• Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    Part 1 of Reply:
    .
    I’d said:
    .
    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.

    .
    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?
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    You and your surroundings are the two complementary non-independent halves of that life-experience possibility-story, a story about your experience.
    .
    Souls aren’t part of my metaphysics. It isn’t a Spiritualism or Dualism.
    .
    But my uncontroversial metaphysics implies reincarnation.
    .
    I’m going to send this now, rather than delay it more.
    .
    Part 2 will be along tomorrow.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    Part 2 of Reply:
    .
    You said:
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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”.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    I’d said:
    .
    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?

    .
    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.
    .
    You replied:
    .
    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.
    .
    But we ordinarily experience it without remembering it later. A memory of it is rare. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t experienced.
    .
    I'd say that is the ideal state. No stress, no decisions, no suffering, just purely existing.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    …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.
    .
    But if reincarnation happens, that’s because it’s the right and best outcome to follow this life.
    .
    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.
    .
    For nearly all of us, that end-of-lives is many lifetimes away.
    .
    You said:
    .
    Yes, [in deep sleep]the brain is doing "something". It is not complete physical-nothingness. However, it is very close to conscious-nothingness.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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?
    .
    I think I have an answer to that:
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    …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.
    .
    So that’s why I say, you’re in a life for a good reason. So like it.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    We have no choice in that matter.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    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.”
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    (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.)
    .
    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.
    .
    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.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • Magnus Anderson
    234
    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
    2.3k
    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.
  • Cabbage Farmer
    165
    And you mean that in every sense of the word?Janus
    I presume not. How many senses of the word are there? I'm not sure the list is determinate, nor that I could make myself responsible for all the relevant senses from here to eternity.

    It's been a while, but I believe I intended to assert by way of that quip ("Nothing is nothing") the thought that there is no thing that is nothing, there is no x such that x is identical to nothing.

    Of course there are concepts of nothing, and correct applications of at least some of those concepts. But a concept of nothing is not identical to its object or its application, any more than a concept of dog is identical to a dog or to a recognition of a dog as a dog.

    Perhaps it's more accurate to say that according to its form the ordinary concept of nothing has an application but no object. It seems to me the ordinary concept of nothing is something like a conceptual relation.

    You ask me what's in the box. I say "Nothing". I don't mean that a thing called "nothing" is in the box, nor that the box is full of nonexistence, nor that the box encloses a region of space and time devoid of existing entities.... I mean that nothing worth mentioning is in the box, nothing relevant to our conversation, nothing satisfying my interpretation of your intention in asking the question....

    One way to translate that reply: None of the things currently in the box are relevant to the conceptual frame established by the question.

    Along these lines, the ordinary concept of nothing seems to function very much like the ordinary concept of zero. How many things worth mentioning are in the box? Zero, none.

    In this respect the concept of nothing seems to function like a number concept. I would say analogously: There is no x such that x is identical to two. But there's a concept of two that we use to express a conceptual relation without indicating a distinct object corresponding to the concept "two". "There are two beads in the box" expresses a conceptual relation and in appropriate circumstances an objective matter of fact, but does not implicate the thought that there is a thing called "two" in the box, along with things called beads. Two is a conceptual relation, the function of a concept like "beads in this box".


    We use concepts of existence and number to make true or false claims about objective matters of fact. It seems to me the (extraordinary) thought that something called Nothingness or Twoness has some additional existence apart from such participation in the conceptual character of minds like ours is an unwarranted gesture of imagination.


    It occurs to me that taking a strong stance in support of the line "Nothing is nothing" might seem to commit one to a view according to which existence is some sort of plenum.
  • 1x0
    1
    Nothing, zero is a physical reality based mathematical conception which we can perceive as an energy, matter, information, space, time free state. Revealing as our common physical, mathematical, philosophical origin, a physical reality based mathematical reference point.

    In proportion to this physical reality based sense(conception), everything has some kind of mathematically expressible value. Space, time, information, energy, matter.
  • kilehetek
    10
    Is there anything that lasts forever?
  • kilehetek
    10
    This is nothing:

    this is something around it: 0

    or, this is nothing: 0

    and this is something, around it:

    or, perhaps the mass of the examples, together giving us the result what we understand as Nothing.

    Or perhaps, neither of these.
  • SherlockH
    73
    The absense of anything.
  • Devolved
    8
    Nothing is a verbal abstraction that signifies absence. It exists for a narrow range of utility, and I think that philosophers take it way too far when they extent the utility of the word to a meaning where it becomes absurd.

