0
   

You Are Life Made Conscious

 
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 05:23 am
For many modern people, 'evolution is religion'. This is understandable, considering the relationship between 'creation and evolution' in Western culture and how the traditional creation myth has been displaced by the scientific account of the descent of species. So - we used to believe in Adam and Eve, now we believe we came down from the trees.

Nothing controversial there.

Now let me state I am not a creationist, nor even a Christian in any sense other than the cultural. I don't think it has all been scripted by an Uber Designer. I certainly don't buy intelligent design. I don't subscribe to the idea that there is a script behind history being orchestrated by a director, or that Christ will return in glory and we will all ascend to the clouds and so on (apologies if I am upsetting anyone who does believe that).

And yet, I can't accept the opposite proposition, that it 'just happened'. In fact I think it is a completely meaningless statement. To say that something 'just happened' seems to me to be the absence of an idea, not an idea in itself. Yet there have been some very influential books saying exactly this, for example Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod (an excellently written and very well argued book that I happen to think is completely wrong.)

I think what bothers me about the scientific account of our origin is the fact that it is all being driven by survival of the species. I presume you all know the theory, that we advance in very small incremental steps whereby mutations occur, and the ones that make us more likely to survive are passed on, and so on. Let me assure you that I believe that is certainly what DID happen. I don't dispute Darwin's Origin of Species in any particular. But I do take issue with some of the philosophical conclusions that have been drawn from it.

What bothers me about it is that I think, to put it bluntly, there is more to life than surviving. In other words, evolution does not really address the difference between living and surviving, and for a human, there is a world of difference between the two. You can survive without really 'having a life', and on the other hand, like Mozart, you can be cut down in your prime but have created these astonishing works of genius that transcend the mortality of the individual.

So I am arguing that even though I believe the theory of evolution to be correct, I don't think it really does give an account of who were are. Also I don't believe Charles Darwin set out to provide such an account. But now there is a tendency to say, we are just another species of animal, here by dumb luck, that is all. I guess that is the idea of naturalism. But I detect a flaw with this view. I think Darwinism is being asked to carry a burden that its creator never intended it to carry.

I am starting to play with the idea that the physical organism is really like a transport, and the 'payload' is consciousness, and all of the countless fascinating things that us humans can get involved in. I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself. We are life made conscious, discovering itself in a giant game of hide-and-seek. (a la Alan Watts). And because humans are actually fully self conscious and capable of asking 'who or what am I'? they are categorically different to creatures. They are the Universe coming to life.

Now I like this because it resonates with various traditional mythologies of creation but at the same time it is not traditionalist. And it provides scope for the idea of 'self-realisation'. Because the self realised individual knows him or herself AS the universe (which is why they are so high.) I think this is what is behind 'spiritual realisation'.

The 'scientific' explanation - well it's all dumb luck and survival, the selfish gene, and all the rest of it - it has some explanatory value, and there is truth in it. But it does not contain ENOUGH truth in my view, it is not sustaining, it is not spiritually nutritious. It is reductionist.

And it is not fun. Why does anyone WANT to be a creature, an outcome of dumb luck? What is good about it?

Now to get to the philosophical aspect of it.

I found an interesting critique of Dawkin's 'God Delusion' by Alvin Plantinga, as follows:

"Since we have been cobbled together by (unguided) evolution, it is unlikely, he (Dawkins) thinks, that our view of the world is overall accurate; natural selection is interested in adaptive behavior, not in true belief. ...Like most naturalists, Dawkins is a materialist about human beings: human persons are material objects; they are not immaterial selves or souls or substances joined to a body, and they don't contain any immaterial substance as a part. From this point of view, our beliefs would be dependent on neurophysiology, and (no doubt) a belief would just be a neurological structure of some complex kind. Now the neurophysiology on which our beliefs depend will doubtless be adaptive; but why think for a moment that the beliefs dependent on or caused by that neurophysiology will be mostly true? Why think our cognitive faculties are reliable?" Source

Now consider this. In Western philosophy, going back to Socrates, there was an intution concerning the 'rational soul in an intelligible universe'. Our reason was regarded as somehow 'divine' in origin, as that which marked us off from beasts, and gave us, and us alone, the ability to reach episteme, true knowledge, through the use of reason, due to the fact that the Universe itself was somehow strangely, mysteriously, intelligible.

Consider the discoveries of Albert Einstein. Most of these were made on the basis of thought experiments and consideration of the experimental results of others. He never did experiments. Yet he was able to create a theory which would successfully predict the outcome of experiments that in some cases were not conducted until 50 years after he had committed the theory to paper, regarding the outcome of realities that no-one had ever seen.

So how did that ability 'just evolve'? How it this an outcome of the Theory of the Descent of Species? Do you think Darwin would ever have claimed to have explained the nature of human intelligence with reference to his theory? Do you think a Darwin can be used explain an Einstein? Do you think, furthermore, that being in a form that can somehow penetrate the deepest recesses of time and space 'just happened'?

I hope you see what I am getting at here. I really don't want to fall into either camp of dumb creationism, on one side, and lumpen materialist, on the other.

I think the truth of the matter is far more elusive, and infinitely more interesting.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,826 • Replies: 23
No top replies

 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 06:36 am
@jeeprs,
For the most part, it would most surely be an error to segregate the H. sapien from the lineage of other humanoids and primates, as though we are special in having 'bigger brains,' and that that fact cannot have happened by mere probablility (mixed with some other not so random things).

I think it safe to say that we will have creative and 'larger capacity of intellect' in every species, not only the human. While creativity is something that cannot be totally pinned down, the better evidence tells us it's in brain. Just because such is the case, it does not seem to automatically follow that it must then have come from the same.

The idea we are the universe coming to life would stem from which religious belief-system, in your opinion, jeeprs? The evidence that brain is what is conscious (in the sense of it being active and functioning) and that this state culminates in the state of consciousness which the H. sapien has the highest degree of, is solid enough, why must we attempt to project a very human thing into nature (anthropomorphism)? The reasons for doing so, and the reasons against doing so, should be exhausted firstly, perhaps.

The idea that there is a center of intelligence (as consciousness would demand such by definition) out there is weak. Could you please expound on the core concept; the title base (also 7th major paragraph)?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 03:22 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;85973 wrote:
For the most part, it would most surely be an error to segregate the H. sapien from the lineage of other humanoids and primates, as though we are special in having 'bigger brains,' and that that fact cannot have happened by mere probablility (mixed with some other not so random things).


