Does the Soul Exist?

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Is there a soul?

Humans have souls, but animals and other living things do not
1
6%
Both animals and humans have souls
6
38%
The soul does not exist
6
38%
Other
3
19%
 
Total votes: 16

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Summerlander
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby Summerlander » 19 Nov 2014 14:32

deschainXIX wrote:Everyone seems to have their own subjective definition of consciousness. I was very disappointed by my psychology textbook's explanation: "the state of being aware." This and nothing more. No expounding of any kind. With as soft a science as psychology is already, they still have so little to say on the subject. "Consciousness" is only a small sliver of the course material.


You will like the book then because it mentions many others who are focused on the subject and take it seriously - as they should! :geek:

deschainXIX wrote:Even if we could eventually discover the explanation, could our minds, at their current natural state, comprehend it?


Others pose the same question and the book certainly has something to say about this. You might find that the book will mention things that you already know but it will definitely expand your mind in other areas. Dualism is dead but there seems to be a popular Cartesian materialism that still lingers out there there and tends to be quite popular. There is no Cartesian Theatre in the brain. It seems that there is but this way of looking at the problem will get you nowhere and such notion is false.

deschainXIX wrote:I am, however, partial to the idea that the universe vomited up this idea of consciousness as a way of affirming its own existence--to sort of have a way to view and observe itself. Though this idea is still extremely unsatisfactory, in my opinion. It doesn't really answer anything, at least not for me. I still adhere to the idea that perhaps consciousness is not so spectacular and remarkable a thing that we even need a reason to explain its existence.


There is no purpose behind consciousness. For the universe to formulate consciousness for a specific goal, it would need to be aware of such a goal, to have that goal in mind...

We know that things do not work like that. We know evolution certainly doesn't. It is almost like saying that we were born because we needed to affirm our existence. We did not pick life and neither did the universe as a conscious agent. Life arose by chance because the universe stumbled upon the right conditions in this particular spot in the Milky Way. One can say that consciousness is an amazing illusion which deeply befuddles beings such as ourselves - mammals that thirst for knowledge and explanations. Some would argue that we shouldn't find it surprising that we developed consciousness in our evolution. It was bound to happen given language, self-awareness, instincts, propensities, intentionalities, higher-order intentionalities and so forth... We are biological robots that have been perennially upgraded by natural selection since time immemorial.

deschainXIX wrote:I haven't seen "Bicentennial Man," but I love all movies that ponder artificial intelligence. There's a film coming out soon called "Chappie" by Neil Blomkamp, my favorite science fiction filmmaker. I get the impression it will be a more speculative, contemplative movie about artificial intelligence and the melding of androids with the rest of humanity--far more tame and mature compared to Blomkamp's other films, which were mostly filled with the most entertaining sci-fi action I've ever seen with less-than-subtle social allegory as a backdrop. The two movies sound similar.


Watch Bicentennial. It is deep. And I'll watch "Chappie." I also liked Steven Spielberg's AI. I love films that contemplate the nature of consciousness, too. 8-)
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 20 Nov 2014 00:35

Summerlander wrote:You will like the book then because it mentions many others who are focused on the subject and take it seriously - as they should!


I'll get it for Christmas! :D

Summerlander wrote:There is no purpose behind consciousness. For the universe to formulate consciousness for a specific goal, it would need to be aware of such a goal, to have that goal in mind...

We know that things do not work like that. We know evolution certainly doesn't. It is almost like saying that we were born because we needed to affirm our existence. We did not pick life and neither did the universe as a conscious agent. Life arose by chance because the universe stumbled upon the right conditions in this particular spot in the Milky Way. One can say that consciousness is an amazing illusion which deeply befuddles beings such as ourselves - mammals that thirst for knowledge and explanations. Some would argue that we shouldn't find it surprising that we developed consciousness in our evolution. It was bound to happen given language, self-awareness, instincts, propensities, intentionalities, higher-order intentionalities and so forth... We are biological robots that have been perennially upgraded by natural selection since time immemorial.


