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Some truly spacey stuff

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 19, 2011, 05:19:13 PM
... Yes I can?  I think you're misusing "conceive", here.  What you probably mean is "hold the entirety (i.e. all data of the object) in one's mind for a prolonged period of time", in which case, no, that's impossible, but to require such is misunderstanding the point of the thought exercise.
You need to clarify that point, then. If you are capable of creating a universe that is indeed "bigger" (what does this mean exactly?) than the real one, how come you can't conceive that real one? I can already feel Anselm of Canterbury creeping up from behind the shadows...

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 19, 2011, 10:49:44 PM
Anselm never quite explains why it's "better" to exist in reality than it is to exist only in the mind.  That's the sole fault I can find with his proof.

By "bigger", I literally mean "is confined in and fills a larger space than".  If you take our Universe to be infinite, this still works (somehow, I don't think English is a good language with which to describe such  an apparent oxymoron).  I never said that I couldn't conceive of the real Universe; plenty of people do it all the time (it's a rather simple activity).

My point doesn't rely on the factuality of one's conception, but of the creation, in the mind, of something which does not "actually exist" (that is, in the outside, physical world [as far as we can tell]).  To imagine something is to create something, but where is the created object?  The mind can hold objects larger than any that exist in this physical reality, which leads me to suppose that the "space" available to the mind is larger than the physical space which contains matter (in its present state).

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 20, 2011, 07:32:37 AM
I see. But the problem is that a thought isn't an object - we don't have little thought packets flitting around in our brains that can be pulled out and dropped into a petri dish. We have impulses, patterns, connections, etc., which together allow thoughts to exist, but thoughts themselves don't exist in physical form. A thought isn't a thing so much as it is a description of a thing. Your error is like saying that because "Numenor" is a bigger word than "Earth," our vocal cords' capacities are higher than the planets'. It doesn't even make sense.

You can only conceive of an extremely simplified version of the real universe. Which, as a result, isn't the real universe at all - it's an imaginary version of the real thing. In fact, as a result, you can't conceive of anything BUT imaginary universes!

Why is that the only fault you can in Anselm's proof? I understand what you mean - it's apparent you've arrived at a point where you question the supremacy of "real" things, and that's not what I'm asking about. That's fine. But what about the idea that you're simply incapable of imagining something that has absolutely no flaws? Ever met a hater? Sure, you can just say, "look, just imagine that there is something flawless in every possible way, regardless of your capability to comprehend its flawlessness." But this doesn't prove the existence of perfection. What it DOES prove is the immensity of the human spirit, that thing which has led Scandinavians to cross an ocean using boats made of wood and hide, that thing which has allowed monuments to kings remain standing after millenia, that which has driven man to traverse an empty expanse and touch a surface which has never made contact with any part of our own planet. Humanity is defined by its ability and willingness to challenge its prescribed place in the universe, to transcend and exceed its own bounds. If anything, I would say the phenomenon to which you are referring does not prove anything about the universe as a whole, but it does reinforce one certain thing about humans specifically. Of course, humans are within the universe, just as the mind is, aren't they ;)

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 20, 2011, 06:52:29 PM
Could somebody provide some information on these lectures before I download this? I have bandwidth limitations presently.  (i.e. name of lecture(s), organizations involved, etc.)

I'm fairly certain that this is the source: http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/11k/index.html

However, dreaming a lot and taking a shitload of drugs have given me the idea that individual branches of consciousness might be grouped by the "personalities" of their hosts.  I'm sure that's totally legit, if entirely baseless.

I think that this idea can be further developed by considering how shared memories may be able to connect these "individual branches of consciousness".

With memories, I would argue that the similarity of people's personalities is more important than the similarities of the actual experiences they share. Shared experiences are probably necessary to reveal these similar personalities, but they're not the defining feature of the relation. Possibly more so with experiences of a more profound nature (eg. appreciating a work of art) and less so with others (eg. a joke on a sitcom).

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 21, 2011, 02:47:03 AM
I see. But the problem is that a thought isn't an object - we don't have little thought packets flitting around in our brains that can be pulled out and dropped into a petri dish. We have impulses, patterns, connections, etc., which together allow thoughts to exist, but thoughts themselves don't exist in physical form. A thought isn't a thing so much as it is a description of a thing. Your error is like saying that because "Numenor" is a bigger word than "Earth," our vocal cords' capacities are higher than the planets'. It doesn't even make sense.

I'll grant that a thought isn't a physical object, but, other than not existing in this universe, I don't see how an image in my mind of a tree isn't an "imaginary object", or "immaterial object", or some such thing - it has dimensions, it functions just as a "real" tree would, it's most likely an amalgamation of a lot of trees I've seen in my life.  Apart from its being contained within some mental space (which may or may not be derived from purely physical processes*), it is a tree, like any other.

