First hint of 'life after death'

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,058
Likes
24,270
Maybe not, Hip. Could be the wanton suffering is still the result of our human actions. I cannot remember the figures but there's a definite increase in belief of reincarnation for someone who's had an NDE.

There could be bills to pay (even for a child) if a previous life was filled with wanton cruelty.
In terms of adequately explaining all the wanton suffering and misery that exists in this world, the religious views of Gnosticism I find appealing sometimes.

Gnosticism holds that the physical material world came into being by a cosmic mistake, along with its creator and ruler, the demiurge. In Gnosticism, the demiurge, not God, is responsible for designing and maintaining the physical world. The demiurge thinks himself a god, but he is only an emanation arising out of the true God. The material world created by the demiurge is inherently debased and imperfect, in contrast to the perfect, non-material and spiritual world that God inhabits. So even to begin with, humans live in a debased reality.

But because humans have a divine spark within them, they are able to direct their attention away from this flawed physical world, and focus on that divine spark, the soul within, that links humans to God and the higher spiritual world. In this way, humans can to a degree escape the material world. However, the demiurge tries to counter this by filling human lives with material problems to create a distraction from our divine spark.

That's the Gnostic view in a nutshell.


In the Gnostic view, since we are living in an debased imperfect material world, one might fully expect suffering, disease and other miseries to be a part of this reality. In Gnosticism, this misery is not God's doing, but a result of living in an imperfect world created by the demiurge.
 
Last edited:

debored13

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
Likes
3,029
Location
Vermont, school in Western MA
Buddhists don't include any God in their worldview, but do believe in an immortal soul, and a heaven which this soul goes to after death.
From my studies in buddhism, I do not believe that Buddhists believe in an immortal and indivisible soul, per se. The metaphysics of this are complicated but I do think it's a main diff. between hinduism and buddhism. Buddhist "rebirth" is not seen as the passing of an unchangeable, immortal soul from one container to the next,unlike hindu "reincarnation".. the continuity is described as the continuity of a flame when you light one candle with another...

there are interesting critiques of the idea of an indivisible soul or "monad" in chapter two of "Beyond Good and Evil".

However, Buddhism does posit "buddha nature" that is "unchangeable", a Being underlying the Heraclitean Becoming of most existence... it's tricky metaphysically. But I don't think that this "buddha nature" is necessarily thought of as a monad or indivisible soul.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,058
Likes
24,270
The metaphysics of this are complicated but I do think it's a main diff. between hinduism and buddhism. Buddhist "rebirth" is not seen as the passing of an unchangeable, immortal soul from one container to the next,unlike hindu "reincarnation".. the continuity is described as the continuity of a flame when you light one candle with another...
That's interesting. I have to admit I've never read very much about Buddhism, though used to enjoy Buddhist meditation a lot at various Buddhist centers and Zen centers. My interest was more in Zen, which does not class itself as a religion; and Zen does not seem to talk about metaphysical concepts such as the soul. Unfortunately brain fog has ended my meditation practice, as I find I cannot tune into the meditative state now that I have ME/CFS.
 

debored13

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
Likes
3,029
Location
Vermont, school in Western MA
That's interesting. I have to admit I've never read very much about Buddhism, though used to enjoy Buddhist meditation a lot at various Buddhist centers and Zen centers. My interest was more in Zen, which does not class itself as a religion; and Zen does not seem to talk about metaphysical concepts such as the soul. Unfortunately brain fog has ended my meditation practice, as I find I cannot tune into the meditative state now that I have ME/CFS.
no meditation for me either, although I do do some slow pranayama , not the hyperventilatory pranayama which would make me worse
 

debored13

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
Likes
3,029
Location
Vermont, school in Western MA
To me this whole thread is interesting enough but the more interesting thread in physiology is the whole debate over "vitalism". To me it's often used as a strawman for a supposedly unscientific belief in "life". But Szent-gyorgyi, a fairly important scientist who studied metabolism, defined life as a "physiochemical state" rather than vital essence--that is it may be composed of inorganic parts, but they act in a different way than inorganic matter.

In philosophical terms, he was taking the stance that life is defined by "becoming" rather than "being". WHich makes it tricky to just study the "materials" of life--proteins, etc... outside of the context of living systems/beings. In this case, because the proteins might not be conductive, and everything happening on the submolecular level may cease when you are just studying parts of the system out of context.

He said that living systems are defined by their "subtle reactivity" and later went on to explain that this is a result of the desaturation of proteins I believe? that made them more reactive? He emphasized submolecular biology. Electron exchange/redox reactions are important part of metabolism and his work on redox stuff later influenced research on cancer and redox balance




Anyway defining life seems suspect to many "skeptics" but I posit that the opposition to "vitalism" is actually fairly unscientific. Of course life isn't a "vital essence". But it is something. I think following up on Szent-gyorgyi's ideas is probably something that would help develop a cure for CFS...


sorry that this is sort of rambling. i'm in lots of pain rn but I just read "the living state and cancer" by szent-gyorgyi a few days ago and i highly recommend it to anyone who can spare the energy to read. It caused crash but may have been somewhat worth it.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,058
Likes
24,270
I think Stuart Hameroff wrote an article on what he called quantum vitalism.

