not certain about the tightness of the controls) Are the voices dead people? Are they just hoaxes? I find it hard to believe that so many people are partaking in such a childish hoax, and no one is spilling the beans (AFAIK). But, OTOH, dead people talking through a tape recorder just seems weird.

But, while the personality surviving bodily death is not necessarily supported by Panexperientalism or Idealism (they are neutral on the subject), there is enough anecdotal evidence, investigations, and experiments conducted to warrant the matter to be at least looked into.

Here are some links to websites on EVP; regrettably, their presentation is not as professional or scientific as one would hope. However, their examples are . . . interesting.

[url:24z4mpg5]http&#58;//www&#46;mcmsys&#46;com/~brammer/ourbest&#46;htm[/url:24z4mpg5]

[url:24z4mpg5]http&#58;//www&#46;ghostpix&#46;com/gis/E&#46;V&#46;P&#46;html[/url:24z4mpg5]

[url:24z4mpg5]http&#58;//www&#46;ghostwave&#46;com/Ughs2&#46;html[/url:24z4mpg5]

I don’t know if I expect to encounter this phenomena, but, if I do, and it’s repeatable (and outside parties hear and comprehend the voices), then I’ll let you know. Though I must admit, I’m going to feel more than a little foolish, sitting in a graveyard with a tape recorder, asking the air questions. <!-- s:oops: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_redface.gif" alt=":oops:" title="Embarassed" /><!-- s:oops: -->

-Tak view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 07 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

I don't know. This is connected to the question: "why is there something instead of nothing?" - Whatever lies behind this question is not likely to be known to us - not in this world, anyway.

As to what creates the movement? What is the First Cause? Who knows?


I don't agree with you that it cannot be known (though perhaps not in an intellectual sense), you just have to know where to look and how to approach the questions.

As to what creates the movement, I was not really talking about First Cause (though I suppose that could be part of it depending how you meant it), but more about what continually moves everything. It once again goes back to what I was trying to point out about sentience, in that it is something that pervades everything. Or perhaps from another point of view, that there is nothing else but "it".

The question is of course what i've have been mentioning beforet: Just what is this "it"? Just what is this thing called sentience? And just what is this thing called experience? Even though each question may appear different, they all point at the same thing.

I've never really expected answers to any of the above by the way. I've only been asking them in the hopes of pointing out another track of thought that anyone may wish to follow (though if they don't, thats no problem either). Besides, these are questions that can only really be answered by yourself and not by anyone else. For instance, even if I could put into words my own understanding of them, what would be the point? It would still be just my understanding and not someone elses. Theyd just be words that, whilst perhaps pleasing to the intellect for a while, are still just words and have little effect on anyone elses understanding at a deeper level. That kind of understanding can only come from realising/actualizing the truth for yourself.

I plan on conducting my own investigations this summer. The easiest experiment I can conduct is to test for Electronic Voice Phenomena (or EVP). EVP is a phenomena where someone starts a tape recorder and starts asking questions into the mic. If all goes well, when one rewinds the tape and starts playing, they'll hear strange voices, either answering the questions or making some sort of comment. It supposedly works best in "haunted" places, such as old houses or graveyards.


Whilst I find such things interesting, I have to wonder at what you hope to get out of it. Even if such things as spirits exist (which I doubt, though never like to dismiss anything out of hand), what makes you think that they will have the answers? And even if they did, what use will they be to you? It goes back to what I was just saying above, that words from another will never really bring true understanding. I suppose it's a hard fact, but there are never really any easy answers (though we often love to think that somewhere there must be). It is really only through our own efforts can we ever really begin to actualise anything.

