• Yohan
    29
    Imagine your consciousness disassociating with your body, so that you can observe your body from a distance. From this point of view, "your" body is entirely not self.
    The question is, why is this body associated at all with my self?
    Why didn't this body become born without my consciousness. Why didn't I remain as nothing when this body came into being.
    It would seem I was associated in some way with this body before it came into existence. Or else it would have been born without me.
  • Monist
    41
    Imagine your consciousness is a radio wave, and your body is the TV. They do not depend on eachother, yet through the TV you watch (you watch your consciousness)
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Why didn't this body become born without my consciousness. Why didn't I remain as nothing when this body came into being.Yohan

    Some might argue that a person's body was not born with the consciousness of the individual. It may have developed along with the developing mind of the body.

    There is no memory of consciousness prior to young childhood. There is no empirical proof of the mind surviving the body.

    I bet this is not very uplifting or helpful for you, but hey, I am not lying. My facts are verifiable by your own very experiences.
  • SophistiCat
    1.3k
    Imagine your consciousness disassociating with your body, so that you can observe your body from a distance.Yohan

    This is too convoluted.

    Imagine that your consciousness is eternal. Done!

    The thing is, you can imagine many things, including things that are counterfactual and even incoherent. There are ways to deploy the mere fact that we can imagine something in a philosophical argument, but they usually hinge on self-reference: the ability to imagine itself must be of some inferential significance (as in Anselm's Ontological argument, for example). In your case this is not obvious. Just because you can imagine your consciousness being separate from your body doesn't mean that this really can be the case.
  • Per Chance
    21
    Imagine you are an extension of the combination of your mom and dad's DNA. Imagine no soul, or spirit.
  • Mww
    1.7k


    Simply put, all the “I” was ever meant to do, is represent the human thinking subject, and that to whom feelings belong, and then, for no other reason than to talk about it.

    No thought, no feelings, no talking, no “I”, hence no need for its eternity, the proof of which would be impossible anyway, given the current metaphysical paradigm.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Current thought is, I see it in so many places, that the spirit or soul or "I" does not exist.

    Sure it does.

    It is not a physical thing, but it dies with the physical body. It gets developed when the physical brain gets developed, and it dies with the dead brain.

    The "I" is not physical, much like thoughts, feelings, etc. are not physical, although their presence can be derived and pointed out by physical devices. That is only so because the "I" somehow (don't ask me how) connects with the physical body.

    Many say "I" is only an illusion. No. If there were no mind of an "I" there, there could be no illusion. Illusion is very much the function of the "I" via the brain manifestation of the mind.

    Things go in trends. Current trend is to think there is no "I". I oppose that trend, and I want it on the record. (-:
  • iceblink luck
    3
    I think it's more interesting to view the idea of the eternity of the 'I' as an expression of something else—perhaps of an ontological need to keep oneself separated from historical time—rather than as a truth that can be assimilated into historical time:

    There would be no separated being if the time of the One could fall into the time of the other. This is what was expressed, always negatively, by the idea of the eternity of the soul: the dead one's refusal to fall into the time of the other, the personal time free from common time. If the common time were to absorb the time of the "I" death would be the end. But if refusal to be purely and simply integrated into history would indicate the continuation of life after death or its preexistence prior to its beginning in terms of the time of the survivor, then commencement and end would in no wise have marked a separation that could be characterized as radical and a dimension that would be interiority. For this would still be to insert the interiority into the time of history, as though perenniality throughout a time common to the plurality—the totality—dominated the fact of separation. — Emmanuel Levinas, in Totality and Infinity

    Surprisingly, Levinas also associates "the idea of the eternity of the soul" with atheism, which he defines as "a position prior to both the negation and the affirmation of the divine." This is the reverse of what one might normally expect: usually, immortality is grounded by the existence of God, but here it is precisely the abstention from the question of God's existence which keeps the soul separate and eternal.

    In short, rather than try to 'prove' the eternity of the 'I', I think it is much more interesting to try to trace the idea back to its originary moments: what allowed this idea to begin and to continue, what 'needs' does it fulfill, and—assuming that Levinas is correct here, and that atheism, rather than religion, confers the idea—why is the idea so often proclaimed in religious contexts, and so often denounced in irreligious contexts? It's as if the idea is affirmed most strongly in the exact places it seems least to belong, and vice versa.
  • Yohan
    29

    OK, so if I didn't come into being until later...the question still remains. Why did this body generate my consciousness. If I was nothing at all prior to this, why couldn't I remain nothing forever.
  • Yohan
    29
    Imagine you are an extension of the combination of your mom and dad's DNA. Imagine no soul, or spirit.Per Chance
    But can we actually imagine consciousness coming out of something else, or consciousness not existing?