    For example, you can say colloquially "What do you want from me?", and someone would say "Nothing". You could also answer "I don't need anything from you". The meaning is the same.

    When we twist linguistic label and attempt to reify it becomes absurd. You can't give an example of nothing :). It's an self-negating term that only exists as a fictional preponderance if you take it and use it in some philosophical context that assumes that there is some "state of reality" where things are absent.

    In physics and some viable philosophical thought, "nothing" is more synonymous with "chaos", meaning that there is no consistently identifiable structure that you can examine and identify as consistent. It's nothing, because you can't identify it as something.
  • Mwilliams
    1
    There is no nothing, everything is something.. even if it appears to be nothing it has a purpose.
  • believenothing
    72
    Nothing is worse than hell.

    Nothing comes to mind without inspiration or stimulus.

    Nothing can be proven to be true.

    Nothing has no properties other than being nothing so there can not be more than one of them because they would
    have to be indestinguishable. Nothing only has meaning when combined or compared with something else.

    I believe literally 'nothing' is unique, just as most words are unique, to enable identification and hence reduce ambiguity.

    Nothing is a slippery beast. Nothing is what we are left with when everything else is taken away so I suppose it is
    always here.

    Nothing is on my mind between other ideas.

    Nothing was replaced by this weak attempt to define nothing.

    Nothing precedes the origin of all things. Nothing is pure. Nothing contaminates everything else.

    Is nothing sacred? ;)

    Nothing can replace this crazy rant ;)

    Nothing is impossible.
  • TheMadFool
    2.3k
    Is the use mention fallacy?

    When you say "nothing is impossible" you're using the word "nothing" but we could also read it as nothing is impossible.
  • wellwisher
    163
    Here is an interesting practical example of nothing being interpreted by the brain as something. Consider my response. It is composed of black type on a white background. In terms of the physics of light, black is the absence of light or photons, while white is composed all colors blended at the same time.

    In terms of the eyes and brain, there is no photon signal going into eyes and brain, stemming from the black type, since black is the absence of color or photons. The eyes and brain don't actually see the type, since there is no photon output, coming from the type, to stimulate the brain.

    What we see is a white background, with funny shaped holes of nothing; the type. Without actually seeing the type, the brain interprets this nothing as something. This basic written language and reading schema extrapolates nothing, into something.

    Books and other forms of reading may be responsible for nothing becoming something. The brain will fill in the void, with its own version of speculation, to create a continuity in the visual centers. Written language not only allowed better communication, but it also opened up the ethereal world; unconscious mind, via the void.
  • believenothing
    72


    Nothing is 100% certain, there is always an alternative..
  • Marcus de Brun
    337
    The concept 'No-thing' presupposes the existence of things, and as all things are mind constructs, the concept comes attached to both a (P) world and an (M) world. Therefore 'nothing' can be correctly defined as the absence of things in a universe that is apriori composed of things, and thinking things.

    M
  • believenothing
    72


    The eyes and brain don't actually see the type, since there is no photon output, coming from the type, to stimulate the brain.wellwisher

    "if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you" : Nietzsche

    It seems humans have evolved mentally to recognize and manipulate patterns..
    In your example of 'nothing' being black or dark text, the text has structure and meaning - it comprises recognizable patterns. I believe most instances of 'nothing' if not all of them can be interpreted in numerous different ways and often they are interpreted or perceived in numerous different ways.

    I would say 'nothing' can be observed and there is no guarantee that you would learn nothing.
  • believenothing
    72
    The concept 'No-thing' presupposes the existence of things, and as all things are mind constructs, the concept comes attached to both a (P) world and an (M) world. Therefore 'nothing' can be correctly defined as the absence of things in a universe that is apriori composed of things, and thinking things.Marcus de Brun

    I can't immediately wrap my head around that, I don't really think the concept of 'No-thing' presupposes anything but I might be stumbling over semantics. I mentioned earlier that 'nothing' only has meaning when compared with something else but I guess the same principle is true of most words and concepts.



    2:36 "what you got to lose? you know, you come from nothing, you going back to nothing.. what have you lost? NOTHING..."
  • believenothing
    72


    Maybe 'nothing' somehow transcends definition?
  • wellwisher
    163
    "if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you" : Nietzschebelievenothing

    If we looked at black letters on a white background, only the white background gives off light energy that the eyes will respond too. Black is the absence of light, so the black letters do not stimulate the photoreceptors of the eyes. The signal that goes into the brain, is polarized in terms of a pattern of energy and no energy. The pattern that appeasr to consciousness is the potential equilibrating as light energy flows into the void. We observe the void by the direction of neural energy flow.
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