It's funny you mention this subject now though, as I have just yesterday finished a book that gives a good example of this. It is about a English woman who even as a young girl had lots of questions about the nature of existence. She would always ask others her questions but none seemed to know the answers to them and thought she was bit weird for thinking such things. Her mother didn't mind though despite not having the answers, as she was a spiritual person. Infact she used to hold a seance once a week with friends. Anyway, one day where the kid got tired of the stupid questions they kept asking the spirits, such as how their relatives were doing, she decided to ask them some of her own. The first thing she asked was "Is there a God?". The spirits replied that they did not think there was some being out there, but more a force that was of good, love and perfection. She was a bit doubtful of this answer so asked another question: "How do we become perfect? How do we return to being like this force?" and their answer was that you just had to be good and kind. As she listened to this answer she thought "They don't know either!", so gave up ever trying to talk with them again.

It wasn't until years later that the woman found a path worth walking that suited her, and at around the age of 20 found herself living 13000 feet up a mountain in a cave (not as bad as youd think as it had walls built around it and became more like a very small house). She spent most of her adult life in that cave (nearly 20 years) by herself in the search for the truth, and whilst she never really talks about her realisations (though does give talks all over the world on some parts that would help others in their own quest), she does admit that the time spent there was worthwhile.

Now I'm not trying to say you that anyone who wants to realise the truth needs to go live in a cave (or even spend that much time), as that was just one path that happened to be right for her. But the story does show what kind of effort is required if we ever hope to truely understand anything for ourselves. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 07 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

I've never really expected answers to any of the above by the way. I've only been asking them in the hopes of pointing out another track of thought that anyone may wish to follow (though if they don't, thats no problem either). Besides, these are questions that can only really be answered by yourself and not by anyone else. For instance, even if I could put into words my own understanding of them, what would be the point? It would still be just my understanding and not someone elses. Theyd just be words that, whilst perhaps pleasing to the intellect for a while, are still just words and have little effect on anyone elses understanding at a deeper level. That kind of understanding can only come from realising/actualizing the truth for yourself.


I suppose we can do what Newton did with gravity. We may not be able to really define it (at least not from an ontological perspective) but we can label it. I suppose "The Infinite" is as good a name as any. Or "God," or "Braham" or whatever.

[quote:1pnjdmhd]Quote:
I plan on conducting my own investigations this summer. The easiest experiment I can conduct is to test for Electronic Voice Phenomena (or EVP). EVP is a phenomena where someone starts a tape recorder and starts asking questions into the mic. If all goes well, when one rewinds the tape and starts playing, they'll hear strange voices, either answering the questions or making some sort of comment. It supposedly works best in "haunted" places, such as old houses or graveyards.


Whilst I find such things interesting, I have to wonder at what you hope to get out of it. Even if such things as spirits exist (which I doubt, though never like to dismiss anything out of hand),[/quote:1pnjdmhd]

Well, I have doubts about their existence as well, but this is not so much due to a lack of evidence (there's plenty of that, though mostly anecdotal) as it is that I find the concept of the personality surviving bodily death as metaphysically extravagant. The personality is a finite structure that develops through life. It seems that reality would be more "cleaner" if the personality "defocuses" at death and dissolves back into the "it" from which is came. Sort of like a whirlpool breaking up and going back into the ocean. Not really the "extinction" of materialism, but more of a great merging.

"Survival," OTOH, just seems confusing. Why would a personality survive as a "ghost" or something? But, there is no reason why reality should correspond to what I think it should be, and I'm becoming aware that I have been purposely ignoring the evidence because of my prejudice. If I take the evidence at face value, it does collectively seem to support either the survival hypothesis or "super-psi" hypothesis (psi phenomena sub-consciously generated by the living that self-deceives them into believing they are in contact with deceased personalities).

what makes you think that they will have the answers?


Well, their very existence would answer a lot of questions. Of course, to really prove their validity, I'd have to rule out radio interference (if the EVPs are snippets of commercials or talk shows, I should be suspicious) effecting the tape and the Rorschach phenomena (I'll only accept the EVP as legitament if it is obstinate in nature and other people agree on the meaning).

Also, I'd have to rule out the super psi hypothesis, which means in order for the EVP to "really" be a ghost, the content should include information I was previously unaware of, or different people receive the same voice while I'm not present. Even if it turns out to be super-psi, that would be interesting in and of itself.

