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Offline AlanTolosa

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A perspective on the afterlife
« on: April 14, 2017, 04:02:52 AM »
You say you're willing to change your mind based on where the evidence leads. I challenge you to follow the evidence about immortality. What evidence is there *besides the fact we can imagine it and it feels very real*?

In response to evidence of immortality, I'd like to propose this perspective. First, I'd like to change the word "immortality" to "afterlife" for the purpose of this perspective. I think immortality assumes one or similar forms while afterlife signifies a beginning and an end. I'd like to extend that thought to reincarnation to further my perspective.

Let me start this perspective by providing my "evidence".

It's obvious that we're all here, functioning, conscious, sentient beings living on a physical plane. This is my evidence.

What happens when we die? Nobody knows. But, would it be too far of a leap to say that we are re-born into some life form whether here, there, anywhere in reality? The proof is that we're all here. We may have come from previous lifetimes and may be going to future lifetimes, albeit, maybe in a different vessel in a totally different part of the Universe.

When you think about it, we know nothing else. So, who's to say that when we die, we aren't in a sleep-like state. Time as we understand it simply goes out of our perception, so it may be 1 millisecond before we're transported into a new vessel and start life as a baby somewhere else in this grand Universe, or it maybe Trillions of expansions and contractions of our Universe before we're re-born. We don't know and we won't be able to "feel" the expanse of time because we won't have any perception of it, but we'll be born again into another physical vessel of life.

For instance, when you fall into a deep sleep and if you don't have very rigid patterns of sleep and wake up times, you don't know whether you've slept 4 hours or 8 hours or 10 hours when you awake. It just feels like you went to sleep and then woke up. Your perception of time is dulled. The comedian Martin Lawrence related that he once went jogging in one of those heavy sweat suits and fell into a coma. He slept for 3 days and woke up not knowing that much time had passed. Everyone around him was super worried and thought he was going to die. When he woke up 3 days later, he just thought he had a really good night's sleep.

So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

Offline eh!

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 04:18:46 AM »
Assuming you are not a pre-teen experimenting with pot, i think you have just strung together a bunch of unverifiable and unsubstantiated claims that show no logical reasoning, no evidence are most improbable and not even shown to be possible.

Basically just shit you made up and haven't even provided a plausible argument for.

Let me guess, your defence is "prove me wrong or its true".

And no our current understanding does not accommodate eternal time.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 04:23:29 AM by eh! »
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline jetson

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 06:43:13 AM »
Since life started on this planet (according to our best knowledge, 3.8 billion years ago), we have not found a complete break in the cycle. In other words, so far, life is immortal on this planet. If the theory of evolution holds true, life started and has evolved into the current "tree of life" as an unbroken chain. Obviously, this is not the same as individual immortality.

I think it's a fascinating approach to the question, and is demonstrably true. Life on earth continues despite the constant death and extinctions in the cycle.

Of course, the best prediction of this planet is about as dire as it gets. Our sun will die, and ultimately our solar system. But there is no reason to think that humans could not find a way to inhabit a new planet - and in that case, the most likely survivors would be bacteria and cockroaches! lol

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 09:23:05 AM »
So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

That's what K-Pax said.  Not sure I can hang out for it.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline velkyn

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 09:26:37 AM »
So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

nothing shows that consciousness exists after death.  If this would be the case, then we should be able to measure it, if it can influence the material world, e.g. the brain.  What do you think is logical about this argument? 

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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 10:21:46 AM »
So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

nothing shows that consciousness exists after death.  If this would be the case, then we should be able to measure it, if it can influence the material world, e.g. the brain.  What do you think is logical about this argument?

Yeah agreed, and why would it be logical to say we'll be reincarnated?  I'm guessing Alan isn't a Christian?  I don't think Christians believe in reincarnation and living multiple lives.  I don't remember reading that in the Bible.

