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Thread: Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity

  1. Top | #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Memories are the self, and the self is memories. If you are placed in a coma and wake with complete amnesia, then you died, and the person who woke is a new person, who just happens to be using the same body and brain as his support system that you once used.

    Consciousness is simply immediate term memory. To discuss the 'self' in the context of complete amnesia is meaningless.
    That's one option to take, but it strikes me as counterintuitive when you deconstruct it. What about cases of memory loss that is reversed? When previously forgotten memories resurface or are otherwise restored, does their restoration make them my memories, when beforehand they were those of "a new person"? What happens to this other person when my memories return and are re-integrated into my own consciousness? I think it's more straightforwardly coherent to instead say that remembering what was once forgotten reveals them as having always been my memories, my experiences when they occurred.

    Another way to argue this is to think of the following prospect: tomorrow, I will administer a drug to you, bilby, that will give you total amnesia for a temporary period of time. During that time, I will perform unspeakable torture on your body (or the body of this "new person" you refer to). When I'm done, the effects of the drug will wear off, and all memory of the torture will fade with the drug as it leaves your system. Assume no lasting physical damage will be recorded as aches or scars--if you like, it would be a direct cranial stimulation of your pain receptors.

    If you're right, you should regard this proposal as an unfortunate occurrence for that "new person", in the same way you'd view the news of a torture victim being found in some person's basement. Poor guy, but better him than me, right? Somehow, I don't think you'd feel this way about the situation, though. You would look upon the next 48 hours with the dread of being he who undergoes first the disorienting confusion of memory loss followed by the agony of torture, and knowing that both experiences would in a sense be isolated from your current self due to the lack of memory connections would not remove this feeling of anticipation. Am I wrong?
    Well, I don't know about "wrong" but what you're describing already occurs in most people that face such a traumatic event. It's called "dissociation" and/or "compartmentalization" and its essentially the brain creating separate "selves" to experience such events so that the "core" or "original self" does not have to. This is what happens in cases of what used to be called "multiple personality disorder" and is currently referred to as "dissociative identity disorder."

    Basically, the original analogue self that we all refer to as "I" gets protected by the brain creating another analogue self to experience whatever extreme trauma is being inflicted upon the body. Usually it happens during war time and during cases of childhood rape/sexual assault, but it can happen to anyone at any time to avoid any kind of trauma (e.g., car crashes and may account for the "it happened in slow motion" effect).

  2. Top | #22
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Memories are the self, and the self is memories. If you are placed in a coma and wake with complete amnesia, then you died, and the person who woke is a new person, who just happens to be using the same body and brain as his support system that you once used.

    Consciousness is simply immediate term memory. To discuss the 'self' in the context of complete amnesia is meaningless.
    That's one option to take, but it strikes me as counterintuitive when you deconstruct it. What about cases of memory loss that is reversed? When previously forgotten memories resurface or are otherwise restored, does their restoration make them my memories, when beforehand they were those of "a new person"? What happens to this other person when my memories return and are re-integrated into my own consciousness? I think it's more straightforwardly coherent to instead say that remembering what was once forgotten reveals them as having always been my memories, my experiences when they occurred.

    Another way to argue this is to think of the following prospect: tomorrow, I will administer a drug to you, bilby, that will give you total amnesia for a temporary period of time. During that time, I will perform unspeakable torture on your body (or the body of this "new person" you refer to). When I'm done, the effects of the drug will wear off, and all memory of the torture will fade with the drug as it leaves your system. Assume no lasting physical damage will be recorded as aches or scars--if you like, it would be a direct cranial stimulation of your pain receptors.

    If you're right, you should regard this proposal as an unfortunate occurrence for that "new person", in the same way you'd view the news of a torture victim being found in some person's basement. Poor guy, but better him than me, right? Somehow, I don't think you'd feel this way about the situation, though. You would look upon the next 48 hours with the dread of being he who undergoes first the disorienting confusion of memory loss followed by the agony of torture, and knowing that both experiences would in a sense be isolated from your current self due to the lack of memory connections would not remove this feeling of anticipation. Am I wrong?
    Yes, you are wrong.

    It would be no different for me than undergoing surgery under a general anaesthetic.

    Indeed, we have no way to know that this is not how general anaesthesia actually works. Perhaps the patients feel everything, but recall nothing. How could we tell?