    I said imagine....that is my fault. You don't HAVE to imagine consciousness being separate from the body. Its our direct experience that it is.

    Of course, you can argue that this experience is an illusion generated from the brain, but I don't think there is any proof that that is the case.
  • Yohan
    29
    Let me try to phrase this in a newtonian way...though it may not fit.
    Things at rest tend to stay at rest
    Could we call non-being a sort of being at rest?

    If so, something must have "pushed" me into activity, into a "being".

    This implies that "non-being" is actually a sort of proto-being.

    Absolutely nothing should remain absolutely nothing, forever..... unless this "nothing" is not truly nothing.

    Prove me wrong, please. Or show that what I said is not necessarily the case.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    I don't believe the "I" is eternal, for it begins to exist, but I believe it survives death.
    Let's assume as the starting point that we have free will, then here is the argument.

    • All that is physical is determined by the laws of physics and only that (otherwise these laws would not be laws).
    • To have free will is to not be determined, by definition.
    • Therefore the thing possessing free will is not physical.

    Since death is, as far as we know, only a physical event, it does not apply to non-physical things, and thus the "I" survives death.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Just because you can imagine your consciousness being separate from your body doesn't mean that this really can be the case.SophistiCat
    Yeah I agree.
    The laws of logic are really called "laws of thoughts", and as such, the test of imagination is an effective way to determine if the thing imagined is logically possible. I.e. if imaginable then possible, and unimaginable then impossible. That said, a thing being possible does not mean it is actual.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    Could we call non-being a sort of being at rest?
    If so, something must have "pushed" me into activity, into a "being".
    This implies that "non-being" is actually a sort of proto-being.
    Yohan
    This sounds like the notions of Essence vs Existence. A unicorn has an essence - it is defined - but does not have existence; although it could. If it begins to exist, then existence is added to the essence. On the other hand, a meaningless notion like a "triangle-that-is-not-a-triangle" has neither essence nor existence, and cannot ever have existence.

    Absolutely nothing should remain absolutely nothing, forever..... unless this "nothing" is not truly nothing.Yohan
    This sounds correct. For even an essence without existence is not nothing, and is therefore a being, when a being is defined as "that which is not nothing".
  • Valentinus
    792
    It would seem I was associated in some way with this body before it came into existence. Or else it would have been born without me.Yohan

    The first sentence of that statement suggests some kind of reincarnation.
    The second sentence sounds like the automatons Descartes imagined were walking on the sidewalks outside his window.
  • BrianW
    969
    What is 'I'?

    If 'I' is the identity of a human, then it is not eternal. Humans are mortal => human lives end.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    The question is, why is this body associated at all with my self?Yohan

    Great question as far as I'm concerned.

    If you ask me, it's aesthetics or beauty and its opposite, ugliness, that pins the self to the physical. You might like to extend that to any exceptional physical attribute as being grounds for people to assume the self is the physical, the body. Persons of great physical beauty/ugliness, of great physical strength/extremely frail, possesing any physical attribute that deviates from the mean, are identified with their bodies. Their minds and what constitutes it e.g. beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, etc. are completely ignored as part of their identity, their self.

    The flipside is people also consider the mind, its contents, as also defining of the self. For example, if Arnold Schwarzennger, who is an archetype of the self identified in terms of the physical body , were to say/do anything that goes against peoples' sensibilities e.g. pass a racist remark, he would be immediately reprimanded. As is apparent the self shifts its locus from the physical body to the mind and back depending on where, the body or the mind, an exceptional quality manifests.

    It almost seems like what, the body or the mind, people identify with the self is just a matter of convenience - switching between the body and the mind as and when it suits them (us).

    This can either mean we're not sure about what self is or that both body AND mind are integral parts of the self.

    1. We're not sure. What is obvious is that the self is "most definitely" either body or mind: physical or non-physical. The difference between the two is enormous for if the self is physical it is finite in existence and dies with the body at death but if it is non-physical then suddenly there's an explosion of possibilities - eternal life, reincarnation, to name a few. It's ironic that there exist two clear choices - physical body or non-physical mind - and yet to know which of them obtains is simply beyond our capabilities (as of now). So close and yet so far.

    2. Both the physical body and the mind form the self. It's apparent from what I've said in the initial paragraphs that people work from the assumption that both the body and the mind are integral to the self. However, as we've seen this could be caused by our uncertainty on the matter and confused we take the most practical route - assume both the body and the mind constitute the self.

