Consciousness after death

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highryder
Consciousness after death
martin dufresne

Before death would be a good idea too.

 

remind remind's picture

Interesting interview, thanks highryder.

Kaspar Hauser

Highryder: You might be interested in the work of Christopher Michael Langan, a man who apparently has the highest IQ in the USA (and who works as a bartender; go figure). He's developed what he calls the Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe. Here's a primer on CTMU (I can't link to the primer directly, so you have to go to the "CTMU Primer" link at the bottom of the page):

http://www.ctmu.org/

 

And here's his introduction to the model:

 

http://www.megafoundation.org/CTMU/Articles/Langan_CTMU_092902.pdf

 

martin dufresne

a man who apparently has the highest IQ in the USA

That's not saying much.Wink

Doug

Conciousness after death? That's even less likely to exist than sex after marriage. Laughing

Fidel

martin dufresne wrote:

a man who apparently has the highest IQ in the USA

That's not saying much.Wink

That was brilliant. Mark of a genus. Good show.

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Quote:
David: What do you think happens to consciousness after death?

 

Rick: I think it continues, but in some unknown form. I think a lot depends upon the nature of our consciousness during our lives--how attached to various levels of consensus reality it is. My late/former Zen teacher used to use the analogy of a light bulb, with electric current passing through it. The light bulb goes out, but the current continues, "changed" in a way, for its experience in the bulb. He also referred to "like gravitating toward like" in terms of the idea of the need for certain aspects of consciousness to develop further, before it can return to its source. That is, dog-like aspects of our consciousness end up in a dog, human-like aspects get worked through in another human, plant-like aspects into plants, and so on.(bold added for emphasis by me)

IN terms of defining "some model of Justice" that is universal, it is in some respects,  that it is here I believe is where some "underlying framework exists" for mutual agreement for all peoples who are born into the world? What is "conceptually acceptable," that regardless of your religion, political relation or scientific position toward fact, that something rests inside that is not defined by gender, or animal, that responses to the process of objectives and goals that are defining in some sense, toward what justice will recognize.

If the heart was free from the impurities of sin, and therefore lighter than the feather, then the dead person could enter the eternal afterlife.

Hall of Ma'at

What is transfered in Myth, that retains "conceptual significance for acceptance" toward believing the "end time for oneself" sets the future according too, and is based on this "gravitating experience?"

Quote:
Plato prove that justice does not depend upon a chance, convention or upon external force. It is the right condition of the human soul by the very nature of man when seen in the fullness of his environment. It is in this way that Plato condemned the position taken by Glaucon that justice is something which is external. According to Plato, it is internal as it resides in the human soul. "It is now regarded as an inward grace and its understanding is shown to involve a study of the inner man." It is, therefore, natural and no artificial. It is therefore, not born of fear of the weak but of the longing of the human soul to do a duty according to its nature.Plato's Concept Of Justice: An Analysis Bold was added by me for emphasis.

As one sits in judgement "of themself" for what we had accomplished or failed to accomplish, is the idea toward "what is gravitating toward", or functions as, "a forming apparatus" toward consequences of our life as they unfold? These then are again personal choices for what conceptually makes sense to me, regardless of the inherent structures built by men or woman.

Quote:
A just society must be governed by men of reason.Inventing a new social myth to replace the old. Socrates calls those who rule for the benefit of the whole society and not to it's detriment golden men: in his myth they rightfully govern the men of silver and bronze.
This is the myth of metals(415a ff.) the centrepiece of a second accusation that has dogged Plato through the centuries. Plato made clear that merit and not heredity defined the gold man and that gold could be found in all parts of society. Nonetheless, Plato has never escaped the charge that he imposes upon society an elitist and authoritarian rule. The charge is pressed even though in Book IV Plato makes justice in the individual the condition of justice in society.
--Pg 16, Para 2 and 3, of Plato the Republic Introduction by Richard W. Sterling and William C. Scott.

Eureka

(This illustration and text are from a magazine advertisement for NBC, probably dating from the 1940’s. It was found among the files of the Print and Picture Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The word “eureka!” is coming out of Archimedes’ mouthSee:Archimedes

Facets of the "concept of justice" are retained in the idea of the Archimedes bath.

This "underlying framework" can never be denied.

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

martin dufresne wrote:
Before death would be a good idea too.

 

Chicken before egg-pure genus:)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Reading the links, I am reminded that it's quite possible to be highly intelligent and batshit insane at the same time.

