• Michael Ossipoff
    967


    Part 1 of Reply:
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    I’d said:
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    Nisargadatta said that birth is a calamity. Well, you're in a life because you're the protagonist in one of the infinitely-many hypothetical life-experience possibility-stories. Therefore, it would be quite meaningless to speak of the person distinct from the life. The person, by his/her very nature, is in the life.

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    You replied:
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    Can you prove this?
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    I think so, for my metaphysics and for Materialism. I can’t prove that Materialism’s objective fundamentally existent world doesn’t exist, superfluously, as an unverifiable, unfalsiable brute-fact, alongside of and duplicating the events and relations of, the logical system that I describe. But doesn’t Materialism say that you’re the result of your surroundings, and that they’re metaphysically prior to you?
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    If some other metaphysics, maybe some Spiritualism or Dualism, is true , then, within that Spiritualism or Dualism, I guess there’d be a soul or spirit, completely independent of hir life and body. So, admittedly, in such a metaphysics, the statement that you asked if I can prove wouldn’t be true.
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    So it depends on the metaphysics. I can’t prove that a Spiritualism or Dualism isn’t true, obtaining indistinguishably and superfluously, unverifiably and unfalsifiably, alongside, and duplicating the events and relations of, the logical system of abstract facts that I describe.
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    But I appeal to Ockham’s Principle of Parsimony to disqualify, as good explanations, metaphysicses that need assumptions or brute-facts, when there’s one that doesn’t.
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    I can see what you mean in a "possible worlds" scenario but that is not quite the same as a soul migrating to different bodies.
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    Reincarnation? In my metaphysics, the possibility-world that you live in is just the setting for your life-experience possibility-story, and is secondary to it.
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    You and your surroundings are the two complementary non-independent halves of that life-experience possibility-story, a story about your experience.
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    Souls aren’t part of my metaphysics. It isn’t a Spiritualism or Dualism.
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    But my uncontroversial metaphysics implies reincarnation.
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    I’m going to send this now, rather than delay it more.
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    Part 2 will be along tomorrow.
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    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    967


    Part 2 of Reply:
    .
    You said:
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    It goes back to the idea of what makes me "me". Can I ever be otherwise? Is that even a legitimate question? I don't think it is.
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    Probably not, because it depends on what is meant. There’s a sense in which each of us is the same system that we were at the earlier age, like that ship whose parts were all replaced, one at a time, But I don’t even know the person that I was as a child, or even a teenager. I know what some of my values and concerns were, and where I probably got them, but I have no idea how I justified them. I probably never questioned them, but I’m not that person who didn’t, and I don’t know that person.
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    If I was not me, there is/was/will be no me. However, the possibility of a person can be projected, though this is not the same as the possibility can be actualized by just any birth-related event. It would have to be that birth related event to be me.
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    There’s no need to say that you’re the same person as before. To me, and some others, “actual” just means “in, or part of, or consisting of, the possibility-world in which the speaker resides”.
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    So, from your point of view, you and your surroundings are actual, and it couldn’t be otherwise. By my metaphysics, and by Materialism too, there’s no “You” other than the one that is in this life, because that’s what “You” means.
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    But if someone, somewhere, built an exact duplicate of you, that wouldn’t be you. It would just be someone just like you. I think that’s what you were referring to above.
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    I’d said:
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    Have you ever had the experience of waking from a dream in which you knew something that was really important,and really, indescribably, good, but not remembering what it was?