Also - couldn't we just as easily say that there are limitless states of consciousness?  Why would we have to inhabit a new one?  Maybe we get our one chance, and that's it.  I'm speculating, but so is saying we'll be reincarnated.  Agreed - I didn't see much in the way of evidence.  Saying "we're here" isn't evidence of anything except, well...we're here.  Maybe we'll be here and then gone for good.  We'd need better evidence - like people recounting lives from the past with incredible detail - but even that would lead to justifiable skepticism if you figure they could have researched an era and a typical person of that era.

Offline albeto

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 11:40:42 AM »
So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

Conceiving an idea isn't evidence, it's a hypothesis, and I don't think this one is logical. We know consciousness comes from the brain. We know the brain works by a series of electrical impulses in conjunction with specific chemical processes, responsive to stimuli. How do you propose these electrical impulses continue to move from one neuron to the next after the destruction and decomposition of those neurons? When the chemicals are gone, how does the chemical reaction, an integral part of brain activity and therefore consciousness, continue? We know the scientific method is the most accurate method we have to gain an understanding of how things work. How could this be tested systematically in order to weed out biases and assumptions and maintain only objective facts? In other words, put your idea to the test to find out if it's right or wrong, don't just rely on your feeling comfortable with it. That is, if you care if what you believe is right.

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 11:56:21 AM »
Since life started on this planet (according to our best knowledge, 3.8 billion years ago), we have not found a complete break in the cycle. In other words, so far, life is immortal on this planet. If the theory of evolution holds true, life started and has evolved into the current "tree of life" as an unbroken chain. Obviously, this is not the same as individual immortality.

I think it's a fascinating approach to the question, and is demonstrably true. Life on earth continues despite the constant death and extinctions in the cycle.

Of course, the best prediction of this planet is about as dire as it gets. Our sun will die, and ultimately our solar system. But there is no reason to think that humans could not find a way to inhabit a new planet - and in that case, the most likely survivors would be bacteria and cockroaches! lol

This is true, but the Big Crunch will eventually stop all life no matter where you live. That is unless we discover other Universes or dimensions and can find a way to move between these dimensions without hitting a pothole of non-existence or anti-matter.  :)  Happy trails right?

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2017, 12:00:31 PM »
nothing shows that consciousness exists after death.  If this would be the case, then we should be able to measure it, if it can influence the material world, e.g. the brain.  What do you think is logical about this argument?

Of course consciousness wouldn't exist beyond death, and thus, perception of time would be nil. So would it be "logical" to say that whatever gave you consciousness at this moment in time happened once in order for you to be posting on this forum? You are here because you have a body and senses and consciousness to control the body and understand and utilize the feedback from those senses. How do you explain that happened? Random chance? If it happened once and time is infinite, thus the random chances will continue to occur, it would stand to matter that the random chance that put you here now will eventually happen again in an infinite future.

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 12:19:55 PM »
Yeah agreed, and why would it be logical to say we'll be reincarnated?  I'm guessing Alan isn't a Christian?  I don't think Christians believe in reincarnation and living multiple lives.  I don't remember reading that in the Bible.

Also - couldn't we just as easily say that there are limitless states of consciousness?  Why would we have to inhabit a new one?  Maybe we get our one chance, and that's it.  I'm speculating, but so is saying we'll be reincarnated.  Agreed - I didn't see much in the way of evidence.  Saying "we're here" isn't evidence of anything except, well...we're here.  Maybe we'll be here and then gone for good.  We'd need better evidence - like people recounting lives from the past with incredible detail - but even that would lead to justifiable skepticism if you figure they could have researched an era and a typical person of that era.

I agree, there could be limitless states of consciousness. Interesting concept and that's the rub. How did we find ourselves in our current state of consciousness?

The evidence is based on our current existence and the fact that we have consciousness facilitating our human body and what we know about the creation of the Universe, time, random chance, and statistics.