How could this be 'an error'? It is an obvious fact that h. sapien is different to every other species on the planet, is it not? Which other creature on earth shows capabilities like ours?

The arguments about probability were, just to recap that (1) saying that something 'just occured' does not constitute an hypothesis. It is the absence of an hypothesis. In what other scientific discipline do scientists argue that the absence of causality constitutes an hypothesis? It only happens with regards to evolution because of what scientists are arguing against. (2) I am arguing that evolution by adaption does not provide sufficient grounds for the existence of advanced human intellectual and artistic capabilities such as those exhibited by Einstein and Mozart.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 05:48 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
For many modern people, 'evolution is religion'.


The theory of evolution is not a religion. There is evidence for evolution where as religion has never provided any evidence.

Quote:
This is understandable, considering the relationship between 'creation and evolution' in Western culture and how the traditional creation myth has been displaced by the scientific account of the descent of species.


The theory of evolution was not trying to discredit or rebuke the creation myth. It is only asking the question how come there is diversity of life?

Quote:
So - we used to believe in Adam and Eve, now we believe we came down from the trees.


People who do not look for evidence will accept anything, regardless of what it is.


Quote:
And yet, I can't accept the opposite proposition, that it 'just happened'.


Who has ever said that life "just happened"? This is a creationist propaganda statement used to try to discredit the research. No scientists is going to say, "Well it all just happened." That is not scientific however; when asked they might respond with saying, "Well as far as we know it all just happened." But those two statements are not the same.

Quote:

In fact I think it is a completely meaningless statement. To say that something 'just happened' seems to me to be the absence of an idea, not an idea in itself.


You are right about that, and that is why no one actually says it unless they are creationists.

Quote:

I think what bothers me about the scientific account of our origin is the fact that it is all being driven by survival of the species


No this is not a full account of what the theory evolution has revealed. Life isn't always about overcoming adversity just to die in the end anyways. Survival of the species is only ONE aspect to how evolution works.

Quote:

I presume you all know the theory, that we advance in very small incremental steps whereby mutations occur, and the ones that make us more likely to survive are passed on, and so on.


No, incorrect. The theory no longer uses the term mutations, since they have discovered that it is not random chance that a gene will alter by fluke probability. Instead it is environmental impact which stresses the species into adapting to the environmental changes and that over time causes a residual side effect of gene alteration. Not the other way around.

Quote:

What bothers me about it is that I think, to put it bluntly, there is more to life than surviving.


Yes, this is the part of your ego coming out saying, "I must be more important than just simply eating and sleeping." Superiority complex.


Quote:
In other words, evolution does not really address the difference between living and surviving, and for a human, there is a world of difference between the two. You can survive without really 'having a life', and on the other hand, like Mozart, you can be cut down in your prime but have created these astonishing works of genius that transcend the mortality of the individual.


So is a foot print in the mud anything less than a piece of Mozart? If you say yes then I think you have underestimated the beauty of a foot print in the mud. Therefore you are weighting importance of subjective tools and accomplishments of a species with the ability to manipulate it's environment. You call it special but only because you have a bias to term it as special to suit your ego.

Quote:
So I am arguing that even though I believe the theory of evolution to be correct, I don't think it really does give an account of who were are.


Yeah you are right, but the theory isn't trying to tell us who we are. It is only trying to answer the question, "Why is there diversity to life?" Why would you ever imagine that the theory is trying to explain who you are?

Quote:
But now there is a tendency to say, we are just another species of animal, here by dumb luck, that is all. I guess that is the idea of naturalism.


Some might call it dumb luck but since we have discovered life living in environments in which we previously thought impossible has led to the possibility that life is far more robust and hardy than we ever considered before. It is possible that chemicals that bring life into being happens naturally. Just like other chemical processes. We are on the threshold of determining if this is accurate.

Quote:
But I detect a flaw with this view. I think Darwinism is being asked to carry a burden that its creator never intended it to carry.


Yeah only uneducated people keep placing inaccuracies and labels that have never been applied or accounted to the theory of evolution. Typically the people who do this are the creationists with their propaganda agenda to discredit the theory so people can't determine what is fact and what is BS.

Quote:

The 'scientific' explanation - well it's all dumb luck and survival, the selfish gene, and all the rest of it - it has some explanatory value, and there is truth in it. But it does not contain ENOUGH truth in my view, it is not sustaining, it is not spiritually nutritious. It is reductionist.


That is because no one with any education considers it "dumb luck".

Quote:
And it is not fun. Why does anyone WANT to be a creature, an outcome of dumb luck? What is good about it?


Why does there have to be something "good" about it? Does a painting do anything for you? It can't accomplish anything, so why do we place any sort of value on art? Answer this question and you answer your own.

Quote:
Now to get to the philosophical aspect of it.


So what was all the other talk then?

Quote:

"Since we have been cobbled together by (unguided) evolution, it is unlikely, he (Dawkins) thinks, that our view of the world is overall accurate; natural selection is interested in adaptive behavior, not in true belief. ...Like most naturalists, Dawkins is a materialist about human beings: human persons are material objects; they are not immaterial selves or souls or substances joined to a body, and they don't contain any immaterial substance as a part. From this point of view, our beliefs would be dependent on neurophysiology, and (no doubt) a belief would just be a neurological structure of some complex kind. Now the neurophysiology on which our beliefs depend will doubtless be adaptive; but why think for a moment that the beliefs dependent on or caused by that neurophysiology will be mostly true? Why think our cognitive faculties are reliable?"
[/U]

So is dawkins the leading expert on the theory of evolution? I am not sure what you were trying to get at by sharing this quote. There are people who think human existence is material because we objectively interact with the world where as all other animals subjectively respond to their environment. We do both.

Quote:

Consider the discoveries of Albert Einstein. Most of these were made on the basis of thought experiments and consideration of the experimental results of others. He never did experiments. Yet he was able to create a theory which would successfully predict the outcome of experiments that in some cases were not conducted until 50 years after he had committed the theory to paper, regarding the outcome of realities that no-one had ever seen.


This is no different than a base ball pitcher learning how to accurately throw the ball within a strike box. Not to mention that Einstein didn't just sit around using his imagination with these thought experiments, they were backed up with using math.

Quote:
So how did that ability 'just evolve'? How it this an outcome of the Theory of the Descent of Species? Do you think Darwin would ever have claimed to have explained the nature of human intelligence with reference to his theory? Do you think a Darwin can be used explain an Einstein? Do you think, furthermore, that being in a form that can somehow penetrate the deepest recesses of time and space 'just happened'?