    If not that we're confused and we're dead certain that both mind and body are self then we could ask "which, mind or body, is preeminent?" The answer to this question, to take a philosophical stance, is that the mind takes precedence over the body. Humans are, afterall, rational animals. All cases where the body is identified with the self are, as I mentioned, exceptional cases of beauty, ugliness, strength, weakness or other physical attribute. The average person, on the other hand, has a self only if s/he has a mind of his/her own.

    One might object to the above view that the average person thinks of herself as a mind rather than a body; afterall one only needs consider the success of the cosmetic industry. However these can be understood in terms of how a car owner wants his car to be presentable. He never goes to the extent of saying he is the car. Likewise the mind, the self, desires a presentable vehicle - the body must look good.

    Also we shouldn't judge the situation from the status quo, the state of affairs as is: people spending splashing out on body products. Rather one should ask the question "Is every human capable of identifying his/her self with the non-physical, the mind?" The answer is a definite "yes" and that's where the story of mind-body, physical-nonphysical, mortal-eternal, begins.

    All the above doesn't provide us with an answer to whether the self is physical-finite or non-physcial-eternal but it does provide us with an idea of what peoples' impressions on the matter are. The general belief is that the mind is more important than the body as far as the self is concerned. Whether the mind is non-physical is an open question.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Why did this body generate my consciousness.Yohan

    That is an unanswerable question. You can only appeal to spirituality and not to science, to philosophy or to reason to answer it for you. And the answer spiritualists will give you (priests, soothsayers, the Bible, etc.) is completely unreliable.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    Things at rest tend to stay at rest
    Could we call non-being a sort of being at rest?
    Yohan

    Hmmmm.......things at rest. Things...objects...spacetime realities. That are not in motion relative to something else. From a Newtonian perspective, fine. No problem. However, can a non-being ever be in motion? If it cannot, its at rest condition is quite meaningless. And if the possibility of motion is contained in some non-being.....how would we ever know about it? From its effect on something we can know about, perhaps by mere perception? All that does is negate the empirical Principle of Causality and still tells us nothing positive about non-being.

    Ok, so what about the other necessary condition....time? Can any meaning of time be given to that for which motion is unknowable? Probably not, but here, the effects of a causal non-being may be given a time but not necessarily a motion. First something wasn’t, then it was. If time is a purely rational construct, there is no intrinsic contradiction, even if the unconditioned necessity of time be granted.

    Nevertheless, while human reason always seeks the unconditioned, there is something quite disturbing in the notion......POOF, AND THERE IT IS. Empiricists of course, will have no truck with this POOF stuff, and nobody should without some sort of rational justification. Even if everyone grants the primary responsibility for everything human belongs to the brain, no one knows exactly how the magic is done, which just cautions us in the construction of our POOFS.
  • Yohan
    29
    Here is another argument:

    1. Pre-existence = non-existence
    2. Post-existence = non-existence
    3. Pre-existence = post-existence

    If my status could change from pre-existence to existence, then necessarily my status could also change from post-existence to existence(post-non-existence) as well.

    If that isn't the case, then you have to demonstrate that pre-existence and post-existence in some way hold unique ontological statuses to mere non-existence.

    Which would be impossible wouldn't it? How could not existing in the past be any different to not existing in the future?

    If something came from nothing before, why couldn't something come from nothing again.

    It's like, yeah. It's absurd that something could come from nothing.
    But if I truly didn't exist before, yet now I do, then I came into being from nothing...

    My current conclusion is, all things exist except impossibilities.
    So what can exist, does exist.

    This means I didn't, nor did anything ever, not exist.
    Non-existence is an irrational status. Because saying non-existence exists, is like saying squares can be circles.

    This means, things appear and disappear. But appearance is not directly related to existence.
    It means I come in and out of the realm of appearance. If I disappear from your view it doesn't mean I cease to exist. We already know many things exist which do not appear to us.

    So yeah, I think I am so etching like a jack in the box. I spring up and down, but I always exist.

    Thanks for reading. I hope I made sense to some one. Maybe I'm crazy and my logic is subjective
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    889
    1. Pre-existence = non-existence
    2. Post-existence = non-existence
    3. Pre-existence = post-existence
    Yohan
    You should be careful with "=" signs. It means "identical", which is not the case here. Pre-existence has non-existence as a property, but is not identical with it. Pre-existence implies a thing will exist eventually. Non-existence does not imply that. With that, point 3 does not follow from points 1 and 2. Consider this other example:

    1. A unicorn has non-existence,
    2. A phoenix has non-existence, therefore
    3. A unicorn is a phoenix.

    Point 3 is not true.

