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#161 DarthRemark

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Are we living in a Matrix? What does it mean to be conscious? Take away your memories and what is left?

 

Most humans I have met never question who or what they are. They are given a set of rules to obey or there will be consequences. Who is keeping score?

 

Most people just flitter like a butterfly in the wind, bouncing from thought to thought. Never looking inward. 

 

I haven’t read this whole thread so not sure if I’m duplicating someone else’s efforts, but I’ll give you my thoughts on your original questions:
 
I think we’re in a matrix in the sense that the world we observe isn’t all that there is.  “Reality” is greater than what we consider “the natural”.   
 
Consciousness means to be “awake and aware”.  An animal can be conscious, and some animals are extremely intelligent, but none are on par with us in terms of abstract thinking abilities.  This gives us a higher level of awareness.  We have the ability to reflect on the larger questions of our existence and the meaning of it all, for example.  As far as we know this is unique in nature. 
 
Without memories, you still have “spirit”.  This is a person’s essence.  Who they really are.  Their brain may fail them but the spirit is unaffected. 
 
You’re probably right that a lot of us spend most of life just running the rat race.  Whether they talk about it or not though I think most folks do consider the larger issues at some point.  How much time they spend on this varies.   
 
The scorekeeper is God. 


#162 queenbee1

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Posted 2 weeks ago

 

I haven’t read this whole thread so not sure if I’m duplicating someone else’s efforts, but I’ll give you my thoughts on your original questions:
 
I think we’re in a matrix in the sense that the world we observe isn’t all that there is.  “Reality” is greater than what we consider “the natural”.   
 
Consciousness means to be “awake and aware”.  An animal can be conscious, and some animals are extremely intelligent, but none are on par with us in terms of abstract thinking abilities.  This gives us a higher level of awareness.  We have the ability to reflect on the larger questions of our existence and the meaning of it all, for example.  As far as we know this is unique in nature. 
 
Without memories, you still have “spirit”.  This is a person’s essence.  Who they really are.  Their brain may fail them but the spirit is unaffected. 
 
You’re probably right that a lot of us spend most of life just running the rat race.  Whether they talk about it or not though I think most folks do consider the larger issues at some point.  How much time they spend on this varies.   
 
The scorekeeper is God. 

 

Welcome to the topic Darth. Thanks for wading in. There is no judgement here no right or wrong. Consciousness as defined in dictionary is awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.

 

So we are all in agreement.

 

“Reality” is greater than what we consider “the natural”. I don't think I understand, but it's okay as I don't understand a lot of things.

 

As far as science knows on this planet, in the observable universe, we are unique. So again in agreement.

 

Without memories we still have spirit. Now I would never disclaim this as it not provable one way or the other, but I like to think there is an essence that is beyond our lifetimes and our collective experiences. Some sort of eternal soul, but eternity is a long time. 

 

So I challenge this only for the sake of discussion, we cannot find the spirit before we start breathing or after we stop. So how do we know it even exists? Things that cannot be explained happen every day. Must we attribute all supernatural phenomenon to God being? We can prove things that are unseen exist like atoms, ultrasounds and unseen light spectrums like infrared and ultraviolet, but we have yet to find a way to identify the soul or spirit in any way, shape or form. This seems to mean its existence is based solely on faith.

 

If I lack faith do I lack a spirit or is it their regardless? Some believers think that if you don't accept a God you will be condemned forever. This always seemed to me rather narrow minded and simplistic.

 

What people call their "life" or attempts to define themselves, seems to be relative measurement of winning or losing. I made good decisions, worked hard and now deserve the fruits of my labor, but in an instant that can all be ripped away. Trump talks a lot about this concept of and I think we all want to be winners, but you cannot have a winner without a loser am I right? At the end of the game someone has more points. Someone worked harder or the ball just bounced in their favor.

 

Let's say for sake of argument that God is keeping score. Keeping score of what? For what purpose? so we go to the gates of St Peter and some angel says sorry guy. You didn't make the cut. When you were 50-60 you didn't pray enough, perform enough selfless deeds etc. So you lose.

 

Some say that man is inherently imperfect. Does that mean we have to succeed or just try to do better? Are humans are in control of their destiny? Or is destiny in control of them?

 

I don't think there is anything in most religions that accounts for choosing your place, time of birth, who will be your parents or the government in which you find yourself under. Is God judging us as good for accepting authoritarian systems (being a good communist) or rebelling against the evils of such an economic system? How is one supposed to know how to behave?

 

If I am stricken with a disease am I supposed to fight with every fiber of my body and avail myself of every possible medical marvel available or should I meditate, pray and possibly accept my fate? Should we allow ourselves to choose death over a painful disease?

 

Muslims are supposed to pray toward Mecca, but how do they know? Do they carry a compass and a map to make sure they are facing the right direction towards Mecca? I know this sounds silly, but do we take our holy text literal or figuratively. ISIS seems to be nothing more than a bunch of thugs to me, but so are Racists, White Supremacists and Nationalists. Is the American Way really the right way or just a way? Being American at different times in history was about slave ownership, killing natives not to mention the Wild Wild West. Egyptians are now mostly Muslims and once worshiped the Sun. Just because we had flintlocks and rifles were we justified in killing Native Americans and breaking nearly every deal we made with them? What about Slaves? Wives that disobeyed their husbands? Husbands that beat their wives and children in order to get them to obey. Spoil the rod is what I was told growing up. In My High School days they had corporal punishment when an adult teacher could hit a child with a stick or paddle for disobedience or non compliance. Now they'd lose their job and go to jail.

 

So you can see why I get confused and have so many questions. If you lose all your memories before you die how can you find anything after death? You can't even remember that there is such a thing as a God. Does our spirit keep a record of all our memories and we are magically reunited with them upon our transition from life to death?

 

I don't expect anyone to have the answers. There is so much I don't know. Maybe there are beings that have a greater understanding of the universe and we aren't the first humans in the universe. I have a lot of questions and very few answers.



#163 DarthRemark

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Holy Smokes that’s a lot of questions!  Many of them merit their own discussions.  I’ll just focus on consciousness.  I’ll give you my thoughts on some of the others, but if you want to continue those tracks they probably should get their own thread.
 
The Natural is everything in the material universe down to atoms, electrons and the smallest particles and all of space/time.  This is all we can see and all science can test.  Reality could be much more than the natural universe though.  We can reason that it has to be.  For example, we can ask where did the Natural come from?  The universe is in motion.  Matter and energy change states.  But how did it come to be in the first place?  Something was there at the start and something put it in motion.  If everything has a cause (which is a safe assumption…we know of absolutely nothing that didn’t have a cause.), then we must be able to trace back to the beginning.  There are theories that say the universe doesn’t have to have a beginning.  It’s expanding and contracting and eventually time breaks down and stops, then goes in another direction, or even morphs into something completely different.  It’s all wild speculation because nobody can demonstrate any of that in a lab, but even if this is so we’re still left with the question of how did the “stuff” of physical reality come to be.  Was this faceless, voiceless glob always there?  An unintelligent mass of stuff that continually gyrates through strange permutations?  What a cosmic joke if this strange random glob eventually produced a component (us) that was capable of pondering itself.  Is it possible that that is “ultimate” reality?  Or is it more likely that there actually is a rhyme and reason to what’s going on?
 
You mentioned Eternity being a long time, but Eternity is a term for describing existence outside of space/time.  It’s not a long time.  Infinite time is a long time.  Eternity just is.  That’s hard to imagine from inside of space/time.  Kindof like describing 4-dimensional space time to a being that exists inside a 2-dimensional comic strip.  But we can grasp the concept and accept that it’s true.
 
As to your side questions:  
 
If I lack faith do I lack a spirit or is it their regardless?  -I’d say it’s there regardless.
 
Some believers think that if you don't accept a God you will be condemned forever. This always seemed to me rather narrow minded and simplistic. -Agreed. I can’t say more without getting into the realm of religion, and that can alienate people really fast.  So I’ll stick to concepts.
 
Trump talks a lot about this concept of and I think we all want to be winners, but you cannot have a winner without a loser am I right? – no you are wrong.  It’s possible for all to win.  Now, some will have more of some things than others, but that doesn’t necessitate losers.
 
Let's say for sake of argument that God is keeping score. Keeping score of what? For what purpose? so we go to the gates of St Peter and some angel says sorry guy. You didn't make the cut. When you were 50-60 you didn't pray enough, perform enough selfless deeds etc. So you lose. – without diving too far into religion, I believe this stage of existence has the primary purpose of determining what choices we will make.
 
Some say that man is inherently imperfect. Does that mean we have to succeed or just try to do better?  - to quote Yoda:  “Do or do not.  There is no try.” :) 
 
Are humans are in control of their destiny? – Yes.
 
Or is destiny in control of them? – this is what you would believe if you think the universe is an unintelligent, unguided mass of goo.  Hopefully, I gave you enough reason to doubt that.  
 
Is God judging us as good for accepting authoritarian systems (being a good communist) or rebelling against the evils of such an economic system? How is one supposed to know how to behave? – I think God is judging us based on the decisions we make with the knowledge we have.
 
If I am stricken with a disease am I supposed to fight with every fiber of my body and avail myself of every possible medical marvel available or should I meditate, pray and possibly accept my fate? Should we allow ourselves to choose death over a painful disease? – this is a personal choice that ties in to the last question.  Generally speaking, I think you should do what you can to survive.  If medical treatment is available and there is good reason to believe it’s helpful, then it would be foolish to turn it down. 
 
Is the American Way really the right way or just a way?  -it’s just a way.  But it’s the best way I’ve seen. 
 
Being American at different times in history was about slave ownership, killing natives not to mention the Wild Wild West. Egyptians are now mostly Muslims and once worshiped the Sun. Just because we had flintlocks and rifles were we justified in killing Native Americans and breaking nearly every deal we made with them? What about Slaves? – there’s a lot of ugly past in America.  But the same America that did those things also freed the slaves and passed civil rights.  Rescued nations in WW2 and prevented WW3.  Been a light for freedom and human rights in the world.  Provided international relief that’s saved millions.  Impacted millions more by developing and sharing technological and medical marvels.  On the whole, America has been a huge positive for the world.     
 
Spoil the rod is what I was told growing up. In My High School days they had corporal punishment when an adult teacher could hit a child with a stick or paddle for disobedience or non compliance. Now they'd lose their job and go to jail. -yes,  I think we need to beat more kids.  I’m not talking about abuse, but a good whipping never scarred anyone I’ve heard about and it produces disciplined adults.
 
Does our spirit keep a record of all our memories and we are magically reunited with them upon our transition from life to death? – I’m engaging in speculation myself here, but my belief is that the spirit is a part of the total you.  It’s reflective of your memories to the extent that they influence it and it influences them.  In eternity I think you will have some knowledge, maybe total knowledge, of what your brain contained.

Edited by DarthRemark, 2 weeks ago.


#164 DarthRemark

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Posted 2 weeks ago

I just wanted to comment a little more.  I went back and read the first few pages of this thread.  After that it seemed to wander off topic so I stopped.  You had some interesting comments on freewill though.  First, free will is not something that can be proven or disproven.  But again, we can infer that it’s true.  You’re right, in a strictly material Newtonian universe we would be at the whim of our experiences with every detail of life nothing more than a reaction to what came before.  There are reasons to believe this isn’t true though.  For me, a strong one is what I explained in the last post about the absurdity of a strictly material existence.  But in consciousness we have something that might actually transcend the physical universe.  What is higher consciousness if it’s not the ability to make free rational decisions?  And these often go against what could be predicted based on known inputs.  Of course, we can’t know and compute all of the inputs that go into a decision, but we observe many examples of going against predictability, like self-sacrifice and unconditional love, that are difficult to account for in a material world.  But how are free decisions arrived at?  In Newtonian physics everything is a reaction.  Quantum physics allows for unpredictable behavior at the subatomic level, which would throw some randomness into the equation, but that doesn’t get us to free will because you are still a slave to the unpredictability.  If free will exists it has to have a component beyond 4-D space/time.  This is what I think of as the spirit.  It’s as much a part of you as an arm or leg.  We intuitively sense that it’s there.  But there is no science that can show it because it’s beyond the realm of 4D.  Going back to the cartoon analogy, you could say that the 3rd dimension of the 2D cartoon is the subsequent frames.  One frame can’t see the next, but read them one after another and they tell a story.  In a similar way, we can’t see a 5th dimension though it’s as real as time and space.
 
You got onto a sidebar about AI.  AI is not true intelligence and does not have free will.  AI is complex code that executes very fast.  It has some ability to learn and can give the illusion of intelligence, but it’s not sentient.  It’s just doing what it’s been told.  There is no known technology that can give it free will.  This is illustrated by the problem of random number generation.  There’s no way to tell a computer to choose a random number because a computer just does what it’s told and there’s no set of instructions that can get it there.  The best programmers can do is generate an appropriately unpredictable number.  They might do something like take the timestamp at the moment of the decision and run it through a formula, but it’s not truly random because if you knew all of the variables going in you would know what the computer would do.  It’s just a 4D machine that’s a slave to its inputs. 
 
Ok, my week of vacation is now over and it’s back to work.  Football season has also begun so I plan to spend my recreation time watching TV and not hanging around Stratego.com.  I’ll check on this thread and the Trump thread in case anything comes up though.  Who knows, maybe we’ll nuke NK after all.  ;)

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#165 queenbee1

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Some days are just nice. There are no words to do it justice. I live in paradise so don't tell me the world is ending. Maybe yours is, but mine is doing just fine. I feel like a Hobbit.



#166 DarthRemark

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Hmm... Queenbee liked one of my posts?  Now I'm waiting for the Rod Serling monologue.  :) 



#167 queenbee1

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Darth that was a genuine like. I lean left pretty hard on social issues, but in the end its "most of us" having "a good life" and appreciating it. When someone puts effort into their side I recognize it, eventually. Trump has just made it harder on himself. I don't need to bash him any further. He is the POTUS and we must support whoever is in there or at least give them some rope. Not to keep beating old issues. We are here. Let's do the best we can in the here and now. Trump deserves all honors associated with the title of POTUS until he is not.

 

I will gladly do battle on the field in a tournament, but I get tired of politics too. Seems the less Congress does, the better off the rest of us are. They can't add new taxes. Not in today's world. Seems that during this brief interlude in time we will have a strongly divided Congress and Trump needs to stop spending his political capital for leaks and rumors. It is killing any chance we can move forward. Just being real. No amendment says I have to like the man. Just respect the office. I can do that.






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