The theory is constantly being challenged and there are additional data from research that broadens our understanding and filling in the gaps of Darwin's initial theory. The aspect of Einstein is really not that unique. You are failing to consider many aspects of him as if he were some highly evolved human. In aspects of his personality or human ability he had short comings. He was absent minded at times and this is accountable to a person with autism. So he might have only been operating in a different part of his brain, where as the norm do not.

Quote:
I hope you see what I am getting at here. I really don't want to fall into either camp of dumb creationism, on one side, and lumpen materialist, on the other.


Regardless if you accept that humanity is based on materialism, it is. That is why the Buddha stressed the importance of severing your strong bond with it. It is just an aspect of humanity, it is neither bad nor good, it just is a trait.

Quote:
I think the truth of the matter is far more elusive, and infinitely more interesting.


I agree, and why I feel the need to correct some inaccuracies.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 05:59 pm
@jeeprs,
You should be aware of the book Chance and Necessity that I referred to. This was a book by Jacques Monod, a Nobel-winning biochemist, not some creationist nitwit. And it has a very large following.

Quote:
He was also a proponent of the view that life on earth arose by freak chemical accident and was unlikely to be duplicated even in the vast universe. Source


Now his book has considerable following among philosophically inclined scientists. I also recall Betrand Russell referring to the Universe as 'the accidental collocation of atoms' in his famous essay A Free Man's Worship. Existentialism has a similar view.

What I am saying that the argument that there is no purpose has only arisen as a reaction to the traditional belief that there was. It is the 'dialectic of belief and unbelief' at work.

As for whether a 'footprint in the mud' is the same as a Mozart minuet, I will only observe that there are many things that make footprints, but very few artists who create minuets. If you feel they are of equal worth, that is of course a subjective judgement and your perogative.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 06:01 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
Krumple you should be aware of Chance and Necessity.


Alright, ill check it out...
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 06:06 pm
@jeeprs,
Formidably well written book, extremely clever and, to me, daunting.

---------- Post added 08-28-2009 at 10:29 AM ----------

I should add, in all of this, and in case it is not already abundantly clear, I am 'playing with ideas' here. The idea about 'life made conscious' appeals to me on an intuitive level. I don't know if anyone else has thought of it, however there are certainly similar ideas in the esoteric traditions.

Second about the 'evolution as religion' - I know the theory of evolution was not put forward as a religious idea, but it is indisputable that there is a deep conflict between it and the traditional cosmology of Christendom. (I suppose, all things considered, I am on religious rather than the scientific side of the debate, but there is no way that what I am contemplating could be understood as biblically orthodox. In fact it is probably alien to both scientists and creationists. But then I hope that is what makes it interesting.)

Secondly, the sense in which Evolution now fulfils the place of a religious idea is that is has 'become our creation myth'. Now of course it is a scientific theory but it fills a place in our 'construction of the world', the way we make sense out of existence, that would have been filled by a traditional religious cosmology, prior to its discovery.

But one of the sub-layers of meaning is that this evolution is a natural process. Ergo, H. Sapiens is an outcome of a natural process, in the same way as rivers, mountains, etc, however, endowed with self-consciousness.

But even accepting the fact that we evolved, and I certainly do, I am still not satisfied with this as an origin story. It explains the material facts, but something very important is missing here, and I don't think Darwin's theory fills the gap (nor did he intend it to.) Taking the whole debate outside the Christian context, evolution as a concept would not disturb the Hindu, Buddhist or Helenic philosophers in the least. But it woud also not be regarded as a sufficient account of the nature of our being. I still feel there are things essential to our nature that cannot be explained with reference to evolutionary theory. But I am not 'a creationist'. Hope I am clear about that.

---------- Post added 08-28-2009 at 10:41 AM ----------

Hamlet:
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals-and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me-
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Rosencrantz:
My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 10:05 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;86107 wrote:
How could this be 'an error'? It is an obvious fact that h. sapien is different to every other species on the planet, is it not? Which other creature on earth shows capabilities like ours?


Taking just this one concern for now (since it may well prove to be a major pillar in your presentation), I reason that the evidence shows us that the difference between the many species is at various 'scales' of difference, yet in the overview, with the common denominator being a difference.

It is therefore very much a shame that our perhaps closest relatives, the H. neadertal, didn't make the adaptations to changing enviornmental shifts quickly enough to keep from becoming extinct. Exactly how much difference would there have been between the H. neadertal and the H. sapien at the point in time that they overlapped? Based on evidence of finds, not that awfully much, but enough to set the stage for exponential social-group growth.

Then, we also have the H. heidelbergensis which possibly links to both of the previous mentioned species. and H. ergaster which possibly links to the above, and to the seemingly dead-end H. erectus. While the evidence does not clearly allow us to determine 100%, it is clear, for example, that P. boisei, H. rudolfensis, H. habilis, and H. ergaster all forged in an overlapping area of Africa; in what ways were they different among themselves in brain build? In what ways would they have been different from the eventual first fully H. sapiens beings?

There is a clear difference between a chimpanzee and a rhesus (a great ape and a monkey), what might be the determinant of that brain build difference? Again, there is an evident difference in the ability to stategize between a dolphin and a cat; what part of brain build might have caused that? Or, are we to think that brain build has nothing to do with it?

Einstein's brain had been removed in autopsy by Thomas Harvey, and has had reseach and investigation done on it. The general overlay of results do tend to show us that with a higher degree of interneuronal conduction time, missing parietal operculum (an area of secondary somatic sensory cortex which usually deals with object recognition by touch and position sense in the main), and a 15% percent wider area of inferior parietal areas on both hemispheres over normal brain build [along with a somewhat more highly integrated cortex there], and a possible ballpark figure of some 73% more glial cells (which support and nourish neurons) in the Wernicke's area (1), demonstrates that we can understand it as that brain build difference. This is very much the case for autism savants as well.

Therefore the error lies in drawing a hard, fast line between the H. sapien and other life forms without doing the same between every life form. Having done that, then, we can see that every life form has a difference between it and all others, so therefore once again, the H. sapien is nothing special simply because it has a certain brain build; all brain carrying life forms have certain brain builds, so . . . ?