    But if I truly didn't exist before, yet now I do, then I came into being from nothing...Yohan
    Why from nothing? Why not from your parents?
  • Mww
    1.7k
    If my status could change from pre-existence to existence, then necessarily my status could also change from post-existence to existence(post-non-existence) as well.Yohan

    So no need of the arrow of time? There is no content expectation from pre-existence to existence, but if from post-existence to existence holds, then there should be content expected from the former to the latter. Post-existence implies an existence already done, then to return to it should bring the content with it. If there is no such implication, and the return from post- has no content, how can it be said it is a return at all?
    ———————-

    If that isn't the case, then you have to demonstrate that pre-existence and post-existence in some way hold unique ontological statuses to mere non-existence.Yohan

    Maybe not so much ontological, but certainly temporal statuses. In both pre- and post-, existence is given beforehand, hence its ontology is moot, the pre-and post- merely the time before and the time after such given existence. Non-existence has no such temporal distinction whatsoever, for existence is not given from which a distinction can be made, and furthermore, has no ontological status of its own anyway.
    ————————

    But if I truly didn't exist before, yet now I do, then I came into being from nothing...Yohan

    The one does not necessarily follow from the other. While true you didn’t exist at one time, and did at another, doesn’t mean you came from nothing. Granting that the mechanics of standard reproduction gives the body, and if no mind is possible without the body, it follows that the possibility of mind is given from the certainty of the body. One would be forced to show how mind absolutely cannot arise from body, or, show how body is insufficient for mind to arise from it, to disallow that it does, which only then makes room for coming into being of mind from nothing.
    —————————

    My current conclusion is, all things exist except impossibilities.
    So what can exist, does exist.
    Yohan

    Which is it....all things or possible things? All things except impossibilities, or all things that can exist, which is the same as all possible things that exist, do exist? If all possible things actually exist, they are not merely possible. In which case, the proposition is the same as all things that exist, exist, a mere worthless tautology, true by meaning alone and having absolutely no particular knowledge derivable from it.
    —————————

    Non-existence is an irrational status.Yohan

    My (general) non-existence yesterday is a contradiction; my non-existence tomorrow is not. Non-existence is not an irrational status, but rather, solely the other half of a complementary-pair necessity. Except in the case of an uncaused cause, for any existence, the non-existence of it is immediately conceivable.

    It is the conditions under which knowledge claims about non-existence is justified, that may be irrational, that is to say, does not follow from pure reason logically.
    —————————

    But appearance is not directly related to existence. (...) We already know many things exist which do not appear to us.Yohan

    For humans, the first is catastrophically false, even if the second is true. Nothing whatsoever appears to us that doesn’t exist, and, even if some appearances give false judgements, they are nonetheless derived from the existence of something.

    On the other hand, it is entirely possible to think things that don’t exist, but those are not appearances. First and foremost among such thoughts is, of course, that illusive, ambiguous, at the same time ubiquitous, omnipresent “I”.
  • Yohan
    29
    pointSamuel Lacrampe

    You should be careful with "=" signs. It means "identical", which is not the case here. Pre-existence has non-existence as a property, but is not identical with it. Pre-existence implies a thing will exist eventually. Non-existence does not imply that. With that, point 3 does not follow from points 1 and 2. Consider this other example:Samuel Lacrampe

    How can pre-existence have a property?
    How can non-existence BE a property? Do not only things have properties? Non-existence isn't a thing. It refers to an absence of thing. Or rather, it tells you that not anything is being referred to. Like a finger that isn't pointing at anything.

    Consider three identical bowls:
    One is empty
    One is pre-filled
    One is post-filled

    Is the emptiness of one of those bowls different than any of the others? How about the properties of the bowls themselves irrespective of their emptiness?

    Explain to me how an empty bowl is any way different than a pre-filled bowl. You can say we have more information about the pre-filled bowl...in that we know that it will be filled. But that is information about what will happen to it. Not what it is.

    1. A unicorn has non-existence,
    2. A phoenix has non-existence, therefore
    3. A unicorn is a phoenix.
    Samuel Lacrampe
    I agree that that is wrong, but I think what I said is more like saying 3. A unicorn and a phoenix are exactly the same while NOT existing.

    Sense?
  • Banno
    8.8k
    Imagine your consciousness disassociating with your body, so that you can observe your body from a distance. From this point of view, "your" body is entirely not self.
    The question is, why is this body associated at all with my self?
    Why didn't this body become born without my consciousness. Why didn't I remain as nothing when this body came into being.
    It would seem I was associated in some way with this body before it came into existence. Or else it would have been born without me.
    Yohan

    Look with care, and you might notice that you assume your conclusion, around about were you imagine your self as seperate from your body.
  • Yohan
    29
    Look with care, and you might notice that you assume your conclusion, around about were you imagine your self as seperate from your body.Banno

    But imaginability vs non-imaginability can work as a form of proof.