Here are the items that are facts:
1. We are all alive and conscious, controlling our body, understanding the data we receive from our 5 senses, making our way through the physical world
2. Big Bang - The best theory we have of how the Universe was created
3. Big Crunch - One theory that the Universe will contract to its initial state and another Big Bang would occur
4. Time - infinite to our current understanding
5. Statistics - Infinity x Trials = repetition of Outcomes
6. Random Chance - what made human life possible. I'm grouping all "start of life" theories (abiogenesis) into Random Chance as these conditions will happen again given enough Time (#4) and Trials (#5)

Like you say, who's to say that our consciousness will inhabit another body? It may or it may not, but if sentient life ever happens again, as it most probably will, "somebody's" consciousness will be in the life form.

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2017, 12:23:41 PM »
Conceiving an idea isn't evidence, it's a hypothesis, and I don't think this one is logical. We know consciousness comes from the brain. We know the brain works by a series of electrical impulses in conjunction with specific chemical processes, responsive to stimuli. How do you propose these electrical impulses continue to move from one neuron to the next after the destruction and decomposition of those neurons? When the chemicals are gone, how does the chemical reaction, an integral part of brain activity and therefore consciousness, continue? We know the scientific method is the most accurate method we have to gain an understanding of how things work. How could this be tested systematically in order to weed out biases and assumptions and maintain only objective facts? In other words, put your idea to the test to find out if it's right or wrong, don't just rely on your feeling comfortable with it. That is, if you care if what you believe is right.

I concede that this would be a hypothesis. See my previous post in response to YCHTT. But you are right, there's no way to test this hypothesis, so this will remain a conversation piece until we can somehow bridge the death gap.

Offline albeto

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2017, 12:29:31 PM »
I concede that this would be a hypothesis. See my previous post in response to YCHTT. But you are right, there's no way to test this hypothesis, so this will remain a conversation piece until we can somehow bridge the death gap.

Even as a conversation piece, you still have to account for the mechanics of consciousness and explain how an individual's consciousness *might* work in an entirely new body. It's one thing to say this is all conversational, but if you're so far removed from reality, what's the point of the conversation?

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2017, 02:05:32 PM »
you're so far removed from reality, what's the point of the conversation?

Why would you say I'm removed from reality? And is there any explanation of an individual's ownership of the perception of consciousness? As far as I know, we can only be conscious of the body we occupy, and multiple consciousnesses are connected. Why would that be a prerequisite to the hypothesis? If I could prove it, I would have solved the mystery right?

Offline albeto

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2017, 02:15:40 PM »
Why would you say I'm removed from reality?

Because your assumptions don't conform to reality.

And is there any explanation of an individual's ownership of the perception of consciousness?

I don't understand this question.

As far as I know, we can only be conscious of the body we occupy, and multiple consciousnesses are connected. Why would that be a prerequisite to the hypothesis? If I could prove it, I would have solved the mystery right?

You can't only not prove it, you can't substantiate any detail, nor can you align any detail with reality. This is pure imagination, which may be fun, but not necessarily factual.

Offline stuffin

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2017, 02:26:54 PM »
You say you're willing to change your mind based on where the evidence leads. I challenge you to follow the evidence about immortality. What evidence is there *besides the fact we can imagine it and it feels very real*?

In response to evidence of immortality, I'd like to propose this perspective. First, I'd like to change the word "immortality" to "afterlife" for the purpose of this perspective. I think immortality assumes one or similar forms while afterlife signifies a beginning and an end. I'd like to extend that thought to reincarnation to further my perspective.

Let me start this perspective by providing my "evidence".

It's obvious that we're all here, functioning, conscious, sentient beings living on a physical plane. This is my evidence.

What happens when we die? Nobody knows. But, would it be too far of a leap to say that we are re-born into some life form whether here, there, anywhere in reality? The proof is that we're all here. We may have come from previous lifetimes and may be going to future lifetimes, albeit, maybe in a different vessel in a totally different part of the Universe.

When you think about it, we know nothing else. So, who's to say that when we die, we aren't in a sleep-like state. Time as we understand it simply goes out of our perception, so it may be 1 millisecond before we're transported into a new vessel and start life as a baby somewhere else in this grand Universe, or it maybe Trillions of expansions and contractions of our Universe before we're re-born. We don't know and we won't be able to "feel" the expanse of time because we won't have any perception of it, but we'll be born again into another physical vessel of life.