I've got a terrible analogy regarding lakes, stones, and fish, which is implausible but works well as regards assuming a physical cause for mental states.  It's so bad, however, that I don't really feel like typing it out, at the moment.  To summarise: if you have experience of only one side of something, how can you deduce what might be affecting that thing from the other side?

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You can only conceive of an extremely simplified version of the real universe. Which, as a result, isn't the real universe at all - it's an imaginary version of the real thing. In fact, as a result, you can't conceive of anything BUT imaginary universes!

I'd say that, given enough time (and that time would be substantially lesser than Time's full length), I could imagine a Universe both larger and more complicated than this one.  The brain/mind duo is immensely powerful - if computers can one day simulate Universes to the minutiae (which, no doubt, they will, if our technology can survive this civilisation's downfall), then a human intellect can do the same.  Of course, time is the issue, here, and I doubt this physical body would make it through that experiment.  We are both cursed and blessed by our corporeality, I guess.

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Why is that the only fault you can in Anselm's proof? I understand what you mean - it's apparent you've arrived at a point where you question the supremacy of "real" things, and that's not what I'm asking about. That's fine. But what about the idea that you're simply incapable of imagining something that has absolutely no flaws? Ever met a hater? Sure, you can just say, "look, just imagine that there is something flawless in every possible way, regardless of your capability to comprehend its flawlessness." But this doesn't prove the existence of perfection. What it DOES prove is the immensity of the human spirit, that thing which has led Scandinavians to cross an ocean using boats made of wood and hide, that thing which has allowed monuments to kings remain standing after millenia, that which has driven man to traverse an empty expanse and touch a surface which has never made contact with any part of our own planet. Humanity is defined by its ability and willingness to challenge its prescribed place in the universe, to transcend and exceed its own bounds. If anything, I would say the phenomenon to which you are referring does not prove anything about the universe as a whole, but it does reinforce one certain thing about humans specifically. Of course, humans are within the universe, just as the mind is, aren't they ;)

To Anselm, the point wasn't that "God was the highest thing you could imagine", but that "the highest thing you could imagine is God".  I like the idea of the ability to conceive of something so great being indicative of the "immensity of the human spirit" - it almost suggests that something in the "human spirit" is "God" (or at least, "God"-like).  For me, Anselm basically just reinforces a Monist perspective, whereby everything is one thing - "God" - and that one thing is whole and perfect.

*I will fiercely defend my position that it is the physical which is born of the non-physical, and not the other way round.  Yes, humans are (physically) contained within this Universe, but our minds bridge the gap between whatever is outside of this Universe and this Universe itself.

I think that this idea can be further developed by considering how shared memories may be able to connect these "individual branches of consciousness".

With memories, I would argue that the similarity of people's personalities is more important than the similarities of the actual experiences they share. Shared experiences are probably necessary to reveal these similar personalities, but they're not the defining feature of the relation. Possibly more so with experiences of a more profound nature (ie. appreciating a work of art) and less so with others (ie. a joke on a sitcom).

I hate to go new-agey, on this forum of all forums, but I have met people before with whom I've felt an instant affinity, before really even speaking to them (and I have also managed, equally suddenly and inexplicably, to fall in love with one such person).  I'm not sure what that suggests about the nature of humans, but it is an observable phenomenon, as far as my life/person is concerned.

As far as "individual branches of consciousness" go, I had something along the lines of a "vision", once (totally sober, I might add), in which it seemed that, throughout a multitude of times/worlds/universes/whatever, there were a large number of beings who were, essentially, me, and all of them derived from one single source, a personified "me-ness", the perfection of which being seemed to me to be some kind of goal to reach.  I suppose this is what is called "Atman".  Oddly enough, until just now, I've never considered it from a Vedic point of view.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 22, 2011, 01:09:50 PM
... Yes I can?  I think you're misusing "conceive", here.  What you probably mean is "hold the entirety (i.e. all data of the object) in one's mind for a prolonged period of time", in which case, no, that's impossible, but to require such is misunderstanding the point of the thought exercise.
If you can't conceive the whole thing, then your conception is merely a shadow of its form and your entire argument crumbles.

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True, though, I hear tell of certain procedures by which one might reverse one's perception and observe the origin of the "self".
I keep hearing about things like this too, but nobody has yet provided anything of substance to me.

I'm fairly certain that this is the source: http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/11k/index.html
Thank you.  As I suspected, this does not look promising.  For example, James Van Praagh is a rather famous fraud.  However, I expected this already, so I still may listen to it anyway.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 22, 2011, 02:32:49 PM
The website looks like a typical poorly written sales letter. This sort of thing usually screams to me "scam", but if the content is actually worthwhile ANUS may have once again shattered some of my preconceived notions.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 22, 2011, 06:25:20 PM
"Human thought" is the same thing that causes this entire Universe to exist.  Consciousess/the immaterial is fundamental, not the physical.

This confuses epistemology with metaphysics, or the study of how we know, with what we know.