Fidel

Another road scholar drive by.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fidel, Strassman may have a point in that religious visions, alien abductions and near death experience visions may be related to chemicals in the brain - okay, that sounds sensible enough.  You can test that hypothesis.  But then he leaps off into consciousness after death - based on what?  Just because he's a doctor doesn't mean he isn't just making it up as he goes along.

Langan, on the other hand, sounds like a total nutter.  Can prove the existence of god and the sould with math -- okey dokey, do it.  Let's see some peer review.  Oh, he's also a proponent of Intelligent Design?  Whoopsie daisy, there goes his credibility flapping off into the sunset.

Smart does not mean reality-based.  Sometimes it just means fancier fantasy worlds. 

remind remind's picture

I am all for any research that is conducted on the brain and brain chemicals, it is the least studied area there is.

There are also endless accounts of consciousness after death reports from those who have come back from it.

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:

Fidel, Strassman may have a point in that religious visions, alien abductions and near death experience visions may be related to chemicals in the brain - okay, that sounds sensible enough.  You can test that hypothesis. 

NDE's are being tested [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_death_experience#Research]at 25 research hospitals in the UK and US.[/url] This is on the heels of an 18 month pilot study of people resuscitated to life after experiencing clinical death for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. ie. no pulse, no breathing, no brain wave activity and onset of initial stages of cell death, and temporal lobe epilepsy ruled out.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Ooooh, a disputed Wikipedia article!  Well, that demolishes any argument I might have....

Here's a link regarding Langan's theory as it relates to mathematics:

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2008/02/two_for_one_crackpot_physics_a.php

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Reading the links, I am reminded that it's quite possible to be highly intelligent and batshit insane at the same time.

 

[IMG]http://i29.tinypic.com/ieeamo.jpg[/IMG]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fidel, I looked up their reference for the study.  It's a BBC news article, and the fellow who appears to be the lead researcher, Dr. Sam Parnia, doesn't expect they'll come up with much.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7621608.stm

Fidel

I guess that means you won't be commenting on the matter further, and especially since Parnia has no expectations from the scientific study he and others will be spending some part of the next three years of their professional lives studying.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Did you read the link, Fidel?  You are the one who brought up the study, after all.

Quote:
Dr Sam Parnia, who is heading the study, said: "If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.

"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded.

"And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories.

"This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study."

 

It's not specifically stated, but one could draw from the above comment that the purpose of the study is as much to de-bunk NDEs as it is to prove they are real.

martin dufresne

Fidel and remind, the reason why they call "it" a near-death experience is that it's just that.  Near death, not past it.  Whatever happens as the body starts winding down life processes and then revives is nothing like the current speculation as to consciousness, life or whatever long past the stage where one's life actually ends and no reviving is possible.  This kind of zombological literature simply exploits the fuzziness of "clinical death" criteria (e.g. b-s scientific notions such as "the brain switches off") to claim a death experience for people whose "resucitation" simply demonstrates they had not ceased living.  Near death.

Fidel

They are not "fuzzy" concerning what constitutes clinical death. If no one is able to resuscitate you, and it says on your death certificate that you died, then it's an absolute in the large majority of cases of clinical death. Theyre not sure why some people have been reanimated after several minutes to an hour and with some percentage of that minority of dead people experiencing no measurable disability or ill side effect from having died to death.

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:

Did you read the link, Fidel?  You are the one who brought up the study, after all.

Quote:
Dr Sam Parnia, who is heading the study, said: "If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.

"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded.

"And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories.

"This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study."

 

It's not specifically stated, but one could draw from the above comment that the purpose of the study is as much to de-bunk NDEs as it is to prove they are real.

Well ya? This is how science is done. It wouldnt be science if they were introducing their own biases and prejudices into their observations. Theyre using the scientific method in order to cancel out any such pre-existing bias. I think what is interesting as well are the observations made in the 18 month pilot study. Parnia isnt the only ER doctor to have made the same observations leading to this study.

Sven Sven's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Just because he's a doctor doesn't mean he isn't just making it up as he goes along.

* * *

Smart does not mean reality-based.  Sometimes it just means fancier fantasy worlds. 

No shit.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

martin dufresne

Fidel: They are not "fuzzy" concerning what constitutes clinical death. If no one is able to resuscitate you, and it says on your death certificate that you died, then it's an absolute in the large majority of cases of clinical death.