For instance, when you fall into a deep sleep and if you don't have very rigid patterns of sleep and wake up times, you don't know whether you've slept 4 hours or 8 hours or 10 hours when you awake. It just feels like you went to sleep and then woke up. Your perception of time is dulled. The comedian Martin Lawrence related that he once went jogging in one of those heavy sweat suits and fell into a coma. He slept for 3 days and woke up not knowing that much time had passed. Everyone around him was super worried and thought he was going to die. When he woke up 3 days later, he just thought he had a really good night's sleep.

So, what do you think? If we have no perception of time once we leave our bodies, and our existence is merely a random chance, and time is eternal, and according to statistics, this random chance will indeed happen again throughout infinity, and we obviously have consciousness and are living . . .  wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

I have to disagree with this statement, when I wake up during the night I usually have a time frame in my mind about what time it is, when I sit up my time is within 20 minutes almost every time. Most times I'm within 10 minutes of the time I perceive it is.  I always wake up at least 5 minutes before my alarm clock goes off every morning (my alarm clock may go off twice a year and usually only after a heavy night of partying). On days my wife has to get up and I don't, I wake up 5 minutes before her alarm goes off. When I come from work, sometimes I nap and set my phone clock to go off in a hour and a half, I always wake up 5 minutes before it goes off. I have more examples but let me just say I have developed an uncanny relationship with time.

Based on your analogy, to relate my sleep like state to the in-between time of occupying bodies I should know how long it takes. But, I have no recall of these jumps from one existence to the next.

I see 2 choices:

1- You need a better more concrete way of presenting or representing the phase of in-between time from existence to existence.

2- My personal time sleep continuum does not relate to these in-between existences times.

If 2 is correct, refer yourself to number 1.

There is the outside possibility that I hate alarms going so much I wake up before they go off so I don't have to listen to them. 


 
Quote
wouldn't it be logical to say that we'll be reincarnated at some point in time?

No, I don't.
The Greatest Story Ever Told Was So Wrong

Been Two thousand Years and He Ain't Shown Yet,

We Kept His Seat Warm and The Table Set.

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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2017, 02:45:29 PM »
I've always thought that the best argument against reincarnation is that (all or most) other life forms are not self-aware, and there are many billions more people on earth now than there were 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 years ago.   So where do all the new personalities come from?

And if you were re-incarnated as a maggot or dung beetle, what would it even matter, since you wouldn't be self aware?

Scientific evidence points to personality as being a self contained, complex, chemical reaction.   When my brain dies, sadly, that's it.   I won't be able to be reborn as a garden slug who can slime my way across a keyboard to continue this debate.

All arguments for afterlife boil down to wishful thinking... because none of us wants to be permanently gone.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline eh!

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2017, 03:16:50 PM »
Exactly there are more humans and insects than ever before, where did all the consciousness come from to inhabit them.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2017, 07:02:40 PM »
We live in a black box. Most people call this box the universe. The box contains all the information generated within it and throughout it. Our thoughts and emotions and actions are little more than chemical reactions culminating in our individual being, how we choose to react to our immediate environment and circumstances. Our consciousness is the culmination of our decision making processes based upon the chemical reactions. The box records everything. We cannot see outside our box, so who is to say with any amount of certainty that once our biological bags die, all the information we acquired is lost?

Who is to say with any amount of certainty that the box is not infinite and all the information contained within it is not recycled over and over again? 
When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2017, 11:16:07 AM »
Alan, you said,
Quote
This is true, but the Big Crunch will eventually stop all life no matter where you live. That is unless we discover other Universes or dimensions and can find a way to move between these dimensions without hitting a pothole of non-existence or anti-matter.

This is almost about as wrong as it gets. The universe is expanding fast enough that gravity will never, so far as we can see, bring all matter back to the middle. The universe is just getting bigger so that one day no light and no stars will be seen as they are out of sight. it will be a heat death not a big crunch.