Thought might have EPISTEMOLOGICAL priority, as descartes notes, but to think it has METAPHYSICAL priority because of this is some selfish kind of solipsism.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 23, 2011, 01:13:37 AM
Haha, it's certainly not solipsistic - I put "human thought" in quotation marks because it's a name we appear to be using for something which utterly transcends humans: namely, this thing called "consciousness".  I'd say that humans only "exist" because the processes which generate realities such as ours develop seemingly fitting hosts for consciousness to use to explore possibility.  There is certainly existence without you or I, or any "human observer", i.e. consciousness filtered through the perception of a living organism, "installed" in that organism's brain etc.

Descartes assumes that his "self" is real because he can consider it; I disagree.  I may have posted this before, but a more accurate rendition of Descartes's maxim is "cogito ergo est".

I don't think you and I have been made aware of each others' positions on such things, before, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for insinuating that I might be a solipsist or some such moron.

If you can't conceive the whole thing, then your conception is merely a shadow of its form and your entire argument crumbles.

Well then, give me a body and a brain which are capable of such a feat, and I'll do it for you.  For the moment, I can consider the entirety, and I can consider the infinitesimal, and I can consider every level in between those extremes, but I'm not certain whether it is within human capacity to be able to simulate a fully functioning Universe (i.e. considering all levels at once) in realtime.  As it is, we definitely have the ability to consider the "shadow of its form", and, using what knowledge we have of the workings of each of the levels of this reality, we can "zoom in" to our mental creation, examining its workings.  I apologise if this is a bit garbled, it's ten past nine and I only woke up about forty minutes ago.

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True, though, I hear tell of certain procedures by which one might reverse one's perception and observe the origin of the "self".
I keep hearing about things like this too, but nobody has yet provided anything of substance to me.

I know what you mean - very little of any substance has ever been revealed to me (or at least, very little which has had much of an effect at all).  I'm not sure to what extent such things are "personal" - perhaps, as in the Vedic view, one must be born into a life where one will eventually attain moksha, and to seek it in any other life may bring you closer, but never quite there?

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I'm fairly certain that this is the source: http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/11k/index.html
Thank you.  As I suspected, this does not look promising.  For example, James Van Praagh is a rather famous fraud.  However, I expected this already, so I still may listen to it anyway.

It's worth listening to if you've got a long wait at an airport and want to laugh at people talking about angels and spirit guides etc. (as with most of this "New Age" crap).

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 23, 2011, 02:30:16 AM
Damn, I was hoping for something good.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 23, 2011, 03:00:00 AM
Haha, it's certainly not solipsistic - I put "human thought" in quotation marks because it's a name we appear to be using for something which utterly transcends humans: namely, this thing called "consciousness".  I'd say that humans only "exist" because the processes which generate realities such as ours develop seemingly fitting hosts for consciousness to use to explore possibility.  There is certainly existence without you or I, or any "human observer", i.e. consciousness filtered through the perception of a living organism, "installed" in that organism's brain etc.

Descartes assumes that his "self" is real because he can consider it; I disagree.  I may have posted this before, but a more accurate rendition of Descartes's maxim is "cogito ergo est".

I don't think you and I have been made aware of each others' positions on such things, before, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for insinuating that I might be a solipsist or some such moron.

Ok, but in spirit of disinterested inquiry:

1. why give metaphysical priority to consciousness, simply because consciousness facilitates the qualitative experience of the world (my last point)?, and

2. what proof do you have that consciousness "utterly transcends" humans?

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 23, 2011, 05:48:38 AM
1.  Because I'm an "Artist", rather than a "Scientist", and, beyond my propensity to prefer the worlds of thoughts and dreams to the physical world, there's something phenomenally beautiful about the ideas which spring forth from immaterialist Monism.  I'm of a school of thought which runs counter to modern "Science" in many ways, especially when it comes to epistemology.  When speaking of the physical world, I'd adopt empiricism; when speaking of things beyond that, the existence of which I cannot disbelieve, I must resort to rationality guided by "intuition", or whatever you might call the sense of something being "right" without having any data from which to draw such a conclusion.  tl;dr: i dunno, lol

2.  I would say that this is a matter of definition - if we consider "consciousness" to simply be the universal system which manifests itself in this reality as the "thoughts" etc. of sentient objects, then there are clearly some non-human species which exhibit consciousness.  I'm not sure why I consider consciousness to descend into a body as a soul might, it's been a long time since I've thought particularly deeply about it.  Blame Vedic philosophies.

Re: Some truly spacey stuff
November 23, 2011, 07:38:58 AM
I'm glad to see you're going in that direction, Conservationist.

I neither go nor do not go in any direction. I gather data. Sometimes, the cheesiest and least plausible data offers insight, both in what might be probable (cheesy data is almost always dumbed down from better sources) and what is obviously designed to pander to idiots. I found these rather spacey essays somewhat amusing.

I agree: The appeal of the cheesy. Be it horror movies, or movies like Krull, art mixing dragon fantasy with technology, art like judas priest's or other metal artists covers of the albums, etc....