If the EVP passes all of these tests, I have the chance to (hopefully) find out things that I couldn't find out otherwise. I could ask the voices questions and such, and use their responses to create a hypothesis of post-mortem existence. The "ghosts" surely don't know everything, but they may know more than we do.

And even if they did, what use will they be to you? It goes back to what I was just saying above, that words from another will never really bring true understanding. I suppose it's a hard fact, but there are never really any easy answers (though we often love to think that somewhere there must be). It is really only through our own efforts can we ever really begin to actualise anything.


Well, if I can really conclude that I'm actually communicating with "dead" people, this would surely be a eye-opener for me. I wouldn't answer all of the questions, of course, but it will answer some.

It's funny you mention this subject now though, as I have just yesterday finished a book that gives a good example of this. It is about a English woman who even as a young girl had lots of questions about the nature of existence. She would always ask others her questions but none seemed to know the answers to them and thought she was bit weird for thinking such things. Her mother didn't mind though despite not having the answers, as she was a spiritual person. Infact she used to hold a seance once a week with friends. Anyway, one day where the kid got tired of the stupid questions they kept asking the spirits, such as how their relatives were doing, she decided to ask them some of her own. The first thing she asked was "Is there a God?". The spirits replied that they did not think there was some being out there, but more a force that was of good, love and perfection. She was a bit doubtful of this answer so asked another question: "How do we become perfect? How do we return to being like this force?" and their answer was that you just had to be good and kind. As she listened to this answer she thought "They don't know either!", so gave up ever trying to talk with them again.


Well, you'd think talking to dead people would answer at least some questions (namely, "do our personalities survive death?").

It wasn't until years later that the woman found a path worth walking that suited her, and at around the age of 20 found herself living 13000 feet up a mountain in a cave (not as bad as youd think as it had walls built around it and became more like a very small house). She spent most of her adult life in that cave (nearly 20 years) by herself in the search for the truth, and whilst she never really talks about her realisations (though does give talks all over the world on some parts that would help others in their own quest), she does admit that the time spent there was worthwhile.


I might do this, but only if I had access to the internet, and could receive all the books I want. <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->

Now I'm not trying to say you that anyone who wants to realise the truth needs to go live in a cave (or even spend that much time), as that was just one path that happened to be right for her. But the story does show what kind of effort is required if we ever hope to truely understand anything for ourselves.


I believe that to actually understand things, one must go out and find the truth. This finding may be sitting in a cave, meditating, whatever. IMO, parapsychology is a good place to look. Philosophy can only point one in the right direction.

-Tak

P.S. - What was the title of the book? view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 07 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

Well, I have doubts about their existence as well, but this is not so much due to a lack of evidence (there's plenty of that, though mostly anecdotal) as it is that I find the concept of the personality surviving bodily death as metaphysically extravagant. The personality is a finite structure that develops through life. It seems that reality would be more "cleaner" if the personality "defocuses" at death and dissolves back into the "it" from which is came. Sort of like a whirlpool breaking up and going back into the ocean. Not really the "extinction" of materialism, but more of a great merging.


Yeh i agree with what you say about it being cleaner, and I especially like your whirlpool analogy. To me it doesn't make much sense that a personality would survive after the physical death, but the thing I always try to keep in mind is that there is nearly always some piece of information you do not have, so to totally dismiss it would be unfair I feel.

Well, their very existence would answer a lot of questions.


They certainly would at that, but you would have to be careful of making too many conclusions from such an existence. For instace, if a personality does survive after death, perhaps it is because the person was far too attached to life to fully let go. So their existence would not really mean that the process is the same for everyone when they die. And also, if the personality was that attached to life, it may well be because they had very little understanding of it. So again, if any answers were forth coming, you would have to be careful with them.

Well, if I can really conclude that I'm actually communicating with "dead" people, this would surely be a eye-opener for me. I wouldn't answer all of the questions, of course, but it will answer some.