Now, on the main topic. If there is such a thing as reincarnation then the only useful way of knowing is that there is something of the old person in the new one. If it is only a sort of reusable spark that is reincarnated that is much the same as the way we currently think of it - that each new individual is exactly that, a new individual. So what's the requirement for reincarnation or indeed any other sort of afterlife?

The thing that makes me me and you you is just this - the arrangement of neurons in the brain and the proportions of various chemicals running over them. We call that the brain and it contains everything there is of us. This can be observed by looking at people with damaged brains. A stroke can change a person's personality drastically whilst damage of the hypo-campus affects memory such that a person might not be able to recognise of know any of their relatives. There's lots on the Internet about this so look it up if you need to. Anyway, the basic thing is that the brain, which contains everything about us that makes us us, is physical. If some sort of soul or spirit was involved, surely brain damage would not have the affects it does to the personality.

So, reincarnation, if it is to differ from new individuals appearing, is that the contents of the brain need to be transferred with the soul' or 'spark'. This is not something one can immediately imagine happening as the amount of data involved is huge. Unless there is some backup of this data going on and the data stored in the celestial realm somewhere, it is, basically, impossible to imagine this happening just around the time of death.  So, in my view, the idea of reincarnation in any meaningful sense is absurd.

Really, there is a need of some information to proceed here but I have no idea how this could be obtained. After all, if the  consciousness of a person cannot be passed onto their new individual, no information can be adduced. II fit is, we would expect lots of lots of people to have knowledge about past lives but we don't find that either. Keep thinking, Alan, until you come up with an idea that the concept of reincarnation could predict at which stage you have an hypothesis and not just an idea. Then you could start to test the prediction.

Until that happy time, keep thinking and see if it gets you anywhere.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Astreja

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2017, 09:35:12 PM »
Even if in the context of an infinite number of remixes we did end up living again, I don't see any particular value in it.  It could have happened already, once or a million times, but does it have any impact on who we are right now?  No, not really.

At this moment, there could be many sentient beings in distant galaxies who are thinking similar thoughts to ours.  In a sense they're just as much our avatars as any future identical personae.  What are we, if not the ideas that we cherish and the experiences that link us to reality?
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2017, 11:20:06 PM »
Even if in the context of an infinite number of remixes we did end up living again, I don't see any particular value in it.  It could have happened already, once or a million times, but does it have any impact on who we are right now?  No, not really.

At this moment, there could be many sentient beings in distant galaxies who are thinking similar thoughts to ours.  In a sense they're just as much our avatars as any future identical personae.  What are we, if not the ideas that we cherish and the experiences that link us to reality?

Good questions. This conversation reminds me of a story I read once upon a time. I do not offer this story as an example of what I think is "really" happening but in the context of this conversation I think you all will find it interesting.

Quote
The Egg

By: Andy Weir

 

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

 

When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline eh!

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2017, 12:01:31 AM »
Reasonable as any other story.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2017, 07:03:21 AM »
At the moment, I think Occam and his razor are needed. If there is no afterlife - i.e. we die and that is literally the end of us - then that produces one less player than if we invent a god to be in charge of the process. Occam would chop off god as a solution leaving the more obvious solution that we we die we stay dead.

I'd say that we would have to do better with identifying a god - and showing that it exists - before we could reasonably consider it has any value in this topic. Mere books establish nothing!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2017, 02:49:23 AM »
I agree or cannot argue with many of the replies to this point. I will post replies to those that I might have a rebuttal or something to add. Thank you for the thoughtful responses.

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2017, 03:12:28 AM »
What seems to be the sticking point to finding a rebuttal?

Maybe we can help.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2017, 03:25:16 AM »
If there is such a thing as reincarnation then the only useful way of knowing is that there is something of the old person in the new one.

There would never be a way to validate this and even if there were some obscure factoid that someone recalled about a previous life that would be true, the audience would be too skeptical to give any credibility to that claim. I'd rule this out as ever being solid evidence.