1. This study, by neuroscientist Marain Diamond of UC at Berkeley in 1984, was criticized as flawed methodologically, and she gave the 73% figure, so we have to discount that somewhat...although it could be the case [I've seen nothing else on it] that the count is higher than normal brain build.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 11:33 pm
@jeeprs,
This is not something that can be, or even need be, proven by argument. If you don't recognize the unique characteristics of the human species amongst all the species on earth, then there is nothing I can say to persuade you. If you assert that humans and animals are not different in kind, then indeed all argument fails. I will not debate it.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 08:20 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;85965 wrote:
I am starting to play with the idea that the physical organism is really like a transport, and the 'payload' is consciousness, and all of the countless fascinating things that us humans can get involved in. I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself. We are life made conscious, discovering itself in a giant game of hide-and-seek. (a la Alan Watts). And because humans are actually fully self conscious and capable of asking 'who or what am I'? they are categorically different to creatures. They are the Universe coming to life.


Yes, I have come to believe that the physical human body is a conscious form designed to explore in a unique way. Alan Watts probably was influenced by the Daoist view of the world where the Spirit/Shen (spark of life), Soul/Hun (transcendental being) and Mind/Yi (creative mind that is becoming more aware), occupy the living physical body (Po) that is motivated by Will/Zhi.

It would be very difficult for me to say specifically how the human being differs from other animals, though we can observe that there are certainly different capabilities in the ability to explore, create and communicate between each other what has been discovered.

It could be that humans have a more evolved nervous/motor system that is designed to communicate more evolved ideas such as language, mathematics, poetry, music, etc. So, our physical body manifests in such as way as to allow the transcendental soul (Hun) to express all that it has learned about life.

Rich
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 04:00 pm
@richrf,
richrf;86244 wrote:
Alan Watts probably was influenced by the Daoist view of the world


More than 'probably'.

Quote:
It would be very difficult for me to say specifically how the human being differs from other animals
Rich


Why? Which other animal creates machines, asks itself who or what it is, communicates in abstract language, dresses, builds civilizations, plays music.....I mean why is everybody finding this distinction so difficult? Beats me...
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 06:29 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;86345 wrote:
Why? Which other animal creates machines, asks itself who or what it is, communicates in abstract language, dresses, builds civilizations, plays music.....I mean why is everybody finding this distinction so difficult? Beats me...


Well, I consider these manifestation. I am looking for a singular difference of quality in consciousness to express the differences.

Rich
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 07:11 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;86152 wrote:

I should add, in all of this, and in case it is not already abundantly clear, I am 'playing with ideas' here. The idea about 'life made conscious' appeals to me on an intuitive level.


OK, then . . . I see two divisible sections in this statement. On the one hand, you are playing around with some ideas which you have presented the bulk essence of (as far as a second or third party can see, in syntax and semantics) in the OP, and on the second hand, you are evidencing an emotional attraction to the focus conclusion (or direction of summary of these several points within your presentation). It is a fact that as far as I can gather, from your wording (and a little inference from within that), a second or third party cannot presently determine which actually, most precisely came first--the emotional attraction towards such a general concept, or certain ideas which when thought over, developed into a concept which you then became emotionally attracted to.


Therefore, I am playing around with your concept presented, just as you are playing around with the ideas, as well, and at the moment I am inclined to reason that you are making an error of presupposition in the setting up process. Let's test for that.


jeeprs;85965 wrote:
(unless otherwise mentioned, all bold, color, etc. will be mine)
What bothers me about it is that I think, to put it bluntly, there is more to life than surviving. In other words, evolution does not really address the difference between living and surviving, and for a human, there is a world of difference between the two.


Would you thus be giving consideration to a human living today, or this past 1,000 year block? or even a 5,000 year block? This must clearly be determined in no uncertain terms.


jeeprs;85965 wrote:
So I am arguing that even though I believe the theory of evolution to be correct, I don't think it really does give an account of who were are. But now there is a tendency to say, we are just another species of animal, here by dumb luck, that is all.


It is noticable that by mentioning that you think (or reason) that 'evolution theory (perhaps .vs. evolutionary events?) does not give human beings (living today?) an account of who we are,' and by suggesting that there is a tendency to see human beings as 'just another species,' there will be a high tendency by a second or third party observer to conclude that your wording evidences a presuppositional underpinning, namely, that the H. sapien is specially different, as distinguished from other species, than, for example, the difference between a chimpanzee and a cat.


jeeprs;85965 wrote:
I am starting to play with the idea that the physical organism is really like a transport, and the 'payload' is consciousness, and all of the countless fascinating things that us humans can get involved in. I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself.


Here, the above observation presented previously is bolstered. By 'physical organism' you are logically, obviously only considering the human being to be a physical organism, because you are stating in a postive contextual coherence that the 'human is life coming to consciousness' (obviously insinuating that only the human being has a state we can call consciousness) therefore making it the logical conclusion that by physical organism, you intend to mean human being alone.

However, on the other hand, it could be that you have simply erred due to a presupposition--the anthropocentric fallacy.


jeeprs;85965 wrote:
I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself. We are life made conscious (BOLD here original), discovering itself in a giant game of hide-and-seek. (a la Alan Watts). And because humans are actually fully self conscious and capable of asking 'who or what am I'? they are categorically different to creatures. They are the Universe coming to life.


Here, firstly, by pointing out that humans only have consciousness in the degree that we have 'self-awareness,' we are not 'creatures,' you are stipulating a definition, namely, that humans are not creatures. This tends more than anything to evidence that fallacy because as it fits in with, and develops your train of thought, it shows that 'physical organism' as used in the previous quote, is being used to stipulate (per your argument) that creatures are not 'physical organisms.' In the real world, we know that this is absolutely false !


jeeprs;85965 wrote:
Now I like this because it resonates with various traditional mythologies of creation but at the same time it is not traditionalist. . . But it does not contain ENOUGH truth in my view, it is not sustaining, it is not spiritually nutritious


Please note how this ties in with my first paragraph above.


jeeprs;86107 wrote:
It is an obvious fact that h. sapien is different to every other species on the planet, is it not? Which other creature on earth shows capabilities like ours?


Therefore, because of a presupposition which is a fallacy, your accurate and true statements in this immediately above quote is being exaggerated in conclusion of what these statements efficacy actually is. It is an obvious fact that the chimpanzee is different to every other species on the planet below it in brain build, is it not? Which other creatures (and this usage in your original text in the post as quoted above, is an argumental self-contradiction, because you have logically stipulated in the OP that only humans are not creatures) on earth with brain builds below that of the chimpanzee show capabilities like the chimpanzee's?


jeeprs;86217 wrote:
This is not something that can be, or even need be, proven by argument. If you don't recognize the unique characteristics of the human species amongst all the species on earth, then there is nothing I can say to persuade you. If you assert that humans and animals are not different in kind, then indeed all argument fails. I will not debate it.