I entirely agree that there is no purpose to consciousness. Indeed, asking ourselves why consciousness came about makes just as much sense as asking why the universe came about. They are on par with each other, at least. And we may never have an answer to either question. In fact, I would say we probably never will. (However, for you theistic readers, that does not mean we can't rule out hypotheses and speculations that are obviously wrong--IE there is a benevolent, patriarchal God in the clouds who created the universe and loves every one of us with all His heart.)

This is why I think morality is nonexistent. It is a totally ill-founded concept, revolving inevitably around our basic evolutionary nature. There is no inherent goodness or evil to the universe; the universe sees only balance and imbalance, not good and evil. In fact, I think the terms "good" and "evil" are pretty archaic and outdated--they don't really mean anything and make just as much sense as "original sin." The only "rulebook" I have discerned that might be wholesome to consult on moral issues can be found in dogmatically adhering to what our empathetic nature tells us--don't hurt others. But adhering to nature is problematic in and of itself. Nature is wild and insane and, above all, immoral (there is indiscriminate rape and murder everywhere in nature; its a cold horrorshow out there in the dark wild). I have not yet encountered a pragmatic reason to behave morally, none that is satisfactory, at least. When you get down to it, us realists are faced with ideals just as difficult and dangerous as the religious's delusions. Thinking can sometimes be just as dangerous as not thinking. :|

In the end it falls back to "Is it better to be ignorant and sane or lucid and totally crazy?" In this case, neither cases are entirely realistic, because every viewpoint is at least a little flawed and dangerous. Philosophically-speaking, of course.
Well said.

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R99
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby R99 » 20 Nov 2014 07:54

deschainXIX wrote:This is why I think morality is nonexistent. It is a totally ill-founded concept, revolving inevitably around our basic evolutionary nature. There is no inherent goodness or evil to the universe; the universe sees only balance and imbalance, not good and evil. In fact, I think the terms "good" and "evil" are pretty archaic and outdated--they don't really mean anything and make just as much sense as "original sin." The only "rulebook" I have discerned that might be wholesome to consult on moral issues can be found in dogmatically adhering to what our empathetic nature tells us--don't hurt others. But adhering to nature is problematic in and of itself. Nature is wild and insane and, above all, immoral (there is indiscriminate rape and murder everywhere in nature; its a cold horrorshow out there in the dark wild). I have not yet encountered a pragmatic reason to behave morally, none that is satisfactory, at least. When you get down to it, us realists are faced with ideals just as difficult and dangerous as the religious's delusions. Thinking can sometimes be just as dangerous as not thinking. :|

In the end it falls back to "Is it better to be ignorant and sane or lucid and totally crazy?" In this case, neither cases are entirely realistic, because every viewpoint is at least a little flawed and dangerous. Philosophically-speaking, of course.


piece of art indeed :shock: some people r unbelievable
"A curious mind cannot be afraid of Unknown. It searches for the answers untill the end of time."

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 20 Nov 2014 11:07

I'd like to revise an age-old colloquialism:
If you don't have anything even moderately intelligent to say, don't say anything at all, R99.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image
Well said.

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buildit
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby buildit » 20 Nov 2014 14:40

deschainXIX wrote:
Summerlander wrote:There is no purpose behind consciousness. For the universe to formulate consciousness for a specific goal, it would need to be aware of such a goal, to have that goal in mind...

We know that things do not work like that. We know evolution certainly doesn't. It is almost like saying that we were born because we needed to affirm our existence. We did not pick life and neither did the universe as a conscious agent. Life arose by chance because the universe stumbled upon the right conditions in this particular spot in the Milky Way. One can say that consciousness is an amazing illusion which deeply befuddles beings such as ourselves - mammals that thirst for knowledge and explanations. Some would argue that we shouldn't find it surprising that we developed consciousness in our evolution. It was bound to happen given language, self-awareness, instincts, propensities, intentionalities, higher-order intentionalities and so forth... We are biological robots that have been perennially upgraded by natural selection since time immemorial.


I entirely agree that there is no purpose to consciousness. Indeed, asking ourselves why consciousness came about makes just as much sense as asking why the universe came about. They are on par with each other, at least. And we may never have an answer to either question. In fact, I would say we probably never will. (However, for you theistic readers, that does not mean we can't rule out hypotheses and speculations that are obviously wrong--IE there is a benevolent, patriarchal God in the clouds who created the universe and loves every one of us with all His heart.)