  3. Top | #23
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    None of the material in the OP ties reality to anything in any consistent measurable way beyond coffee table talk. Consciousness and self are not onto nor are they clearly related to the physical world. If one is conscious it is possible one may not be aware of self or even exhibit self. On the other hand one may be conscious of many selves contiguously and, it seems, simultaneously.

    The unconscious has not lost consciousness nor self. Part of what is consciousness, the continuous demonstrated rewiring and rewriting of neural theater leaves a consciousness even when the individual is not able to express herself. Without such one could not have a consciousness continuing or radically modified when one became conscious.

    Neither chemistry nor physics changes in a biological entity can rewrite natural law as my limited vision comprehends it. If time is real, and I believe it is so, then each instant is followed by the next no matter how much that instant physically differs from the previous one or the next one and models built on such faith work.

    Imagine entropy being negated by something like state change in an aspect of an entity. Neither can I.

    Terms like consciousness and self are purely human developed constructs developed to communicate with other humans what they think are reality. If they were actually approximations of reality they would be as lawful as are those things scientists measure.They are nowhere close to being lawful.

    In my considerable study of living things I was reduced to psychophysical rather than behavioral study to chart what happens when the world outside the being enters and interacts with the it. Yes that may be due to my limitations or impatience. Still, I challenge anyone to come up with working model of behavior that is not based on building working and useful models of reaction, detection, perception, and cognition on other than biomechanics or psychophysics.

    As for information being kin to matter as some suggest in the forties literature then If one could do what is claimed in the OP one would be able to relate mind to not only information, but, be able to relate it to reincarnation. Good luck with that one.

    I'm happy to respond to whatever shortcoming you see in my views, but, I'm not willing to discuss models built out of more or less whole cloth.

    If this is out of line with the OP then I guess I should just shut up and let the children play. unwinding.
    Last edited by fromderinside; 10-04-2018 at 07:26 AM.

  4. Top | #24
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    The question of death is emotional, not logical quantifiable science.

    Science is not a philosophy of life and death.

  5. Top | #25
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    So why are we arguing about whether consciousness and self stops and starts then?

    When ever was science logical. It's pragmatic and empirical I agree, but, is that really logical?

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    The question of death is emotional, not logical quantifiable science.

    Science is not a philosophy of life and death.
    Science can serve any interest.

    Even moral interests.

    But it has to be in the hands of moral people.

    When it is the hands of immoral people it can serve immoral goals.

    Science is a tool, nothing but a tool. Like a hammer.

    It is not an ultimate understanding of anything.

    We have no clue what the things we see are and why they are there. We only know how they behave.

    Our understanding extends a bit and then no further.

  7. Top | #27
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Just taking this opportunity to add to my last post that Logic is a part of Maths rather than vica versa. These are exercises in organizational thinking driven by what challenges are before us.

  8. Top | #28
    Senior Member OLDMAN's Avatar
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    I think when it comes to the question of death, we should apply Occam's razor. Seems like death is not only obvious, but a pretty big clue as to what life is...a process in which matter self replicates, when the energy or ability to do that is over...so is life. Think what you want, doesn't change much.

  9. Top | #29
    Member aupmanyav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    New Age philosophy. 'Virtual Nonsense'.
    In the two rehab facilities I have been in death is a routine event. Not that people do not grieve when it is someone they have gotten to know but it is what it is.
    It should not be termed as 'virtual nonsense'. Philosophy keeps on changing over time. It has always done so and with new knowledge coming in, it will/should always keep on changing.
    Yes, death is normal, we have all seen death, but life has to go on. In India, it is the in-laws of the bereaved who come with food after cremation, and it is customary to partake it.

  10. Top | #30
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aupmanyav View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    New Age philosophy. 'Virtual Nonsense'.
    In the two rehab facilities I have been in death is a routine event. Not that people do not grieve when it is someone they have gotten to know but it is what it is.
    It should not be termed as 'virtual nonsense'. Philosophy keeps on changing over time. It has always done so and with new knowledge coming in, it will/should always keep on changing.
    Yes, death is normal, we have all seen death, but life has to go on. In India, it is the in-laws of the bereaved who come with food after cremation, and it is customary to partake it.
    The Irish have mastered the ceremony. Attending an Irish wake is an experience that no one should miss.

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