In taking a proper degree of conscientiousness, we will surely be able, much more so than anything else, determine that we must step back and take into account the whole, big picture of nature. . .as a moving film, rather than a simple snapshot. What we find which is demonstrable of a fair, pragmatic, and logical conclusion will have to be taken into consideration. That, is exactly the process I am using to 'play around with your ideas.'

If one were to look carefully, it will be clear enough that I did not suggest any closed-ended, across-the-board-as-is statement to the efffect that the H. sapien does not possess unique characteristics when compared to other species known to us (presently living and or extinct). What I did signify, was that any number of species can be shown to have unique characteristics when compared to any other species, therefore the simple fact that the H. sapien has some unique characteristic does not put the H. sapien in a catagory by itself all alone. It is true, nevertheless, that the exponential increment in brain capability that the H. sapien came to have, thus primarily making that new species, will put the H. sapien in a catagory by itself, if the classification title of that catagory is 'Brain Build Development Apex, it will not remove the H. sapien from the linage that led to that particular brain build being developed...a lot had to come before it, you see.

Now, jeeprs, what reason might you provide to demonstrate that the bipedal footprints left in the soft volcanic ash on the plains of Laetoli some 3.4 to 3.8 million years ago, had been made by H. sapiens? What evidence might you provide to demonstrate that the H. neandertal was so extremely behind the H. sapien during their time together in Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, or that the H. heidelbergensi had been that much different from the H. neandertal? Please do consider it seriously, since we are playing around with these ideas, and we want to make it all as accurate and up-to-knowledge as possible.



PS. I wonder if this really fits in the 'Religion' sub-forum, or not?
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 08:44 pm
@jeeprs,
Fundamentally the "life made conscious view" is religion or theism in its most basic form. It is not a new sentiment. It has been expressed countless times in a variety of ways. It is answering the question "does the universe have a purpose" in the affirmative. In this particular presentation of the viewpoint the purpose of the universe is the realization of self consciousness and evolution or process is the method of achieving it.

It is a rejection of; or a challenge to; the materialistic view of the universe as a deterministic machine driven by blind impersonal forces in which life and mind is ultimately a side show at best; and perhaps just an accidental happening without ultimate meaning or significance.

The naturalist theistic view on the other hand holds that although evolution is the process (not for just for biology but for cosmology as well) there is a built in tendency of the universe towards order, complexity, life, mind, experience and ultimately aesthetics and values. Whether it be Plato's world soul or Teihard De Chardin's "evolution of spirit", the basic sentiment is the same.

I do not think the choice between these two fundamentally opposed world views is really a matter of science, reason, intelligence or experience. Neither viewpoint can be proven as the "truth" but there is a profound difference in the way one views the world.

For the Greeks the universe had a rational order and was governed by divine logos.The universe had a telos (an end or goal, a striving). Socrates asked whether the structure of the universe was created by chance or by "order of a wonderful intelligence. Einstein would refer to the "wise old man who designed the universe". To see order with purpose in the universe is not necessarily to engage in a flight of fanciful thinking or to deny "the facts".

For me the universe is alive and enchanted to its very center and my education in the sciences has done nothing but deepen my appreciation for life, mind and mystery.

I have severe doubts about viewing the universe as fundamentally composed only of dead, inert, insensate matter acting as mechanistic deterministic machine. It seems wrong and even modern science casts severe doubt on that interpretation of experience.

In the end all you have is experience and your interpretation of and assumptions about it. To deny subjective experience is in some sense to deny "reality".
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 01:58 am
@jeeprs,
Prothero sees things pretty much like I do.

The idea of humans being life made conscious is not a scientific theory (although I don't believe it is contravention of any, either). It is a poetic metaphor. I hope that it helps those who are looking for a way of understanding in a life and a universe that often seems meaningless or indifferent. It is very easy to feel like a complete outsider, like you have no place here, that the universe is alien and you are an accident in it. Entire books have been written on this feeling. And I don't think it is a happy or joyous state to be in. I want to feel at home in the universe.

As for all the specifics of how humans are different to animals, and which types of humans are different in which way, I haven't really done a lot of research. My instinctive reaction to the question is that if humans behave like animals, and they frequently do, then they forgo many of the qualities that make them distinctively human. Hence they 'behave like beasts' as the saying goes. If they rein in their animal qualities and cultivate their higher instincts, they are capable of much more refined states of consciousness.

There is obviously physiological continuity between the primates and the human. But all of the traditional cultures have also recognised a difference in kind. The Greeks said it was because we are a 'Rational Soul'. The Bible said 'Imageo Dei', made in the image of God. In Buddhism, only a human can realise Nibbana and become free from the eternal round. It is interesting to note that 'sapiens' itself means 'wise'. I believe sapience itself signifies spiritual qualities.

I think that ordinary self-awareness, the kind that everyone has, is in itself much more refined than that enjoyed by animals. However I believe the spiritually enlightened realise a higher identity again, which is something that only humans can do. This reflects the traditional understanding.

Maybe it will never make sense until you have a glimpse of it. If you haven't experienced it or don't believe it is possible, there may be nothing I can say. And not everyone will want to know about it. But this is a philosophy of religion forum, so if it is going to be said anywhere, isn't this the place for it?

KaseiJin;86387 wrote:
I wonder if this really fits in the 'Religion' sub-forum, or not


So my answer is 'yes'. This is exactly what it is - a philosophy of religion. But your analysis is more scientific. That is reasonable, but it is a different approach: empirical and analytical as opposed to intutive and poetic, objective vs subjective. They both have their place but they aim for different types of understanding.

I will observe, however, that there is also an ideological motivation for people to deny our difference from any other animal. My understanding of that is that it is due to our emotional commitment to normality. We are very committed to believing that the way things appear to be, is the only reality that exists. But that does belong to another thread.

---------- Post added 08-29-2009 at 06:28 PM ----------

A little 'romantic verse' from Wordsworth on the rhapsody of nature

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

---------- Post added 08-29-2009 at 07:11 PM ----------

AND BESIDES, leaving aside all the tender-minded weepy spirituality and all the rest of that side of things, isn't it OBVIOUS that humans alone can build advanced technology, create advanced mathematics, create music, make and fly planes....I mean, how big a list do you want? Sure animals are unique in their own way, but humans are unique on the planet.

OK - thought experiment. You're an alien species who lands on earth. The game is Pick the Dominant Species. Why, that would be the one who has built all the cities and road and exist in large numbers and drive around in cars.

So - WHAT IS THE ARGUMENT? Why is it not obvious that humans are completely different to every other creature on earth? Isn't it just obvious?

---------- Post added 08-29-2009 at 07:30 PM ----------

sorry - got emotional....
0 Replies
 
KaseiJin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 09:21 am
@prothero,
prothero;86423 wrote:
Fundamentally the “life made conscious view” is religion or theism in its most basic form. . .
It is a rejection of; or a challenge to; the materialistic view of the universe


This is an error, because any demonstrable concept of an understanding that life, especially that of the H. sapien, was something of only matter, had not been in place when the major world religious belief-systems had congealed.

To continue to push the concept in spite of the knowledge otherwise, as though it were something more than a mere story, a cultural, historical decoration, is the problem.

jeeprs;86473 wrote:

The idea of humans being life made conscious is . . . is a poetic metaphor.
Yes, I agree that it would be poetic.

jeeprs;86473 wrote:
I hope that it helps those who are looking for a way of understanding in a life and a universe that often seems meaningless or indifferent. It is very easy to feel like a complete outsider, like you have no place here, that the universe is alien and you are an accident in it. Entire books have been written on this feeling. And I don't think it is a happy or joyous state to be in. I want to feel at home in the universe.


Why do we need this, however, to feel happy or joyous? I am very happy, feel very joyous, and the reason why is because I understand my place in it all ! We are to live; we are to give life to that which will continue life. The purpose of life is to live, and if one does not live, that is sad, I will admit. To the extent that we can provide a continuation to life, we have achieved our purpose . . . and in the meantime, we live too !!


jeeprs;86473 wrote:
But all of the traditional cultures have also recognised a difference in kind. The Greeks said it was because we are a 'Rational Soul'. The Bible said 'Imageo Dei', made in the image of God. In Buddhism, only a human can realise Nibbana and become free from the eternal round. It is interesting to note that 'sapiens' itself means 'wise'. I believe sapience itself signifies spiritual qualities.


Which, as I have pointed out to you in the past, is mistaken. The speakers of those old traditions were without the knowlege that we have now, and are obsolete. The evidence does not point towards any 'rational soul' beyond the workings of the brain. One cannot become free from eternally being used over and over again--nothing much at all has left the earth in the past billion or so years, and it's all being recycled . . . do you not realize that you drink the same liquid that others (not only humans, mind you) have drunk and passed in the eons past?


jeeprs;86473 wrote:

So my answer is 'yes'. This is exactly what it is . . . They both have their place but they aim for different types of understanding.


I agree that they both have their place, but I completely disagree that there is any real benefit in over emphasizing concepts which are known to be inaccurate.


jeeprs;86473 wrote:
So - WHAT IS THE ARGUMENT? Why is it not obvious that humans are completely different to every other creature on earth? Isn't it just obvious?


Why is it that you cannot understand that while humans are different when compared to other animals, that any other animal is different when compared to the H. sapien (regardless of the etymology of the word, as meaning and usage usually have no bearing)? Why is it that the H. sapien takes so much time to mature? Why can the H. sapien not swim almost upon birth?

The point is, that yes . . . the H. sapien is special, but there is not some sudden jump, as though the H. sapien alone has come to some consciousness which is out there, somewhere, in advance, and thus is the universe recognizing itself. All animals have some activity in that event !!
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 12:20 pm
@KaseiJin,
[QUOTE=KaseiJin;86561]This is an error, because any demonstrable concept of an understanding that life, especially that of the H. sapien, was something of only matter, had not been in place when the major world religious belief-systems had congealed. [/QUOTE]

Science may be the study of matter (more properly energy, physicalism) and tell us about the spatial and temporal properties of "reality". Science does not claim and does not prove the truth of "materialism". The assumption that science defines "truth" and "reality" is "scientism" a metaphysical assumption or philosophical speculation. The assumption that science will explain all and predict all in the future; and that all of reality and experience have an entirely material explanation is "materialism" not science. Science makes no such extensive claim. "something only of matter" betrays your metaphysical bias; not a scientific theory or fact.


[QUOTE=KaseiJin;86561]To continue to push the concept in spite of the knowledge otherwise, as though it were something more than a mere story, a cultural, historical decoration, is the problem. [/QUOTE]

Materialism and its frequent corollaries, mechanism, determinism and reductionism tell a very incomplete and partial story when it comes to the entire range of human experience. The assumption that science is our only tool in determining "truth" and "reality" is a metaphysical assertion a philosophical speculation not a scientific theory.


[QUOTE=KaseiJin;86561]Which, as I have pointed out to you in the past, is mistaken. The speakers of those old traditions were without the knowlege that we have now, and are obsolete. [/QUOTE]

All ancient wisdom is dead? All the accumulated insight into human motivations, desires and needs now must be formulated in the terms of science? Philosophy has been replaced by science. Science the step child of natural philosophy has now replaced/ eliminated philosophy altogether? The only meaningful questions are scientific questions? No logos? No Sophia?


[QUOTE=KaseiJin;86561]The point is, that yes . . . the H. sapien is special, but there is not some sudden jump, as though the H. sapien alone has come to some consciousness which is out there, somewhere, in advance, and thus is the universe recognizing itself. All animals have some activity in that event [/QUOTE]

What is mind for you? What entities possess or have it? When and how did it come into existence? What is the most primitive quality or property you would refer to as mind? What is the lowest form of life or existence that possesses the most primitive qualities of mind? How would you, how could you know?

Does not evolution demand that mind must have slowly come into existence? Is not gradualism inherent in evolutionary theory? Particularly for a quality so radically different such as "mind"?

William James said there were two basis kinds of philosophers, the cynical and the sympathetic: the cynical invariably adopt materialistic philosophies and the sympathetic adopt spiritualist philosophies. I find the spiritualistic philosophers readily acknowledge the metaphysical and speculative nature of their endeavor whereas the materialists claim to be working with "truth" and "reality"

Ultimately the purpose of philosophy is to integrate science with values and aesthetics. It is about developing "a vision" a "worldview". Materialism is not the only; or even the most inspiring world view that can accommodate the "facts" and "theories" of science as opposed to the metaphysics of "materialism".

The facts of evolutionary theory do not compel the view that the entire process is blind, that materialism is "true" or that natural laws are deterministic. That is a metaphysical not a scientific assertion.
0 Replies
 
Exebeche
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 06:18 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;85965 wrote:

I am starting to play with the idea that the physical organism is really like a transport, and the 'payload' is consciousness, and all of the countless fascinating things that us humans can get involved in. I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself. We are life made conscious, discovering itself in a giant game of hide-and-seek. (a la Alan Watts). And because humans are actually fully self conscious and capable of asking 'who or what am I'? they are categorically different to creatures. They are the Universe coming to life.


Hello jeeprs

Although i don't subscribe to the point of view that you develop here, i think i can add some ideas that might be interesting for you.
First of all i see your question as a result of a need to find a compromise between science and spirituality.
I appreciate that. There is a huge gap between science and spirituality, but i think there is also a new understanding of scientific recognitions that brings science somewhat closer to spirituality.
What i will suggest here differs from your ideas in many points, however it may provide some enriching aspects.
You will find my perspective materialist naturalist and even reductionist, but nonetheless let's see how far we get.
You say "I see humans as being 'life coming to consciousness', the very process by which the universe discovers itself."
My perspective would be: Not humans, but life is the process by wich the universe discovers itself.
I don't regard humans as the central point. However these two perspectives are not so different. It's just that humans are the most elaborate form of life we know.
So these two views are not contradictory.
H. Maturana and F. Varela were the two scientists who developed the common theory of autopoiesis as the process of life.
Autopoiesis is not a concept that you will understand after reading a page on Wikipedia, it's complex and related to other topics interdisciplinaryly.
That's why it is not widely understood. And that's also why most people will not understand the following:
Maturana and Varela regard Life itself as a process of cognition.
You already see the difference to your point of view - It's not humans, it's life itself.
Life is not an entity (thus this idea is not metaphysical), it's a process groping in a phase space.
Honestly this idea can not be understood unless you know (and really understand) what the word phase space means.

I tried to explain this term in a different thread.
Whoever finds it boring or already knows it may want to leave out this paragraph.

First of all we need to know what is meant by a phase space. Some people who know the word remember that it's an abstract mathematical construct that can consist of more than three or even four dimensions, so it's almost impossible for normal humans to imagine how it's supposed to work.
Well, this is what some people like to make it look like, but actually it's something very simple to understand. Everybody has already seen what a graph looks like. A typical graph has two axes and a curve in it. I am consciously oversimplifying because i want to get rid of any unnecessary mathematical abstraction.
The two axes are typically named x and y or time and space or whatever. Many systems
like a car accelerating can be described by only two axes . Some systems however are more complex. More axis are necessary to describe them, maybe four or five (or even 10, it doesn't matter). Such a system could for example try to describe relations between economic factors: Gross national product, unemployment, inflation, economic growth.
This graph is going to have four axes already. This is a fourdimensional phase space, so easy.
In other words the four dimensions don't even have anything to do with space and time, even though could, depending on the system we observe.
What's complicated to imagine is: How would you draw four axes in space? The first three are easy: One would go upwards, one to the right, one to the depth, but number four can hardly be drawn. But it doesn't matter, still it's only a theoretical axis. It's only a question of how you present it.
Instead of trying to draw a fourdimensional phase space in space you could also decide to choose a more simple way: Draw six normal graphs instead with two axes each, to describe the above system.
That's all the magic there is to the higher dimensional phase space. Its dimensions can be anything you dream about. There only has to be a logical connection between the axes somehow. Otherwise your system does not contain information.
So much for the explanation of phase space.


This is a very unscientifical descripton though. You may want to look up Wiki or other sources to get a more scientific understanding.

One more word about it: A phase space is not something that has a metaphysical existence. There are billions of possible phase spaces depending on what kind of system we are looking at.
So whenever we talk about phase space, we talk about a particular phase space which is one out of many.

One needs to understand that reality to us seems pretty much defined by time and space. However this is a perception based on our physical appearance and thus one of the first errors we are subject to and one of the primary veils around reality that is otherwise called Maya.
In other words time and space are what we perceive first and thus make it the primal constituents of reality.
However any other axis is no less relevant.
We tend to look at the stars and say "Oh look how tiny and insignificant we are in space", however in a different phase space things look totally different. For example in a graph that shows the entropy levels in the universe we are extremely extraordinary.
Regarding the size of something as primarily relevant is one of our first Maya experiences.
Actually regarding space as primarily relevant is one of our first Maya experiences.

A phase space can regard anything. For describing life it is likely to have axis like 'entropy' 'energy' 'information'. This reality is just as existent as time and space.
One of the first life forms - bacteria - were digging deeply in the phase space area of energy. In this (particular) phase space all of life was attracted by areas of energy sources.
In the beginning it was light.
In later stages of development other living creatures turned out to be energy sources.
Anyway, life was groping in phase space reaching for energy sources.
If you draw it in a graph, you realize that life has always been attracted by energy sources (This is one of the major facts about life).

Life (as a phenomenon) being attracted by energy sources is the first aspect to see how life gropes in its phase space.
It kind of stretches its fingers to wherever it can. Which is first of all where energy is.
Interestingly it is successfull in stretching out its fingers.
Life found a way of finding the places where energy is in the first place, and later even realised that living creatures are themselves energy sources (when you eat them).
This is not very romantic, but it's a story of recognition.

There is an incredible number of phase spaces that life has explored and thus recognised.
(The description i made is a very simple attempt. Probably very insufficient. However i hope i could give a somewhat understandable idea of what Maturana and Varela mean.)

That's why i would say life itself is how the universe is exploring itself. It's in a process of self exploration. You could also call it becoming aware of itself. Mankind is the most elaborate outcome of this process on earth. In humans the universe is becoming really self reflective because the recognition goes further than only what is relevant to the individual life form. Humans are the first stage of the universe' self recognition.
The first life forms were able to recognise the environment that is directly perceivable to them.
Humans look deep into time and space now.
You could call them the second step of a universal evolution.
However they are still subject to Maya.
Which means their perspectives are still completely filtered and distorted by the biological ballast they carry.
Their perspectives are still anthropocentrical.
And more than that - egoistical.
At this time we are in a stage in which a normal human being hardly looks over the horizon of its own interest.