Yeah it would be an eye opener, and certainly would be interesting to find out. The only thing I question is how much value the information would be, especially for the amount of time spent gathering it (though if you enjoy the search, it is perhaps not time wasted).

Perhaps something to consider is that even if you do fiind out that some personalitys survive death, just how is such information going to affect the way you live your life?

I might do this, but only if I had access to the internet, and could receive all the books I want.


I think it does have a certain appeal. Even though it would be harsh to start with, I think once you got used to the rawness of such a life, youd never really want to go back and live in the muffled world that is todays civilization. Not that i really think such a life is necassary though, because as the saying goes "No mattter where you go, there you are". As long as you're disciplined and don't get too distracted by everything going on around you, there is no real reason why either way of life should be all that different.

I believe that to actually understand things, one must go out and find the truth. This finding may be sitting in a cave, meditating, whatever. IMO, parapsychology is a good place to look. Philosophy can only point one in the right direction.


Yeh I agree the only way to understand is find the answers for yourself. And I whilst I have doubts about the usefulness of paraphsycology, if you feel it is the path for you, then walk it for a while. Who knows where it may lead you? As long as you enjoy yourself during the journey, that is all that really matters.

P.S. - What was the title of the book?


It's called A Cave In The Snow. And even though I wasn't keen on all the Tibetan cultural baggage it at times carried (if you do read it, you might want to take those parts with a pinch of salt), I did enjoy the book. If anything, it certainly can inspire you to put more effort into your own quest when you know just how much she was willing to go through in her own. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 11 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

Yeh i agree with what you say about it being cleaner, and I especially like your whirlpool analogy. To me it doesn't make much sense that a personality would survive after the physical death, but the thing I always try to keep in mind is that there is nearly always some piece of information you do not have, so to totally dismiss it would be unfair I feel.


I've been reviewing the evidence again and I'm beginning to see that the evidence strongly implies survival; either that or a very developed super-psi ability. My whirlpool analogy, combined with the evidence, compels me to arrive at a hypothesis . . .

They certainly would at that, but you would have to be careful of making too many conclusions from such an existence. For instance, if a personality does survive after death, perhaps it is because the person was far too attached to life to fully let go. So their existence would not really mean that the process is the same for everyone when they die. And also, if the personality was that attached to life, it may well be because they had very little understanding of it. So again, if any answers were forth coming, you would have to be careful with them.


My whirlpool analogy may be more appropriate than I originally thought. A whirlpool isn't either "there" or "not there," its existence is measured in degrees. Basically, whirlpools don't just immediately vanish in a body of water, they fade away over time.

It is quite possible that surviving personalities are disincarnate individuals in the process of "personal defocusing". This "slow fade" is possibly attributed to a fixation or obsession about something in their lives, which would explain why many "lingering spirits" are found in old houses or graveyards.

Also, there is the notion, which is supported by certain EVPs and certain "séances" (evidence indicates that not all séances can be attributed to hoaxes), that at least some ghosts are not aware that they are dead. If this is true, then I hypothesize that many surviving personalities are in a self-created "dreamworld," possibly "living" in a semi-conscious and delirious state, much the way we experience non-lucid dreams. Occasionally, the ghost may be able to "wake up" and interact with the living, but I doubt this is the norm.

Given time, presumably, the old personality will completely fade away (or maybe not: read Ian Stevenson's Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, Children Who Remember Past Lives, and Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect for evidence of reincarnation)

Perhaps the more "enlightened" (whatever that means) personalities defocus at a much high rate; the more defocused they are, the more "at one" with the universe they are.

Yeah it would be an eye opener, and certainly would be interesting to find out. The only thing I question is how much value the information would be, especially for the amount of time spent gathering it (though if you enjoy the search, it is perhaps not time wasted).


Oh, if I end up communicating with the "dead," it will definitely be worth it. Of course, the value of the information communicated to me is another matter. If the only personalities I can contact are confused and addled entities who can't find their way out of their own cemetery, then I'm not expecting any great truths - but their existence would be enough for me. My purpose is to learn of the world, and their existence would be knowledge learned.