Do I have to play Dr. Spock here and spell this out? Contradiction 1) You are taking about people being ressucitated after clinical death has been established. Then you write "If no one is able to resuscitate you" as a criterion of clinical death. Contradiction 2) You claim to be talking about an absolute... but qualify that with "in a large majority of cases." No go.

I am well-prepared to agree that people emerge from comas with apparent memories that can be linked to either the brain processes winding down or restarting, but I don't need to call this "consciousness after death" to explore these phenomena accessed when emerging from that state.

Death is, by definition, not reviving.

 

Fidel

from wikipedia on clinical death:

Quote:
Limits of reversal

Most tissues and organs of the body can survive clinical death for considerable periods. Blood circulation can be stopped in the entire body below the heart for at least 30 minutes, with injury to the spinal cord being a limiting factor.[4] Detached limbs may be successfully reattached after 6 hours of no blood circulation at warm temperatures. Bone, tendon, and skin can survive as long as 8 to 12 hours.[5]

The brain, however, appears to accumulate ischemic injury faster than any other organ. Without special treatment after circulation is restarted, full recovery of the brain after more than 3 minutes of clinical death at normal body temperature is rare

Ischemic injury: your body's way of telling you that you've slowed down by more than enough to achieve your goal of becoming fertilizer.

Kaspar Hauser

Timebandit: There is a problem with the critique you linked to regarding Langan's work: the critique condemns Langan for failing to define his terms or elaborate his arguments, without acknowledging that the source material being critiqued is simply a precis or introduction to Langan's ideas. This is comparable to dismissing the ideas of Karl Marx or Noam Chomsky as superficial based solely on a reading of "Marx for Beginners" or "Chomsky for Beginners". Furthermore, the author of the critique is focusing purely on the mathematical dimension of Langan's work, and dismisses all of the philosophical material as "wordgames" and "semantics". 

Now, granted, the introduction that he's using as source material is terribly written and poorly presented, but it is, nonetheless, simply a brief introduction. It's not supposed to support the weight that the critic is placing upon it.

Having said this, it's altogether possible that Langan's fully articulated theory is fatally flawed, and that the flaws are the same ones presented in the critique (the limitations of naive set theory, etc), but the case has not yet been made. (Or maybe it has and I simply haven't read it. If anyone can find a link to a more substantial critique, I'd really like to read it.)

Langan does have some profound problems as an intellectual: his grasp of sociology and geopolitics is woefully inadequate, he's made some ethically deplorable statements about the Islamic world, he has a naive faith in the essential virtue of Western culture, he promotes eugenics, and, most importantly, he's never had to defend his ideas in academia or publish his ideas in peer-reviewed journals.  His grasp of theology is also somewhat limited: the very attempt to systematize ultimacy tends to divest theology of the trans-verbal existential extremis that is at the core of the sacred; as Tom Harpur once told me, "Every definition of the divine is inherently idolatrous." Of course, Langan's CTMU isn't theological so much as it is metaphysical, and it strikes me as being a very well-crafted metaphysic.  

That's not to say it's necessarily accurate, anymore than Hegel's or Whitehead's metaphysics are accurate. It does make for fascinating reading and very interesting speculation.

A quick word about the Intelligent Design thing: Langan does NOT propose that the universe was created by a God external to the universe, or that evolution did not occur. He's arguing that the universe itself is God and that it configures itself through an evolutionary process that is ultimately teleological. There's nothing in the article I linked to that contradicts biological evolution or the physics underlying the formation of the cosmos. He's not arguing that an external intelligence created the universe, he's arguing that the universe is itself a self-configuring, self-processing language.

Of course, the ethical problem with any talk of evolution outside of biology, as well as talk of teleology within biology, is that it lends itself to millennialism, and millennialism has proven itself, again and again, to be extremely dangerous. His ethnocentrism and his approval of eugenics may well be connected to this millennialist proclivity.

Anyway, again, if anyone can find a substantial critique of Langan's work, whether in relation to the CTMU or his socio-political imbecilities, I'd really love to read it.

Regarding NDEs: Loser that I am, I wrote an article about such experiences a while back. In case you want a good cure for insomnia, here it is:

(Please forgive the Cohen quote at the bottom of the piece. Yes, I support the Cohen boycott, but I wrote this one quite some time ago.)