This is why I think morality is nonexistent.


Beware Summer field make some big assumptions on exactly what we supposedly "know" here. I would like to know how he assumes we know these things? Also I think you mean immortality? As for a purpose for consciousness, shall we also assume there is not purpose for life? And on that slippery slope if life were exterminated by a cataclysmic on Earth then no big deal? I am surprised at the belief that you put in the cosmic coincidences. Universal constant accurate to something like 10 X-11 decimal places (6.673×10−11), Goldilocks planet the right distance from sun which is just big enough not to cook us, where life just "happens" and then becomes sentient! If I was a gambling man those odds make the Power Ball look like a sure win. :roll:


deschainXIX wrote:In the end it falls back to "Is it better to be ignorant and sane or lucid and totally crazy?" In this case, neither cases are entirely realistic, because every viewpoint is at least a little flawed and dangerous. Philosophically-speaking, of course.


This who thread can now end and my work is done here! :D
Last edited by buildit on 20 Nov 2014 14:53, edited 1 time in total.
Is Lucid Dreaming the brains preparation for the next step of human evolution when we can escape the corporeal bond of our bodies?

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 20 Nov 2014 14:48

That was perhaps a bit misworded. Our viewpoint is realistic and sound, but I meant to convey that it may or may not be just as dangerous as all the religious and pseudo-scientific nonsense. :D

I'm simply interested in hearing what Summerlander has to say about where he gets his morality. Obviously I'm not going to abandon morality or change my behavior in any way around this revelation--it's simply a truism about an observation I've made. That I cannot find a pragmatically philosophical reason behind morality.

You people aren't making any sound or profound points here. You're only screaming "Aha!" and jumping triumphantly all over the fact that I am reflecting aloud on the implications of realism. The soul does not exist. Nor does any higher meaning to the universe. I'm not ceding anything. Only building on these points.
Well said.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 20 Nov 2014 15:12

buildit wrote:Also I think you mean immortality? As for a purpose for consciousness, shall we also assume there is not purpose for life? And on that slippery slope if life were exterminated by a cataclysmic on Earth then no big deal? I am surprised at the belief that you put in the cosmic coincidences. Universal constant accurate to something like 10 X-11 decimal places (6.673×10−11), Goldilocks planet the right distance from sun which is just big enough not to cook us, where life just "happens" and then becomes sentient! If I was a gambling man those odds make the Power Ball look like a sure win.


Why would I mean "immortality"? :lol: You think that entire rant I just wrote was actually about immortality, not morality?

*sigh* Eye-rolling is not effective in debate, buildit. It only signifies immaturity, at least to me.

And, yes, of course life is meaningless! You haven't come to that realization yet? I suppose I can stomach you thinking that consciousness has meaning, but I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that you genuinely believe life has meaning. That is ... remarkable.
I obviously wish with all my heart for the perpetuation of humanity, for the perpetuation of thinking creatures in the universe, but to answer that question you posed: no, if mankind were wiped out, it would be no real big deal cosmically. We do not hold some divine significance--we did indeed arise by chance here, and perhaps it was a big chance, but coincidence does in fact happen. People do with the Power Ball.
Well said.

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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby buildit » 20 Nov 2014 15:12

deschainXIX wrote:That I cannot find a pragmatically philosophical reason behind morality.


Scientifically speaking it allows for conservation of energy on this planet. As life evolves the old versions are recycled back into the food web. Immortal life would clog up the system and result in a dead end for evolution. I hold to the scientific concept that life does seek and exploit all opportunities. Consciousness is one such opportunity life has come to exploit. Our brains were not originally set up to have consciousness so it is one example of "life" finding a way.
So how does this give evidence or create conditions for a soul?? Well, if consciousness is connected to a "soul" or some existence beyond the realm we can test currently, wouldn't life exploit that opportunity? Life seems to keep surprising us with the other avenues it takes to exploit for life to exist and survive.
Is Lucid Dreaming the brains preparation for the next step of human evolution when we can escape the corporeal bond of our bodies?