Perhaps something to consider is that even if you do fiind out that some personalitys survive death, just how is such information going to affect the way you live your life?


I imagine I'd be very excited at my discovery. Other than that, I'm not sure. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 13 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by NorthernPlato, Candidate

Good day all.

This has been the most interesting series of posts that I have ever read online. If I may throw my two-cents in regarding my beliefs on "after-life" and ghosts, I'd like to follow-up on the whirlpool analogy. I don't post very much and I get frustrated that it takes longer to type something than it does to think, so please bear with me.

I've always believed that the concept of 'soul' as a property that distringuishes individuals to be out of synch with the rest of nature. After reading Plato's Republic many years ago, I was intrigued by his imagery of an afterlife, though it seemed to be counter to what he argued via his idea of forms. Anywho, that night while watching stars cross the sky instead of sleeping, I envisioned a vortex to which we returned when we die. More of an image or concept instead of a concrete place; similar I believe to what nitrogen might perceive itself to be if it could ponder the idea of nitrogen fixation. My belief in the concept of souls is based on the idea that in a closed system energy cannot be created or destroyed (like a law of thermal-dynamics for souls). Basically, at creation, all of the 'energy' that can be used to create a 'soul' already exists and that every person (animal/plant/etc.) does not bring a 'new soul' in existance. Instead, each living organism posseses or accesses a portion of that 'energy'. However, because the system is closed and because new organisms are created/destroyed they 'recycle' that energy, leaving an imprint of what came before. This would be why some people might experience what they perceive to be moments of a previous life/existence.
Having read some of Steohen Hawkins' writings on physics and given the idea of time as a constant (if that's the word i'm looking for) that has neither a beginning nor end, (excecpt for how we perceive it) than every possible moment in time already exists for every possible decision we can possibly make. This isn't to say that free will is percluded, but that it's analogous to a computer program - a user can only make choices that are available to be made according to the program. The user isn't forced to any particular action, but the ability to chose to perform the action is accounted for. Similarlly, one isn't limited to make choices of which they are aware, it is possible to perform actions one didn't originally understand to be possible. But I seem to have gone off on a tangent here.
Right now, the only misgiving I have had is that existence would therefore not exist as anything more than an instant - that there was never a 'begining' to the system, simply that the existance of the system perpetuates itself, that there is no 'after' for an individual, at least not as we could perceive it. Because we would all be part of the system, we are therefore one and the same at the most basic level. Hence our need for community, language, culture, development, laws,religion,etc. which can be seen in almost all forms of life on earth and arguably in larger scale via planetary systems, galaxies and their specific anatomy.
I could go on typing for hours really, and sometimes I believe that perhaps I should, but frustration at wanting it just to be done (re: laziness, not a very positive attribute in an asipiring author..ha!) always seems to get in the way and I lose the will to continue. If one continues the argument long enough, it becomes a justification for rules of conduct with others, as any wrong done to others it a wrong done to the self.

Thank you for bearing with me and I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of everyone here. Not many people I know have a penchant for such discourse.

Fior Go Bas view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 13 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Replay, Auditor

Well it really comes to just what you mean when the subject of a soul if brought up. If you mean that each of us has some individual thing that doesnt change and moves from life to life, I would argue against that. But if you are talking about something that is inate to all of us, then I would perhaps agree.

Keeping with the whirlpool analogy, you could say that the universe (or more specifically, that which moves it) is like a river (though i prefer to think of it more as an ocean) and that when certain conditions arise, a whirpool is formed in it just like a normal river. This whirlpool travels along the river for a while, moving around and changing shape as other bits of the river come into contact with it. Soon though it begins to run out of energy and starts to disipate. And where there was once a whirlpool, now there is just the river again.

What I am saying is that the soul or spirit is the river itself, and that deep down, all we are are just manifestations of it. It also shows an interesting point that in a way there really is no such thing as death, because if we are the river itself, we know that we will born again in infinite different forms.