    I can imagine existing without having memories or a body etc.
    I can imagine all so called physical things as not existing, and yet I remaining conscious.

    What I cannot imagine is;
    1. Being unconscious.
    2. Observing consciousness itself objectively

    So I have as of yet no reason to think I can be unconscious or that matter can create or become conscious.

    And I think that, others who think that they can imagine such things are involved in double think.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    What I cannot imagine is;
    1. Being unconscious.
    Yohan

    Really?

    You remember your last sleep, but cannot imagine being asleep again?
  • Banno
    8.8k
    It would seem I was associated in some way with this body before it came into existence. Or else it would have been born without me.Yohan

    Yeah - only in the sense that it was Yohan who did not yet exit.
  • Yohan
    29

    As far as I can tell, part of me goes to sleep at night, while another part remains aware of myself sleeping.
    What goes to sleep, is the ego, not my essential being. This is why in the morning I have a vague memory of time passing. Because deep down some part of awareness was aware of time passing.

    ....
  • Yohan
    29
    It would seem I was associated in some way with this body before it came into existence. Or else it would have been born without me.
    — Yohan

    Yeah - only in the sense that it was Yohan who did not yet exit.
    Banno

    I mean like, in order to make a clay bowl, you have to first have clay.
    You don't really change the essence of the clay just because you shape it into a bowl or undo the shape.

    So if my body became conscious, and I am the body, then if my body lost conscousness, I would still be the body, just a body without consciousness. If you eliminate consciousness from my body, and then turn on consciousness again in my body, I would hope it's me that regains consciousness, since it's the same body.

    How did I become the body prior to my body becoming conscious?
    I couldn't have merely began at consciousness right. I had to be a body first.
    And what did I have to be before I bacame a body? The matter or energy that makes up the body, no?
    But how did I become the energy or matter that became a body that later became conscious.
    Does the physicalist not believe that ultimately it is is matter that becomes conscious and that matter is what is objectively real?
    And if I am really real in some way, if I am, then isn't my identity in matter/energy?
  • Yohan
    29
    So no need of the arrow of time? There is no content expectation from pre-existence to existence, but if from post-existence to existence holds, then there should be content expected from the former to the latter. Post-existence implies an existence already done, then to return to it should bring the content with it. If there is no such implication, and the return from post- has no content, how can it be said it is a return at all?Mww
    So you are saying if you exist again, then you didn't really cease existing prior.
    Which is my point, and what necessarily follows if pre and post existence are identical states.

    Which is it....all things or possible things? All things except impossibilities, or all things that can exist, which is the same as all possible things that exist, do exist? If all possible things actually exist, they are not merely possible. In which case, the proposition is the same as all things that exist, exist, a mere worthless tautology, true by meaning alone and having absolutely no particular knowledge derivable from it.Mww
    Tautologies are only worthless if they are obvious.
    If everyone was saying some bachelor's are married, and I pointed out that actually nobody who is unmarried is married...it would be a tautology, but it would be worthwhile to understand it if not yet understood.

    All proofs involve some form of axiomatic circularity. The key is getting good at discerning what is and isn't rooted in axiom.

    You said if all possibilities exist, they are not mere possibilities.
    What is a mere possibility? Is a mere possibility something that could be but isn't?

    I'm saying for something to be possible, the thing has to have actual existence in a seed form.

    So a seed implies the possibility for a tree. In a sense though the tree already exists in the seed...it's just undeveloped.

    Seems nobody is getting my points. Oh well, sorry if it's a waste of time.
  • Yohan
    29
    [
    But if I truly didn't exist before, yet now I do, then I came into being from nothing...
    — Yohan

    The one does not necessarily follow from the other. While true you didn’t exist at one time, and did at another, doesn’t mean you came from nothing. Granting that the mechanics of standard reproduction gives the body, and if no mind is possible without the body, it follows that the possibility of mind is given from the certainty of the body. One would be forced to show how mind absolutely cannot arise from body, or, show how body is insufficient for mind to arise from it, to disallow that it does, which only then makes room for coming into being of mind from nothing.
    Mww
    How is switching from non-existence to existence any different from switching between nothing and something?
    Either before consciousness I was nothing at all, or I was something, for example the body before to developed a mind.
    And if I was the body, what was I before that?
    And then how far back can we go? If we go back in time far enough can we get to a place where I didn't exist?
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