Fireflies

Michael Nenonen

November 7 2006

Once again, residents of the Lower Mainland are descending into rain and darkness. As the outer world disappears into watery shadow, we slow down and our attention turns inward. So it's been with me at any rate. I've been reading less about politics and history lately, and spending more time looking into subjects with a rather idiosyncratic appeal. One subject in particular seems rather appropriate for this seasonal internalization of awareness. I've been reading about near-death experiences, or NDEs. The more I've read, the less I'm convinced there's a fundamental difference between an NDE and our everyday experience.

By definition, during an NDE a person is closer to death than usual, but this is only a matter of infinitesimal degrees. Human life is inherently precarious. Innumerable sperm and ova perish for every successfully fertilized egg, and from the moment we're conceived we exist on the cusp of destruction. Miscarriages are common throughout pregnancy, many children die in infancy, and of those who don't precious few will see their hundredth birthday.

NDEs are very brief, but so is human life, regardless of whether that life is measured in individual or species terms. The longest recorded human life was held by Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days. While 122 years may seem like a long time, it's less than 3 percent of the lifespan of the world's oldest known living organism, a 4,700 year old bristlecone pine tree in the White Mountains of California. Modern homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years, which amounts to 0.2% of the 125 million years that placental mammals have walked the Earth.  Mammals have existed for about 20% of the 600 million years of animal life, which itself counts for 13% of the 4.5 billion year history of life on this planet. If our species were to go extinct tomorrow, then within a few tens of thousands of years almost all trace of our civilization would vanish (assuming, of course, that we don't cause an ecocidal catastrophe like a runaway greenhouse effect that puts our planet on the road to becoming another Venus). The biosphere would continue evolving without us for another 500 million years before the warming sun finally renders the Earth uninhabitable. Thus, if you live to be as long as Jeanne Calment, you'll have witnessed a grand total of 0.0000024% of the biosphere's evolution, while modern homo sapiens have thus far witnessed 0.004%. From the biosphere's perspective, our species is a firefly, and the longest human life is but a single beat of it wings. 

But what of the experiential features of NDEs? NDEs are almost certainly generated by physiological and psychological processes in our brains, but, as The Matrix series so garishly pointed out, the same thing can be said of all of our experiences. We exist inside a bubble of neurologically-generated phantasms.

During NDEs people have only a minimal awareness of the world around them. But isn't this always the case? The phenomenal world constructed by our neurological systems is at best barely a shadow of the world itself. Human eyes perceive a tiny fraction of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. A dog's auditory and olfactory acuity is much greater than ours. We can't begin to imagine the kinds of sensory worlds inhabited by creatures who use echolocation or who can perceive electrical fields. Even if our technology could someday vastly broaden our sensory and intellectual capacity, there would still undoubtedly be countless features of the universe that couldn't be perceived by any sense organ or comprehended by even the finest human mind.

There is one significant difference that distinguishes NDEs from daily experience: when undergoing an NDE, many people seem to acquire an existential clarity rarely felt in normal life. They know that they're dying and they're unafraid. Their memories are opened up, allowing them to review the minutia of their lives with unusual ease. They often feel profound wonder and love. Afterwards, many survivors retain a vivid sense of their own mortality, coupled with a deep appreciation of the richness of their fleeting lives and a desire to remain faithful to their newfound potentials for compassion and joy. Such NDEs are like a moment of lucidity at the end of a troubling dream.

And this is where NDEs have a great deal to teach us. We typically go about our lives within an illusion of immortality. We try to ignore our  impending deaths, and to live as though our lives and our world will go on indefinitely. We distract ourselves from the overwhelming evidence that we're all just a few heartbeats away from annihilation, and that our world is as fragile as every other world that's died before us. In 1491, the peoples of the Americas probably thought about their world's future the same way we think of ours today. And in the hours before the asteroid struck, what cause would the dinosaurs have had, had they the means to think at all, to suppose that the tens of millions of years of their supremacy would so quickly end?

In Vancouver the illusion of immortality is particularly strong. In 1700 the Lower Mainland was hit by a magnitude 8.7-9.2 megathrust earthquake. These earthquakes occur in intervals of 300-900 years. Another may not happen before 2600. On the other hand, sometime within your lifetime the ground beneath your feet may start to seizure, inciting a disaster far greater than the one that ruined New Orleans in 2005. For all you know, it could begin before you've reached the end of this article. And yet, how many of us have taken a first aid course to prepare for this danger, or even put together an earthquake survival kit?