Now how this relates to the afterlife, i've no idea. If there is such a thing, it could perhaps be that when the main body of the whirlpool disipates, some residual energy is left over, and thus we have what are called spirits. But I would perhaps argue that in the end, even these will finally disipate and one again become part of the great river of life. view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 14 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

NorthernPlato wrote: I've always believed that the concept of 'soul' as a property that distringuishes individuals to be out of synch with the rest of nature. After reading Plato's Republic many years ago, I was intrigued by his imagery of an afterlife, though it seemed to be counter to what he argued via his idea of forms. Anywho, that night while watching stars cross the sky instead of sleeping, I envisioned a vortex to which we returned when we die. More of an image or concept instead of a concrete place; similar I believe to what nitrogen might perceive itself to be if it could ponder the idea of nitrogen fixation. My belief in the concept of souls is based on the idea that in a closed system energy cannot be created or destroyed (like a law of thermal-dynamics for souls). Basically, at creation, all of the 'energy' that can be used to create a 'soul' already exists and that every person (animal/plant/etc.) does not bring a 'new soul' in existance. Instead, each living organism posseses or accesses a portion of that 'energy'.


Well, this is, in effect, the main gist of Panexperientalism - except, the energy is "alive" with [primordial] experience.

However, because the system is closed and because new organisms are created/destroyed they 'recycle' that energy, leaving an imprint of what came before. This would be why some people might experience what they perceive to be moments of a previous life/existence.

Having read some of Steohen Hawkins' writings on physics and given the idea of time as a constant (if that's the word i'm looking for) that has neither a beginning nor end, (excecpt for how we perceive it) than every possible moment in time already exists for every possible decision we can possibly make.

This isn't to say that free will is percluded, but that it's analogous to a computer program - a user can only make choices that are available to be made according to the program.


Well, pan-ex-ism follows a "process" view of time. Time = process. At every "occasion" of experience, a "prehension" is made; which is a sort of decision. With every decision, a moment of "time" passes. The present is build upon the past. Of course, this doesn't preclude the existence of alternate universe or "might have been" worlds.

The user isn't forced to any particular action, but the ability to chose to perform the action is accounted for. Similarlly, one isn't limited to make choices of which they are aware, it is possible to perform actions one didn't originally understand to be possible. But I seem to have gone off on a tangent here.

Right now, the only misgiving I have had is that existence would therefore not exist as anything more than an instant - that there was never a 'begining' to the system, simply that the existance of the system perpetuates itself, that there is no 'after' for an individual, at least not as we could perceive it. Because we would all be part of the system, we are therefore one and the same at the most basic level. Hence our need for community, language, culture, development, laws,religion,etc. which can be seen in almost all forms of life on earth and arguably in larger scale via planetary systems, galaxies and their specific anatomy.
I could go on typing for hours really, and sometimes I believe that perhaps I should, but frustration at wanting it just to be done (re: laziness, not a very positive attribute in an asipiring author..ha!) always seems to get in the way and I lose the will to continue. If one continues the argument long enough, it becomes a justification for rules of conduct with others, as any wrong done to others it a wrong done to the self.

Thank you for bearing with me and I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of everyone here. Not many people I know have a penchant for such discourse.


Interesting. Here are a couple links to pages that involve a rather intriging argument from an materialist atheistic perspective. It involves the enduring nature of subjectivity. While I disagree with the materialist assumptions, the underlying idea is that the "I" is, in effect, immortal. Memories may come and go, personalities . . . lives, being a man, women, dog, bacterium . . . but the "I" remains.

[url:1tovzz1z]http&#58;//www&#46;naturalism&#46;org/death&#46;htm[/url:1tovzz1z]

[url:1tovzz1z]http&#58;//www&#46;oswestryschool&#46;org&#46;uk/decimus/identity&#46;htm[/url:1tovzz1z]

-----

Replay wrote: Well it really comes to just what you mean when the subject of a soul if brought up. If you mean that each of us has some individual thing that doesnt change and moves from life to life, I would argue against that. But if you are talking about something that is inate to all of us, then I would perhaps agree.