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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 20 Nov 2014 15:13

Also, check out the polls. Most people have their eyes open! That's encouraging...
Well said.

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Summerlander
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby Summerlander » 20 Nov 2014 15:13

deschainXIX wrote:I'll get it for Christmas! :D


I hope you enjoy it. Susan Blackmore's "Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction" is a good read too. 8-)

deschainXIX wrote:In fact, I think the terms "good" and "evil" are pretty archaic and outdated--they don't really mean anything and make just as much sense as "original sin."


Indeed the universe does not give a toss. Morality is not something that exists objectively, but rather, a subjective concept that hinges on human welfare. It's intrinsic to us and it developed along with our evolution and intelligence. So, as we acknowledge this truth, the vernacular "good and evil" should be updated to "good and bad," but bearing in mind that this good and bad business is not at all an objective universal law, it is only applicable at the anthropic level: it is all about what we find to be good and bad for ourselves. (And science can help us to determine such things with great clarity and with more precision.)

deschainXIX wrote:The only "rulebook" I have discerned that might be wholesome to consult on moral issues can be found in dogmatically adhering to what our empathetic nature tells us--don't hurt others. But adhering to nature is problematic in and of itself. Nature is wild and insane and, above all, immoral (there is indiscriminate rape and murder everywhere in nature; its a cold horrorshow out there in the dark wild). I have not yet encountered a pragmatic reason to behave morally, none that is satisfactory, at least. When you get down to it, us realists are faced with ideals just as difficult and dangerous as the religious's delusions. Thinking can sometimes be just as dangerous as not thinking. :|


There is no law in the universe. (I'm not talking about the laws of physics and these are certainly impertinent to this discussion when we see that they are merely the glue that holds everything together as it were.) there is nothing in the universe which strives for justice for all sentient beings. So we had to invent law and rules of thumb mostly based on empathy. Golden rules reflect ecumenical human values which tend to be undergirded by a healthy balance of egoism and altruism. We are sufficiently intelligent to recognise that we had amoral beginnings ( and indeed we still possess the primordial, more animalistic brain which is cocooned by the more advanced encephalon). We can detect nature's flaws with more clarity and insight than ever. So now, we feel compelled to invent our ideal world, the anthropic utopia. But some people are yet to learn that we can do this without religion (and would be better of without). We need to learn to live without God as a whole. In fact, the idea of God is abject and very immoral. It also robs us of self-worth and honour. The goal is merely to work together as a species to survive and improve our lives.

The goal is to have peace and we can do this by respecting one another. This is good for us. It is naturally good not because some supernatural dictator says so but because it just so happens that naturally it will reduce our stress levels and the "happy" chemicals in our brains will help us to live longer and prosperous lives. It is good for us, the best path (we reckon) for us available in this mad universe full of dangerous paths. :shock:

deschainXIX wrote:In the end it falls back to "Is it better to be ignorant and sane or lucid and totally crazy?" In this case, neither cases are entirely realistic, because every viewpoint is at least a little flawed and dangerous. Philosophically-speaking, of course.


I think the best thing to do is be lucid, know as much as you can, and try to be pragmatic. The universe doesn't give a fuck so it is clearly not a role model or good example. Human beings need motive or motivation. The cosmos has none of these things because it is just mindless cause and effect without, pardon the pun, a care in the world. We observe and are in a position to make judgements. For instance, if an asteroid in headed for Earth, and we can tell that the collision will wipe us out, if I don't want to die and wish to see my children growing up, I'm in a position to say: "That's not good (for us/me)!"

Should we try to correct the madness we detect in the universe if it means that this madness will affect us? Absolutely! We should try to prevent the asteroid collision. The universe does not care but we do! We have a notion of positive and negative. The universe produces psychos haphazardly. Should we just fold our arms and do nothing about it? No. We should study genetics, psychology and sociology in order to get to the root of the problem and preclude the emergence of faulty human beings if possible.

We can already imagine a better universe (better for us) than the one that happens to surround us. If there was a God, He'd have to lack imagination and not be much of an engineer. Either that or He's a sadist. But rest assured that He does not exist. :D
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


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