The price we pay for this illusion is the suppression of our sense of existential urgency. It persuades us that each moment is like every other in an endless series, that life is shallow and dreary, and that satisfaction, if it's ever to be had, will only come when our bottomless desires are somehow fulfilled. By refusing to die, we become the living dead.

NDEs show us that there's another way. The most enlightened expressions of the spiritual imagination encourage us to not only experience our lives as though we were having an NDE, but also to realize that in an ultimate sense we are having an NDE. In doing so, we relax our grip on our desires and our fears, we stop chasing after permanence and pride, our capacity for love is expanded, and we open ourselves to the glorious strangeness of our momentary being. As Leonard Cohen sings in Boogie Street: "So come, my friends, be not afraid. We are so lightly here. It is in love that we are made; in love we disappear." Amen, Leonard, Amen.

Kaspar Hauser

Oh, and one more thing: I believe in consciousness and intelligence after death. After I'm dead, lots of people and animals will be conscious and intelligent, either on Earth or on some other planet (just in case I die in a supernova or somesuch).  In fact, I believe in consciousness and intelligence before birth and beyond the body, too: there were lots of animals and people around before I was born, and there are a lot of people and animals around me right now.

Given that consciousness is fluid and intermittent at the best of times, I believe that it is the universe's potential for consciousness that is the ground of our sentience, not the individual moments of consciousness that each of us enjoys. The consciousness that I'm enjoying right now certainly isn't the consciousness that manifested itself through my brain when I was a child, or even the consciousness that was manifesting itself through my brain a few moments ago. Similarly, the photons flying from my lamp right now are not the same ones that flew from it a few minutes ago, and the atoms that have configured themselves into my body now are not the same atoms that configured themselves into my body when I was a newborn. "My" consciousness is simply an intermittent, fluctuating, and localized expression of this generalized potential, one aperture through which the universe's potential for consciousness manifests itself.  When I die, the aperture will close, but others will remain open. 

Rather than consciousness, I think what most people are talking about when they talk about life after death is the continual imprinting beyond the grave of the deceased person's memory and individual identity onto the universe's potential for consciousness. I have a hard time believing in such a thing. It would be like a wave persisting even after it collapsed into the ocean. I can believe in the survival of the ocean, and of its potential to create waves, but survival of the wave itself? That's more than a little problematic.

Fidel

Michael Nenonen wrote:
There's nothing in the article I linked to that contradicts biological evolution or the physics underlying the formation of the cosmos. He's not arguing that an external intelligence created the universe, he's arguing that the universe is itself a self-configuring, self-processing language.

 

Former Anglican priest Tom Harpur talks about a cosmic consciousness, and that from the centre of it must flow compassion and justice as universal principles. And he mentions modern science as possibly throwing some light on the truth. He mentions theoretical physicist Fritjof Capra, and his positing that we interact with the "cosmos", or alternate universes of existence on different levels and states of being. ie through our dreams we might obtain creative thought. And perhaps even at a psychic level, we may experience the intuitive and so on.

"I see science and mysticism as two complementary manifestations of the human mind; of its rational and intuitive faculties." Fritjof Capra - Tao of Physics.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

Do I have to play Dr. Spock here and spell this out?

Are you implying Fidel is a child?

 

[IMG]http://i28.tinypic.com/hrwiom.jpg[/IMG]

Fidel

Get a romper room you two

martin dufresne

Oops that was Mr. Spock...Embarassed

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Timothy Leary

On May 13, 1957, Life magazine published an article by R. Gordon Wasson that documented (and popularized) the use of psilocybin mushrooms in the religious ceremony of the indigenous Mazatec people of Mexico.[6] Anthony Russo, a colleague of Leary's, had recently taken this psychedelic (or entheogenic) Psilocybe mexicana during a trip to Mexico, and related the experience to Leary. In August 1960,[7] Leary traveled to the Mexican city of Cuernavaca with Russo and tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time, an experience that drastically altered the course of his life.[8] In 1965, Leary commented that he "learned more about... (his) brain and its possibilities... (and) more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than... (he) had in the preceding fifteen years of studying doing research in psychology."[8]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

So what's your point, Spectrum?  Getting really stoned is somehow more profound than staying sober?

Fidel

martin dufresne wrote:

Oops that was Mr. Spock...Embarassed

Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad. - Spock, from I Mudd
 

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

No, just that this process was already done before. I would think it more important to develop without this although it provides a window for therapy and such? Your tone, sounds very condescending.Smile

martin dufresne

Interesting that this paragraph reads as a texbook case of Eurosettlers "discovering" or at least validating/appropriating something local populations have know about and used for centuries. (Indeed Leary wasn't even the first Eurosettler to climb on. Antonin Artaud went to eat peyote in Mexico during the thirties and he must have gotten the idea from another European.) What seems to have been Leary's contribution is attempting to fit hallucinogenic experiences into pop-psychological gabbiness, creating a very muddled and unusable epistemological surf 'n turf that seemed to have impressed Life magazine and a lot of naive hippies. Artaud was cooler, translating his highs into real art, drawing on a rich culture, instead of pushing pseudo-science/religion as did Leary.

 

Kaspar Hauser

I rather like Hunter S. Thompson's take on Leary:

"We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled that 60's. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary's trip. He crashed around America selling 'consciousness expansion' without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously... All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours, too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped to create . . . a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody-or at least some force-is tending the Light at the end of the tunnel.'"

(Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Spectrum wrote:

No, just that this process was already done before. I would think it more important to develop without this although it provides a window for therapy and such? Your tone, sounds very condescending.Smile

No, mostly overtired and a little impatient.  Grouchy, too.  However, I'm still not clear on your point.  Does it have potential for therapy?  IIRC, the jury is still out on that idea.

Two of my SILs were part of LSD experiments when they were in nursing school.  We somethimes speculate that there was a permanent effect...

Fidel

Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke is a laff riot. Totally insane and a great sanity check at the same time.

 

Quote:
"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era - the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time - and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened." etc ... from Fear and Loathing

martin dufresne

The mind being what it is, it seems logical that it think of itself as separate from the body and - what the heck - able to survive it. The body is tolerant of this delusion - one that ensures the mind's motivation - but eventually cuts it short when it stops pumping fluids about. Still, it has the gallantry to allow the mind a few waning thoughts, e.g. memories of pancakes.

 

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Spectrum wrote:

No, just that this process was already done before. I would think it more important to develop without this although it provides a window for therapy and such? Your tone, sounds very condescending.Smile

No, mostly overtired and a little impatient.  Grouchy, too.  However, I'm still not clear on your point.  Does it have potential for therapy?  IIRC, the jury is still out on that idea.

Two of my SILs were part of LSD experiments when they were in nursing school.  We somethimes speculate that there was a permanent effect...

http://www.psychedelic-library.org/enhance.htm

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Quote:
  Timebandit: There is a problem with the critique you linked to regarding Langan's work: the critique condemns Langan for failing to define his terms or elaborate his arguments, without acknowledging that the source material being critiqued is simply a precis or introduction to Langan's ideas. This is comparable to dismissing the ideas of Karl Marx or Noam Chomsky as superficial based solely on a reading of "Marx for Beginners" or "Chomsky for Beginners". Furthermore, the author of the critique is focusing purely on the mathematical dimension of Langan's work, and dismisses all of the philosophical material as "wordgames" and "semantics".

 

 

 

I've looked around a bit, but given that CTMU has never been published by any credible journal and that it hasn't been taken seriously enough by anyone with actual credentials to merit more than a blog entry, I don't think you'll find much. Suffice it to say that even if the blog post I linked to only references his introduction, the amount of semantic game-playing and the obfuscation of using a bunch of fifty-dollar words smacks of not much more than a big ol' wank. And I would argue that he does define his terms. In fact, he overdefines them to the point of losing any coherent meaning. He is setting out the groundwork for his theory, and it seems that his understanding of the math is flawed right from the outset. That doesn't bode well, does it?

 

Quote:
Oh, and one more thing: I believe in consciousness and intelligence after death. After I'm dead, lots of people and animals will be conscious and intelligent, either on Earth or on some other planet (just in case I die in a supernova or somesuch). In fact, I believe in consciousness and intelligence before birth and beyond the body, too: there were lots of animals and people around before I was born, and there are a lot of people and animals around me right now.

 

 

You can believe anything you like, that the sky is puce at noon and that martians live up your left nostril.  Please yourself.  But don't start telling me that your IQ test gives you some sort of special credibility in the matter.  As far as I'm concerned, you're just making it up as you go along.  It seems that that's about all Langan's got, along with a bad case of I-wanna-be-a-guru-itis.

My bullshit detector goes off anytime anyone says they "know" about life/consciousness after death, and that goes for "proof", too.  You can believe any number of things, but nobody knows anything about that particular mystery, although we all get to find out in the end.

Fidel

martin dufresne wrote:

The mind being what it is, it seems logical that it think of itself as separate from the body and - what the heck - able to survive it. The body is tolerant of this delusion - one that ensures the mind's motivation - but eventually cuts it short when it stops pumping fluids about. Still, it has the gallantry to allow the mind a few waning thoughts, e.g. memories of pancakes.

I think your's is a 19th century Thomas Huxleyian point of view of material reductionism and one of epiphenominalism. Huxley thought that the mind is the sum of the physical parts of the brain, and all our thoughts and memories and who we are are reducable to chemical reactions and molecular exchanges. We're alll "just a pack of neurons", so to speak. And then the old world Newtonian views had to make room for new world science.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fidel wrote:

martin dufresne wrote:

The mind being what it is, it seems logical that it think of itself as separate from the body and - what the heck - able to survive it. The body is tolerant of this delusion - one that ensures the mind's motivation - but eventually cuts it short when it stops pumping fluids about. Still, it has the gallantry to allow the mind a few waning thoughts, e.g. memories of pancakes.

I think your's is a 19th century Thomas Huxleyian point of view of material reductionism and one of epiphenominalism. Huxley thought that the mind is the sum of the physical parts of the brain, and all our thoughts and memories and who we are are reducable to chemical reactions and molecular exchanges. We're alll "just a pack of neurons", so to speak. And then the old world Newtonian views had to make room for new world science.

Would a sunrise be any less beautiful if that's what we are?  How does having a belief in consciousness after death alter our experience of the here and now?

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:
Would a sunrise be any less beautiful if that's what we are?  How does having a belief in consciousness after death alter our experience of the here and now?

If you do some reading on Sam Parnia, you'll discover that he and other ER physicians, psychologists, parapsychologists, neuroscientists etc around the world are perplexed by the age-old mind-body paradox. Theyve observed things in clinical settings which they can't account for scientifically or medically. Parnia explains how this kind of study has never really been tackled before in a serious scientific way. He says it could lead to new understanding of more than just the physical body and how to approach medical options along a course of treatment to wellness. And just as it is in this thread with some attitudes, Parnia, and especially his colleagues in Montreal for some reason, are being given a rough time of it by career bureaucrats and politicos alike. 

martin dufresne

Montrealer stoogeocrats holding back solution of that perplexing "age-old mind-body paradox"...???! Saboteurs! On aura tout vu... Send the Marines!

Fidel

martin dufresne wrote:

Montrealer stoogeocrats holding back solution of that perplexing "age-old mind-body paradox"...???! Saboteurs! On aura tout vu... Send the Marines!

Apparently at least one or two of them are long-time administrators(not the colonial kind) and Anglophonies, and vice versa,  at one of the better known hoopitales.

Kaspar Hauser

Timebandit: I'm not sure that you're getting what I'm saying. I'm NOT saying that I believe that individual consciousness survives death; hell, I don't even think that individual consciousness persists in any unitary sense throughout the course of an individual's life. I'm saying that consciousness is all over the place (on Earth, at least), that the universe contains within it the potential for generating consciousness through (at least) the evolution of brains, that this generalized potential for consciousness survives any individual's death, and that, given the fluctuating, intermittent nature of any individual consciousness, and given that consciousness (or subjectivity) is conceptually independent of memory, it is this potential that merits identifying with, rather than its particular manifestations. It's sort of like saying that the universe's potential for developing life survives individual deaths. I have a hard time seeing how this is controversial.

In other words: Do you believe that after I die there will be no consciousness left in the universe? That is, after I die, will the consciousness of animals and people suddenly vanish? Of course not. It is in this sense that consciousness, as a generalized potential, survives individual death.

Oh, and this is MY argument, not Langan's, who sees things quite differently.

Now, you may ask, "So what? So what if other people's consciousness survives my individual death? The fact is, I still die." Yes, but only if you assume that the human body marks the limits of the body. Again, I wrote an article about this subject. Here it is:

 

The Body Beautiful

Michael Nenonen
January 2 2007

The holidays are over and, like many people, I'm back at my fitness centre, trying to drop the ballast I gathered across the festive season. Exercising would be easier if my brain agreed to produce an endorphin or two, but it believes I'm better off without any potentially addictive natural highs.

Despite this, I'm actually pretty good about working out. I go to the centre for a few hours every week, a routine I've maintained for over a decade. After all these years, I can safely say that I've got the body of a god, but, as the old joke goes, that god happens to be the Buddha.