The Penrose-Hameroff theory of consciousness is a most interesting scientific advancement. The theory posits that the faculty of human (and animal) consciousness (as distinct from human intelligence) arises through quantum waves. The Penrose-Hameroff theory hypothesizes that inside microtubules, which are found in every cell, life harnesses the power of quantum mechanics. These quantum waves are hypothesized to exist within the hollow interior of microtubules, analogously to the way sound waves are created inside organ pipes.

The interesting thing about quantum waves (the level of reality which underpins physical particles) is that from a computational perspective, the quantum wave function is capable of performing mathematical calculations beyond which are not practically possible with ordinary digital computers. This is why there is a drive to create what's known as a universal quantum computer, because such a computer would allow us to perform calculations that are not possible on ordinary digital computers, whatever their speed.

Life though may have already harnessed the power of quantum computation, and each living cell may be equipped with its own quantum computer, located inside the microtubules of the cell.

The Penrose-Hameroff theory of consciousness posits that consciousness is based on quantum waves inside microtubules. And Hameroff has also proposed that because his theory posits that each cell harnesses the power of quantum mechanics, this may lead to a kind of quantum vitalism theory of life.

If you are interested in what transcendental levels of reality may exist beyond space and time, then this quantum theory of consciousness opens up new vistas of philosophic thought, because the quantum level of reality has different properties to the everyday physical reality we live in. For example, we are used to time only traveling in one direction in the everyday physical world: the arrow of time always moves forwards. But at the quantum level, there is no arrow of time, and there is no distinction between moving forwards or backwards in time.

So in some respects, the quantum level is closer to our conceptions of a timeless eternal realm that the regular physical world. Thus if consciousness is based on quantum mechanics, it suggests consciousness may straddle the temporal world and the quantum world, with its more eternal properties.

Another interesting feature of the quantum level of reality is that quantum information can never be destroyed. In the every physical world, we are easily able to destroy information. For example, if I have lots of unique information on a computer printout, and set fire to that paper, then the information is irretrievably lost. But at the quantum level, information cannot be destroyed like. That's one of the laws of quantum mechanics.

The import for this, in relation to ideas about a human soul or essence that survives death, is that if we equate or relate the soul with human consciousness, then any information contained within human consciousness (like life experiences) can never be destroyed, if consciousness is indeed based on quantum physics. Quantum information can be transformed or transmuted into something else, but it cannot be destroyed.

I was very interested in the Penrose-Hameroff theory, but these days I lack the brain power to delve into it.
 
Last edited:

Wolfcub

Moderator
Messages
3,372
Likes
8,490
Location
SW UK
I just listen to my dog.
She showed me what no philosophers, quantum physics, spiritual "leaders"...or anything else ever managed to show me.
That Love survives "death". In fact, that there is no death; only a transition from a physical life to a more full life. And that the too-good-to-be-true actually exists. Also that the Soul consciousness isn't prejudiced about what species it happened to live as, in physical life.
It came as a shock actually. I thought death was lights out. I didn't believe in any of it. This had to be the major wow of my whole life.
Thanks dog. I no longer fear death.
 
Messages
1,539
Likes
2,398
If you are interested in what transcendental levels of reality may exist beyond space and time, then this quantum theory of consciousness opens up new vistas of philosophic thought, because the quantum level of reality has different properties to the everyday physical reality we live in. For example, we are used to time only traveling in one direction in the everyday physical world: the arrow of time always moves forwards. But at the quantum level, there is no arrow of time, and there is no distinction between moving forwards or backwards in time.
Some theoretical physicists believe that linear time is just a construct. I wonder if they came to that conclusion because of quantum theory?

Non-linear time is mind blowing to think about. If everything has already happened, does that not allow for any free will?

I used to assume that all cultures agreed on linear time, but then I read of a remote modern place (I forget where) that has no verb tenses because they don't experience time as linear. Linguistics and how it affects the perception of time was really interesting in the movie Arrival, a great movie, I thought, other than the ridiculous Hollywood-type ending.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,058
Likes
24,270
Some theoretical physicists believe that linear time is just a construct.
I am really out of touch with these subjects; I used to read a lot popular physics books, but I find these are too complex to digest with brain fog.

But the one-way arrow of time appears to be intimately related to entropy, which is the measurement of the state of disorder of a physical system. As the 2nd law of thermodynamics tells us, entropy of a closed system can never decrease, it can only increase. In other words, in a closed system, when there is change or movement, it will always move from order to increasing disorder.

Time seems to be pinned to entropy, and because entropy only moves in one direction, from order to disorder, so time also only moves in one direction, at least in the everyday world (which physicists call the classical world, as opposed to the quantum world).

The universe is thought to have started in a state of very low entropy, but moves in a direction of increased entropy, thus creating this one-way arrow of time.

At the quantum level though, time is not confined to this one-way street.

Our reality appears to consist of the classical world co-existing with the quantum world — two worlds in which time obeys different laws. And although we don't see the quantum world in everyday reality, these two worlds are intertwined and constantly interacting. Indeed our very consciousness minds may arise from a bridge or interaction between these two worlds.

But in spite of these theories, there is so much that is not understood about all these aspects of our reality.
 
Last edited: