Could you exist again?

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  • Could you exist again?
  • Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    This mind-bending little item, by Graham Lawton, appears in New Scientist, 23rd Feb, as part of an item on the nature of the Self. I know what a lot of philosophicals you all are, so enjoy and comment!

    “I Am the One and Only”
    Think back to your earliest memory. Now project forward to the day of your death. It is impossible to know when it will come, but it will.
    What you have just surveyed might be called your “self-span”, or the time when this entity which you call your self exists. Either side of that, zilch.
    Which is very mysterious, and a little unsettling. Modern humans have existed for perhaps 100,000 years, and more than 100 billion have already lived and died. We assume that they all experienced a sense of self similar to yours. None of these selves has ever made a comeback, and as far as we know, neither will you.
    What is it about a mere arrangement of matter and energy that gives rise to a subjective sense of self? It must be a collective property of the neurons in your brain, which have mostly stayed with you throughout life, and which will cease to exist after you die. But why a given bundle of neurons can give rise to a given sense of selfhood,and whether that subjective sense can ever reside in a different bundle of neurons, may forever remain a mystery.”

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Could you exist again?

    “I Am the One and Only”

    no, not if it means being reborn as chesney hawkes

    chewkw
    Member

    No, no transmigration.

    It’s different from being reborn as a maggot.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    What, with these feet?

    piemonster
    Member

    100 billion?

    You sure about that?

    IanW
    Member

    Hi Roller on the front, Crossmark on the back.

    RealMan
    Member

    Watch The Late Philip J. Fry.

    To misquote (probably) someone quite clever (probably), “In an infinite amount of time, I will live again”. As you can tell I can’t quite remember the quote, or who said it. Maybe it was me (almost certainly not true).

    fourbanger
    Member

    Interesting. I was having a discussion with my dad about “reality”. My point was “reality” is in fact only ones perception of reality. Everyone’s reality is unique to them and for all practical purposes the universe only exists in the mind of the individual. His argument was “reality is reality”. Some intelligent people have great difficulty seeing the world in any other way than exactly as presented in front of their faces.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    100 billion?

    You sure about that?
    Don’t think that’s right- aren’t there supposed to be more people alive now than the total that have ever lived up to this point?

    Junkyard
    Member

    If the universe is a googleplex big then I could meet myself in theory. As it is not I die and I end just like you

    TuckerUK
    Member

    I think you’ll find your earliest memory, isn’t all it seems to be. Let me explain.

    Let’s say you remember something that happened when you were five. And you remember it clearly. I think it’s most likely you’ve remembered that every week, or maybe every month, or maybe every year since. So, the memory is only actually a week old, a month old, or a year old. So, whereas one might argue that I can remember things from 42 years ago, actually my memory might only go back 1 year. Memories from earlier than that are actually re-memories.

    Just a thought.

    piemonster
    Member

    In the 20th Century, the world’s birth rate dropped from 40 births per 1,000 people per year to just 31 in 1995, and today it is only 23.

    But long ago, humans needed a reproduction rate of about 80 births per 1,000 people per year in order to survive, Wendy Baldwin says, because people didn’t live so long and far fewer of those born had children.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16870579

    Number who have ever lived: 107,602,707,791

    Apparently.

    oldnick
    Member

    The only thing keeping me going is that I won’t have to do it again 😉

    I’ve seen proof with my own eyes that there is more to it than just the end at death Don’t ask, you won’t believe me.

    avdave2
    Member

    The Human Brain Project is wrestling with mapping the brain. They are dealing with the fact that there are between 1000 and 5000 synapses per neuron and around 85 billion neurons per brain.

    There is probably more chance of the solar system reforming in exactly the same way after a collapse of the universe and a new big bang than any one person existing again.

    IanMunro
    Member

    I’ve seen proof with my own eyes that there is more to it than just the end at death Don’t ask, you won’t believe me.

    The matrix is programmed to make you believe that.

    avdave2
    Member

    I’ve seen proof with my own eyes that there is more to it than just the end at death Don’t ask, you won’t believe me.

    You have proof that won’t stand up to examination is what you mean. That sure is a funny type of proof.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    When I dream, I can never recount long detailed narratives like some people. It’s just a disjointed series of images and concepts that seem reasonable until I try and focus on them, when they become ephemeral and inconsistent. I wondered why, then I realised that it’s because having a dream isn’t like watching a film or real life events. When you see real life events, the real things that happen go into your visual cortex, but your brain doesn’t store or process them a video camera writing to an SD card. It parses the images into concepts and ideas, and links them with other concepts to be put into your memory.

    When I dream then, the memories and concepts spontaneously appear in my memory already, despite never having seen the events in the first place. They are so difficult to pin down because I’m not really bothered to fill in the details.

    So if you think you’ve seen something, it may be that the concepts have just appeared in your memory, perhaps randomly or perhaps linked to other concepts that were themselves triggered by visual stimulus. So in short, just because you remember seeing something, doesn’t mean you actually did.

    Many people say ‘I just can’t explain it’ or ‘I have a feeling’ or ‘I just KNOW’. I think this is why. If you remember seeing something, it’s impossible to determine whether or not you actually did. There’ve been seriously shitloads of experiments demonstrating this.

    I’ve seen proof with my own eyes that there is more to it than just the end at death Don’t ask, you won’t believe me

    We would believe that you have seen something, so why do you think we wouldn’t believe that it actually happened? Is it because it’s not plausible?

    Rambling

    Suspect a psychological construct we evolved to improve survival and breeding chance goals. May relate to dealing with being both thinking and community creatures. We have to balance individual genetic goals with those of the community to optimise our chances. How would that be possible without a sense of self ? Ants and bees are dumb and clones cogs in the hive machine so have no need for it.

    Other socio psychological constructs apply: commitment to family, extended family, adherence to law, right and wrong, god, religion, clubs, gangs and peer group . Evolved to benefit us.

    I never said i had proof, I said I saw proof.

    One day me and a mate found a run over dog outside our house. We took it inside and it died quietly in a box on the table. About 4 hours later we heard awful dog screeching in pain sounds coming from the table, two more people.were.in the room by now who also heard it. Neither knew about the dog because we hqddnt told them as they were literally arriving at that moment. It was really loud and stopped us all in our tracks. The dead body of the dog was 50m away and outside… And definitely dead.

    So what made the sound?

    piemonster
    Member

    You sure that dog was dead first time.

    Pretty much how my previous Cat went.

    avdave2
    Member

    You saw this proof with your own ears! 🙂

    Saw it, heard it… whatever you prefer mate. The usual response is to crack a joke, to make up for the sudden loss of explanation maybe…

    Yes, sure it was dead and we put the box in a bag and put it out the back. That was about 3 hours before the “incident”. The was nothing on or near the table the could account for the noise.

    jonke
    Member

    Perhaps another dog? A doggelganger maybe?

    Premier Icon righog
    Subscriber

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=3M5dz0K-rJg[/video]

    labsey
    Member

    it died quietly in a box

    Schrodinger’s Dog?

    Anyway, to the OP. Don’t see why not.

    geologist
    Member

    I heard an interesting philosophy today –

    ‘We are physical beings that developed the power of thought, what IF we started off as thoughts, who developed physically’ !

    Make of it what you will, Im off to bed 🙂

    aye-aye
    Member

    whether that subjective sense can ever reside in a different bundle of neurons

    No, this is preposterous based on any scientific principles*

    However, it’s possible that consciousness resides outside the “brain”.
    In that case “Could you exist again?” is irrelevant, “you” never did stop, nor ever will stop existing.
    It’s all to do with time (Which doesn’t exist outside human perception. It’s a human idea, not a real thing)
    They just haven’t worked it out yet.

    *probably, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist** (proven irrefutably by my above post)

    ** Neither are some scientists

    Premier Icon Wookster
    Subscriber

    I don’t think so. I understand the infinite time atom thing, but I think there is more to “us” than that really.

    DrP
    Member

    I remember once, as a junior dr, I was certifying a person who had just passed away.
    This involves listening to the chest/heart etc.
    As I leant over this ‘clearly dead’ person, and placed the stethoscope on their chest, they sat up and leant forward at me……
    I well and truly cacked myself….until I realised I’d leant on the automatic bed adjust, and it was the bed ‘sitting up’….!

    Maybe your dead dog was a robot prank set by some chuckling millionaire scientists?

    DrP

    bwaarp
    Member

    I’m going to hedge a bet that there is no randomness in quantum physics, that the universe cycles between a big bang and a big cruch and that the current hilarity we are all experience will happen over and over and over and over again for the rest of eternity.

    Which means you’ll come back in bazzilions of years and you won’t know it…..and you’ll be doomed to repeating the same life again.

    Just think….we’ll get to experience TJ threads all over again.

    I already have.

    You and I are a coincidence of matter and perspective in a specific arrangement that has been coded as DNA and can influence further coincidence. In larger sense we’re about as significant as a single rain drop in a monsoon. I like the analogy of water and it’s transformation to help comprehend a finite supply of matter/energy (same thing, innit) in continual transformation.

    Everything occurs in rhythms to some extent or another, with the bang/crunch being the largest scale (well, the largest to which we have labelled. The oscillations of 100 cycles of bang/crunch may itself behave in a rhythmical fashion resulting in eccentric behaviour). I know it’s been refuted as an idea but it’s interesting to think this version of the universe is not the first but merely another go.

    It’s also cool to know that some scientists consider the universe to be bagel shaped due to the compound circular geometry. Therefore, what would be in the hole or beyond that lovely shiny bit on the outside? Perhaps a sort of chain-mail of other universes interlinked into one another?

    All at once everything is completely pointless and yet the most unique thing you’ll ever be part of.

    So, what tyres for existentialism?

    samuri
    Member

    I’m going to hedge a bet

    I’ll take that bet. If you’re right then I’ll pay you in the next universe.

    loum
    Member

    I’ll take that bet. If you’re right then I’ll pay you in the next universe.

    You said that in the last universe too.
    And you still haven’t paid up.

    Compulsive gamblers tend to “forget” about the bets they lose. 😉

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I thought this thread had died weeks ago.

    Anyway, now that it’s come back to a semblance of life,

    What is it about a mere arrangement of matter and energy that gives rise to a subjective sense of self? It must be a collective property of the neurons in your brain, which have mostly stayed with you throughout life, and which will cease to exist after you die

    It used to be called a soul, the only difference being that the soul didn’t die when the frail vessel of the human body gave up, but moved on, which has always sounded as plausible as any scientific explanation, considering we’ll never know.

    mechmonkey
    Member

    It used to be called a soul, the only difference being that the soul didn’t die when the frail vessel of the human body gave up, but moved on, which has always sounded as plausible as any scientific explanation, considering we’ll never know.

    I can accept that as being plausible. What would a soul be though?

    Surely it is different from a sense of self. Your sense of self is inherently linked to the memories and experiences you have ‘stored’ in this body, the neuron pathways you have hard wired through use and practice and certain motor skills you accept autonomously.

    Perhaps the transferance of a ‘soul’ to a new collection of matter would be possible. It would also require extraction and removal of all associated hardware too. Otherwise there would be no residing sense of self. It then starts to look more like an organ transplant than anything else, which has its own set of issues wih the lifespan of tissue etc. Unless we can create synthetically acceptable replacements for what I have referred to as hardware that our soul would be happy to interact with and not just reject then we aren’t quite there yet.

    roady_tony
    Member

    if we were previous beings , souls, or thoughts that become physical, or higher entities that visit in bodies, then why dont we remember. there is no real reason why we shouldnt , so the only conclusion i make IMHO is that this is our 1 and only chance, and evolution has given us a sense of self, but there is nothing beyond,before,after that.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk-A-I-T2NU[/video]

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    Surely it is different from a sense of self. Your sense of self is inherently linked to the memories and experiences you have ‘stored’ in this body, the neuron pathways you have hard wired through use and practice and certain motor skills you accept autonomously.

    My wife made just this point – but I don’t think you are any less “you” at birth when you have almost zero memories/experiences.
    The sense of “self”, to me, is about the fact that of all the consciousnesses there are strolling around on the planet, there’s only one which you see from the inside as it were. Which, as user-removed points out, some would call the soul. If you reject the idea of the soul, it seems to be that if you accept you might ever see another consciousness from the inside – a kind of non-spiritual reincarnation – you would have to accept that it could happen twice at the same time. That’s really mind-boggling and impossible. Therefore, by the power of logic, I have to accept that this is the only consciousness I will ever inhabit (or accept the idea of a soul floating from one body to another which I also reject).

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