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Some Questions

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Posted by Harvey on June 8, 2003 00:21:46 UTC

Hi Paul,

You proposed a theory of an afterlife, and we've talked about this before, but let me just summarize my view on what you propose:

***"2) God created the world, and did the best he could do. God is not perfect as is commonly thought, and sorry folks, but this is the best of his abilities."***

For many, and probably most, philosophers, this conception of God is not a viable solution. On the one hand we should expect that God knows theoretical physics beyond any human alive, yet cannot perform simple tasks such as prevent planes from crashing into buildings. I think I remember you suggesting that God is restricted in other ways (e.g., experiences time in a 5th dimension), but those alternatives do not save this perspective from being non-tenable. All that an extra dimension provides is perhaps 1) an ability to jump around the galaxy much faster (i.e., if the 5th dimension is a macro spatial dimension to our galaxy), or 2) it provides an option to jump back and forth in time. If (1), then God looks even more silly that he can do theoretical physics but cannot stop planes since he distance is no limitation for him, or if (2) then that implies that our timeline is fixed both past and future and that there is no creation to the universe and there is no freewill. In that case, God is an observer and that's it. Mentioning him doesn't make any sense since he can do nothing in our timeline but jump around a whole lot (or watch from above) and watch events 'unfold' when in fact it is no different than viewing a picture that is already existing.

***Since the one primordial consciousness pre-existed biology and exists outside the body, along with memories, emotions, personality, consciousness, etc., there is no problem with that consciousness continuing on in the absence of the body. (The answer is more complicated, however, because the one consciousness exists and operates in a different temporal dimension than the body does. But, no matter what you mean by "afterlife" in the context of multiple temporal dimensions, the answer is still the same and just as simple and straightforward.)***

This only begs the question. Why do we need brains and why is brain research in neuron activity showing that mental activities are so intertwined with brain function? If our consciousness exists prior to our biology and after our biology no longer exists, then why does neuroscience so heavily indicate that all of our mental activity (including consciousness, shortterm and longterm memories, etc) is disabled if something happens? Heck, if we have consciousness outside the biological framework, then how is it that we don't experience that consciousness if we are placed under anesthesia? Why do Alzheimer patients lose mental capacity if there consciousness exists outside their brains? Why don't they instantly tap into their mental reserves existing in an other dimension?

***That is the one primordial consciousness. When we typically speak of 'you', or 'me', or 'him', we mean the coincidence of a particular body at a particular point of (our familiar dimension of) time. That might be a particular runner, a person who just won the Mr. Universe title, or an obese person before they lost weight. But that identification does not identify exactly who or what is doing the experiencing. There is only one such, and that is the primordial consciousness.***

That reminds me of a recent movie with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson called 'Anger Management'. Adam's character was ordered by the court to go to Anger Management classes and Jack Nicholson's character was the instructor. Jack's character asked the question to Adam's character. "Who are you [Adam's character name]?" He answers the question by talking about what he did for a living, etc. Jack's character responds by interrupting him and saying that he didn't ask what he did for a living, he wants to know who he is? After a few attempts, with each time an interruption and saying I didn't ask you that question about you, I asked who you are. At which point Adam's character asked for some idea on how to answer the question, and Jack's character said (paraphrasing) "You want me to tell you who you are? I don't even know you, you are supposed to tell us".

The point of this example is that you are doing something very similar Paul. You apparently think there is some hidden identity of each person that has absolutely nothing to do with what they do, what they look like, what they like to do for fun, etc. It makes for good comedy in an Adam Sandler movie, but it doesn't make much sense philosophically. When we talk about identity, you cannot ignore the attributes of that person, many of those attributes actually define that person. A runner who experiences certain neurotransmitters in their system can actually define themselves with the kind of energy they bring to a situation, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I haven't mentioned their childhood experiences, friends that they hang out with, events that occur in their lives. I don't see how you can set all of these factors aside and say they are not factors locked up in a person's identity.

***When we typically speak of 'you', or 'me', or 'him', we mean the coincidence of a particular body at a particular point of (our familiar dimension of) time. That might be a particular runner, a person who just won the Mr. Universe title, or an obese person before they lost weight. But that identification does not identify exactly who or what is doing the experiencing. There is only one such, and that is the primordial consciousness.***