The other day while I was doing my crunches, I listened to my heartbeat, which sounded like cymbals being played by a baboon on crystal meth, and I began thinking about my body. What does it mean to be embodied? Do I have a body, or am I a body? What do I mean by the word "body" anyway?

Leonard Angel, a professor of philosophy and the author of Enlightenment East and West (State University of New York Press, 1994), argues that each of us has three bodies. First, we have an experiential body. This body is the particular physical system we experience as present whenever we're aware, the body that we can feel, taste, smell, hear, and see, and that provides a centre for our sensory experience of the world. Second, we have a volitional body. This is the body that responds to our commands, that moves when we tell it to move. Third, we have a causal body, the physical support system that makes it possible for us to have experiential and volitional bodies.

These bodies aren't identical. My experiential body produces countless sensations my volitional body can't control or even understand. My causal body certainly includes such things as my autonomic nervous system, my gastro-intestinal system, and my circulatory system, which typically operate independently of my volitional body, and which are often inaccessible to my experiential body.

While experiential and volitional bodies are relatively straightforward, causal bodies are a little more complicated. What is included in our physical support system? Surely it includes all the organs, muscles, bones, nerves, and other localized phenomena that we normally associate with the word "body", but Angel argues that we shouldn't restrict our definition to these phenomena. If our causal bodies include everything that supports the physical existence of our volitional and experiential bodies, then this must also include the air passing through our lungs and the nutrients flowing through our stomachs. In fact, whatever interacts with us in a causal fashion is by definition a part of our causal body. Angel writes that "There is no compelling metaphysical reason which leads one to say that fruit trees and the atmosphere are not to be regarded as parts of one's causal body, whereas the appendix, small toes, gall bladder, and hair are."

If Angel is correct, then we all share a causal body that encompasses the entire Earth, but it doesn't stop there. Think of what it takes to produce a brain capable of consciousness, of having both experience and volition. The human brain is the most complicated object in the known universe. It's the latest stage in an evolutionary process that's over three billion years old. Before that process could begin, a solar system capable of supporting life had to coalesce, which could only happen after a second generation of stars had appeared. According to Ian Barbour, the author of Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues (HarperCollins 1997), "We now know that it takes about fifteen billion years for heavy elements to be cooked in the interior of stars and then scattered to form a second generation of stars with planets, followed by the evolution of life and consciousness.  A very old expanding universe has to be a huge universe-on the order of fifteen billion light years." The human brain could only emerge in a universe as vast and ancient as the one we inhabit.  And so our causal body is finally identical with the whole causally interactive universe, the network of causation from which everything arises and into which everything falls.

But what is the significance of the brain's consciousness? Is it a pointless aberration in an otherwise unfeeling cosmos? Perhaps not. Many philosophers, such as Alfred North Whitehead, the father of Process Theology, argue that the only way to avoid the problems of mind-body dualism is by assuming that the capacity for experience is a property of existence itself. This property would reside, in however rudimentary or latent a form, in unified systems as miniscule as the atom. It would progressively develop through more nuanced and integrated responsive systems, such as those found in cells, followed by the increasingly sophisticated nervous systems found in the animal world, culminating, so far as we're aware, with the expression of self-reflective, multi-layered consciousness in the human brain.

If our causal body is the universe, and if human consciousness is a sophisticated expression of a latent property found everywhere in the universe, then what would this mean? Alan Moore, the creator of such comics as V for Vendetta, wrote an entire series devoted to this very subject. In the culminating issues of Promethea, he speculates that we're space-time's sensory organs, the means by which the living universe perceives itself.

So, maybe I do have the Buddha's body; maybe everyone does, and maybe that's not a bad thing at all.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

duplicate post

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Michael, you need to boil it down and make a point, not subject us to endless opinion articles.

I did understand your point, I just don't agree with you.  What you believe is irrelevent - that was the point I was trying to make.  What Langan believes isn't relevent, either.  However, due to a high score on an IQ test, I'm apparently supposed to give some credence to his ideas and his claim that he can "prove" god and the soul exist.  My position is that this is something we can't prove, and anybody who claims they can is probably running a scam.  I've already given some additional reasons as to why I'm not impressed with what I've seen so far in my earlier posts.

I could probably wax poetical for a page or two now, but I think that about covers it, and I've got work to do.  Cheers.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

On aura tout vu...

Don't get me started on "auras".

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