However i think the universal evolution might head towards a point where this stage will be overcome.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 06:20 pm
@jeeprs,
Honestly KJ you seem a real nice guy and very learned but it is like a conversation with a Vulcan:bigsmile:. I suppose I might just as well own up to the fact that I believe in God - not 'a' God, not 'The' God, not the Christian God or this or that God or God of any other kind. Certainly not the God that Dawkin's disputes, which is an archaic mythical tribal deity. The 'God' I believe in is some great unknowable vast and vital reality, the ground of being, the beginning and end of all, that by which all else exists. Of course I know there is no such 'thing' and that such a God does not 'exist'. It is beyond existence, beyond disputation, beyond assertion and denial. So it is also beyond profane thought and reasoning.(1)

KaseiJin;86561 wrote:
The speakers of those old traditions were without the knowlege that we have now, and are obsolete.


I just find this statement, which you make frequently, very arrogant. I am not trying to be insulting in saying that. I suppose it is typical of modern westerners, particularly engineers and scientists, to believe that the present supersedes the past. It is part of the myth of progress. Everything that has gone before is obsolete.

So - you have asserted that scientific knowledge has superseded all the spiritual traditions, and also that man created God. I understand you have said this on a number of occasion, but you have not proven it, it is a statement of faith, it is a belief. It is your outlook on life. I think it is completely untrue, and also - I am struggling for a word here - it is 'cultural chauvinism'. You are asserting the modern western scientific culture supersedes all of the traditional cultures in the understanding of life.

However there are many things this statement overlooks. First, there are eternal verities: things which were true in times past, are true now, and will be true in the distant future. Many of these things, which are ethical in nature, have not been in the least affected by science. What is the scientific basis for caring for the poor, being unaffected by misfortune, learning to be patient, kind and compassionate in all your dealings with other creatures?

Second, I think that a philosopher must believe that the true nature of reality can be discerned by the human intellect, through the use of our cognitive facilities and reason alone, and without the aid of instruments such as telescopes and microscopes and vast scientific apparatus.

I believe that the Buddha's realisation of the nature of human reality under the Bo-tree was valid then, is valid now, and will be valid in 35,000 years. in fact in the Buddhist tradition, it is established that Guatama Buddha, the Buddha of this world-age, is only one of a series that goes back many tens of thousands of years and will also appear in the far distant future. In the Mahayana sutras, there are even references to Buddha appearing on other world-systems in the vast universe.

Moral truths may be eternal, while scientific theories change frequently, as they must. Example: 'Hatred must be overcome with loving kindness. Hatred can never overcome hatred. This is a law eternal.' [Dhammapada 1:5].

The fundamental challenge for human beings is to find reality in the living of it. Reality is not something that can only be isolated in the bubble chamber of an atom smasher or a neuro-scientific theory of brain function, useful and interesting though they might be. Reality is disclosed in the living of it. What stands between most of us and 'the larger reality' is not anything that requires scientific diagnosis, but our own egotism, selfishness and habituated attitudes to life. The purpose of spiritual teachings is to shake people out of that into a real awareness of the magnificence of life on earth, despite all of its 'sham, drudgery and broken dreams'.

So I will be upfront about it and declare: there is a state of God-realisation, spiritual awakening, enlightenment. I do not have direct knowledge of this state and certainly do not make any claims on my own behalf. But the literature on it is so vast and from so many times and cultures that it cannot be disputed (although, like anything else, it can be, and often is, denied). Those God-realised individuals do indeed see a reality beyond anything you or I can conceive. They are messengers from the beyond, and they are and have been among us throughout history. And in actual fact, scientists are now starting to realise that these 'higher states' are profoundly real and very important for the development of human kind. There is a lot of empirical data taking shape, not about the God beyond existence, but about the experience of the sacred. I will be sharing some of these findings shortly. See The Mind and Life Institute.

You seem to be an engineer amongst philosophers. It is my turn to ask you: what are you here for? This is the Philosophy of Religion forum, so are you just here to try and demonstrate that posting anything in such a forum is inherently deluded, because whatever religion it might belong to, it has passed its use-by date and is 'obsolete'? That it can't be proven according to what you declare are the criteria for proof?

What is, at the end of the day, the basis for 'scientific morality'? Whatever basis we have is largely due to the remnants of the Judeo-Christian moral code, which is now under attack on all sides. What will it be replaced with. B.F. Skinner? On Walden Pond? If you have an ethical theory which shows us how we can realise oneness with nature and all mankind while sustaining human civilization, make with it.

-----------------------------------------------------

(1) That is why I have chosen the Buddhist path. Buddhists don't believe in God but in the Mahayana there is an understanding of the Ground of Being.

I have also come to understand that this conception of Deity is actually not too remote from some contemporary Christian theologians, not least Paul Tillich and Karl Rahner. I might do some posting on that elsewhere.


---------- Post added 08-30-2009 at 10:25 AM ----------

Hi Exebeche - indeed a very valuable contribution, you have a much better understanding of the issues from a scientific perspective than do I. But I think that generally speaking I have much in common with that viewpoint. I am trying to get my hands on that Francisco Varela book 'The Embodied Mind"

From the review of the book by Dennett:

Quote:
Francisco Varela, an immunologist-turned-neuroscientist, Evan Thompson, a philosopher, and Eleanor Rosch, a psychologist, are radical critics of cognitive science, calling for what they consider to be more of a revolution than a set of reforms, and they have pooled their skills to execute what is surely the best informed, best balanced radical critique to date. Just how radical? Their heroes are the Buddha and the French phenomenologist, Maurice Merleau-Ponty. They argue that Buddhist meditative traditions offer not just a wealth of important phenomena of human consciousness, but otherwise unobtainable insights into the relations of embodiment that permit us to understand how the inner and the outer, the first-person point of view and the objective point of view of science, can coexist. (Source)


I am sure this is the way ahead.
Exebeche
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 07:03 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;86726 wrote:

Hi Exebeche - indeed a very valuable contribution, you have a much better understanding of the issues from a scientific perspective than do I. But I think that generally speaking I have much in common with that viewpoint. I am trying to get my hands on that Francisco Varela book 'The Embodied Mind"

In fact that's what i was trying to say:
Your spiritual point of view is not so far from a more modern scientific perspective. (You will find all that stuff about phase space and so on in the book you are trying to get..)
In fact i was hoping to show how science is pretty close to a buddhist kind of view:
It's not humans who represent the universe becoming self aware, it's life itself.
Any kind of life represents the universe becoming selfaware.
Thus there is no life form higher than another.
Life itself is the universe becoming selfaware.
Or life is the universe' growing consciousness.
When you say life you say intelligence.
Try to get the book you mentioned but just read my thread about intelligence.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » You Are Life Made Conscious
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 12/03/2021 at 04:46:47