From what I've read in neuropsychology, this viewpoint doesn't hold up. The 'I' concept isn't as universal as you might think. In some situations individuals don't even consider 'I' they think in terms of 'we' if they are part of a group or tight knit community or ethnic group. It is doubtful that you think of 'I' when you conduct business on someone's behalf. In that case the 'I' yields to a 'we' meaning 'you' and the person you are representing. In other cultures the situation is even more extreme. For example, in some Asian cultures it would be a amiss to refer to yourself in certain situations, and that individual would even be quite embarrassed if you asked them to talk about themselves when they are thinking about themselves as 'we' in a more formal context. I've had this experience a number of times with certain Asian groups, and I've found myself flowing into that mindset. In addition, the way in which we think of ourselves changes in context and over ages. The person that I was (and how I thought of myself back then) is quite different than how I see myself now. Ronald Reagan, for example, is a classic example. If we could get inside his mindset we would probably see quite different perspectives of the 'I' of his childhood, compared to the 'I' as a liberal actor, compared to the 'I' as a California politician, compared to the 'I' as President, compared to the 'I' now. If there is a multi-dimensional issue, it is not the spatial or temporal kind, but the multi-dimensional character of how we see ourselves. If there's a primordial consciousness up there for us, it sure is not reflected in the reality of our many and varied conscious states.

***As you move up levels, the consciousness would probably experience similar levels of excitement as the problems and experiences of unfolding new reality continue. So I would say the thing that prevents boredom is the continual appearance of surprising novelty and the challenge to accommodate this novelty into the fabric that is being woven.***

Maybe so, but if you are going to stick with an anthropomorphic perspective, then you better throw in that there will be employment, good wages, retirement after working a number of years at one job, higher management, and subordinates. Don't forget the weekends and house work. Really, Paul, if you were a fetus I think you would imagine the out of womb experience as one having ambiatic fluid oceans and embilical cords feeding you.

***"Do we change throughout our existence?" P: Most definitely.***

This sounds contradictory. If the primordial consciousness is really 'us', and after we go back to being just primordial consciousness, then our primordial consciousness finally changes, but didn't do so in a biological existence? Where are you getting this stuff btw? It doesn't sound like a theory but something Mrs. Cleo might say. A theory doesn't try to answer all of the questions, it provides possibilities. I don't see more dogma here than theory.

***My theory also explains that. Just as there is a virtual timeline in which you play a video game, and a separate "real" timeline in which you, the player of the game, live, there is a separate timeline we call time on earth, and a separate timeline (actually several of them) in which higher levels of reality operate.***

Perhaps the two biggest problems I have with your 'theory' is 1) it is very anthropomorphic, and 2) it doesn't say anything new than someone's religion, it simply tries to sweep the philosophical issues I wrote under the rug. Now, I'm not going to pretend like I solved those philosophical issues. A philosopher of religion would have a field day eating to pieces my 'theory'. But, I see one big difference between our two theories. Your theory speaks about things in a dogmatic fashion and is nothing different than what we heard in the past from various religions and new age concepts. It's true you've added the multiple dimension part, but I don't think that's too unique. Saying heaven is another dimension is pretty well documented since the beginning of such concepts. But, the thing that really gets me is that I don't see any theoretical basis for what you are saying. It's like you have this religious belief, and you have this concept of 5D+ dimensions, and then you just throw everything from the religion into the concept of 5D+ dimensions and wave magic wands to make everything work. Okay, it's fine to have a religious belief, and I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't have religious beliefs. However, the purpose of a theory is to lay out the constructs of the theory in a manner that the constructs provide answers to some problem. The answers are not ad hoc, such as, "yes, most definitely we change over time". That kind of answer has nothing to do with multiple dimensions. In fact, the theory of using multiple dimensions is not even presented with any firm constructs since there are spatial and there are temporal dimensions, and you haven't told us which ones allow for an afterlife and which ones no afterlife existence occurs. Also, you haven't told us why this elaborate scheme of multiple dimensions and 'us' connected to our primordial consciousness, etc. It strikes me more as "well, let me see now, I know from mathematics that multiple dimensions might allow entities to hide from our existence, hmmm..., what if I use that concept to explain afterlife, etc". Now, I have no objection to this approach. We can use any science or philosophy that we want (e.g., quantum cosmology, or some philosophical notions such as what I did), but I ask you to be honest to the theory's constructs and do not invent more than what is there. For example, multiple dimensions answer the question on where the afterlife is, but it doesn't tell us anything else. You need other constructs to answer more questions, and it should be quite clear how you obtained your answer versus another answer, etc. In the case of your afterlife model, I don't know how you answered the question that we will continue to change. It's almost as if you are assuming a whole lot more than you have told us.

In any case, I think your model is definitely worth pursuing in some senses. It needs more constructs than multi-dimensions in order to make it work. I need to see your basic core list of assumptions and see how you expand on those assumptions to construct an elaborate multi-dimensional world that has primordial consciousness beings and some halfwit superbeing that makes major mistakes but somehow knows enough physics to keep plugging along, why it is that all these dimensions exist in the first place. Please don't get offended by my frankness. I just like to call things as I see them, and don't mind if others do the same.

Warm regards, Harv

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