Keeping with the whirlpool analogy, you could say that the universe (or more specifically, that which moves it) is like a river (though i prefer to think of it more as an ocean) and that when certain conditions arise, a whirpool is formed in it just like a normal river. This whirlpool travels along the river for a while, moving around and changing shape as other bits of the river come into contact with it. Soon though it begins to run out of energy and starts to disipate. And where there was once a whirlpool, now there is just the river again.

What I am saying is that the soul or spirit is the river itself, and that deep down, all we are are just manifestations of it. It also shows an interesting point that in a way there really is no such thing as death, because if we are the river itself, we know that we will born again in infinite different forms.

Now how this relates to the afterlife, i've no idea. If there is such a thing, it could perhaps be that when the main body of the whirlpool disipates, some residual energy is left over, and thus we have what are called spirits. But I would perhaps argue that in the end, even these will finally disipate and one again become part of the great river of life.


I've been thinking about this. On one hand, the evidence, taken as a whole, does suggest that personalities can survive death. OTOH, people with brain damage, on drugs, Alzheimer’s, etc, suffer memory loss and changes in their personality. <!-- s:? --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_confused.gif" alt=":?" title="Confused" /><!-- s:? -->

If one sticks with a "defocusing of consciousness" hypothesis, then one must explain the existence of EVP (and "ghost" phenomena in general), the mediumship of Leonora Piper and D.D. Home (among others), Ian Stevenson's reincarnation case studies - not to mention veridical (and, admitingly, anecdotal) reports of out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences (both of which can be explained in terms of telepathy). Read Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality by Griffin and Immortal Remains by Braude for more evidence - the evidence, to my dismay (sort of, I'm more annoyed/excited) seems to hold up pretty well under scrutiny.

But, if one takes the position that the personality survives, then they must explain why we appear to need a brain to maintain our identity.

I think I have a theory that may serve as a solution, sort of.

The ganzfeld experiments, which, IMO, have, for all intents and purposes, proved the existence of telepathy, show that "thoughts" (and, by extension, memories) are "nonlocal" - they can be "picked up" in any location, and can, apparently, even be "sent" beyond time (maybe).

Ever wake up, and know you just had a really weird dream, but you just can't remember any of the details? I have a feeling that our brains "focus" our consciousness and make our minds more "defined," but, as a result, more limited. Take, for example, being knocked unconscious. For the sake of argument, assume that when you are knocked unconscious, you "revert" to your "higher self," "astral body," whatever. You, in this less limited form, do whatever it is you do (fly around, talk to dead people, whatever). Then, your body retains "consciousness." As your mind seats itself back into its brain, it has no memory of its out-of-body-experience while the body was unconscious. Why? Because the brain is not able to access these memories. They're there, but, while you are in your body, are inaccessible to you. Therefore, from your perspective, while you are in your body, you were in "oblivion" while you were "unconscious." Much the same way an amnesiac will view their entire life as "oblivion," or a "blank slate" . . . memory makes all of the difference.

Also, while in the brain, a mind is affected by whatever the brain "accesses." If a drug is administered, the neuronal individuals of the brain will create certain occasions which will cause the mind (the compound individual) to experience certain effects. If the brain is damage, the mind will suffer certain limitations as its ability to access certain memories and mental skills is diminished - however, "out" of the brain, these memories and abilities may be more accessible, just as they can be accessed through telepathy and (possibly) mediumship.

Of course, a skeptic will say this theory is begging the question as it assumes the mind can survive, in some personable coherency, apart from the brain. If one takes this assumption, then one can come up with any number of theories. But my theory is merely trying to make sense of the evidence. I admit that "defocusing" or "melting" back into the universal consciousness is more sensible.

Of course, no doubt you are right that this does happen, inevitably. Though, if one regards the evidence, it appears this process of depersonalization may occur gradually. view post


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