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    A number of people report that experience. Spiritual teachers say that it wasn't a dream. They say that you were waking from deep-sleep, and experiencing a rare memory of it.
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    You replied:
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    Possibly. But this just speaks to the fact that, every night, people mostly look forward to this blissful state of conscious-nothingness. Unfortunately for me, I'm a bad sleeper, so rarely experience this.
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    But we ordinarily experience it without remembering it later. A memory of it is rare. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t experienced.
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    I'd say that is the ideal state. No stress, no decisions, no suffering, just purely existing.
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    Yes. And I’ve been claiming that it’s the most natural, normal, usual state of affairs for us all, because it’s the final, concluding part of our lives, and is timeless.
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    I don’t guarantee that it will be reached at the end of this[ life, because I believe that there’s probably reincarnation, and that nearly all of will be reincarnated.
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    …because, if the reason why you’re in a life continues to obtain at the end of this life (you’ll be a different person then than you were at the beginning of this life), then the person who you are then will be in a starting-out life again.
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    But if reincarnation happens, that’s because it’s the right and best outcome to follow this life.
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    The traditions that speak of reincarnation say that, after some finite number of lives, a person will be life-completed, and won’t have the needs, wants, inclinations, predispositions, etc., that lead to incarnation. That’s when the end-of-lives is. I agree.
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    For nearly all of us, that end-of-lives is many lifetimes away.
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    You said:
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    Yes, [in deep sleep]the brain is doing "something". It is not complete physical-nothingness. However, it is very close to conscious-nothingness.
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    Yes, and so there could be experience of it, or at least of the time when when the consciousness of ordinary (not deep) sleep is beginning to return, …hence there sometimes (rarely) being a memory of it.
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    In the deep-sleep at the end of lives, the state of Nothing is being approached, but not reached. Because the time of no-experience is never reached, then by definition, what precedes it is experienced.
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    It’s a time of no awareness of (even the possibility of) person, body, identity, time or events. …or difficulties, problems, fears, needs, wants, or incompletion of any kind.
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    As with birth, what is the point of experiencing at all? What are we really trying to do here in waking life with all this instrumentality of the everyday?
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    I think I have an answer to that:
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    The point or reason why this life began is that the story-protagonist who is like the person you subconsciously were at the beginning of this life , was someone who had the needs, wants, inclinations or predispositions for life. You’re in a life because you wanted &/or needed it, or were inclined toward or predisposed to it.
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    It’s a hypothetical story, a life-experience story, and there timelessly is one such story whose protagonist is just like you…who is you….as you were at the beginning of this life.
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    …and, unless you’ve become fully life-completed during this life, it’s a certainty that what I said in the previous 2 paragraphs will remain true at the end of this life. At the end of this life, as someone different from the person you were at the beginning of this life, but who still has the attributes stated in the previous 2 paragraphs, you’ll again be in the beginning of a life. …because, just as before, you’re the protagonist of one of the infinitely-many life-experience possibility-stories.
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    So that’s why I say, you’re in a life for a good reason. So like it.
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    Yes, I’ve completely written off this world’s chances for improvement, and written off any chance that the inhabitants of this “Land of the Lost” are at all capable of anything better.
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    Nevertheless, we’re in life for a reason, and this is the world that we for some reason qualified for, and it’s too late to second-guess that, because it’s just who we were. We must just own-up-to it. And so, being here, we can simply do our best, do what we like, have the life that we like, try to be ethical, non-harmful, and helpful while here. …and try to have a peaceful life, staying out of the way of the rulers.
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    We have no choice in that matter.
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    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    967


    Saying “You’re in a life for a good reason” isn’t the best way to say what I meant. I meant something more like “We’re in life due to an explainable cause that was unavoidable at the time.”
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    I can’t prove that there’s reincarnation, and I’m not entirely sure that there is. It seems to me that there likely is, because it’s metaphysically-implied, making it seem more likely than the alternative theory that there’s just one life.
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    Anyway, because the Eastern philosophers’ metaphysics has a lot more validity than the Materialism of the Science-Worshippers who say there’s only one life, that makes the Eastern philosophers more credible regarding the matter of reincarnation.
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    But, whether there is or not, either way, I claim that our being in a life is the result of who we were, and that it would be meaningless to speak of the person without the start of this life or sequence of lives.
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    (And, whether there’s reincarnation or not, it’s possible and convenient to say things like “end of lives”, “sequence of lives”, etc., even if there’s only one of them. It would then just be a “sequence” consisting of only one life.)
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    The matter of the advisability or inadvisability of the start of this sequence of lives is a moot point now. Having started, it will continue, either to the end of this life, or to life-completion after many lives.
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    Anyway, my point was just that it’s profoundly unrealistic to reject life, and that a life-rejecting-attitude doesn’t help any, and just worsens things, whether there’s reincarnation or not.
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    Michael Ossipoff
  • Magnus Anderson
    232
    I understand the problem. NOTHING, defined as nonexistence, is difficult to grasp. We're in the habit of or are confined to understanding in terms of attributes/properties which, by far, are positive in nature. What I mean is we need some attributes that are attached to a concept or object and only then do we even begin to understand them. However, unlike most objects (mental/physical) NOTHING is defined in the negative. In fact it is the ultimate negative - the absence of everything. In a way we could say "There's NOTHING to understand."TheMadFool

    Negative concepts are defined in relation to one's expectations. The word "nothing" means nothing other than "absence of that which was expected". It must not be taken literally. If I open a box and find "nothing" in it what this means is that what I found in it is not one of those things I was expecting to find. In the same way, non-existence means nothing other than "the kind of existence I was not expecting". That's all it means. I don't think this is difficult to grasp.

    This probably doesn't make sense give what I've said above but I have commented on how math can make sense of NOTHING by equating it to zero.TheMadFool

    Zero means "no number of objects of expected type". I say "there are zero apples in front of me" to mean that whatever I see in front of me (e.g. one computer monitor) is not a number of apples equal to or greater than one.

    I think "nothing", the word, is quite different from other words. Other words have physical/mental referents but "nothing", by definition, lacks any referent.TheMadFool

    "Nothing" refers to that which contradicts our expectations. "There is nothing on the screen" means the screen does not contain what we define to be "something". For example, I might be expecting to see a picture, a video, a text . . . but none of these are present; therefore, nothing is on the screen.
  • TheMadFool
    2k
    Negative concepts are defined in relation to one's expectations.Magnus Anderson

    That's another angle to the problem.

    What I'm really concerned with is the inability to understand objects without properties. I just returned from a thread on the The Big Bang expansion and someone mentioned "dark energy". According to physicists dark energy is invisible and they're facing a lot of flak about hypothesizing such a thing.

    How does one grasp something that is without any attributes? No mass, no size, no volume, no color, no smell, no taste, no instrument readings, absolutely NOTHING.
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