The thing that makes me me and you you is just this - the arrangement of neurons in the brain and the proportions of various chemicals running over them. We call that the brain and it contains everything there is of us. This can be observed by looking at people with damaged brains. A stroke can change a person's personality drastically whilst damage of the hypo-campus affects memory such that a person might not be able to recognise of know any of their relatives. There's lots on the Internet about this so look it up if you need to. Anyway, the basic thing is that the brain, which contains everything about us that makes us us, is physical. If some sort of soul or spirit was involved, surely brain damage would not have the affects it does to the personality.

I agree with how the brain controls physical functions in the body, even memories, personality, and emotional states. But the piece that's missing is the part of the individual that allows a "spirit" to inhibit a particular body. We are not cars that simply require mechanics, fluids, gas, and a battery to function. We are "born" and from that birth comes that "spark". We cannot inject life into anything.


So, reincarnation, if it is to differ from new individuals appearing, is that the contents of the brain need to be transferred with the soul' or 'spark'. This is not something one can immediately imagine happening as the amount of data involved is huge. Unless there is some backup of this data going on and the data stored in the celestial realm somewhere, it is, basically, impossible to imagine this happening just around the time of death.  So, in my view, the idea of reincarnation in any meaningful sense is absurd.

I don't get the connection between data size and that disproving reincarnation in your view. Your perspective of huge amounts of data will get blown if you just stick around for another 10 or 20 years. If we're just a blip in time to the history of life, and even a smaller blip to the history of the universe? I can't even say what you'd use to measure the history of computing power. They make processors that reduce the time it takes to translate the entire Library of Congress into a language other than English down from about 4 to less than 5 seconds. We'll probably have computers in our bloodstream very soon, maybe in our lifetimes. Thinking of a person's life's experience in terms of a data file is strange enough, but it would be unrealistic not to think that all the data in the world today wouldn't fit on something the size of the head of a pin in the next 10 or 20 years. I still don't see the connection as to why that would invalidate reincarnation.

Really, there is a need of some information to proceed here but I have no idea how this could be obtained. After all, if the  consciousness of a person cannot be passed onto their new individual, no information can be adduced. II fit is, we would expect lots of lots of people to have knowledge about past lives but we don't find that either.

I agree, but I'd also like to add that we're missing some key information. Let's say that the consciousness can pass onto a new individual, how many unique consciousnesses are there? Let's say there were 10 billion. If so, there might be some recollection of past lives. What if there were 100 Trillion? If so, we wouldn't have even come close to providing each unique consciousness with a life experience (sentient on Earth at least). And who's to say that all of those 100 Trillion consciousnesses were born on Earth? Or born a human. I'm not trying to argue anything except for the sheer math behind this thought.

Until that happy time, keep thinking and see if it gets you anywhere.

Thank you - I will. And I wish you the best in your new thoughts!

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2017, 03:28:55 AM »
For fucking serious, we are now trying to get estimates on how many consciousnesses are floating around outside time and space.

This place has gone to shit.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2017, 03:33:45 AM »
Even if in the context of an infinite number of remixes we did end up living again, I don't see any particular value in it.  It could have happened already, once or a million times, but does it have any impact on who we are right now?  No, not really.

I totally agree. I don't the value would come to us as individuals, especially in a particular lifetime. I would say that if there were a collective, it would matter to the collective.

At this moment, there could be many sentient beings in distant galaxies who are thinking similar thoughts to ours.  In a sense they're just as much our avatars as any future identical personae.  What are we, if not the ideas that we cherish and the experiences that link us to reality?

Good point. Yes, what are we and I'd like to take it to another step and also ask, what is our purpose? That's something I've decided for myself that I'm comfortable with and God fits into my narrative. I stress that it's something that fits my personal understanding of life and I don't want to impose or project that to anyone else.

Offline AlanTolosa

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Re: A perspective on the afterlife
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2017, 03:43:45 AM »
Good questions. This conversation reminds me of a story I read once upon a time. I do not offer this story as an example of what I think is "really" happening but in the context of this conversation I think you all will find it interesting.

Fun story, thanks! I guess I'm just posting and responding to myself!  ;)